Crossroads was a television phenomenon. Watched by over 16 million people it became a cult classic, remembered and talked about long after its cruel axing in 1988. It began in 1964 as the story of a resourceful woman, Meg Richardson (later Mortimer), who converted her home into a motel after the death of her husband and ran it with the help of her daughter Jill, son Sandy and a host of employees who soon became familiar friends to millions of viewers. The soap returned in 2001 and reached a whole new generation of fans.
This potted history aims to bring you some key facts, to stir a few memories and possibly even to ignite a little debate.
Crossroads bursts onto our screens! The critics hate it but the public adores it. Beginning as she means to go on, sex kitten Jill has a steamy affair with handyman Philip Winter, temperamental Spanish chef (played by Brummy actor Anthony Morton) causes friction as he takes control of the kitchen while Meg oversees all with a chiffon dress and a tragic expression.
Oh dear, the early days were good but Crossroads has yet to enter its glory era. No David Hunter, no Benny or Miss Luke and no Sharon Metcalfe. Still Megs nephew Brian Jarvis marries his fathers secretary Janice Gifford, Meg fosters a 14 year old girl, Stevie Harris, Amy Turtle starts work at Kitty Jarviss shop and Sandy and a chum were accused of stealing from rival hotel Fairlawns. Hurrah! An icon of the programme arrives in the shapely shape of Diane Lawton (later Parker, later still Hunter). Diane came to work at the motel as a waitress and soon became a fans favourite.
Oh, and Meg wore some very fetching dresses.
Andy Fraser married Ruth Bailey. Waitress Marilyn Gates (played by Sue Nicholls, later of Coronation Street fame) had yet to pursue a pop career, although in this year she was proposed to by an Army Soldier, she declined. Christine Palmers baby was kidnapped by her sister-in-law (no, we cant remember who she was either!)
A bomb left over from the War (the Second World War we assume although with Crossroads anything is possible) explodes and kills Mrs. Cornet the cook. Hard lines on poor Mrs. Cornet but it does give the programme an excuse to move the action to Tunisia for a couple of weeks where Meg and the staff went on holiday while the motel was being re-built in record time. Meg becomes engaged for the second time to camp Hugh Mortimer. George Petersham throws himself under a train. Carlos Raphael leaves the motel, returns to Spain and enters a monastery. Perhaps it was Megs dresses that drove him to it.
Hugh Mortimer breaks off his engagement to Meg (the swine!) and marries Jane Templeton who dies soon after. Rev. Peter Hope, the son of Megs best friend Tish Hope (yes thats me darlings!) marries working class waitress / chanteuse Marilyn Gates. Kevin McArthur marries Marie Massinet. Diane Lawton strikes up a romance with dull but dependable village postman and occasional Crossroads barman, Vince Parker. Brian Jarvis is acquitted of the manslaughter of his wifes ex-lover John King. Tony Adams makes his debut as Mr. Perkins, an estate agent.
With her uncanny knack of picking the wrong bloke, Meg marries Malcolm Ryder, who has insured her life for a huge sum and is administering poison to her at their cottage. Thankfully the plot is foiled, Ryder is imprisoned and Meg is out of bed and pottering around in a chiffon dress again in no time. A letter from Spain brings the news that Carlos has died in a fire. The news caused his pregnant wife Josefina to miscarry (well take a hint love, he did leave you and join a monastery!) The motels new chef Mr. Lovejoy was the victim of blackmail. Megs tragic expression goes into overdrive as she knocks Vince Parker off his bike and ends up in gaol. Kitty Jarvis suffers a fatal heart-attack.
Crossroads glory era begins! The programme goes into colour enabling Megs dresses to be seen in all their floral glory. Dishy David Hunter buys shares in the hotel causing female hearts to flutter hopelessly all round the country. Jill, inheriting her mothers remarkable skill for picking a wrong un, marries John Crane. Who is already married to someone else.
A first appearance for Stan Stennett (a favourite later on as Sid Hooper) as Harry Silver, a GI on the run who holds up Tish Hope in her cottage. It was really quite a dreadful experience darlings! Meg adopts a black girl, Melanie Harper. Diane loses her heart - and her knickers - to hunky actor Frank Adams. He later leaves her with a bun in the oven as he goes off on a stage tour. Slut!
Diane gives birth to Nicky and fails to show as much shame at her single mother status as some of us thought she should. She then marries boring, dependable Vince Parker who agrees to adopt the baby as his own. Why are nice men always so dull? Jills boutique goes bust but she is compensated by marriage to the attractive and charismatic Stan Harvey. Yes we are being sarcastic darlings! Dishy David Hunter buys more shares in the motel and becomes general manager. Meg continues to look tragic.
Sandy is confined to a wheelchair as the result of a car accident. The car was being driven by Davids Uncle Timothy. Meg delivers Sheila Harveys illegitimate baby boy on the dining room floor (was there anything that woman couldnt do?) David Hunter divorces deranged wife Rosemary. Vince divorces Di after discovering she was taking money from Frank Adams.. and probably any other men she could get hold of, we shouldnt wonder!
Legendary producer Jack Barton takes over from the outgoing Reg Watson.
Dianes son Nicky is kidnapped by Frank Adams and taken to live in the USA. David Hunter has an affaire with Annabelle, a fashion model. Rosemary returns, convinced that she has cancer.
When she finds out she hasn't, she still pretends she has - in a hope of keeping her wayward husband by her side. Yes she was doing an 'Angie Watts' over 12 years earlier.
Jill and Stan Harvey have a daughter, Sarah Jane. Wilf Harvey marries Myrtle Cavendish, who later that year died of pneumonia. David Hunter bought a new cottage and had a love / hate relationship with Laura.
Camp chef Shughie McFee arrives at the motel and is soon giving the motel staff a laugh with his rather odd take on the world, and his rather odd fantasy world. He got the job at the motel having claimed to have previously worked on a luxury cruise liner. It was later revealed he has actually been working on a ferry in Scotland.
Its the wedding of the year as Meg finally marries camp businessman Hugh huge Mortimer. Their wedding is blessed at Birmingham Cathedral and half of Birmingham throngs the streets for reasons never adequately explored. Jill has an affair with Anthony Mortimer in between having affairs with the rest of the male population of the West Midlands. She becomes pregnant by him and has a son Matthew. Benny arrives to work at Ed Lawtons farm. David Hunter has an affair with Kelly, a journalist.
Glen Brownlow, having rub away from home to join Pans People, is raped by a lorry driver while hitch-hiking and ends up at the motel. Luckily they are short of waitresses to work on the cold trolley so she is hosed down and set to work in the restaurant at once! A Malaysian girl, Lia, turns up as a guest at the motel. Later it transpires that butch David Hunter was indirectly responsible for killing her parents when he had given the order to wipe out a village during the war. Well, could have happened to anyone! Barbara Brady stays at the motel for a week, however is soon off again when an unwanted visitor turns up.
Amy Turtle leaves for Texas to live with her nephew after the death of her son.
Jubilee year! Benny proposes to gypsy sweetheart Maureen Flynn but on the day of their wedding she is knocked off her bicycle and killed. Cue Bennys theme - David Hunter becomes addicted to gambling, he would recover after a long holiday, but a few years later the old habit returned - twice! (1982 and 1985)
Diane returned to the motel after helping out at her uncles farm.
Jill and Stan Harvey divorce. Adam Chance arrives at the motel as financial adviser to camp Hugh Mortimer. Diane moves out of Veras barge and falls in love with a policeman, Steve Cater. Ed Lawton gets a new housekeeper, grim-faced but soft-hearted Doris Luke. Adam Chance has an affair with Deborah Crisp.
Barbara Brady (later Hunter) returns to Kings Oak and soon becomes Lloyd Munroes housekeeper in order to research a novel.
Diane enters into a marriage of convenience with David Hunters hunky son Chris. Hugh Mortimer is kidnapped by international terrorists and dies in captivity. It later transpires that they had been inadvertently abetted by Chris Hunter. Whoops! Joe MacDonald marries Crossroads receptionist Trina. Benny is accused of the murder of goodtime girl Linda Welch.
Miranda Pollard and her ruthless, multi-millionaire businessman father book into the motel. Surprisingly, they seem unconcerned at staying in a chalet the size of a garden shed Barbara Brady becomes involved with rough diamond Eddie Lee, the brother of Victor Lee the garage manager. David is shot and wounded by his deranged ex-wife Rosemary Hunter. Rosemary was committed to a psychiatric hospital while David married the impossibly glamorous Barbara.
Rosemary however turns up at the church service and plots her revenge..
Chris Hunter becomes a record producer after a recording studio was discovered underneath the motel (no, were really not making this up!) He produces a record More Than in Love by Kate Loring which is available in all good record shops. Kevin marries Glenda Brownlow. Iris Scott falsely accuses her uncle Arthur of sexually assaulting her in a chalet. She later confesses in court that she was lying.
The motel burns down and Meg leaves aboard the QE2 for a new life in America in what has been described as the most astonishingly camp exit from a soap ever. Benny performs the 'Birdie Song' at the motel Christmas party.
Adam Chances engagement to Jill is broken off after he has a one night stand with Valerie Pollard. Adam leaves for Australia as J. Henry Pollard warns him: Youll never work in motel management in the West Midlands again! Arthur Brownlow is knocked over and killed by a hit-and-run driver after returning him from a bowls club do. He was still clutching the award he had won when the found him - Doris Luke is reunited with her childhood sweetheart Tom Logan who has been missing presumed dead in France since the end of the war.
Oliver Banks buys the garage and embarks on an affair with Sharon. Benny became psychic. Kath Brownlow begins a relationship with boring travelling salesman John Latchford. Glenda gives birth to miracle baby Katy Louise after undergoing IVF treatment. Diane Hunter develops a fatal attraction for dishy doctor James Wilcox after he treats her for flu. Sadly her feelings are not reciprocated and Diane is unlucky in love once again (youd think shed be used to it by now!) Diane considers leaving but is tempted to stay by promotion.
Adam Chance returns to the motel and once again started pulses racing as he becomes general manager. However, he is forced to sell his shares. Despite Davids opposition, he gets engaged once again to Jill, they get married and meet up again with Meg in Venice on their honeymoon.
Paul Rosss illegitimate daughter Lisa Walters arrives at the motel and becomes a receptionist. She becomes engaged to Barbaras brother Doug who is visiting from South Africa but he drops her when he discovers she is partly black. Percy Dobson, Kevin Banks boss, who has been paying court to Kath Brownlow dies of a heart attack. Dishy David Hunter has an affair with Sarah Alexander who becomes pregnant by him. David eventually decides to stay with Barbara.
Jack Barton, Crossroads' legendary producer, leaves the programme and is replaced by Phillip Bowman a young , inexperienced Australian who ruins the programme in a remarkably short space of time. He sacks the most popular characters and brings in dire replacements. Out go Kevin and Glenda Banks who emigrate to Australia. David and Barbara are axed which reportedly results in hate mail being sent to the producer (but not by us darlings!)
The glamour-puss Nicola Freeman takes over the motel which is given a modern revamp. Jill Chance has an affair with hunky but boring Mickey Doyle (Nicola Freemans rough trade brother). Miranda Pollard is raped.
Mavis Hooper dies of pneumonia. Joe McDonald, Paul Ross, Miranda Pollard and Valerie all leave for new exciting lives elsewhere. Nicola Freemans snobby step-daughter Joanna had a dramatic and maybe slightly ludicrous storyline in which she joins a religious cult The Children of the Inner Light. Mickey Doyle becomes an alcoholic and takes to beating up Jill Chance.
Yet another new producer, this time its Butcher Bill Smethurst who is brought in to save the programme which until a couple of years ago had not actually needed saving. Nicola Freeman leaves unexpectedly. Tommy Bomber Lancaster takes over the motel which is turned into an allegedly up-market hotel.
Diane Hunter dies of a tragic brain haemorrhage. Benny then buys a donkey and names it Miss Diane which in interpreted by some people as a swipe at popular Crossroads actress Susan Hanson. The Grice family along with daughter Beverlay take over the family shop.
Cue the sad music again - Crossroads is axed! As Jack Barton says it wasnt Crossroads they axed as they had done away with that programme long ago. Tommy Lancaster decided to sell the hotel and offers Jill and Adam first refusal. Crossroads fans (those that had stuck it out until the bitter end) hope that at last Jill and Adam will get back together, buy the motel and end the series appropriately.
Instead, the producers make Jill have an affair with wet John Maddingham the landlord of the local pub The Stag. Jill is then torn between her two lovers and just as Adam thinks they are about to get Crossroads at last, Jill flounces off with Maddingham. As the car pulls away they discuss opening a new hotel in the west. Maddingham asks what they should call it. Jill is appropriately given the final line: Ive always thought Crossroads was an awfully good name.
Its back, and its sexier than ever. The Kings Oak Country Hotel has been ditched, and the Crossroads Motel is back. Speaking of returns the lady who had always thought Crossroads was an awfully good name is also back in Kings Oak too. Yes the rather slack Jill Chance is back, only she's changed her name to Harvey - the surname of the ex-husband she hates - and has just burried husband number four - John Maddingham.
Jill is surprised to find one old face from the "old days" at the hotel, the one and only laundry assistant, Doris Luke. She may have been surprised to see her there as Doris was last seen in 1985 flouncing off to Blackpool to live with her sister.
Its not long however before Jill is reunited with old smoothy, Adam Chance. They have a whirwind romance, which leads to a proposal. In the meantime a fake Sarah Jane has turned up claiming that she has been neglected for decades, practically since birth it seems and is out to get some money, shares or at least a new frock out of her "mother"
She's in luck, as Adam is broke and wants those Crossroads shares Jill has (how she got them we've no idea, she had sold them all in 1985) and he kills her off just after they're re-married.
Sarah Jane gets the shares, but before she can open a bottle in celebration she's exposed as a fake and the real Sarah Jane turns up in seach of Jill, Adam and anyone else who cares to listen to her.
Other stories in this era include the love-life troubles of Deputy Hotel Manager Jake Booth and his drunkard wife Tracey. We also see new major share holder Patrick Russell die of a heart attack at the end of the year, leaving his wife - and hotel manager Kate Booth to continue her affair with Chef Billy Taylor in peace.
Well it wasn't quite so peaceful actually for Kate as her daughter set out on a rampage of hate against her and her lover for 'killing' her father. Elsewhere kitchen staff Des and Minty are operating an illegal radio station from the hotel grounds.
Handyman Bradley Clarke decides to leave Kings Oak with his boyfriend Tom Curtis for a new exciting life in Manchester.
Doris Luke is fed up with all the sex in the hotel and also decides enough is enough and quits her job at Crossroads. The hotel comes into financial trouble after the death of Patrick and is bought out by Vic Barnes, an old flame of Kate Russell's - which is handy in saving the building.
It isn't quite all it seems however, Vic isn't holding a torch for Kate, and he sees the land Crossroads is on as a great investment to build houses on. Adam Chance returns to the village, and tries to murder Sarah Jane by locking her in a church and burning it down. She escapes, sadly.
Porter Phil Berry is accused of murdering his father, a crime he didn't actually commit. the series ends with Phil in Jail.
A whole year has passed since we checked into Crossroads - in real time only four months - and new Producer Yvon Grace has decided she doesn't care if Phil is in jail for a crime he didn't commit, its day one - we're starting from scratch.
The new Crossroads Hotel is now owned by Angel and Max Samson, Max being somewhat related to the now dead Vic Barnes, and with Vic's death his housing estate that was half built seems to have vanished with him.
Angel is a woman of odd taste and has decorated Crossroads in her own special style, with lots of pink and gold, and hearts and marble now spread throughout the building. Its not long however before her new found home is having to deal with a crisis. Her wayward hubby has accidentally killed one of his tarts in one of the hotel rooms. They decide to bury the body and place a statue on top of it.
Kate Russell is still acting as Manager of the complex, but is finding life is a bit more difficult with Max and Angel as the new owners - Max being another of her old flames (she's almost had as many men as Jill Chance). Kate decides she's had enough of being in the middle of their 'petty games' and moves into the local pub, The Cat In The Moon.
Local businessman Ethan Black has a long running war with Max Samson, this sees a tug of war for power of a local business. It could mean Crossroads is lost if it goes wrong, but the Samsons win the day and the hotel is safe.
Celebrating in the boozer with the common people of Kings Oak, Angel drifts off into a dream.. or it seems is part of a dream. Angela Samson awakes to find she doesn't own the Crossroads Hotel at all, and is simply a checkout girl in a supermarket.
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