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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Asher joins revamped Crossroads
Jane Asher
Asher will be seen on the show from January
Jane Asher, the actress known for her cake-baking abilities, is to be transformed into a "superbitch" as the main character in TV soap Crossroads.

Asher is being drafted in as Angel, the "gutsy, unpredictable" businesswoman who takes over the show's hotel as part of a further revamp for the programme.


Devious, nasty characters are more fun

Jane Asher
The actress's new role comes after she established a successful cake decoration company and presented a lifestyle programme on BBC One.

Before that, viewers were more used to seeing Asher, 56, in 1980s dramas like Brideshead Revisited and A Voyage Round My Father.

She recently told an interviewer that "devious, nasty characters are more fun".

"It's sad to admit it, but good people can be the least interesting of all," she told The Scotsman newspaper.

Her move comes as a part of a shake-up of the whole show, which returned to ITV1 in March 2001.


I think viewers will see a very different side to Jane as superbitch Angel

Yvon Grace
Executive producer
Action in the hotel will have moved on by one year when it returns to screens in January 2003.

A number of cast members are leaving to make way for a new range of stars in a move that producers hope will breathe new life into the show.

"I am absolutely delighted to welcome Jane into Crossroads," executive producer Yvon Grace said.

"When the show returns in the New Year, it's going to be fun, escapist and sexy.

Child star

"I wanted a powerful woman at the centre of the action and I think viewers will see a very different side to Jane as superbitch Angel."

Asher, a former girlfriend of Sir Paul McCartney, made her name as a child actress and went on to star in films like Alfie in the 1960s.

She played Celia Ryder in the 1981 hit Brideshead Revisited, but retreated from drama roles in the 1990s to concentrate on her cake decoration business.

But she recently said that her "domestic superwoman" image was "nonsense".

Struggling

She has continued to appear on stage, and has just published her third novel.

Her arrival at the soap comes as the show struggles to re-establish itself as a mainstay of the TV schedules.

Crossroads returned to screens in 2001 after 13 years away.

It had been attracting an average of 3.2 million viewers for its initial comeback, which ended in August.

A new batch of 240 episodes was recently commissioned from Carlton by ITV.

The original series ran from 1965 to 1988, and pulled in up to 18 million viewers in its prime-time slot - despite being mocked for wobbly sets and wooden acting.

See also:

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