Stan    is    a    man    of    many    talents,    and    productions.    From performing    in    a    jazz    band,    to    acting    in    shows    such    as Coronation   Street   and   Doctors,   he's   been   there   and   done   it all. Stan   also   had   two   roles   in   Crossroads,   but   the   latter   one   as Sid is the part most fans remember him for. Could    you    tell    us    a    little    about    your    career    before Crossroads? I'm   a   jazz   musician   and   I   started   off   before   the   war   as   a   semi-pro.   Later   on   I   joined   the   army   and   I   played   in   the   army. After   the   war   I   played   with   quite   a few   bands   and   ended   up   joining   a   band   called   the   Harmaniacs.   We   worked   mainly   in   radio   and   appeared   on   a   show   called   "Workers'   Playtime"   -   they   used to do a show every week from different factories. All the comics of the time appeared on it, Tony Hancock, Morecambe and Wise etc. The   idea   was   that   it   increased   productivity   although   in   my   case   perhaps   it   decreased   productivity!   I   worked   with   the   Joe   Loss   band   and   the   Ted   Heath band   as   a   featured   artist   and   eventually   I   became   a   solo   artist.   In   the   50's   I   did   a   lot   of   variety   with American   stars   such   as   Tony   Bennett   and   Bob   Hope,   I appeared   at   the   Palladium   and   at   the   end   of   the   50's   I   joined   the   Black   and   White   minstrels.   That   was   the   best   show   you   could   be   on   if   you   were   a musician and a comic. I'm   also   a   qualified   pilot   and   I've   been   flying   for   50   years.   I've   owned   18   different   aircraft   and   in   1955   I   was   named   private   flyer   of   the   year   by   the   Royal Aeronautical Club. You first appeared in Crossroads as Harry Silver, an American gunman who held up Tish Hope at her cottage. How did that come about? I   went   into   the   series   as   an American   GI   on   the   run,   who   found   himself   in   the   village   and   broke   into   the   church   and   held   a   few   people   up   at   gunpoint   for   a few days. It turned out that the gun was actually a toy gun and I ended up getting sent down for 20 years. How did you end up getting the part of Sid Hooper? Well,   seven   years   later   I   rang   the   producer   and   said   why   don't   you   bring   Harry   Silver   back   to   take   revenge   on   Meg   he   might   be   out   on   parole   by   now.   They were   trying   to   think   of   ways   of   writing   Meg   out,   but   he   said   "If   you   did   that   you'd   never   work   again!"   But   he   did   have   the   part   of   Sid   Hooper,   which   started out as 6 weeks but went on for 7 years. The character took off so I stayed in. Were you a fan of the series before you became a regular cast member? Not   really,   my   style   of   life   didn't   afford   me   the   privilege   of   sitting   down   and   watching   soap   operas.   I   was   always   travelling   to   or   from   a   theatre   and   it wasn't a show I was very conscious of. Having joined the show though I obviously became a fan and enjoyed on my time on the show very much indeed. Sid was a bit of a roguish character, especially in his treatment of his long-suffering wife Mavis. What was he like to play? He   was   whimsical,   I   always   thought   he   was   a   whimsical   character,   a   bit   worldly   in   his   attitude.   He'd   been   around   a   bit   and   he   was   always   trying   to   make   a few bob doing things he shouldn't have. But he had a heart of gold - and teeth to match! He   took   a   shine   to   Benny   and   he   wanted   to   be   Benny's   protector,   he   always   wanted   to   stand   up   for   him   and   defend   him   if   anyone   was   taking   the   rise   out   of him.   I   thought   Sid   had   a   good   relationship   with   Benny   and   people   used   to   forgive   me   for   fiddling   as   long   as   Benny   was   all   right.   Paul   Henry   and   I   thought there might be some mileage in a spin off with Benny and Sid on the road after Crossroads had finished. One storyline, which is particularly remembered, is the death of your screen wife Mavis. What was it like playing that scene? It   was   a   sad   period   of   time   for   me   because   we   got   on   very   well,   Charmian   Eyre   and   I.   She   was   the   complete   opposite   of   the   Mavis   character   and   always had   a   smile   on   her   face   which   was   why   I   always   admired   her   so   much   as   an   actress.   But   we   had   to   act   as   if   we   didn't   get   on   and   of   course   when   she   was   ill there   was   a   storyline   going   on   that   I   was   supposed   to   think   she   had   a   soft   spot   for   Cecil   Beecher-Blount   but   she   never   put   me   right   and   she   played   me along. I   think   it   was   quite   a   touching   few   episodes   -   lots   of   people   commented   and   thought   that   it   was   a   very   tender   part   when   we   finally   admitted   to   each   other that   we'd   been   silly   to   each   other.   I   think   that   it   is   a   fact   of   life   with   many   people   they   don't   come   down   and   admit   their   feelings   and   don't   discuss   things sometimes until it's too late. When   Philip   Bowman   took   over   as   producer   in   1985   there   were   big   changes   including   the   introduction   of   a   lot   more   outside   location   shooting   as well as a lot of comings and goings in terms of the cast. What did you think of these changes? I   didn't   go   for   them   at   all   really,   I   think   it   was   a   case   of   "new   broom   tends   to   sweep   clean"   even   if   it   wasn't   dirty.   I   think   it   upset   things   really   for   no reason,   it   was   change   for   change's   sake.   The   producer   I   have   most   time   for   was   Jack   Barton,   a   richly   talented   man.   Jack   had   worked   on   "Sunday   Night   at the Palladium" and like me he was a jazz musician. Jack   was   a   very   talented   man   who   could   come   up   with   an   idea   at   the   drop   of   a   hat   -   everyone   who   worked   for   Jack   held   him   in   very   high   esteem.   When   a younger man comes in, fine, but sometimes there isn't any need for "out with the old and in with the new." After him we had "Butcher Bill" (William Smethurst) and he cut everyone out for no reason whatever - it was a wholesale slaughter of the whole show. Were you surprised when Crossroads was eventually axed in 1988? Crossroads   died   because   people   in   positions   of   power   wanted   it   to   die.   I   didn't   understand   the   mentality   of   people   taking   off   a   show   with   that   big   an audience.   The   viewing   figures   were   lower   than   they   had   been   although   it   never   went   as   low   as   the   current   Crossroads,   but   certain   people   seemed   hell bent on crucifying the show. What do you think of the new Crossroads? Do you think it is a mistake that they have not brought back more old faces? I   can't   understand   why   they   didn't   bring   Benny   back   because   it   would   get   great   publicity   for   the   show.   When   Crossroads   ended   in   1988   it   was   amazing   the number   of   letters   Paul   Henry   and   I   received   from   people   saying   how   sorry   they   were   the   show   had   gone   off   and   asking   what   they   could   do   to   bring   it   back. Then   all   of   a   sudden   it   did   come   back.   But   did   Sid   come   back,   did   Benny   come   back?   They   said   "We   will   bring   back   Jill   and   Doris   Luke"   and   after   a   couple of weeks what happened? Jill   was   on   the   first   ever   episode   of   Crossroads   and   in   the   last   episode   when   it   ended   and   to   bring   her   back   and   promise   this   and   then   kill   her   off   after   a couple   of   months   -   I   don't   really   know   what   is   wrong   with   the   people   who   are   supposed   to   be   presenting   entertainment.   I've   produced   pantomime   for   54 years   and   it   has   nothing   to   do   with   what   they   do   on TV   -   they're   not   out   to   please   their   audiences.   Now   Crossroads   is   back   on   but   it   doesn't   mean   quite   the same to some of our viewers; you find fans of the old series complain because there's no-one in it they know. I   think   that   a   few   of   the   old   characters   should   return   if   only   occasionally   to   restore   some   sort   of   interest   and   to   bring   some   of   the   old   fans   back   to   the table.   If   I   were   the   producer   I   would   use   anyone   I   know   is   popular   to   bring   in   the   audience   -   you'd   think   that   any   producer   of   any   imagination   would   be doing   this.   I'm   sure   that   Jack   Barton,   one   of   the   eminent   producers   of   the   show,   would   be   delighted   to   talk   to   the   producers   to   help   them   to   bring   back some of the older viewers. Would you be prepared to return if asked? Yes. I'd love to come back and I know Paul Henry would as well because we had a soft spot for the show. Are you still in touch with any of the old cast or crew? I'm   still   in   touch   with   Jack   Barton   and   Paul   Henry.   I   play   golf   with   Paul,   I   started   him   on   it.   He   didn't   play   when   I   started   on   Crossroads   and   he   took   it   up and   he   became   very   good.   He   plays   quite   a   lot   now   on   the   charity   circuit   and   I   believe   he's   now   a   golf   organiser   as   well   as   doing   a   bit   of   telly.   I've   seen Jane Rossington a few times since the series ended. I   believe   Susan   Hanson   left   acting   and   now   lives   in   Birmingham.   I   was   on   a   set   recently   with   Mrs.   Tardebigge   (Elsie   Kelly)   a   couple   of   weeks   ago   and   she   is now a producer. What have you done since you left Crossroads? Quite   a   lot   of   things,   I've   gone   back   into   variety,   I've   done   some   music   hall,   jazz   as   well   as   the   odd   thing   for   television.   I've   just   appeared   in   an   episode   of Casualty   and   I've   recently   appeared   in   a   few   episodes   of   a   Welsh   soap   opera,   "Nuts   and   Bolts".   I've   done   a   few   bits   of   film   -   I   was   just   in   one   with Christopher   Walken.   My   son   who   is   a   writer   has   also   written   a   few   things   with   me   in   mind. Although   I'm   busy   I'd   still   find   time   for   Crossroads   because   it   was a part of my life. Do you still own the theatre where CAS held the 1989 Crossroads convention? I   didn't   own   it   actually   I   was   only   a   tenant,   I   leased   it   from   the   council.   I   had   several   theatres   but   they   were   leased.   I   don't   do   that   now   though,   I   am   back on the road as a performer.
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