Crossroads Crossroads: 1964-1988, 2001-2003

Mel O'Drama

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7 May 1980 - 17 July 1980
3305 - 3334


continued


There was a bit of a meta-moment in Episode 3323 when Arthur and Ron watched TV which opened with the familiar ATV ident. For one moment I really thought we were going to hear the Xrds theme, but it turned out they were watching boxing. Still, it’s as close as Xrds has come to breaking the fourth wall outside of Noele’s singing.

Alison Cotterill has been as frustrating as ever in recent episodes. Her crush on Chris Hunter had its moments but it’s depressing to see that after Chris has departed everyone blames HIM. Two consecutive episodes ended with Barbara saying she hated Chris for what he’d done, which is probably as one would expect of someone who goes through life and builds a career our of engineering drama, but for David, too, to essentially agree with her seems unfair. However, I’m fine with unfairness, so long as the characters - and not the writers - take a specific subjective stance. There’s talk of Chris returning so I’m interested to see if he’ll continue to be pilloried or if we’ll see his side as well.

Alison - who spent endless episodes telling “Uncle” she couldn’t break her “promise” to the Hunters, packed up and moved back into the farm the second Chris left. Her “promise” was broken the second there was nothing in it for her. What’s most interesting about the character’s hypocrisy is that it feels the writers aren’t aware of it, which makes the message feel curiously mixed.

Even Doris is becoming something of a controlling busybody in recent days. It seems in every other episode she’s dragging this person or that into the motel to apply for a job that may or may not exist. Meg even quipped that Doris could open an employment bureau.

Over in the garage, Sharon’s been shagging Vic’s brother Eddie and basking the resulting hand-wringing angst over HER predicament. My sympathies were entirely with solid, dignified Vic… until he proposed to Sharon within 24 hours of discovering the truth. Yuck.

Eddie’s been involved as some kind of getaway driver on a shady job organised by spivvy Noel Lamont. It’s interesting to see Reginald Marsh play this kind of dodgy underworld type since he’s best known to me as Terry’s boss Sir Dennis in Terry & June and as Mildred’s brother-in-law (with the aversion to her ugly lamp) in George & Mildred.

Along with Meg, the men are the series’ saving grace at the moment. The likes of Benny, Vic and Lloyd are as solidly reliable as ever. And it’s pleasing that gruff, narrow-minded old Reg has become such an integral and dare I say warm part of the series.

A couple of contradictions in recent episodes: On her first morning at the Brownlows’, Iris loudly proclaims that she never eats breakfast. A few episodes later annoying fusspot Kath is concerned that it’s unusual for Iris to leave the house without eating breakfast and puts it down to the excitement. Meanwhile, depending which episode you watch, Mac and his perpetually offscreen wife Trina have just celebrated either their first or second wedding anniversary.

In pop culture, Chris taught Alison to dance to an instrumental (an official instrumental, I’d say) of Liquid Gold’s Dance Yourself Dizzy after she became infatuated with both it and him. And Eddie Lee sarcastically told Vic that he’d had Legs & Co. leaping round his bedroom the night before.

Looking at transmission dates, it seems there was a large gap between the final episode in this batch and the following one. #3335 aired on 17th July 1980, but #3336 wasn’t transmitted until 5th August, almost four weeks later. I’m curious what could be the reason for this, and also whether there’ll be any noticeable clues or differences onscreen. Watch this space.
 

Angela Channing

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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.
I always liked Iris Scott. She was a character that you were meant to hate but she had such great storylines that I always liked when she returned to Kings Oak. I don't recall thinking she was played by a bad actor but I would have been in infant or junior school at the time so I wouldn't have been a discerning critic of acting ability back then.

Alison Cotterill has been as frustrating as ever in recent episodes.
I really liked Alison when she first became part of the Crossroads cast but after she had her scar removed she became far more annoying. However, I think that was a natural progression for her character as she became much more liberated once she felt she wasn't being held back by her appearance.

Looking at transmission dates, it seems there was a large gap between the final episode in this batch and the following one. #3335 aired on 17th July 1980, but #3336 wasn’t transmitted until 5th August, almost four weeks later. I’m curious what could be the reason for this, and also whether there’ll be any noticeable clues or differences onscreen. Watch this space.
My guess was that it was taken off the air to accommodate the Olympics which ITV used to screen back then.
 
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Barbara Fan

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Boom radio posted this lovely pic on FB - too nice not to share

Look who carried off a gong at the The Sun TV awards 50 years ago today! The event was hosted by Pete Murray and Judith Chalmers - and The New Seekers won the award for Top Pop Act, accepted by Keith Potger.

And someone posted this wee story

"When I went to Handsworth Grammar school 78 - 85 we would walk to the games field at lunch times. Nolly would often be outside her flat at Hermes Close off the Handsworth Wood Road, smoking her king size fag. She would always wave to us"

1683912949434.png
 

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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.
Ive got to these epiosdes and have to say I think I prefererd Alison with the scar, and her hair long, I now look at her and think Edmund Blackadder from S1 of Blackadder
Id demand my money back from the hairdresser!

and Milquetoast is a good name for the insipid boyfriend - talk about drippy! :)
 

Mel O'Drama

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5 August - 16 October 1980
3335 - 3367


Alison’s baby drama is like blood in the water to the village gossips. She’s had hens clucking round her like nobody’s business. Women who’ve never interacted with her are falling over themselves to be her new best friend.

Barbara and Diane get really competitive over who should accompany Alison to a family planning clinic to arrange an abortion. With Diane only having pushed her way into Alison’s life hours before, Barbara scores higher for having been friendly with Alison longer. However Diane is pushier and better at disguising her appetite for gossip and drama as concerned friendship, so she “wins” and goes with her.

Meanwhile, fusspot Kath gets village hearsay about Alison being seen emerging from a family planning clinic and immediately sets Arthur upon Reg to find more information, before appearing herself in time to audition for the role of Alison’s new confidante. It’s a sickeningly truthful portrayal of the self-indulgent, small-minded, borderline malicious motives that so frequently hide under the guise of “community spirit”.

Alison herself, meanwhile, has become a character defined by her inability to make a reasonable decision about anything while expecting everyone else to assume responsibility for her decisions and misjudgements. Even allowing for her sheltered background, I find the whole child-woman angle frustrating to say the least. Everyone is falling over themselves for her at others’ expense. Mostly poor Benny’s at the moment, since he’s now proposed, leading those in the know to feel threatened - Barbara in particular is incredibly put out that Benny is threatening her dominance over Alison - and those not in the know to assume he’s the one to have impregnated her - not least Reg.

There have been some terrific scenes of Reg at his bellowing best, roaring with biblical outrage at the sin and deceit. Particularly powerful were the scenes where he believed Benny to be the baby’s father, an accusation over which neither Benny nor Alison were inclined to correct him.

Things came to a head with something of a redemption for Alison when she finally told Reg that Chris Hunter dunnit, with Reg immediately apologising to Benny, but then going to Barbara and losing his rag. It seems there may be a cost to Alison, since her intervention on this scene got her pushed into some furniture and rushed to hospital bleeding.

I must admit that fusspot Kath Brownlow is growing on me a little. I think my lack of patience with her clucking and gossiping and interfering is because Pamela Vezey plays her a little too well. Whenever she’s in a scene where she’s nosying or jumping in to protect ghastly Iris from getting the sack again or clattering her bloody knitting needles or fussing around the house I want to throw something. In every episode she seems to be laying the table for dinner. And every single time she picks up the forks by the prongs, which turns my stomach.

That said, it was rather nice that she and Archie colluded to save Shughie’s face and career after Shughie’s nervous breakdown led him to don pink Marigolds and sabotage the kitchen time and time again (in a Xrds version of The Pantyhose Strangler, we only saw the rubber gloved hand on each occasion, creating a sense of mystery around the identity of the saboteur).

It was rather bizarre that Shughie and his kitchen simply turned up on-screen again after several years’ worth of episodes where we only heard about his exploits and dramas through the words of others. There was a big dramatic arc for him with the death of his domineering mother, but that mattered not really. With Shughie the appeal is him simply being there.

Meanwhile, painter and decorator Kevin Banks has arrived to spruce up the staff room with nasty yellow paint. He immediately swept Glenda off her feet, while simultaneously chatting up ghastly Iris. I know Kevin will be around for a while. He immediately struck me as a Xrds version of Brian Tilsey with shades of John Palmer; Angelo D'Angelo; and that good looking dark haired one from The Young Doctors. He's very of his time. You can almost taste the Brut 33 being splashed all over. I hadn't realised he was Marian Owen's nephew. That's a nice touch.

In light of Glenda getting cosy with Kevin, it struck my mind that it was slightly disappointing that the writers seemed to have long forgotten the sexual assault she’d previously suffered. And no sooner had I thought it, than the topic came up as a potential obstacle to the romance, and apparently also as ammunition for ghastly Iris. I thought it interesting that her description made it seem as though it had happened decades earlier, but then it occurred to me how long four years or so can seem when you’re as young as Glenda. Anyway, it was a satisfying little callback, much the same as Diane getting misty eyed when Alison’s situation brought up memories of her giving up Nicky.



A few random observations:

One that slipped by the censors?… In the last scene of #3338, after Alison tells him she’s pregnant, Chris - in extreme close up - appears to mutter under his breath “I don’t f*cking believe this”. I rewound perhaps half a dozen times and each time I became more sure that’s what he’d said.

In the Sound Ident for #3353, Nolly can be heard threatening someone “I’ll sing you my little song if you’re not careful”.

#3361-3363 are “domestic recordings”, and the old-VHS-like quality reinforces how well mastered the rest of the episodes are. I wonder why these three somehow ended up needing to be sourced this way. Making it even more curious is that the VTR boards and even a bonus drop-in shot are intact.

The drop-in shot for #3361, set at the coach house, sees Barbara telling Alison she’s going away and explaining that David is trying to get Chris out of his Algerian prison since it appears he may not be guilty of the currency fraud. Afterwards, Sue Lloyd leans on the worktop and calls out to the offscreen Carina Wyeth in a very focussed and businesslike way. I’d love to know what notes she went on to give. Perhaps she didn’t realise it was a record situation and not a rehearse/record situation.

#3367 has the first appearance of a new-look digital VTR board (which, with its Teletext-font looks more dated than the one we previously had).





I always liked Iris Scott. She was a character that you were meant to hate but she had such great storylines that I always liked when she returned to Kings Oak.
I don't recall thinking she was played by a bad actor but I would have been in infant or junior school at the time so I wouldn't have been a discerning critic of acting ability back then.


I think it was a case that the writers overused her for her initial episodes. She seemed to be everywhere, so I suppose they were determined for her to make a splash, and yes - I do feel that having her doing so much at the beginning cast a light on the actress's extremely limited range. I'm getting the sense that she's played by someone who's probably quite sweet and perhaps doesn't find it easy or natural to be aggressive and belligerent all day long.

Now that things have settled and Iris is at least a little less overwhelmingly present than before she's more tolerable.



I really liked Alison when she first became part of the Crossroads cast but after she had her scar removed she became far more annoying. However, I think that was a natural progression for her character as she became much more liberated once she felt she wasn't being held back by her appearance.

Absolutely. I fully agree and think there's an element of making up for lost time having missed out on real life for so long. It is frustrating to watch, because she always seems to regret her actions and somehow it always ends up as someone else's fault. Now that she's told Reg the full story I'm interested to see if this changes things.

I do have a bit of a guess that she's going to lose the baby and play victim again because it's Reg's fault, but I hope I'm wrong. I think it would be a far more interesting story for Reg to grow to adore his grandchild despite his parochial views about sin and whatnot.



My guess was that it was taken off the air to accommodate the Olympics which ITV used to screen back then.

Ah - that would explain it. Thanks for this.



Nolly would often be outside her flat at Hermes Close off the Handsworth Wood Road, smoking her king size fag

That's great. And of course I had to stalk it on street view. :D

Is this where Nolly stayed whilst filming the series? It doesn't look as glam as I'd have expected from her (certainly not as it looks today, anyway).



Ive got to these epiosdes and have to say I think I prefererd Alison with the scar, and her hair long, I now look at her and think Edmund Blackadder from S1 of Blackadder
Id demand my money back from the hairdresser!
Great minds think alike, BF...
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).

It's hard not to see it, isn't it?

The good news is that the pudding bowl is relatively short-lived. The situation does improve a little as time goes on.
 

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Is this where Nolly stayed whilst filming the series? It doesn't look as glam as I'd have expected from her (certainly not as it looks today, anyway).
I think she lived in various places in Birmingham which were close to the studios but for a long time had her weekend home in Ross on Wye



also
She built a luxury apartment at 12 Handsworth Wood Road, Birmingham. In February of the same year, she was the subject of a This Is Your Life show for Thames Television.

and this is where she lived laterly

 

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PS I also look forwards to your observations re Chris and Nolly and will pay particular attention to that

Thats the kind of thing I love !

Great review as always @Mel O'Drama - Alison has just "stolen" her birth certificate from regs box with me - oh the drama :)
 

Mel O'Drama

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She built a luxury apartment at 12 Handsworth Wood Road, Birmingham. I


Ah yes - these both look to be the same place as Hermes Court, the one I was looking at off the back of the earlier quote about her smoking outside. On street view you can even go to the garages behind the flat where she and Jockey are getting into her Roller.



and this is where she lived laterly


I wonder where the Nolly series got their flat interior design from. It looks like the real Nolly didn't have half as many lamps as the fictionalised version. :D





PS I also look forwards to your observations re Chris and Nolly and will pay particular attention to that

Thats the kind of thing I love !

Oh thanks. I'd be interested to see what you think he's actually saying.




Alison has just "stolen" her birth certificate from regs box with me - oh the drama :)

Ha ha. And Alison's still at the centre of things in my current viewing. For someone who spent her first ten episodes hiding behind the door she's done very well for drama.
 

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From Crossroads Fan Club - with thanks and some nice footage and photos

Farewell Studio 1 ATV Centre Birmingham: 30 years after her death, Noele Gordon gets the final performance in ATV Centre's Studio One.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Noele Gordon's death, the Crossroads Fan Club also, by co-incidence, were able to say farewell Studio 1 ATV Centre.
Here, Noele has the final performance in the studio just before its roof is torn down.
Noele was one of the leading forces behind the success of ATV at its launch and Crossroads was the first programme to use Studio 1 in 1969.
So only fitting that Nolly and the show get the final curtain. The sound is what was played out of a speaker into S1. (Note: Sorry about the quality (sharp edges ect) its been encoded for a DVD.

 

Mel O'Drama

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21 October - 23 December 1980
3368 - 3395





How do you solve a problem like Alison? This is the very question being asked by everyone. Including, I kid you not, an order of nuns.

Her pregnancy was written off with a convenient miscarriage. As mentioned in my previous post, I feel this is the “safe” option for the series, and quite an obvious one. I’d genuinely like to have seen Alison and Reg living with the consequences of Alison’s original sin.

That said, the way the series dealt with it has not been without impact. Alison’s quiet, factual proclamation “The baby’s gone” gave me a physical reaction (my stomach lurched) because it hadn’t felt like the scene was going to take this direction. The sense of calm made it appear the crisis was over and things were fine. There’s also been the question of Reg’s culpability for his part in causing the accident. It’s been enjoyably vague. We know what happened and they know what’s happened, and everyone’s just learning to live with it without diving deep into navel gazing.

Alison has re-emerged as a more sympathetic character, not directly because of the miscarriage itself, but as an outcome of the story moving on to a different phase of her journey. The latest conquest comes from her having heard the voice of God and being called, quite literally, to serve him as a nun. And a Roman Catholic nun, to boot. It’s the final insult for Reg who feels betrayed at her leaving both him and his faith. And it’s all too much for poor Benny who has gone off to visit his gran and to look for his traveller friends.

Exploration into faith is a fascinating thing when done well, and that’s the case here. Following her burning bush moment, a nun comes to the farm after a supply of cracked eggs and unwanted veg to “recycle” (how very progressive and green). I’m unclear of this nun’s motives. She certainly annoys Reg with her persistence and her lack of respect for his wishes for him to stay away from his property. She keeps barging her way in - insisting she’s more concerned with God’s wishes than Reg’s - and she glides through every scene with a permanent smile that makes her seem more arrogant than radiant. All the same, her first scene is a terrific one for Alison - at night in the darkened farm kitchen - as Alison opens her heart about pretty much everything, from Chris and the loss of the baby to her confusion over her faith.

We’ve gone with her to the convent as she explores the possibilities with Mother Mary Peter, and she bonds with a young nun, Sister Celestine, who at one point randomly produces a guitar and begins strumming as they speak. It’s difficult not to think of Maria Von Trapp. Or that scene in Airplane!

After Reg persuades the predatory nurse to return in an attempt to keep Alison in the real world, Celestine is excited to hear about his proposal. “Is it the first time?” she asks Alison who lies that it is, apparently forgetting both about predatory nurse’s previous proposal and Benny’s more recent one.

Running through her list of annoyances at the convent, Sister Celestine mentions another nun who sniffs all the time. I wonder what she’d make of Iris. Whenever there’s a scene where she’s supposed to be upset, or pretending to be upset, or has been out in the rain, or is attempting to look casual while doing housework, the actress sniffs her way through the scenes. And I mean a LOT. It gets very wearing, so I’m with Celestine all the way.

Iris has continued to cause trouble by leaving home and insinuating her way into Marian’s home in order to seduce Glenda’s Kevin (not that he took much convincing to hop into bed with the little skank) and then telling Glenda all about it.

If Iris’s story has done anything, it’s shown the growth that Glenda herself has undergone since her earliest days on the series where she was stealing jewellery and threatening colleagues and running away from home. Iris is essentially who Glenda was four years previously (so perhaps there’s hope for the one with the lockdown fringe). Indeed, Iris’s disappearance after it all blew up raised the ghost of Glenda’s disappearance and sexual assault with all the Brownlows, including Glenda herself. Glenda and Kath - as well as Marion and Kevin - meet Iris’s betrayal and troublemaking with nothing but kindness, and it threatens to melt her icy heart.

Only Arthur has the sense to see Iris for what she is and not to kowtow to her. Naturally, this causes him to be viewed by the women in his life as an old grouch, but frankly I don’t see it. If anyone’s reaction is bonkers it’s that of Kath who worships Iris and flagellates Arthur for not doing the same. There’s some misandry to the proceedings, with a touch of the characters (and perhaps the writers), tutting dismissively about “men” here the same way they have about Reg while saying almost nothing about Alison’s constant hypocrisy.

Over at Chimneys, Jill’s had quite the catalogue of men on the go, with some crossover here and there. First came the randy TV repairman (she threw him out the morning after). Then there’s the businessman who had a long-term girlfriend that Jill didn’t care about. And Adam Chance is also back on the horizon.

Jill stealing Tom from Rita has been fascinating. There’s been a sense of her engineering their arguments, inviting them to Chimneys to discuss marriage, knowing it will end in tears because Rita wants it almost as desperately as Tom doesn’t. And as soon as Rita stormed out (I mean, literally seconds later), Jill swooped in.

Particularly ugly has been her treatment of Rita in the wake of things. She told her in clipped, accusatory tones that Tom isn’t Rita’s concern anymore, so Jill fails to understand why Rita is so het up. This is the following morning… hours after Tom and Rita’s quarrel where no separation was mentioned! Making things more soapily dramatic, Rita is now an employee, being the latest efficient little secretary working at the motel, and Jill is being overly critical of Rita’s performance, tearing strips off her for every little error as she learns the ropes.

Satisfyingly, Jill’s hypocrisy is at least acknowledged. There are sour grapes because Meg didn’t ask Jill herself to take on the secretarial role, but Meg, Sandy and Adam acknowledge amongst themselves that Jill’s performance is dire of late. The reason for this - and presumably her promiscuity and nasty tongue - is her current Valley Of The Dolls storyline. She’s popping sedatives and sloshing booze like they’re going out of fashion. It’s great fun.

Raymond Hillier is back. Except he’s not, because he’s now Walter Fallon. This, too, is great fun because it’s not a case of a returning actor playing a different character. It’s a returning actor playing the same character with a new name. The reasoning behind this is that now he’s no longer undercover, he can use his real name. All the same, it was enough to temporarily confuse my partner who’d missed perhaps half a dozen episodes and so missed the name business being cleared up. It seems Walter Fallon is as sneaky as Raymond Hillier, because he’s now pulling strings to try and obtain some shares in the motel.

But even more fun than this was the drop-in shot for episode #3393 which was a scene between Walter and Adam. It’s always fun to see behind-the-scenes, and what the cast do while they’re waiting for their cue. Philip Voss stayed mostly in character, but threw out a quip about this being his “action pose” for which he charges more. The scene is brought to a halt by someone (director or stage manager, one assumes), because he realises he’s cued Philip in either on the wrong part of the script or on an earlier draft which has been changed. I was hugely impressed that as soon as he was given the correct opening words, Philip was able to go straight to that part of the scene without even thinking about it. His memory for dialogue retention filled me with awe, especially knowing how quickly things turned around. But there was a moment where he faltered and apparently mixed up two different scenes causing him to stop and hiss the very non-ATV-at-teatime utterance “shit”. Tony Adams seemed to find the whole thing hilarious, collapsing with laughter as Philip was trying to get his dialogue straight. It does look like these two were getting a little fun out of a very strict shooting schedule.

My guess is that, even though the series was probably still filmed “as live” at this late point, technology made it easier to edit a re-shot part of a scene into an existing one that had been fluffed or needed to be changed. They seem to have been a rarity since there are only two drop-ins plus two re-takes on the entire set. Or perhaps they were more common but most have been wiped. If anyone (@James from London, perhaps) has any information about drop-ins I’d love to know more.




From Crossroads Fan Club - with thanks and some nice footage and photos

Thanks for this. It's terribly sad to see this while watching the series filmed in that very studio and so full of life.
 

James from London

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My guess is that, even though the series was probably still filmed “as live” at this late point, technology made it easier to edit a re-shot part of a scene into an existing one that had been fluffed or needed to be changed. They seem to have been a rarity since there are only two drop-ins plus two re-takes on the entire set. Or perhaps they were more common but most have been wiped. If anyone (@James from London, perhaps) has any information about drop-ins I’d love to know more.

I've got nothing on this, I'm afraid! But, having watched the beginnings of a lot of the soaps over the past couple of years - Crossroads, Corrie, Brookside, Sons and Daughters, Enders, Dark Shadows, Peyton Place, even Neighbours - it sort of reminds me of something I've noticed about insert shots (those close-ups of significant details, like a photo someone is holding, or a newspaper headline, or anything else I might have started a picture thread about, that are inserted into a scene after the main action has been filmed). With the exception of Peyton Place, which always had higher production values, those shots are very rare in a show's early days; you get the sense that the programme makers are keeping things as simple as possible while they get used to the logistics of just putting the thing on the screen. (Apparently, and I heard about this third-hand so feel free to take it with a pinch of salt, things were so basic in the early years of Brookside that, during the filming of the infamous showdown between Sheila and Marie in the middle of the close, the director was lying on the ground out of shot moving the actors' legs into the position they needed to be in!)

Then, as productions get more into their groove, things gradually become more sophisticated, even if it's only in small ways: I remember seeing a close-up on S&D of the evil surgeon from Bless This House reflected in the wing mirror of his car and thinking there's no way you'd have got even a shot like that -- which isn't that remarkable -- when the series first began. And now obviously, thanks to technological advances, the British soaps can now pull off far more sophisticated camera work than when they started out, even though they're pumping out twice as many episodes, if not more.

What any of that has to do with Crossroads and drop-ins, I'm not sure ...
 
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Love your review @Mel O'Drama - have a bit of catching up to do
Im beginning to find Alison very tiresome - and Rosemary is becoming veryy unhinged. I remember when I was young I used to thing living in Swtitzerland must be very exotic

From FB - Lots of chat that Noele Gordon and John Bentley didnt like one another - love the gossip!

And good news for Network

1684522329635.png
 

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from 1986 Soaps magazine - I didnt tune in much back then, G Drake and D Hepburn didnt really replace Nolly/ Ronald Alan for me ! x







love BF x
 

Mel O'Drama

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24 December 1980 - 11 February 1981
3396 - 3417




It still amuses and interests me that, while the motel itself doesn’t have a revolving door, the series does. One can begin to see clearly defined eras as one set of stories ends and its characters are rotated out, to be immediately replaced by returning faces and some newcomers with their latest story arc.

The farm has now been moved to the sidelines following Alison’s decision to remain in the real world while still converting to Catholicism. Ivor Salter was just wonderful, emotion and tears overflowing from him as he makes his peace. There are very few people that can cry and still feel as though they might start roaring with anger at any moment, but Reg is such a rare creature. I do hope we revisit him soon.

Before the story reached its end, Carina Wyeth did a Victoria Principal by playing her character’s own mother walking out on her lover in flashback. Despite the obvious physical similarities, it was great fun to see her playing a character so confident, calculating and forthright. But since her lover was a younger Reg it still felt rather uncomfortable to see her lover played by her screen father. Reg lacking his beard in the flashbacks has confirmed that Ivor Salter does indeed wear a false beard (several, probably, given how big it’s become of late).

Over at the motel, there are the returns of a couple of young women I thought we’d seen the last of. There’s Miranda Pollard, a character who’s never clicked with me. It feels as though the writers and actors think she’s far more adorably quirky and flighty than she actually is. I find her a bore.

Then there’s Becky Foster - the daughter of the girl Sharon almost married (out of guilt that she’d killed Becky’s mother). Apparently she’s been working in the Crossroads Garage for a good while without us knowing. And she’s stepped into Sharon’s shoes since Sharon apparently left ages ago (I may or may not have known this. The comings and goings get a bit difficult to keep track of). Anyway, suddenly Becky’s back on screen and she’s everywhere.

It’s a definite change of direction for the character. Before, Becky was firmly in “potential stepdaughter” territory, as one of the few children on the series. Now she’s gained her independence, fallen out with her father since she hates her new stepmother, and somehow ended up in that other hotbed of comings and goings… Diane’s flat. Oh, and she’s fallen in love with Vic’s fugitive brother, Eddie.

Outside of this, Becky’s main “thing” is her activism. She’s possibly soap’s first vegetarian (gasp), and her interest in animal rights has extended to plastering the foyer with posters and stuffed animals (because vegetarians love to support the black market animal carcass trade). Naturally, this spectacle well and truly drained the colour from Meg’s face. And her chamomile tea did much the same for poor Sandy. She's just ahead of her time really. In 2023, more young people than not are probably vegetarian activists, but the Midlands in 1981 just weren't ready for her.

Becky's controversies are naught compared with what occurred in one of the chalets, with Iris tricking poor Arthur Brownlow into meeting her there under the pretext of giving him a secret birthday present she’d found for Kath, before locking him in with her and feigning a sexual assault. This would have been just after Sid Fairgate was similarly MeTooed in California, but months before that story hit UK screens.And I’ve just twigged that Dallas did it before Knots (albeit more from the perpetrator’s perspective) when Lucy MeTooed her tutor. Oh, and there was that time Stan Ogden was accused of being a peeping tom in a case of mistaken identity.

What makes the Xrds version so compelling is that all involved are effectively regulars. Of course, the most important thing is the characters’ reactions to the situation, but it feels that no matter what happens, there’s no way back from this because of how entwined the characters are. They’re related, for goodness’ sake. And the perpetrator has been a guest in the victim’s home for months.

From a 21st Century vantage point, this story feels an extremely brave choice. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done today, but there would no doubt be a backlash since it seems so unthinkable that someone would lie about something so terrible. But it’s not difficult to stumble upon a few “Karen” videos of some white woman hysterically telling the police she’s being threatened by a black man who has politely asked her to put her dog on a lead. And there’s that infamous Big Brother incident where that vile Emmerdale actress accused Jason Grimshaw from Corrie of domestic violence and got him ostracised from his peers. So there are real-life Irises out there today, which is quite terrifying.

Characters’ reactions, by the way, are pleasingly balanced. Indeed, the big fear for characters like Meg, Doris and Marian is of being viewed as taking sides. Viewers know what’s what, of course, but I find myself thinking it might have been interesting if viewers hadn’t seen what happened in that chalet. How much doubt might be in our minds? Again, it’s a frightening thought.

The impact of Iris’s actions on the Brownlow family has been quite heartbreaking to watch. It’s touching that Kath and Glenda have been resolute in their faith in and support of Arthur. All three have been wonderful. Peter Hill’s performance has been a standout. In a scene I watched yesterday he was stood telling his family that the situation had worsened and it only became apparent in the close-up shots that he was physically shaking.

It’s also been wonderful to see a fiery side to both Kath and Glenda. Glenda’s understandable fury at her cousin is particularly effective. It’s only really struck me as I write this that Iris’s lie is all the more reprehensible because Glenda is the genuine survivor of just such a trauma.

It feels as though someone’s going to have grave consequences, but I know that both Iris and Arthur continue in the series for some time to come, so perhaps there won’t be. If Iris starts sniffing and says sorry and is forgiven by all I fear I’ll throw something.

I knew Roger Tonge died in 1981 and last night thought I’d check when his final episode is, just in case it slips by without me noticing. IMDb has huge gaps, so it’s hard to tell. But the last episode they have listed for him is #3420 which is just three episodes from now. It may not be accurate, but I’ll be watching him closely, just in case.







And good news for Network

1684522329635.png


Oh wow. That was quicker than I thought, and it's good to know that the value of our investments has just increased significantly!!

My guess is that in time Network will re-issue these episodes in smaller, more basic sets. My guess would be ten separate boxes with nine discs per box. And I think the bonus material won't appear again.

Whatever the case, I'm incredibly glad I bought this set. It's been a highlight of 2023 for me.



from 1986 Soaps magazine

What a great read. It's fascinating to read about the practicalities. If I had to guess, I'd say that Stan the floor manager is the "It's part one and it's take one" guy from the sound idents.

But, my goodness... going to Take Three?! Jack Barton would have had them killed off in the next episode.
 

Angela Channing

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It still amuses and interests me that, while the motel itself doesn’t have a revolving door, the series does. One can begin to see clearly defined eras as one set of stories ends and its characters are rotated out, to be immediately replaced by returning faces and some newcomers with their latest story arc.
I was such a Crossroads anorak back in the day that I used to take a mental note when a character first appeared or returned to the series so I could work out how long their contracts were for. It was useful for guessing when storylines would reach their conclusion. One I particularly remember was the character Mickey Doyle who appeared to have a contract that lasted a year to the very day.

Over at the motel, there are the returns of a couple of young women I thought we’d seen the last of. There’s Miranda Pollard, a character who’s never clicked with me. It feels as though the writers and actors think she’s far more adorably quirky and flighty than she actually is. I find her a bore.
Totally agree, completely useless character. I also didn't like J. Henry, the only Pollard that I thought was interesting was Valerie.

I can't remember which of Miranda's appearances in the series this happened but the actor that played her became pregnant while filming so watch out for scenes where she is wearing a large raincoat or when most of her scenes were shot while sitting down to hide her expanding abdomen.
 

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heading out @Mel O'Drama = great review, will reply later
Miranda has just arrived for me , she did like her heated rollers didnt she??

From Twitter lol and wonderful Noele Gordon archive

1684778451875.png
 

Mel O'Drama

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I was such a Crossroads anorak back in the day that I used to take a mental note when a character first appeared or returned to the series so I could work out how long their contracts were for. It was useful for guessing when storylines would reach their conclusion. One I particularly remember was the character Mickey Doyle who appeared to have a contract that lasted a year to the very day.

When it comes to stuff that interests me I quite enjoy geeking out over stats, so this would be fascinating to me. I still haven't worked out exactly how it works, except that with many regular characters such as Diane and Jill it seems to be several months on then several months off.

The Xrds rotation is perfectly suited to binge-watching hundreds of episodes the way I currently am, because it stops the viewer becoming weary of seeing the same faces day in day out.



the only Pollard that I thought was interesting was Valerie.

I can picture her from the name alone so she must have made something of an impression on me. Sadly, I'm pretty sure she was exclusively in the Central years so won't appear in this set.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Network will consider releasing some episodes from 1982 onwards. I suspect by the time I reach disc 94 I'll be ready for a change, but perhaps in good time I'd be open to continuing on through the "drastic refurbishments" to the vertical blinds era.




I can't remember which of Miranda's appearances in the series this happened but the actor that played her became pregnant while filming so watch out for scenes where she is wearing a large raincoat or when most of her scenes were shot while sitting down to hide her expanding abdomen.

Oh, that's a fun titbit. She's heavily featured at the moment and I'm sure we're getting lots of full-length shots of her in well-fitted suits and even a snug-ish boiler suit, but I'll see if that changes.



Miranda has just arrived for me , she did like her heated rollers didnt she??

Her hair is quite incredible, and most certainly the most interesting thing about her (perhaps the only interesting thing).




From Twitter lol and wonderful Noele Gordon archive

1684778451875.png

Tee hee. That's made my day.

Yesterday I kept seeing all these headlines about various C-listers "paying tribute" to Phil. For a few moments I actually thought he'd died.
 

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I can picture her from the name alone so she must have made something of an impression on me. Sadly, I'm pretty sure she was exclusively in the Central years so won't appear in this set.
Not to be confused with the Valerie Pollard who was a main character in Emmerdale. The Crossroads Valerie Pollard was played by Heather Chasen who went on to play Janine's grandmother in EastEnders.

In Crossroads she appeared intermittently and I can't remember the exact timeline for the storylines she was involved in but I think you might still have her most prominent ones to come. I won't give out any spoilers other than saying she was far more interesting and fun than were Miranda and J. Henry.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Network will consider releasing some episodes from 1982 onwards. I suspect by the time I reach disc 94 I'll be ready for a change, but perhaps in good time I'd be open to continuing on through the "drastic refurbishments" to the vertical blinds era.
I hope they do because there were some great storylines in the post-Meg era, in fact, some of the best years of Crossroads were after her character left. Kath Brownlow had some great stuff during that period as did Jill. Annette Andre, Jeanie from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), played a character for a short period of time but had a very significant impact on some of the characters. Sandor Eles (who I met on 2 occasions) came in as a regular member of the cast and had some memorable storylines, including one with the aforementioned Valerie Pollard. There were also some really ground-breaking subjects covered, which might seem like a big deal these days, but back in the 1980s they were rarely seen on TV.
 

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Her hair is quite incredible, and most certainly the most interesting thing about her (perhaps the only interesting thing).
Agreed, her and J Henry are quite hard work

This was on Twitter from the wonderful Noele Gordon archive posts

I found it rather touching and sad, and probably shot just a few months before she passed away in 85

As so many fans were wondering how she was she did a photo shoot in hospital

A true performer til the end, looks immaculate, not a hair out of place, a bright smile and probably felt awful, but would never let it show

 

Mel O'Drama

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Not to be confused with the Valerie Pollard who was a main character in Emmerdale.

This did confuse me when I read something about the Xrds character recently. I could picture Heather Chasen but felt convinced she was from Emmerdale, so I must have seen The Other Val Pollard referenced a few times.



In Crossroads she appeared intermittently and I can't remember the exact timeline for the storylines she was involved in but I think you might still have her most prominent ones to come.

It looks like her Xrds debut wasn't until 1982, and (apart from the Venice episodes) the discs finish at the end of 1981, so it looks like I'll miss her altogether.



there were some great storylines in the post-Meg era, in fact, some of the best years of Crossroads were after her character left.

Interesting. I know of a few storylines here and there, and it's certainly enough to intrigue me.



This was on Twitter from the wonderful Noele Gordon archive posts

I found it rather touching and sad, and probably shot just a few months before she passed away in 85

Oh, that's wonderful, and very glam indeed.

Can you imagine that many flowers being allowed round a hospital bed today? :D
 
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