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EDITIONS
Monday, 17 June, 2002, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Crossroads given more time
Kathy Staff as the hotel's laundress Doris Luke
Kathy Staff plays the hotel's laundress Doris Luke
ITV executives have given ailing soap opera Crossroads a vote of confidence by commissioning it to continue for at least another year.

There had been reports that it could be axed due to poor ratings.

It is watched by just three million people per day, half the amount that tune in for its competitor, Neighbours, on BBC One.

Yvon Grace
Yvon Grace says she "absolutely loved" the show as a child
But another 240 episodes - which will last for 60 weeks - will be made by Carlton and shown when the current contract runs out in October.

A new executive producer, Yvon Grace, will take over and has said that she has "great plans" to turn it into a "must-see" show.

Ms Grace, who has worked on EastEnders and Holby City, became known as Evil Yvon when she was on the panel in the Soapstars TV talent show.

Jonathan Powell, Carlton's director of drama and co-production, said: "Over the past 15 months, Crossroads has built up a very loyal audience and we now want to build on that fan base."

"Yvon has a fantastic track record in popular drama and will help Crossroads realise its potential."

The show returned to UK screens with a fanfare in March 2001 after 13 years away. It had been a fixture in ITV schedules between 1964 and 1988.

Slumped

With its storylines and notorious wobbly sets updated, its return was watched by five million people, and critics gave it a warm welcome.

But its viewing figures have slipped to one million for its lunchtime slot, and about two million for an early-evening repeat.

It first went out five times a week, but was then cut to four to cut down on expenditure.

The original soap was also cut back over the years before it was eventually shelved.

Memories

Neighbours, which goes out at the same time as Crossroads, gets about six million viewers per day.

But Carlton points out that Crossroads attracts more people than soaps like Channel 4's Hollyoaks and Brookside, as well as Family Affairs and Home and Away on Channel 5.

Crossroads was originally meant to partially replace Home and Away when Channel 5 bought the rights to the Australian drama in 2000.

Ms Grace said: "I absolutely loved Crossroads when I was growing up. I remember rushing home from school to sit down and watch it with mum.

"I have great plans for Crossroads to make it a 'must-see' daytime show."

London-based drama Night and Day, which was also meant to replace Home and Away, lost its daytime slot soon after being launched last November, and is now only shown late at night.

See also:

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