Series Producers 1964 - 2003
Reg Watson Reg   grew   up   on   a   sugar   farm   in   Queensland,   in   his   teens   he   ventured   into   the   world   of   broadcasting   as   a   radio   actor.   He moved   to   the   UK   in   1955   and   joined ATV   Midlands   in   January   1956.   He   produced   at   least   once   every   programme   ever   made   at the Aston   studios.   Productions   ranged   from   factual   such   as   Midland   Farming,   darts   game   show   Hit The   Limit   and   chat   show Tea with Noele Gordon. Reg   first   suggested   a   daily   soap   to ATV   in   1959   it   wasn't   until   nearly   five   years   later   that   Lord   Lew   Grade   approved   the   idea. Reg   had   joined   ATV   from   its   inception,   and   before   launching   Crossroads   was   established   as   a   producer   of   high-quality entertainment   and   variety   programmes   at   the   Midlands   division.   These   included   the   highly   popular   Lunchbox   chat   show   and Hi-T. Crossroads   in   the   early   years   under   Reg   was   very   light-weight,   it   was   aiming   at   'housewives'   and   had   an   early   afternoon   slot. Reg   made   the   series   mainly   an   entertainment   programme   with   the   occasional   serious   and   socially   realistic   plots.   21   years later and Australian daily-soap, Neighbours would bare an uncanny similarity to the early Crossroads years. In   1974,   Reg   decided   to   return   home   -   to Australia.   He   joined   the   Grundy   Organisation   and   soon   was   creating   such   serial   hits   as   Prisoner:   Cell   Block   H, Sons and Daughters and world-famous Neighbours. In 2010 Reg was awarded the OMA, the Australian equivalent of a British MBE. First Episode as the producer - episode 1, last episode as producer - 2105. Jack Barton Jack   had   worked   on   Crossroads   as   a   director   on-and-off   in   the   60s   and   before   that   worked   with   Noele   Gordon   in   theatre   as   a director   and   later   on   with   her   at ATV's   Birmingham   based,   variety   show,   Lunchbox.   For Associated   Television   he   was   also   one of the directors on weekend top-rating entertainment series, Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Jack   took   over   from   Reg   Watson   in   1974,   but   the   style   of   the   show   remained   the   same,   Jack   brought   in   many   more   socially realistic   storylines   and   took   the   show   in   a   more   serious   direction.   In   1982   he   tried   to   move   the   show   away   from   its   roots   of an   ‘American   style’   soap   opera   format   into   a   more   British   serial   style.   It   failed   and   Barton   was   sacked   in   1984.   The   series would return to its soap opera roots under replacement Phillip Bowman. Barton   also   in   his   final   years   had   a   couple   of   ‘run   in’s’   with   Central   Television   over   the   way   Crossroads   was   being   treated.   It was moved from the big studio one at ATV Centre, into the much smaller studio two, and the location budget was slashed. While   Barton   saw   it   through   some   of   its   most   successful   years   -   however   with   storylines   and   characters   devised   by   Reg Watson   -   when   Barton’s   own   vision   was   implemented   the   series’   ratings   began   to   fall.   Barton   also   kept   the   series   in   its   ‘as live’ format until 1984, making it a vastly out of date programme by the time he came to be dispatched. The   first   episode   as   director   was   712,   airing   on   31st   July   1967.   He   then   directed   many   episodes   thereafter,   until   he   took   over   as   the   producer   on   episode 2106. His last episode was 4064. Jack Barton died on 28th October 2002. Phillip Bowman It   was   back   to   an Australian-born   producer   for   Crossroads   in   1984   as   Central   Television   hired   Philip   Bowman   to   take-over   from the soon to depart Jack Barton. Philip had worked on Sons and Daughters before moving to the UK. Unlike   the   previous   hand-over   of   producer   -   where   on-screen   no   change   had   occurred   -   Bowman's   first   episode   of   Crossroads was to have a whole new look. This first new look episode was number 4065. Phillip   brought   a   whole   new   production   formula   to   the   show,   also   a   glamorous   new   look   and   sexier   stories.   Following   four years   of   a   dull   and   dreary   feel   and   format   created   by   past-it   Jack   Barton   the   series   was   transformed   into   the   most   modern looking   soap   on   British   TV.   It   was   hardly   surprising   therefore   that   the   ratings   were   boosted   by   the   much   more   professional looking Crossroads which replaced the ‘as live’ incredibly dated predecessor. The   new   era   also   retained   a   lot   of   its   original   qualities   (and   cast)   and   was   even   due   to   see   the   return   of   previously   axed   Noele Gordon.   Sadly   Phillip   was   moved   to   "other   projects"   and   Noele   Gordon   died   before   she   could   return   for   her   initial   three- month stint as Meg, a friend of newcomer Nicola Freeman played by Gabrielle Drake. Phillip   has   said   that   Ted   Childs,   head   of   drama   didn't   want   him   to   improve   Crossroads,   just   change   it   -   he   regrets   ever   working   on   the   programme. Bowman   continues   to   work   in   television   back   in   his   native   Australia.   Including   on   a   children's   comedy-drama   that   is   produced   in   association   with   the BBC. The return to soap opera and the glamorous format was sadly short-lived. Phillip's last produced edition was episode number 4333. William Smethurst After   eight   years   of   overseeing   the   BBC   Radio   soap,   The Archers,   William   Smethurst   was   poached   to   take   on   Crossroads   and make   it   into   an   all-new,   all-upmarket   Kings   Oak   serial.   He   had   originally   been   offered   the   role   in   1984   but   declined   the   offer at that time due to the state the series was in under Jack Barton. William   was   given   a   free-run   with   Crossroads,   when   he   took   over   from   Phillip   Bowman,   making   any   changes   he   saw   fit,   and he   made   many. Across   1987   a   large   chunk   of   the   cast,   some   who   had   been   in   the   series   since   the   Noele   Gordon   days,   other recent   castings   under   Bowman   were   ditched   as   Smethurst   took   Crossroads   once   again   away   from   soap   opera   into   drama serial. Unlike   the   Barton   version   of   1982-4,   this   attempt   at   serial   came   with   lavish   outside   filming,   sweeping   countryside   opening titles and more focus on the village of Kings Oak - indeed the intention was to rename the series as Kings Oak in 1988. However   the   change   to   Kings   Oak   didn't   contribute   to   the   show   being   axed   -   the   new   look   didn’t   launch   until   three   months after Head Of Production at Central, Andy Allen shelved the show. William’s   first   episode   was   edition   4334.   The   last   episode   aired   in   its   old   'Crossroads'   style   was   episode   number   4441.   William's   last   episode   in   producer role was number 4486. After   Kings   Oak   came   to   an   end   William   stayed   with   Central   Television   for   a   number   of   years   working   alongside   Ted   Childs,   who   as   Head   Of   Drama   had wanted   to   improve   Crossroads   and   make   it   work.   Sadly   for Ted   and   William,   the   show   ended   before   their   plans   for   Crossroads   had   been   fully   completed, however, dramas such as Boon and Peak Practice both were helped on their way by the Smethurst and Childs experience From December 15th, 1987 to April 4th, 1988 William was credited as Executive Producer. The shows only Executive Producer in its original history. Michelle Buck In   the   final   months   of   Crossroads,   Michele   Buck   took   control   of   the   soap   alongside   William.   She   started   her   career   at   Thames   Television   as   a   secretary. Buck   then   progressed   up   the   ranks   into   production   roles.   Speaking   to   The   Stage   magazine   in   2005   she   commented   that   her   rise   through   the   television departments would no longer happen anymore: "You   can't   do   it   my   way   now,   we   only   look   at   Oxford   graduates.   I   would   be   suspicious   if   someone   like   me   came   along. They   were   golden   times   at Thames Television." In   1989   and   1992   she   produced   the   Central   comedy-drama   Boon,   and   then   went   on   to   many   other   BBC   and   independent   television   drama   series.   She   was also   in   charge   of   the   short-lived   LWT   soap,   Night   and   Day.   Michele   has   more   recently   with   her   work   at   Granada   helped   produce   and   adapt   the   drama series Casanova for BBC Three she also produced four series of Peak Practice for Central Television. Michelle's first episode in the role as producer was edition 4487 airing on 15th December 1987. Her last episode was edition 4524. She   was,   during   the   late   1990s   and   early   2000s,   in   charge   of   drama   output   at   Granada   Television   before   leaving   to   work   for   Mammoth   Screen   an independent production company which she partly owns. Sharon Bloom Bloom is noted as starting her career as a floor manager at the BBC and, just like Michelle Buck, worked her way up the television ranks. While   at   the   beeb   she   produced   sitcom   May   To   December   -   which   starred   ex-Crossroads   actress   Frances   White   in   one   of   the   lead   roles.   Bloom   then moved to independent television and worked for Central Television in Nottingham on the popular Sunday evening medical drama, Peak Practice. After   a   successful   stint   in   the   drama   department,   she   joined   the   soon-to-air   Crossroads   reboot.   As   Executive   Producer,   she   would   oversee   most   of   the series output for 2000-2002. After Crossroads was deemed a flop Bloom moved back to the drama division. It   was   decided   rather   than   Bloom   return   to   Peak   Practice   the   show   would   be   axed   and   a   new   drama   would   take   its   place. Sweet Medicine proved to also turn out a failure. Kay Patrick Kay   had   previously   worked   on   the   original   Crossroads   as   an   actress,   playing   the   character   of   Jean   Peterson   back   in   December of 1967, and appeared in other series such as Z Cars and Doctor Who before moving behind the scenes as a director. Behind   the   camera   Kay   has   directed   Central's   short-lived   space   soap   Jupiter   Moon   which   aired   on   BSB,   Yorkshire   Television's Emmerdale   Farm   and   Channel   4's   Brookside.   She   worked   on   Coronation   Street   as   a   director   before   later   returning   to   the series as its producer. After   a   successful   stint   at   Granada   in   Manchester,   Patrick   switched   her   talents   back   to   the   Midlands   and   returned   to   Central Television   to   oversee   the   revival   of   Crossroads   for   Carlton   in   2000.   Kay   has   also   worked   for   the   BBC   on   dramas   Holby   City, Sunburn and Mersey Beat. In   recent   years   Kay   returned   to   directing,   and   back   at   Granada   hit   the   headlines   in   May   2009   when   she   was   injured   on   the   outdoor   set   of   Coronation Street. She had been knocked over by a car. A   Granada   Spokesperson   said   at   the   time:   "The   accident   occurred   as   the   crew   were   setting   up   for   a   scene   which   involved   a   small   amount   of vehicle   movement.   The   female   director   has   been   injured   as   a   consequence   and   been   taken   to   hospital.   No   other   member   of   the   cast   or   crew has been injured."  The injuries proved to be minor. Kay was series producer for Crossroads in 2000 into 2001. Peter Rose Peter replaced Kay as series producer running with the show from 2001 until its demise in 2003. Rose   is   possibly   better   known   these   days   for   his   directing   on   BBC   One   soap,   EastEnders.   He   started   his   career   at   the   BBC   as   an   assistant   floor   manager before becoming a production manager, notably on the BBC drama, Howard’s Way. He   progressed   to   a   director,   working   on   Channel   4's   Brookside   before   returning   to   Howards   Way.   He   also   directed   Trainer   and   Come   Outside   for   the   BBC. Rose   switched   to   Carlton   for   the   return   of   Crossroads,   however   since   the   series'   demise   he   first   returned   to   the   BBC   as   a   director   where   he   resumed work on EastEnders and also Holby City. As of 2010 Rose was noted to be directing episodes of Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale. Yvon Grace At   Granada   Television   Yvon   produced   the   comedy   series'   My   Dad's   a   Boring   Nerd   and   Knight   School,   in   1997   and   1998 respectively. Both shows such resounding successes that no one can remember them. A   more   successful   stint   at   the   BBC,   however,   would   follow   with   work   on   EastEnders   and   also   the   early   series'   of   medical drama, Holby City. Yvon is credited as ‘turning around’ the fortunes of Holby City making it a success for BBC One. In   2001   Yvon   moved   from   behind   the   cameras   to   the   front   when   she   starred   on   the   'Emmerdale   soap   stars'   competition, where   she   appeared   as   a   judge.   She   was   nicknamed   'Evil   Yvon'   for   her   scathing   catty   comments.   The   show   was   searching   for new acting talent to appear as a family in Emmerdale. The   family   picked   by   Yvon   and   co   in   SoapStars   lasted   almost   as   long   as   her   time   in   charge   of   the   Midlands'   most   famous motel.   In August   2002   it   was   announced Yvon   was   to   take   over   Crossroads   and   make   it   a   must-see   show.   I   think   its   safe   to   say it didn't quite work out that way. Yvon   has   hinted   it   was   ITV   Network,   not   Carlton   nor   herself   that   set   the   decline   into   the   new   Crossroads.   Insiders   at   the Central   and   Carlton   facility   have   suggested   that   bosses   in   London   set   about   killing   off   everything   made   by   Central   to   close   down   the   studios   -   which were one of the biggest in Europe. Yvon now hosts training events for budding writers. Eric Fawcett and Pieter Rogers When   Crossroads   was   in   production   for   five   episodes   a   week   in   the   1960s,   producer   Reg   Watson   would   from   time   to   time   take   a   break   from   the   workload and guest producers would be brought in for spells. Eric Fawcett and Pieter Rogers being the regular stand-ins. Eric   first   filled   in   for   Reg   on   episode   101   -   remaining   with   Crossroads   until   episode   150.   Reg   then   returned   through   to   episode   570,   thereafter   Pieter Rogers   took   over   up   to   episode   630.   Reg   again   returned   as   producer   until   episode   756   which   Pieter   took   over   once   more   through   to   episode   763.   Once the episodes were reduced to four a week, Reg remained in position until he left in 1974. Eric   died   in   1972   aged   86,   having   started   out   as   an   actor   he   turned   to   behind   the   scenes   in   1938.   At   the   BBC   he   had   produced   shows   such   as   Tony Hancock's   comedy   series   and   Sunday   Night   Theatre.   For   other   independent   television   companies,   such   as   Granada   Television,   he   oversaw   productions such   as   sitcoms   The   Army   Game   and   Bootsie   and   Snudge.   Pieter   retired   in   1985   and   died   in   2006   aged   78.   At   ATV   as   well   as   Crossroads   he   produced episodes of saga Emergency Ward 10 and drama Love Story. Also moving to Granada TV he produced daytime serial Crown Court in the 1970s.
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