Noele Gordon (Meg Richardson)
Without doubt the star of the show was Noele Gordon who played the matriarchal boss, Meg Richardson ( later Mortimer). She was Britain’s original soap queen and was much-loved by her 18 million viewers for her character, a part that also made her an international celebrity. Retrospectively the show was unfairly criticised for its ‘ham’ acting and wobbly sets, remarks that were clearly made by someone who’d never watched the programme. That said, a programme such as this, with a tight turn around, the odd mistake was bound to creep in, to me these just added to the charm of the piece. The characters of Amy Turtle, played by Ann George, and Shughie McFee played by Angus Lennie would on occasion, fluff their lines, but everyone else involved in the scene would just carry on regardless.
Ann George (Amy Turtle)
Angus Lennie (Shauhie McFee)
Initially the programmes went out five times a week in the ATV midlands ITV region, then in 1967 this was reduced to 4 episodes, so as not to incur weaker plot lines.
Unlike Coronation street, (made by Manchester Based company Granada ,which started in 1960) Crossroads, initially, wasn’t taken by all the ITV companies. It wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that the programmes were fully networked. Very often if you lived within the capture area of two or more regions you could watch different episodes of the soap at the same time. In fact in 1968 Thames Television decided to stop showing the soap all together, and after many complaints reinstated it, but they were six months behind everyone else for many years.
Amy Turtle makes a last return visit to the Motel in 1987
The marriage of Huw and Meg Mortimar (nee Richardson) in Spring 1975
Fans of the show brought Birmingham city centre to a standstill to watch the recording of the post-Register Office blessing at St Philip’s Cathedral.
More than 18 million people tuned in to see the famous episode, which included a reception at The Droitwich Hotel and Larry Grayson chauffeuring a white Rolls-Royce.
Noele Gordon died aged 65 on 14th April 1985.
The series was briefly resurrected by Carlton Television in 2001 and ran until 2003, although some of the original characters returned, it didn’t have the unique magic of the original series.
Homage was paid by comedienne Victoria Wood’s spoof ‘Acorn Antiques’ were she lovingly lampooned the soap.