One   of   the   more   popular   characters   from   the   final   era   of the   serial   was   John   the   landlord   of   King's   Oak's   main   pub, The Stag. How did you first get the role of John Maddingham? I    was    first    offered    a    role    in    Crossroads    in    1986    -    Lord Someone-or-other,   which   I   turned   down.   Then   they   came back   the   following   year   to   offer   me   John   Maddingham,   as   a   kind   of   romantic   interest   for   Jill   and   silver-haired   replacement   for   Ronald   Allen   who   had recently left the cast. There was no audition - just a more interesting character and a much better offer on the board! Did you watch the programme before you got the part? Not particularly. I never watch soaps on a regular basis. I only watched Crossroads if I knew a mate was going to be on. Were   you   aware   of   the   changes   that   were   going   to   take   place   on   the   show,   such   as   the   switch   to   Crossroads,   Kings   Oak   and   the   changing   theme tune? Not in any detail. I knew there had been big cast changes, a bit of a make-over, and was told how my character was expected to fit into the new look. I   had   no   idea   what   the   story   lines   had   been   or   were   to   be,   and   before   I   accepted   the   job   I   watched   it   every   night.   I   did   think   the   standard   of   acting   and the   scripts   had   improved   a   great   deal.   But   apart   from   wanting   to   experience   working   on   a   soap,   I   approached   it   as   just   another   acting   job,   and   an opportunity to work with some good actors. Can you tell us a bit about William Smethurst? Yes. That's all I can tell you about him - a bit. He   was   always   perfectly   affable   and   considerate   towards   me,   but   we   were   never   going   to   be   bosom   buddies.   I   often   wondered   what   he   was   doing   in show business. He had no apparent empathy with actors or the acting process, but he certainly left his mark on the show. What did you think about many of the old characters being axed? If   I   thought   about   it   at   all,   I   was   sorry   to   see   fellow   actors   put   out   of   work.   Some   of   the   characters   were   way   past   their   sell-by   date.   Other   axings   I   was quite surprised about. But I had (still have) no sentimental attachment to Crossroads. Series   have   to   move   on,   develop,   move   with   the   times   or   they   become   unbelievable   and   irrelevant.   Actors   have   to   accept   the   precarious   nature   of   the business and the sometimes-incomprehensible whims of producers. What did you think when they told you that the show was going to end with John running off with Jill? I   was   a)   chuffed   that   Jill   had   decided   to   go   off   with   me,   b)   surprised   that   the   writers   had   decided   on   that   finale,   c)   delighted   that   that   rotter   Adam Chance wasn't going to have a second helping and d) amused that I would be involved in what would probably be a memorable television moment. How well did you get on with your screen family, wife Eve (Valerie Holliman) and son Jamie (Christopher Duffy)? I   adored   them   both   -   and   I   hope   they   liked   me   too.   Working   with   people   like   Val   and   Chris   makes   the   most   of   the   high   points   and   helps   you   cope   with   the lows. Funnily   enough,   Chris   and   I   developed   very   much   a   father-and-son   relationship   off   screen.   Duffy   is   an   extremely   clever   guy,   very   talented   and   with   a disgusting sense of humour. So we got on like a house on fire! John had been killed off by the time the show returned. Did you see any of the new series of Crossroads? I did. The first episode, and one other when a good friend of mine made his debut. What did you think of the new series? Were you surprised that it was axed? The   two   episodes   I   caught   were   a   hoot. All   the   money   had   gone   on   the   sets,   none   on   the   scripts.   Television   by   committee   never   works   -   it   needs   to   be   a single person's vision - so, no, I wasn't the least surprised when it was axed. Would you have gone back to Crossroads if they had asked you? It   would   have   been   nice   to   have   been   asked   -   it   could   have   been   an   interesting   story   line   -   and   I   probably   would   have   gone   back   if   the   money   had   been right, but if the first episode was anything to go by, I was very glad I wasn't approached. Do you still keep in touch with any of the Crossroads cast? Sadly, no. Our paths haven't crossed and I've even lost touch with Duffy. Do you find that people still recognise you? No   thank   God.   But   by   a   strange   coincidence,   having   had   nothing   to   do   with   Crossroads   for   years,   within   two   days   of   receiving   this   questionnaire,   two different people asked me if I was the pub landlord from Crossroads. Weird. What is the highlight of your time on Crossroads? Nipping off every Wednesday lunchtime (in make up and costume sometimes) for the weekly organ recital in Birmingham Town Hall.
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