Crossroads Crossroads: 1964-1988, 2001-2003

Angela Channing

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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.
Sorry, I hope I didn't spoil future plots, I can't exactly remember the order in which things occurred so I won't say any further about him apart from that he has some really good storylines to come, including a fantastic one with another favourite character of mine that has yet to be introduced.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Sorry, I hope I didn't spoil future plots

Oh, don't worry at all. As much as I like to be surprised and I wouldn't seek out spoilers, I'm not being too strict around that with Xrds. I've stumbled on quite a few when looking up information on the series or actors anyway. And, after all, I'm watching this series after watching Nolly, so even if I hadn't known before I'd have gone into this whole set knowing how it ends.


I won't say any further about him apart from that he has some really good storylines to come, including a fantastic one with another favourite character of mine that has yet to be introduced.

Great. I'm glad there's still some good stuff to look forward to.
 

James from London

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I just learned on Twitter that Ken Barlow's football-playing younger brother, aka Heather Haversham's heroin-addicted second husband, aka a man at a bus stop in Emmerdale in 2015, directed Amy Turtle and Vince Parker (plus two other Crossroads cast members) in a play in 1976 co- produced by Betty Turpin's illegitimate son.

FupyiZwWwAMYPDE.jpeg
 

Mel O'Drama

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love BF x



It's a nice little article and the "viewer empowerment" angle it takes at the end is a particularly interesting one.

The beginning of the article's description of actors fluffing their lines and shaky sets feels a tad hackneyed, and far from what I'm watching, but I suppose pretty much all articles on the series have to touch on its reputation. I hadn't heard of the 45 minute recording rule, but since almost every episode is shot as live and in one take I can believe it. I know I'm repeating myself, but this stuff leaves me in awe of the professionalism of the cast to give us great performances on cue and on budget!





just learned on Twitter that Ken Barlow's football-playing younger brother, aka Heather Haversham's heroin-addicted second husband, aka a man at a bus stop in Emmerdale in 2015, directed Amy Turtle and Vince Parker (plus two other Crossroads cast members) in a play in 1976 co- produced by Betty Turpin's illegitimate son.

Ooh. How soapily incestuous.

I had to think why The Mating Game is so familiar to me. I knew I'd heard of it. Then I remembered that it's the show Sid James was performing when he died on stage.
 

Barbara Fan

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Oh I agree @Mel O'Drama

I havent seen too much in temrs of fluffed lines - yes Amy Turtle does it - and Ive seen the boom mike in a few shots

I know I'm repeating myself, but this stuff leaves me in awe of the professionalism of the cast to give us great performances on cue and on budget!
Agree, in the lovely interview with Nolly when she is with TV critics and she defends the show as she does in ALL interviews

At one point they were filming 5 shows a week, went down to 4 - which is massive and she compares it to a Play for today or Play of the month which had 3 weeks to rehearse and film, whereas they had 3 days

And as she says they couldnt edit back then - in the FB interview she said it was so stressful and they were under so much pressure and if you fluffed a line the whole scene had to be redone and she said the whole cast involved would give you that look!

She also said they used to line the teacups/saucers with felt so they didnt clack away
 

Mel O'Drama

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There have been exciting times at the motel, and no mistake. Where to begin?

Well.. the truth’s out about Arthur Brownlow. That is to say, he’s told Kath. Glenda and her newly-materialised brother Ron are still in the dark, but Kath’s doing that matriarch-from-Hell thing of feeling that the information is now hers to control and has already come close to spilling the beans against Arthur’s wishes.

Confusing things further, Arthur seems to have neglected to tell Kath that Doris knows about his diagnosis, so their conversations, too, continue to be oblique.

There’s been a disastrous party at the Brownlows, ending with a cruel game of blind man’s buff where everyone tiptoed out after blindfolding poor Arthur. However, whenever we visit their beige living room, my attention keeps getting drawn to their flecked tweedy sofa which looks very comfortable. I’d thought it was very similar to the one the Brodys had in Jaws 2, but a quick peek at that film tells me I’ve misremembered: the Brodys’ furniture is a rather fetching plaid.

Interpol have now been bought into things at Diane’s flat, with Chris’s emissary being arrested - offscreen, naturally - while trying to flee the country with the £5000 in cash she’d smuggled in for Diane. Not one to let the drama die down, Diane, naturally, is outraged and has a big scene with Steve about the devious woman trusting Diane, etc. I can completely see her view when it comes to the irritating Super who is always pushing his way into her flat, questioning her, walking round and peeking into bedrooms without the vaguest whisper of a warrant.

Over at the motel, there’s been some kind of industrial espionage going on, with a pair pretending to be journalists for a fancy food magazine actually investigating the management in general - and Adam Chance in particular. The man is the usual slightly camp villain and I couldn’t help thinking in his key scene with David in #3253 that the chemistry seemed good and they made rather a handsome couple. This is the same scene that included an Acorn Antiques style brief cut to a shot of David Hunter’s arse as he crouched to recover some papers dropped onto the floor Presumably we were meant to be looking at the papers, but Ronald Allen’s backside blocked them and we quickly cut away.

But on to the main event… This run of episodes has included some true Xrds iconography, served up in the series’ inimitable style. The build up began as Rosemary accepted help from Lloyd over her inability to let go of David. This seemed somewhat inappropriate given Lloyd’s relationship with most of the key characters involved, but he stressed it wasn’t “official” so I suppose that covers that. Incidentally, the scene in which Rosemary first opened up to Lloyd really impressed me for being some seven minutes long: a very lengthy scene by Xrds standards.

Further adding to the impropriety of their sessions is Lloyd’s living situation, with his housekeeper - and Rosemary’s key rival - Barbara repeatedly arriving home and interrupting their sessions. Lloyd recording notes into a dictaphone after their sessions and keeping it in an unlocked drawer seemed like a potential goldmine of soapy discoveries, however this has (so far been unexplored). But it’s the other item he kept in the unlocked drawer that led to the key drama.

There’s a great deal of contrivance involved - Barbara discovered a loaded handgun that Lloyd’s daughter Kathryn had left in her old room. He put in into the drawer and after Rosemary’s next session it was gone. Again, there was some opportunity for mystery that was unexplored. Not least that Barbara herself (still something of an unknown quantity) could have taken it to frame Rosemary. I suppose it could be viewed as having been suggested, but if so it was very subtle. Certainly, it was some time before it was confirmed that Rosemary did indeed have the gun.

With the characters gathered for a big engagement party, there were all kinds of possibilities that could have happened (and indeed, probably would happen in today’s soap world) involving mysteries over who got shot or who set the gun off. However, I really like what we got.

Rosemary is the latest character whose psychology seems to be out there for the viewer to explore, and the intimate scene between she and David, with close-ups of her face as she goes through an internal and external battle felt very powerful. Of course, I knew of the “Say you love me” scene (and the infamous outtake where the gun didn’t go off but Ronald Allen had already burst his blood bag), but seeing it in context is a different matter. In the end, it felt very organic and quite poignant. Here’s Rosemary pointing a gun at David and he still refuses to say what she wants. It’s a moment of quiet dignity for him and of tragic pain for her, despite the scenario.

It’s also fascinating to see that this happened some weeks before JR was shot over on Dallas. You certainly took your chances spurning a lover in early 1980.

With Steve apparently gone from the Xrds landscape again, it falls to two stereotypical officers to investigate the shooting: the bumbling likeable good copper and the abrasive senior officer who refers to Rosemary as a “bird”. David’s been whisked off to hospital. Rosemary is conveniently permitted to stay at the motel. I’m keen to see where we go from here, particularly with Rosemary.
 

Barbara Fan

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Barbara Brady has just arrived for me and acting very suspiciously

She probably spent hours in hair and make up only for her hair to look messy - havent combed it since the night before - type of look

A cross between a birds nest or "Junkie bun" as we say North of the border

(have also noticed she doesnt seem to wear a lot of underwear from the waist up! :))

I would willingly contribute £5.00 to help the Turveys on their way to NZ, havent warmed to them, but dad can stay
 

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Reading Nollys bio is really interesting

re Equity pay for Extras / day

a walk on actor gets £6.00
if he is individually identified as a policeman or chauffeur he gets £11.00
If he has a scripted line he gets £16.00

They drink real champagne on the show - not fake stuff!!

It gives character synopsis for writers

This is part of it for Amy Turtle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amy is an English peasant. Her vocabulary is less than that of basic English. In other times, she’d have been the first one out with her knitting needles to watch the guillotine at work.

And re Roger Tonge and his hair!

One of the problems we had with Roger was to get him to have his hair cut. Fashions have changed since then but at that time, when he was just a schoolboy, his long and untidy hair was quite out of keeping as Meg’s young son.
After repeated requests Roger still hadn’t been to the hairdressers so Reg had a scene written into the script where Jane Rossington, playing my daughter, put Roger into a chair and the two of us went to work to tidy him up. ‘Don’t take too much off,’he pleaded‐and I promised we wouldn't. At rehearsals I just pretended to give him a haircut but on the actual recording I cut a tiny piece from the back of his head so that he really felt the scissors in action.
Now unknown to our victim, Reg had given me a bunch of hair that matched Roger’s hair perfectly. I had this hidden behind his back and after that first snip I showed him the handful of hair.
“You’re much better off without that lot, my lad,’ I told Roger spluttered and went white. He really thought I had cut off most of his hair but he carried through with the scene to the end and it wasn’t until he went to a mirror afterwards that he realized we had played a joke on him. Nevertheless, when he came to the studio the next morning, his hair was neatly trimmed.
 

Barbara Fan

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Another porcelain dog! Just like Dallas = what was the appeal?



 

Mel O'Drama

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While the crisis is effectively over, it’s pleasing that the reverberations from the gunshot can still be heard some six weeks on.

David is well on the road to recovery. Technically still recuperating but this hasn’t kept him out of work nor out of conflict. There’s Chris, who returns having heard the news (if my powers of observation are up to anything, actor Stephen Hoye appears to have had some cosmetic dentistry since his earlier appearances, though with jeans that tight it's fair to say that his mouth isn't the focus of attention in many of his scenes). Believing the story (ironically propagated by David to protect Rosemary) that the shooting was an accident during Rosemary’s attempted suicide, Chris is at first furious at David for his coldness towards Rosemary in getting engaged so quickly to pouty Barbara. This brings out the tigress in pouty Barbara who escalates the drama by telling Chris the facts. For all her claims to be the tigress on the defensive, Sue Lloyd’s portrayal gives the impression that Barbara is simply a drama queen manufacturing conflict, just as she did with Dr Farnham and David. She comes out of it looking heroic all round for treating Chris like an adult, but I can’t help feeling that wasn’t her motive in doing so. Certainly, this vague suggestion of the ice queen feels like a more natural fit than a current storyline which has her attempting to transmit warm, supportive sincerity to Alison Cotterill, though even this feels in character if one considers that Barbara has pushily obtained herself a housekeeper* with the humility to treat Barbara with wide-eyed admiration.

Incidentally, the scene in which David and Barbara acquired the coach house was one of those bizarre sequences that can only happen in a soap on this budget, keen to expedite its story onwards. They drop by the coach house to visit a friend of David’s who is leasing it. Since he is not there they let themselves in(!) and start looking round. Then the phone rings and Barbara answers it (how pushy). Despite never having previously spoken to David’s friend, their conversation lasts all of seven seconds. Then she hangs up and relays to David that his friend is having to move out but has offered them use of the coach house. And that’s that. They practically move in there and then. It's convenient to the point of surrealism and reminds me of an Acorn Antiques denouement.

Rosemary has been admitted to a sanatorium (not to be confused with its iconic American counterpart, the sanitarium briefly frequented by Sue Ellen Ewing and on the end of many a JR/Jock threat line for many years afterwards), where Chris and viewer alike are horrified to see her without makeup, hair unkempt and knitting him a fetching brown jumper as she tries to tune out reality. The scene in which Chris told her that David’s wedding to Barbara had been brought forward was quite heartbreaking. I wonder if this is the last we’ll see of her. As an aside, the mental health facility and the ex-wife unable to let go of her husband who is marrying a blonde adventuress made me think of that Knots Landing episode where Val got home from admitting Lilimae to such an institution and rang Gary for support only to find out from Olivia that Gary had just married Abby.

Conflict continues to be the byword all round at the motel these days. With Meg suddenly departing on a world tour (presumably so that Noele could have a break) Tish - despite coming in only on a very part time basis - has taken it upon herself to create roles and arrange interviews.

There was that time Alison came for an appointment she was supposed to have with Sandy, but which in Sandy’s absence was conducted by Adam at his most brusque, causing Alison to fly off the handle and shout at him. It was a great moment for both characters since the writing and performances made clear only to the viewer that they were each coming from a different place and the interview was a series of miscommunications, with Adam treating the interview more formally than required and Alison’s nerves frayed from waiting so long. All worked out well since Alison was quickly poached by Barbara anyway. And I'm glad to report that Alison has found a far more flattering hairdo (or perhaps wig. I'm still thinking @Barbara Fan may have been right about that) and seems all the happier for it.

Yet more controversial has been Tish creating a housekeeper role and offering it to Marian Owen after Doris Luke turned it down due to her commitments at the farm. Jill was annoyed at Tish since housekeeping was Meg’s domain and Jill felt this has risked diminishing Meg’s role.

Perhaps most interesting of all in this entire run has been Marian’s reason for wanting to leave the practice. With Dr Butterworth unwell and considering retirement from the comfort of his offscreen habitat, Marian has had a hard time accepting the more irascible and officious Dr Farnworth who keeps chewing her out for doing things the way she always has done with Dr Butterworth. The tension between them has been very watchable. Alan Lander has done a nice job of going ugly and being rather unlikeable at times in order to get the job done, while Margaret John has done perhaps her best work to date. As in the scene between Adam and Alison, it’s easy to see both sides and realise that these are simply two people who don’t click with one another. It happens.

There’s tension over at Chimneys with what has become the “main” storyline of this run, but which is, frankly, boring me. There’s some business with Adam needing to marry some bloke’s haughty daughter in order to obtain a contract to do with a large property near a Scottish loch. She pursues him and he’s only mildly interested. Then he finds out he has to marry her and pursues her but she doesn’t want marriage. Jill is aghast. Diane is amused and then these two fall out, with Diane moving back to her flat. Now I think the deal is off again, but I really don’t care. This entire storyline has made me glaze over.

There’s even drama on the VTR board, where - before episode #3289 - one of the announcers can be heard calling someone a “bastard” as the mic comes on. From the tone I’d say it’s probably in jest, but without any kind of context or visual it’s hard to tell.
 

Barbara Fan

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Nice interview / Documentary looking at Soap Opera from ? 1980

Jack Barton stating he Knows what their viewers want and I let them have it

and I have only ever killed off one character!! and he brings in the wrath of so many people around my head and that was pre NOLLY!!

It features amongst others Noele Gordon, Ronald Allan, Roger Tonge (quite witty) Arthur Lowe, terry Wogan, Russell harty, sarky Clive James,


I dont remember a soap Opera called ?? Together - it features as well as Corrie, The Archers etc
 

Carrie Fairchild

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Nice interview / Documentary looking at Soap Opera from ? 1980

Jack Barton stating he Knows what theur viewers want and I let them have it

and I have only ever killed off one character!! and he brings in the roth of so many people around my head and that was pre NOLLY!!

It features amongst others Noele Gordon, Ronald Allan, Roger Tonge (quite witty) Arthur Lowe, terry Wogan, Russell harty, sarky Clive James,


I dont remember a soap Opera called ?? Together - it features as well as Corrie, The Archers etc
Thanks for posting. I look forward to watching this in full. Re: Together, it was a daytime offering from ITV that was made by Southern Television in the early 80’s. I first came across it when Talking Pictures TV reran it (I think it’s all still available on their catch-up service). It’s a curious little show based in the rather drab setting of a housing association block of flats. Phil Redmond was one of the writers just before he went on to the dizzy heights of Brookside while the cast included Kathleen Byron of Black Narcissus fame and a pre-Blue Peter Sarah Greene. It ended after two series when Southern lost the franchise and closed. The second series was actually broadcast live.
 

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Doing more googling on cast.
Jeremy Mason who played Richard Lord was married for more than a decade to Carolyn Jones aka Sharon.
(He reminded me of Ralph Bates /George Warleggan)

His father was an Archers script writer, his brother is singer in groups City boy and the Maisonettes.
Sadly Jeremy is another cast member who died in his 40s,
 

Mel O'Drama

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Happily, it seems there isn’t a standard Xrds wedding template. Meg and Hugh had the real time documentary feel akin to watching a Royal Wedding. At the other extreme, Mac and Trina’s wedding was offscreen and shown to us in a budget-saving series of Polaroids. Spring’s event of the season - David and Barbara’s Easter wedding - falls somewhere in between the two. There’s not the pomp and grandiosity of Birmingham cathedral and the cheering throngs, but the Hunters’ nuptials is far more organically soapy thanks to the story unfolding onscreen.

The fallout from the shooting still resonates, with Rosemary escaping the sanatorium in order to watch the wedding, sneaking into the church and seen only by Chris who agrees not to tell anyone she was there. This is especially satisfying. Since I’m so used to everything getting blown out into the open and discussed among all the characters, this sense of collusion feels quite electric.

Rosemary’s journey towards some kind of redemption has been a fascinating one. The shooting would seem to be the point of no return for her character and I like that the psychology has been explored beyond that. It’s not the first time the series has surprised me by continuing a story beyond its natural denouement (the story with John Clegg stalking Diane springs to mind), and I like being surprised this way.

Both David and Barbara have gone on a belated honeymoon after some drama over David having to work at the motel and Barbara wanting to do a pre-arranged publicity tour, both of which coincided with the honeymoon dates.

We’ve had a month or so of a very watchable Alison, with her quietly growing in confidence while working for the Hunters. There was a nice series of scenes where she wears a new dress she’s bought to look smart for work. It’s a modest knee-length dress, but Reg forbids her to wear the “shameful” lilac article due to the split at the side which threatens to show some leg , and I couldn’t help smiling at the irony that he seems to have no problem at all with the almost constant nipplage on display due to her apparent aversion to bras.

For me, there’s a fine line between standing up for herself and getting into very self-centred territory with Alison’s treatment of Reg. Her defiance of him to continue wearing the dress felt somehow right. But the way in which she chose to move off the farm felt like her getting into significantly more selfish behaviour.

When David and Barbara ask her to move into the coach house to keep the home fires burning while they’re away, Alison insists “I must ask uncle”. But when she asks him and he does not immediately agree, she basically tells him tough titties, saying she’s already promised to do so, and off she strops.

I’m unclear if she’s meant to be confused or something, but it does feel like the writing for Alison is quite bipolar at times. There’s the overly-humble ingenue. Then there’s the Alison who does exactly what she wants no matter what the cost to someone else. I suppose there’s a truth to that, since everyone has different facets, but it makes it difficult to root for her at times, since both extremes seem to be a way of avoiding responsibility.




continued…​
 

Mel O'Drama

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continued​



Somewhere I am finding Alison interesting is with Chris Hunter’s interest in her. It’s clear she’s out of her depth with man-slut Chris and that makes for good TV. Given how I’m starting to view her character, though, I’m now wondering if I’ll spot some manipulation coming from her when it comes to getting Chris’s attention while playing hard to get.

On the subject of Chris, may I just take a moment to objectify him. There’s a very knowing and confident sexuality to the way Stephen Hoye portrays him: from the way he bulges out of overly tight t-shirts and jeans to the way he draws attention to this by wriggling about while lying on sofas during conversations. There’s something of the satyr to him and in any given scene with a woman on the series, there’s the feeling that Chris is always on the lookout for another notch on his bedpost. Barbara certainly can’t seem to keep her eyes at face level during their scenes together (or, more to the point, Sue Lloyd’s eyes seem constantly drawn to Stephen Hoye’s bulge) and I’d buy those two ending up in some kind of dalliance. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up trying it on with Meg, despite the animosity.

But it’s quite a feat that Chris isn’t defined by this because Stephen Hoye feels like a very accomplished actor and has a gravitas that belies his age. Even as a twentysomething he goes head-to-head with long termers (including those at the top of the Xrds food chain) and completely holds his own. He’s one of the most consistently-watchable characters on the series for me, and for reasons that go beyond simple aesthetics.

David having to work was due to Adam’s abrupt departure in the wake of the tedious storyline with the Pollards. I’m still failing to work out exactly why I found this storyline so very dull. On paper it wasn’t. Certainly, the Pollard daughter wasn’t played by a particularly charismatic actress, but she was far from terrible. The father was formidable and devious and played by an actor with a degree of presence, yet the entire story just fell flat for me and I’m relieved it’s over. But it doesn’t end there.

Vic, Sharon and Mac have all just arrived back on screen, but I’m finding their initial scenes less than gripping. At the moment there seem to be too many long-winded, uninteresting conversations going on. Vic and Sharon. Vic and his imprisoned bother Eddie. Sharon and Diane. It all feels very low energy and lacking in chemistry. Since most of these characters have been in compelling scenes together before, I can only put it down either to inferior writing on their part or binge-watch burnout on mine

Back at the farm, the Miss Prewett story feels somewhat of a reprise of the Hayward Farm story with Linda and George: a pushy infiltrator with eyes on getting their claws into a landowner they perceive as wealthy insinuates their way into the homestead, gets Doris Luke sacked and tries to ostracise Benny. Exactly the same notes have been hit here. It’s still watchable enough, but I hope it doesn’t go on that long. I appreciate the Miss Prewett character is supposed to be irritating, but I’m also feeling the performance is a little irritating as well, since she’s played as a rather stereotypical nosy old woman, right down to the tremulous witchy voice to drive home she’s not very nice.

Meanwhile, in cinema culture from the turn of the decade, Diane asks Sharon if she wants to go with her to watch “that new Dustin Hoffman film. Fancy a good cry?” And Reg permits Alison to go to the cinema with Benny so long as there’s no hint of sex. “Oh no, there won’t be”, replies Benny innocuously. “It’s about rabbits”.







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.

2023-04-25.png
2023-04-25 (1).png

@Julia's Gun - These credits have recently arrived on O'Dramavision. I forget the exact episode number, but we'd be looking at around April 1980 when they began.

I've mixed feelings. The font is nice but the text distorts as it's moving. Also, I miss the opening scene beginning to play out while the title is on screen. Having a still image makes it feel a bit "pasted on", even if it is a very pretty picture.


Incidentally, the background colour for the end titles seems to vary slightly in some episodes. I could have lived without the salmon-coloured one.
 

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Thanks for the updates @Mel O'Drama - I look forwards to getting there, Im still on 1979, stan is absent but on the phone a lot and Jill has done a runner with Sarah Jane

I have been reading Nollys biography and learned a few (probably useless) pieces of information but hey... i love trivia!

Wilf Harvey aka Morris Parsons was married in real life to helmut hair Mona Ewins who played Mrs Loomis and their son in law was actor Statford Johns
 

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Thanks to a Crossroads FB site for this link of an interview with Hazel Adair, scriptwriter for Crossroads

Hazel Adair describes her career in TV developing "Crossroads", negotiating writers fees, working with Peter Ling and the difference between ITV and the BBC, Fanny Craddock, Bob Monkhouse and other delights.

 

Mel O'Drama

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I’m both extremely excited and mildly ashamed to reveal that I’ve made it to the final of the three sets in The Noele Gordon Collection. This means I’m now well over two-thirds of the way through the entire collection.

There’s a good reason why I’ve hungrily devoured so many episodes in the last three months. There’s been a lot more good than bad and it’s an extremely watchable and moreish series. I’d love to say the latest batch of episodes represents Xrds at its best. Unfortunately, many of the most recent storylines have been a bit hard going for me.

Many of soap’s best scenes come out of people making bad decisions, but that lightning in a bottle is absent here and if there’s a theme affecting my enjoyment of recent episodes, it’s that many of the female characters in particular are being presented in a particularly unflattering, unlikeable light to the point of annoyance. From the troublemakers to the drama queens to the fusspots, my patience is being tested left, right and centre.

There was Mrs Prewett, of course. She was meant to be unlikeable and I wasn’t too sorry to see her go. Her exit came when Doris and Reg implied they may be getting married. And she had a terrific exit line as she attempted to put Reg in his place:
Mrs Prewett said:
You can’t whistle and you can’t sing. But you think you can.

But now there’s a new stirrer in the village and she makes me want to scream “Come back, Mrs P. All is forgiven.”

From what I understand, Iris will be playing a BIG role in the series from now on, and this is a prospect that chills me to my bowels. We know she’s evil because she has a London accent, and I’d be fine with that. But, dear God. She’s terrible.

To me, Iris looks, acts and feels very much like a precursor to Sons and Daughters’ Leigh Palmer. An annoying brat of a character played by an extremely unconvincing actress whose delivery is remedial to say the least. It’s the kind of delivery one simply doesn’t see anymore. The style that was acceptable on several of those long-forgotten Children’s ITV dramas. It’s not without its own charm when used sparely, but when she and her lockdown fringe are immediately plonked into several storylines and in any number of different settings - from the Brownlow house to the motel to the farm - it quickly wears out its welcome.

Granted, Iris is meant to be a brat, but it feels like she’s played by a nice young woman who doesn’t have the fire or presence to pull it off. I’m guessing we’ll see the nicer side of her in time - much like we have with Glenda - and I’m hoping that’s a bit more tolerable.

There’s a storyline with Iris buying a dog and bringing it home after Arthur has expressly said he doesn’t want one in the house. What I find interesting (and a little confusing) is that everyone seems to be falling down on Iris’s side, with Glenda and annoying fusspot Kath* both saying how unreasonable Arthur is being for not acquiescing to Iris’s emotional blackmail. I suppose there’s a truth in that. A matriarchal, misandrist truth.

Still, there are 60% of the Brownlows I’m glad to see back. Arthur’s still a favourite (and I’ve yet to see him grumpy and unpleasant, despite Kath, Glenda and Iris constantly saying he is whenever they can’t railroad him). Glenda is as reliable as ever. And Ron was fairly solid, too (though he now seems to have departed). Some of the commentary around Ron’s redundancy and unemployment and resulting frustration and anger reminded me of what we’d be getting in Brookside a couple of years down the line.



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* As Xrds’ permed, fretting, frumpy homebody feeder there are many similarities between Kath Brownlow and Beryl Palmer. I’m at a loss to explain why I absolutely adore Beryl but want to hurl something at the telly whenever Kath speaks or moves.
 
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