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WAS IT CROSSROADS? 2001-2003


One of the key questions hanging over 'Mark Two' and 'Mark Three' are whether or not they should be considered a continuation of 'Crossroads'. It's a topic that causes great controversy within the fan community and here we intend to put the arguments for, and against, and let you decide for yourself.

Mark Two:

After a 13 year absence the midlands soap returned to screens on March 5th 2001 to a huge fan fare. The press and critics initially liked it, the cast raved about it and it seemed ITV had a hit on its hands. But history tells a different story and within weeks the knives were well and truly out for the newly returned soap and they wouldn't be withdrawn until the axe fell two years later. Meanwhile loyal Mark One fans criticised the show for lack of continuity and poor treatment of the four original characters to return.

Here's the evidence to argue that it was Crossroads.

The soap was set in King's Oak, near Birmingham. The nearby town of Heathbury was mentioned regularly and visited several times. The main action take place in a hotel, the Motel became a Hotel in the late 1980's, and it was called Crossroads (although not The King's Oak Country Hotel has it had been at the series finale). Jill Harvey, Adam Chance, Doris Luke and Sarah-Jane Harvey all returned to the show.

References to John Maddingham, Meg Mortimer, Stan Harvey, Shuggie McFee and other characters were made in conversations between characters. Jill and Adam's first marriage in 1983 was mentioned, Sarah living in Germany with her father, Jill visiting occasionally, the motel burning down in 1981, Jill running off with John and her previous battle with alcoholism.

The show brought back the original theme tune, although slightly modernised, which had been scrapped in 1987. Many fans, even those who dislike Mark Two, agree the theme tune is an excellent update on the classic theme.  Many of the new characters were considered 'classic style' characters with Kate Russell, Tracey Booth, Oona and Dave Stocks and Jake Booth all being held in high regard. And the show was constantly knocked with the critics, as was the original series.

Evidence Against 

"This isn't Crossroads" Seems pretty much conclusive really and from the horses mouth.  Many on the production team were quoted as saying this, and it even said so in the press pack for the new series launch. This is our first piece of evidence as to why Mark Two ISN'T Crossroads. The production team, or at least some of them, considered it a totally different show which was just using the name of the previous show to try and establish a ready fan base.

The producers are went to great lengths to point out that the set 'didn't wobbly' and everything on set 'worked'. This was an attempt to deal with the myth that the original series set wobbled, something it became infamous for. What they fail to realise was the 'wobbly' sets were down to productions values, and low bugets, of the time that affected ALL shows of that era. Great cult classics such as Fawlty Towers, Doctor Who, Survivors and even dear old Star Trek had 'wobbly walls, fluffed lines and the occasional technical error'. The producers however brought into the myth, created by the critics, and this alienated many fans.

The problem with Jill. When Jill returns in the first episode John Maddingham has recently died but Jill is using the surname of Harvey, the man who ran away with her daughter, Sarah-Jane, and moved to Germany. There was little love lost between Jill and Stan so why would she be using that surname? Why not her maiden name, Richardson, or John's name. It was all due to publicity. Jill was better known as Harvey, or Chance, so the producers used the Harvey name for publicity interests.

Adam Chance 'killing' Jill on their wedding night was the final straw for many fans. Although the killer of Jill wasn't revealed for some time her 'death' was enough to prompt much anger from fans and the revelation Adam was involved, although it provided some of the best performances the series saw in its early few months, was a step too far. It was totally out of character for Adam to kill a woman he was deeply in love with. And for then to kidnap his daughter-in-law, and her boyfriend, and hold them captive in a church, due to becoming a religious nut, and trying to kill them all by burning down the church was an extreme corruption of the character. It was not the actions of the Adam Chance from Mark One.

After six months sacking Joanne Farrell who played Sarah-Jane Harvey and replacing her with Holly Newman with the explanation that Farrell's Sarah was in fact an impostor and was in reality Louise Dixon. Which meant that Jill didn't even recognise her own daughter and was taken in by a complete stranger? It also annoyed the audience, and even original fans to some extent, because not only did it take liberties with realism but Joanne Farrell was a popular actress on the show and her character was well liked, even if she was the 'bitch' character. So why sack her? Well apparently it was because Carlton realised their mistake by killing of Jill and were trying to undo their mistake by making it seem that 'Sarah/Louise' had mistakenly identified the body as Jill's to get her hands on the money in Jill's will. But network chiefs at ITV didn't want Jill back, at all, and this idea was never expanded on. All we were left with was a unnecessary swapping of actresses in one of the lead roles.

Kate Russell made several references to buying Crossroads when it was a struggling motel. There was no further development on this reference to bridge the continuity gap between the end of Mark One and the start of Mark Two. When the original series ended it wasn't a motel, or even Crossroads, but was the King's Oak Country Hotel. So its unclear how the Russell family brought a motel called Crossroads because even if the Country Hotel reverted back to its former name (Crossroads) at some point it wouldn't have 'downgraded' itself and become a Motel again after being a luxurious hotel!

So the Russell's couldn't have brought a struggling Motel called Crossroads.

Other continuity errors:

Further Reading:

The Crossroads Appreciation Society's Mike Garrett looked at the pros and cons for 'new Crossroads' in 2004, you can read it here.


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