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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 12:39 GMT
Crossroads - then and now
1988 cast
The Crossroads cast in 1988 before the axe fell
It was the show known for its shaky sets, gruesome flashbacks and silly storylines.


It was rubbish, but it was compulsive rubbish

TV critic Andrew Collins
The original Crossroads opened in November 1964 with the immortal phrase "Crossroads Motel, May I help you?" and disappeared from our screens with another Jill Richardson line as she drove off into the sunset with her new love John Maddington.

At its height Crossroads attracted an audience of 18 million viewers, it was even seen as a work of kitsch genius.

As Observer TV critic Andrew Collins points out: "It was rubbish, but it was compulsive rubbish."

He quotes a video recorder advert from the early 80s as summing up the popular consensus: "It can take 16 episodes of Crossroads if you can."

But he says it is unfair to single out Crossroads for its shaky sets.

"Even BBC dramas like Poldark or the Duchess of Duke Street had them," says Collins.

"Crossroads was a big hit with older people - my gran used to love it."

Irritating theme

In 1976 Noele Gordon, who played matriarch Meg Richardson, was voted favourite female personality at the TV Times Awards for the seventh year running.

Paul Henry
Benny: Paul Henry will not be part of the revival
In 1981 when news leaked out of changes to the show, thousands wrote to Central Television to complain, and the Sun launched a Save Our Meg campaign.

But the accusations of poorly performed episodes, weak storylines and irritating Tony Hatch theme tune remain.

Critic Andrew Collins describes the old Crossroads theme tune as being like "a jingle before a department store tannoy announcement".

Revamp

According to ITV the new Crossroads is a different animal altogether, though the theme tune remains very much the same.

"Front of house it's slick and professional - below stairs it's boisterous, fun and sexy," says the press release.

"The new series is a heady cocktail of big business, power struggles, love, lies and laughs."

The soap has been given a 10m revamp and will feature a cast of 26 actors, as opposed to the original eight jostling for screen-space.

Showing five days a week and screening at 1330 with a 1705 repeat means that it is going to be seen by those working at home, from home or school children.

Three of the original cast making a return are Jane Rossington, who played Jill Harvey, the slovable rogue Adam Chance played by Tony Adams and Kathy Staff as Doris Luke.

Adam Chance used to be the Crossroads heart-throb famed for his roving eye and corny chat up lines.

He goes forth this time as a wine-merchant supplying the hotel.

The original three will be joined by a mainly younger cast - good looking actors to attract the younger audience lost when Home and Away moved to Channel 5.

Crossroads has been revamped before - it was rebranded Crossroads, Kings Oak in 1987, but that experiment failed.

Crossroads will run every day on ITV from Monday, March 5 at 1330 with a repeat at 1705.

See also:

30 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Crossroads comes back to ITV
17 May 99 | Entertainment
Made in the 70s, still going strong
28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Cameras roll on Crossroads remake
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Nora Batty to join Crossroads
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