Terence   Rigby   joined   Crossroads   in   1986   as   the   new   motel owner,    Tommy    'Bomber'    Lancaster.    A    brash    brummie, former    RAF,    he    set    about    taking    the    motel    upmarket; turning   it   into   the   Kings   Oak   Country   Hotel   which   was   part of   his   family   run   business,   Red   Ox.   Terence   talks   to   the Central Press office in 1986 and 1988... How did you get into acting? I   became   interested   in   performing   quite   early   in   life   and   dabbled   in   acting   on   an   amateur   basis   with   the   boy   scouts   and   later   while   I   was   with   the   Royal Air   Force.   In   the   late   1950s   I   auditioned   with   RADA   (Royal Academy   of   Dramatic Arts)   and   failed!   Luckily   for   Crossroads   I   succeeded   to   gain   a   place   after the second audition. Was acting professionally your first job? In   19...   I   forget   the   year,   deliberately,   I   trained   to   be   a   surveyor   and   later   quantity   surveyor.   I   also   worked   on   building   sites   as   a   labourer   and   hands   on jobs like that for a time, factory work that sort of thing. But all the while also performing on an amateur level too in the theatre. When did you take your first steps towards a professional acting career? The early 1960s when I joined Repertory theatre in Antony and Cleopatra at Birmingham Old Rep. That was a challenge; A play every fortnight. Why did joining Crossroads appeal to you? Curiosity   really.   I've   worked   in   most   television   drama   formats   over   the   years,   but   soap   opera   in   the   form   which   Crossroads   takes   was   an   acting   area   which I hadn't ventured into previously. I also liked the fact it is a world which never stops, it rolls along at such a pace every week brings fresh stories. What has the viewer reaction been like? I   couldn't   believe   it   at   first.   I'd   be   quietly   minding   my   own   business,   walking   along   the   street   and   some   giant   hairy   navvy   would   yell   at   me,   'Bomber,   you bully! Stop picking on Darby' I was really surprised at his reaction. The myth was that Crossroads was only watched by housewives, but this bloke obviously knew the storyline. Of   course   he's   not   to   know   that   Patrick   Jordan   who   plays   Darby   is   a   close   friend   off   screen.   He   was   a   wonderful   uncle   figure   to   the   whole   cast   and responsible for maintaining the high morale of the show. How did you feel when you heard Crossroads had been axed? Shocked. ...At least in a few years time I'll be able to walk past building sites without workmen abusing me! How would you sum up your time on Crossroads? Hard   work!   It'll   be   a   relief   to   escape   the   punishing   schedule;   we   worked   for   five   and   a   half   days   each   week. You   can't   imagine   how   hard   it   is   to   record   four episodes a week. I didn't realise how much work it was until I joined. Although ITV only aired three a week we've always produced four per working week. Are there any storylines you were looking forward to that now won't air? The   love   scenes   with   Gabrielle   Drake.   She'd   just   signed   up   to   return   as   Nicola   when   the   mighty   axe   swung.   And   I'd   just   finished   discussing   with   the   set designer   and   producer   how   we'd   like   Tommy's   new   oak   panelled   office   to   be   furnished!   I'm   giving   little   away   but   it   would   have   raised   a   few   eyebrows, especially Jill's! Future plans? Hopefully   plenty   of   work,   I'm   appearing   at   the   National Theatre   while   Crossroads   airs   its   last   few   episodes.   I've   managed   to   juggle   recently   an   appearance in Tony Palmer's film Testimony as Stalin and made my debut at Wimbledon as a tennis umpire. So work hasn't dried up, thankfully. I   couldn't   miss   both   opportunities.   I've   played   Stalin   three   times   and   I   decided   to   take   the   part   again   as   I   wanted   to   work   with   Tony   Palmer   and   Ben Kingsley. This   year   [1988]   I'll   not   be   able   to   take   part   in   Wimbledon.   When   I   finish   at   the   National   in   the   summer   I'll   have   to   rush   off   to   work   in   another   popular television   series,   but   I   can't   reveal   which   one   yet.   But   at   least   I   shall   be   able   to   be   the   assistant   referee   at   the   LTA   Paddington   Tournament   in   May,   where for the past three years I've worked alongside Alan Mills, the Wimbledon referee. Crossroads is fully wrapped now? Yes we did the last studio recording on December the 17th last year. Any hints to how it ends? Hint? All   I   can   say   is   Chef   really   shouldn't   have   left   the   gas   stove   on   over   night...   No   in   all   seriousness   there   is   no   huge   explosion,   or   flood   or   demolition   or anything nasty. I think the producer has left the door open should we all be employed by BBC Two! You think there is life in the old soap yet then? Kings   Oak   is   a   great   idea   for   a   serial,   we   have   soaps   about   the   south   and   the   north   and   the   midlands   should   remain   represented.   I   know   many   were   sad   to see the Crossroads Motel go, but we have to move with the times in both the real world and the drama. The change to Kings Oak you approved of? Absolutely!   If   you   mentioned   the   word   Crossroads,   people   either   think   of   Noele   Gordon   or   the   mythical   wobbly   sets.   It   needed   to   move   with   the   times and   shake   off   both   shackles,   not   that   Noele's   legacy   should   be   forgotten.   I'm   not   saying   that   of   course.   She's   rightly   one   of   our   greatest   serial   figures.   But it   was   such   a   success   back   then   if   we   remained   as   Crossroads   we   would   forever   be   compared   to   her   past   glory   and   end   up   stuck   forever   in   the   shadow   of the 1970s. And   really   if   the   programme   had   stayed   the   same   and   tried   to   replicate   that   success   then   it   would   have   become   dated   very   quickly,   and   I   think   it   did become a television antique, out of date production values, before the modernisation a year before I arrived. With Crossroads ending before the festive season, you must have enjoyed a well earned rest at Christmas? I didn't have time to rest, I was offered the part of Pozzo in Waiting for Godot at the National Theatre. So I spent Christmas learning my lines. Will Crossroads be a happy memory? I enjoyed my time with Crossroads. I am proud of what we've done, and I am sad that my time as Tommy has been cut short. The   show   gave   me   an   opportunity   to   lead   a   company   of   actors   on   television   for   the   first   time.   I   was   delighted   to   be   involved   with   such   a   talented   group of actors. I am indebted to Jane Rossington and Tony Adams for their support when I came into the programme as the motel's new boss. As   a   marvellous   spin-off   to   the   programme,   I   was   able   to   spend   a   wonderful   time   with   my   family,   twenty   five   years   after   leaving   home   in   Birmingham. And   I   was   able   to   find   time   to   go   for   long   walks   in   the   beautiful   countryside   around   Upton   on   Severn   in   Worcestershire   where   I   had   been   evacuated   as   a child during World War II. Wandering   around   the   village   brought   back   memories   of   my   first   days   at   school   there   and   my   first   theatrical   performance   reciting   'I   had   A   Penny'   by   AA Milne. Who would have thought that little boy would go on to work at the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National Theatre?
 © Crossroads Fan Club 1987-2016, quotes from two interviews with the Central Press Office