Crossroads Crossroads: 1964-1988, 2001-2003

Mel O'Drama

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Love reading your reviews, they bring back so many fond memories of when I originally watched the series.

Oh, thank you. It’s a delight to properly discover the series and a nice bonus that you’re enjoying the journey as well


You really are racing through it

Guilty as charged. When I first began I found the prospect of 94 discs incredibly daunting but it’s proved very moreish and easy to digest and here I am practically at the halfway point and dreading reaching the end

the Alison Cotterill storyline.

Ooh. Could this mean she’s a significant character? I hope so. I really like her.
 

Angela Channing

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Ooh. Could this mean she’s a significant character? I hope so. I really like her.
I might be wrong because time muddles my memory, and I might be confusing her with another character, but I think she has 3 storylines or maybe it could be described as 3 phases to the same storyline. I agree she's a great character although I think..., well maybe I'll save that thought until you get to the relevant stage in the plot so I don't spoil it for you.
 

Barbara Fan

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Thanks for the reviews @Mel O'Drama - Ive still a bit to go to catch up with you which suits me as I like you ahead of me :)

I see the actress who played Alison Cotteral died last year

I have enjoyed watching Joe Macdonald and Trina in Crossroads and googled him a while back as i havent seen him in years

Sad to read he died in 1990 of Aids
 

Mel O'Drama

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I think she has 3 storylines or maybe it could be described as 3 phases to the same storyline.

Oh great. She seems to have been set up as a potential romantic interest for Benny - or at the very least a very good friend - so her story already shows some potential.


I think..., well maybe I'll save that thought until you get to the relevant stage in the plot so I don't spoil it for you.

Consider me intrigued.




I see the actress who played Alison Cotteral died last year

I have enjoyed watching Joe Macdonald and Trina in Crossroads and googled him a while back as i havent seen him in years

Sad to read he died in 1990 of Aids

A lot of the cast seemed to have died relatively young. Even Carina Wyeth was still only in her sixties last year.

Carl Andrews dying at just 43 is especially sad to read. I hadn't realised this. There seems to be very little information out there about him, but I did read that he was sacked from the series in the mid-Eighties. It seems to be a pattern that Xrds producers kept shooting themselves in the foot by axing characters the public loved.
 

Mel O'Drama

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There were two classic Acorn Antiques moments with Jenny Tomasin moments in last nights sitting.

One of them was the opening of a scene between Florence and Mr Cotterill which opened Part Two of an episode. The two actors had evidently been chatting beforehand and Jenny could be seen smiling and giving him the thumbs up before realising that the camera was on her and quickly changing her entire body language to look appropriately meek.

My favourite thought came before this (I think it was the preceding episode, but it may even have been in part one of the same episode). Meg was at her bureau in her parlour when Florence came in, struggling to open the door while carrying a tray full of tea china. Just as she got inside, the struggle with the door caught up with the tray and a tall teapot began to wobble dangerously, its lid coming half off and the items on the tray bashing into one another noisily.

Nolly looked round to see what the noise was, and Jenny seemed to either think the cameras would be cut or she simply forgot herself. She froze on the spot and smiled at Nolly, looking like a deer in the headlights. As Nolly continued with the dialogue, she looked off camera, apparently for someone who to tell her what to do. Then she began to walk falteringly across the room, tea tray clattering awkwardly, before setting it down painstakingly (but no less noisily).

Naturally, I had to rewatch this scene three times, and still barely caught the dialogue as we were laughing so hard. But I found them utterly charming as well.
 

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That clip features quite a lot in a promo for Network promo of Crossroads on DVD
It doesnt look like there is anything in that teapot!!

This is a rather nice This is your life with Kathy Staff aka Miss Luke and Norah batty and features Crossroads cast, Roy Barraclough and Bill Owen amongst others and Barbara Windsor


 

Mel O'Drama

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That clip features quite a lot in a promo for Network promo of Crossroads on DVD

I hadn't realised this but I can understand why. It's very much the kind of moment that sums up the archetypal Xrds image to those who only know the series through its reputation, or through spoofs like Acorn Antiques.

As much as I enjoy these little moments, they're actually few and far between (something about which I'm mildly disappointed). Despite the "as live" filming, there are very few noticeable fluffs and those that do happen are invariably worked in really well to make the series feel more natural. This moment with Jenny Tomasin is one of the few times I've noticed an actor breaking character or briefly looking for direction from someone behind the camera. To her credit, she did recover well once she apparently realised they weren't going to cut.



It doesnt look like there is anything in that teapot!!

No indeed. If it had been weighted it wouldn't have happened (and that would have been a shame as perhaps it's this very rattling tray that inspired all those little Mrs Overall moments).



This is a rather nice This is your life with Kathy Staff aka Miss Luke and Norah batty and features Crossroads cast, Roy Barraclough and Bill Owen amongst others and Barbara Windsor

This looks great. I've only watched the "gotcha" moment at the beginning, but I'm looking forward to watching the whole thing when I have a spare half an hour.
 

Mel O'Drama

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30 October - 5 December 1979
3203 - 3224




Well, things have moved merrily along in Xrds. In just a month and a bit, there’s been a lot happening.

Alison has defied her uncle Reg to venture out to the village and the motel, becoming friends with Florence. With Dr Smooth’s storyline expended, Dr Butterworth has returned to impose medical support on Alison, with kind-hearted Benny paying for her to have private corrective cosmetic surgery to minimise the scar. Reg has lashed out at Benny, causing him to go on the run once again, not realising that Reg is fast coming round to the new, independent Alison.

The series’ most recent snake in the grass has been the sneaky former teacher Richard Lord and his love interest, the obligatory Barton-era Sloane Ranger type, Joanne Dobie (is it telling that, an episode or two after their departures I had to look up their names). Lord spent most of his time looking arch and ripping up letters that had just been typed, which got old very quickly.

I struggled with the angle that Meg was so quick to doubt David’s competence as a result of Lord’s gaslighting. And it seemed odd that Sandy was completely on board with David but didn’t communicate his feelings on the matter to Meg either. However, the conflict was interesting enough for me to overlook it.

Thinking about it, Xrds has a lot of redemption type stories, where someone who has either done wrong or is misunderstood is given something of a chance by the kind Xrds souls and ends up revealing a soft underbelly that we hoped they always had. What really made the Richard Lord arc work was that it subverted this kind of storytelling, with him playing the part of the aggrieved and misunderstood person who simply wanted a second chance when in reality he was hellbent on screwing everyone over for his own gain.

He’s now departed, with David being vindicated thanks to some help from Joanne who turned out to be not so bad (she even got herself a whack on the face from ex-teacher for her trouble). Despite David’s offer Joanne, too, departed which rather surprised me since it seemed rather permanent to set her up in a new home (and a brand new set with bay window and everything) which she shared with Fay Mansfield’s rather common friend, Anna Drew.

As Anna, Dawn Perllmann’s the archetypal late-Seventies pretty/brassy type you’d expect to find in a late-era Carry On or playing a friend of the daughter in a sitcom. There’s something of the Susie Birchall to her, as well. She’s a bit gobby and a bit hard (especially when it comes to poor Giles, whom she feels is expendable now that Sandy’s in the picture), but she has a heart of gold. She’s also what my Mum would probably have called a “dirty mare”, serving sliced ham onto people’s plates with her bare hand as they sit round the table at a dinner party (“‘scuse fingers” is one of her mantras), and noisily sucking butter off her fingers after preparing sandwiches. Most unhygienic.

Anna’s almost-ex Giles is an interesting one. For most of his first scene I thought we were seeing Xrds first overtly gay characters, so it was a little surprising to find he was THE Giles we’d heard about. He’s a loveable buffoon, first infuriating guests by throwing pots onto his wheel at all hours of the night creating a mystery noise. Then - after Anna brutally told him how bad the end results of his hobby were - he threw his equipment into a nearby quarry and had huge quantities of straw delivered, prompting concerns that he was keeping a horse in his chalet until it was revealed that his new hobby is making straw dollies (remember those?). Incredibly, ALL of this series of events happened offscreen, with Xrds making good use of the “tell, don’t show” policy (which I most associate with Cagney & Lacey) for its subplots.

One of the bigger dramatic storylines of this series of episodes has been the tug of love over Sarah Jane (indeed, the term “tug of love” was even used). These weeks have seen Jill facing court and absconding with Sarah Jane resulting in a warrant being issued for Jill’s arrest. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Jill returned and offered Stan and Fräulein Offermans custody of Sarah Jane after Sarah Jane ended up in hospital ill from the stress of it all.

Once again, the “tell, don’t show” policy has been king with this storyline. Some no doubt necessitates from budget and whatnot. There were one or two courtroom scenes, but the big ones all happened offscreen. However, the biggest problem with the “Harvey vs. Harvey” storyline is that there has been no Stan. I mean, yes, he’s apparently been at court and at Sarah Jane’s hospital bed and on the phone to Freya Offermans (inexplicably staying at Chimneys at Stan’s behest to await Jill’s return, with full cooperation from Meg). But we haven’t seen him. I’m assuming this is due to Edward Clayton’s unavailability, but whatever the reason it’s stopped this story achieving its full potential. Jennifer Watts has done good work as a substitute, but there’s no escaping that her character is just that. However, one good thing to come from the storyline’s resolution is that (unlike in many mentions of him post Edward Clayton), Stan hasn’t been painted wholly as The Bad Guy of the piece. Jill’s description of the quiet ease between them when she spoke of their meeting at Sarah Jane’s hospital bedside was very welcome because it described the man I remember Stan to be. Likewise, him signing over Chimeys to Jill represented the Stan I know.

With most of these storylines wrapping up, and many of those involved now being cycled out of the series (which I’m only just getting used to with this series), it feels with the latter episodes of this run we’re entering another fresh new era. Happily, most of the "new" faces are returnees: no sooner has Diane returned than Steve Cater is at her door, back in uniform and the status quo of their earlier pairing somewhat resumed (albeit with a little more baggage). Glenda’s back (although the dialogue suggests she’s always been around) and stirring it up with the newly returned Doris Luke by telling her all about Benny getting into trouble over a girl and offering to pay for her operation. Meanwhile, old Cyril Watkins appears to have been written out in a casual line of dialogue from Doris about him wanting to visit New Zealand. That’s showbiz, I suppose.

Part One of the final episode of this run saw a very rare “Take 2” (the first I remember seeing for literally years’ worth of episodes). Naturally, I had a beady eye open to try and work out where it could have gone wrong. At eight minutes, it was a shorter than usual Part One and ended with Diane and Steve chatting. However, my guess would be it was the lengthy scene which saw the returns of Doris and Glenda and also featured Florence. It’s possibly the most dialogue Florence has had in one scene and, given her recent track record of on-screen fluffs, I couldn’t help guessing (perhaps unfairly) that Jenny Tomasin might have been the culprit.
 

Angela Channing

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This is a rather nice This is your life with Kathy Staff aka Miss Luke and Norah batty and features Crossroads cast, Roy Barraclough and Bill Owen amongst others and Barbara Windsor
I remember watching this when it was first broadcast. Also, the last episode of This Is Your Life that Eamon Andrews did before he died, the subject was Jane Rossington.
 

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38 Years ago today in Ross on Wye - always remember my finger on play / record on the VCR to tape it from the BBC news

Nollys funeral

I love the hymns especially number 3 and Nimrod gets me crying everytime i hear it as i usually associate with Armistace day and the Armed forces marching by, people who fought to keep me safe and our country free







 

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Thank you for the latest reviews @Mel O'Drama _ Ive a bit to go to catch up with you

The Turveys have arrived and not really warming to them - even if she was David Jasons girlfriend - and as for him, - hes what an old patient i had would call a "malingerer"
Dont mind the dad though - but i would have better things to do on my day off if i were Doris than clean and serve in his shop!

I also like Snappy Sandy - biting off his mothers head for this and that and for protecting him for years
 

Mel O'Drama

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38 Years ago today in Ross on Wye - always remember my finger on play / record on the VCR to tape it from the BBC news

Nollys funeral

Gosh. It feels so much longer ago in many ways. Time's a funny old thing.



The Turveys have arrived and not really warming to them - even if she was David Jasons girlfriend

Oh, that's a shame. I liked Eira right off the bat, though I think she was probably the most underused of the three.



as for him, - hes what an old patient i had would call a "malingerer"

Ha ha. Yes. And keep an ear out, because someone in the series uses the term in relation to him.



Dont mind the dad though - but i would have better things to do on my day off if i were Doris than clean and serve in his shop!

Oh my yes. But I do really like the connection between Cyril and Doris. Let's face it, she brings out the best in everyone.



I also like Snappy Sandy - biting off his mothers head for this and that and for protecting him for years

That was great. Much as I enjoy his little quips and looks, it was refreshing to see Roger Tonge having some meatier scenes to get his teeth into with Nolly, and I had good things to say about these scenes as I watched.
 

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39 mins into this - is Nolly

So lovely to see Noele Gordon appear on this - Danny La Rue - This is your Life and she talks about when she was ill, and not allowed to have visitors but he phoned her every day when she was in hospital. Even when she was ill she looked immaculate.

 

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It's very brief, but if you pause at 39:43, all the celebs are clapping except Barbara Windsor who appears to give her the look of death! Maybe the two weren't best of friends...?
 

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Yes I noticed that one too. Was never a Miss Windsor fan. Probably jealous back then!
 

Mel O'Drama

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6 December 1979 - 9 January 1980
3225 - 3242


Doris seems to be all over at the moment. She’s one of nature’s agony aunts, and this has got her involved in several big storylines. These highlight her generosity and her kindness, but have also cast light on her penchant for knowing what’s best, which at times steps a little beyond straight talking and into interference.

One of Doris’s stock scenes of late has her requesting to swap her shifts because of this or that crisis where someone wants to talk to her. She’s evidently no longer helping in the village shop-cum-Post-Office, but has stepped in to take over from Benny at the Cotterill farm where, naturally, she’s in the thick of developments there.

Alison has had her miracle scar removal surgery, but has undone all the good work by getting herself a hideous pudding bowl variation of a page boy cut which makes her resemble Rowan Atkinson in The Black Adder (and yes, I mean the first series). To say it does nothing for her is a kindness.

This story has been interesting for my shifting allegiances. After rooting for Alison to be free of domineering old Uncle Reg, now she’s gone to the other extreme and is out pretty much all the time (the rhetorical “You don’t mind, do you Uncle?” is Alison’s mantra of late) I feel for him. More so because - with the best of intentions - everyone seems to be conspiring to “free” Alison, without thought of the bigger picture.

Alison’s now got herself involved with a nurse she met at the hospital, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Ostensibly he seems a bit of a milquetoast, but I’m also getting a sense of the predatory from him. Apart from him making moves on an extremely vulnerable patient, he also appears to be significantly older. And there’s a lot of “let’s go out for a ride so we can be alone”, which suggests he’s casting some kind of spell over her. I have a feeling Alison’s in for a fall with this one, especially now he’s asked her to marry and move away with him. But I also have a feeling Benny will return in time for her to realise he’s a better bet. At least, that’s my hope.

When she’s not in the Cotterills’ story, Doris can be found in the thick of the Brownlows’ current crisis. Their first crisis, in fact, since Arthur and Kath have just been introduced with a storyline in which Arthur has been told he has six months to live (despite his demand to know how long he has, he doesn’t seem to be concerned with what it is he’s supposed to be dying from, but hey ho). Arthur has drunkenly confessed to Doris, before Glenda asked her round to meet her parents and he realised she’s a colleague, which was slightly awkward. Now there’s whispering and collusion and people seem to be getting the wrong idea about these two (with the help of some snide observations from Glenda).

Now, I’ve had some spoilers about this particular storyline, so I’m not overly invested in the outcome, but I do like what I’ve seen of the Brownlows so far. Peter Hill as Arthur is already a favourite new addition of mine, and Pamela Vezey’s frumpy, fusspot hausfrau Kath has shades of Beryl Palmer. Especially since neither is averse to “getting a set” for a rare night out.

There’s drama with Diane and Steve with her awaiting her divorce from Chris Hunter and him getting interference from his Super for the impact his shacking up with a married woman is going to have on his career (there’s a peculiar undercurrent to scenes with Steve and the Super who seems to spend all his time watching Steve and finding reasons to have intimate one-to-one chats with him. It feels rather as though the Super is more jealous than concerned).

Like Stan Harvey before him, Chris has sent an emissary to take his place in the current storyline. She’s clearly meant to be sly, but - like Jill Harvey before her - I’m finding it difficult to feel particularly sorry for Diane who seems to bring it all upon herself by being a histrionic drama queen (perhaps I’ve overdosed on Crossroads, but I’m finding a great deal of the protagonists surprisingly unsympathetic at the moment).

Brightening things greatly is the return of Diane’s mother-in-law, Rosemary to stir the pot. She’s such great fun at the moment, relishing twisting the knife with Diane while smiling with pretended empathy. She’s also playing her games with David and Barbara Brady by making a public show of how close Rosemary and David still are (I know where this storyline is going before too long, and I’m greatly anticipating that scene). There’s something of Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent to Rosemary, with her fixed grin, regal poise and artful quips. I’m greatly enjoying her at the moment.

We’re now into the 1980s, so I’m happy to report I’ve now watched - in context - Nolly’s immortal performance of We Need A Little Christmas, which brought @Angela Channing to mind.

Although we’re now into January the decorations are still up at the motel and we’ve still got holly on the VTR board. In the latest episode, it’s been snowing outside, with this heralded at the end of the sound ident by the pushily domineering “It’s Part Two and it’s Take One” guy saying “All right. Start the snow” with complete apathy.
 

Angela Channing

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After rooting for Alison to be free of domineering old Uncle Reg, now she’s gone to the other extreme and is out pretty much all the time (the rhetorical “You don’t mind, do you Uncle?” is Alison’s mantra of late) I feel for him. More so because - with the best of intentions - everyone seems to be conspiring to “free” Alison, without thought of the bigger picture.
This is what I was hinting at when I said this a few post ago:
I agree she's a great character although I think..., well maybe I'll save that thought until you get to the relevant stage in the plot so I don't spoil it for you.
To finish the sentence that I started but didn't want to finish at the time was that I thought after her scar was removed her personality changed and she became quite selfish, self-centred and less likeable.

Peter Hill as Arthur is already a favourite new addition of mine
Arthur Brownlow was one of the great Crossroads characters even though he was a curmudgeonly old racist he was fascinating to watch and Peter Hill was so good in the role.

We’re now into the 1980s, so I’m happy to report I’ve now watched - in context - Holly’s immortal performance of We Need A Little Christmas, which brought @Angela Channing to mind.
I love the look of transfix adoration of Miss Luke's face as Meg sings to the camera.
 

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I'm curious to know what episode did the transition occur in the credits from the black background to that delicious orange 80s title card? Was it straight after the New Year, or later on in 1980? It looks almost Hart to Hart style with its classy italics-driven elegance.

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but has undone all the good work by getting herself a hideous pudding bowl variation of a page boy cut which makes her resemble Rowan Atkinson in The Black Adder (and yes, I mean the first series)
Oh I remember that - it really was a pudding bowl used to cut her hair - and I only used to hope for her sake it was a wig she wore in the show,

The last bad hair cut was Alice Loomis and her helmut hair

I think I said in a previous post C Wyeth died in 2022 but when i have been googling Crossroads actors I came across this one from 2017

 

Mel O'Drama

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To finish the sentence that I started but didn't want to finish at the time was that I thought after her scar was removed her personality changed and she became quite selfish, self-centred and less likeable.

Yes, I'd agree with this. It was practically overnight and feels as though the writers made her a completely different character. I can believe that she's getting carried away after tasting some freedom, but you're absolutely right that she feels more selfish and less likeable at the moment. I'm hoping there'll be something to redeem the character as she was so fascinating to begin with.



Arthur Brownlow was one of the great Crossroads characters

That's good to know. I certainly really like what I've seen so far.



even though he was a curmudgeonly old racist

How intriguing. At the moment he's neither curmudgeonly nor evidently racist, but that could be down to the facts that he's trying to change his ways to make the most of his (apparently) limited time with his family, and he's not yet interacted with anyone other than WASPs.



I'm curious to know what episode did the transition occur in the credits from the black background to that delicious orange 80s title card? Was it straight after the New Year, or later on in 1980?

Ooh - I didn't even know this was a thing. How exciting.

The episodes I've just watched were transmitted in early 1980, so it certainly wasn't immediate. Perhaps the switch will come when the recording gets to 1980. I'm fairly certainly the VTR boards still say 79, and I'd expect them to do so for a good few weeks' worth yet.



I remember that - it really was a pudding bowl used to cut her hair - and I only used to hope for her sake it was a wig she wore in the show,

Yes, I know the pageboy cut was a fashion trend for women at the time (this would have fallen between The Purdey and The Lady Di), but Alison's is terribly unflattering. Worst of all, it's part of her new image, so people are telling her how good it looks. :eek:
 
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