Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Motel Hell

We used to hate Crossroads as children. It always clashed with Scooby Doo, so we'd have to go upstairs and watch it in black and white, and be too scared to leave the room. If my grandma was with us, she'd insist on it. At least mum was only a fairweather fan. It was so boring.

In an upcoming documentary we're covering called Class of '62, a woman featured called Sally Adcock played a ditzy waitress called Jane Smith in the 70s. I remember her! She was in the Salvation Army. She disappeared without trace.

Like her though, I remember seeing characters from the 70s that to this day have stuck in the mind. A chef called Mr Booth. A twittering receptionist called Mrs Hope. Amy Turtle of course, Benny, blah, blah, blah. On the odd occasion we did see, there are bits that stuck in the mind.

Usually we caught that end bit after the credits, and often it was a bit of a shocking cliffhanger. Perhaps that's why they stick in the mind.

So here we are, my Crossroads (Mk I) memories:

1. Stan Harvey's parents flashbacked to a time they met - and it was in black and white! I'd never seen a flashback scene ever before, and had to have it explained to me. The novelty!

2. Stan Harvey bursting into Meg Richardson's study (with the arched inset bookcases) announcing the birth of his daughter. "Get the champagne out - it's a girl!"

3. Rosemary Hunter putting a letter on the mantlepiece that was from the court. I asked my mum if it was a divorce court to which she remarked that I was obsessed with divorce. Well, they were rowing a lot at the time.

4. That Jill's house was called Chimneys. Everyone said this name in a really prissy fashion.

5. An annoying girl who was a vegetarian and didn't eat Chinese food because it had monosodium glutamate, the first time I'd heard of such a thing.

6. Diane washing up at a sink that seemed to be in the middle of the room, so you could see all the pipes. I wonder if this was intentional.

7. An American woman dying of cancer alone in a 'chalet'.

8. Meg's husband dying after being kindapped by international terrorists. Don't laugh, we've all been there.

9. Sandy in a wheelchair sitting in that hideous drawing room.

10. The hairdresser who lived on a narrowboat. Not a houseboat, or a barge, but a narrowboat. She was at pains to make this clear.

11. A woman with agoraphobia who was powerless to stop thugs beating up her daughter, who was called Dina.

12. The producer or casting director or someone was called Anne Croot-Hawkins. This was the source of much hilarity.

Fact: Mrs F-C got JIll's autograph on a plane to Malta when she was about 8.


Chris Hughes said...

My mum used to live next door to Sandy in Birmingham. In real life, not in the programme, I hasten to add.

My abiding memory of Crossroads is of Kath Brownlow's living room, it seemed like every other scene was in that room, and the saga of Glenda's test tube baby.

I also remember Fuss Pot in Whizzer and Chips referring to the show when they cut it back to three nights a week. Funny the things, eh?

Matthew Rudd said...

"Don't talk to Bert during Crossroads."

F-C, you've opened a can here. My grandparents were obsessed with it too. I remember as a small child seeing David Hunter being shot, Jill's non-Adam husband dying in odd circumstances, and Meg's departure on that cruise liner where she made reference to Sandy's death. Oddly, I also remember Roger Tonge's actual death being announced by Leonard Parkin on the lunchtime ITN when I was home from school. For some reason I'm convinced they covered it a whole two days after it appeared in the papers.

For my part, I watched it out of choice for the last two or three years up to its (original) farewell in the late 80s. I remember the later characters like Roy "Steven Pinder" Lambert, Ann Marie "Gregory's Girl, natch" Wade and Beverley "Your Mother Wouldn't Like It" Grice. Plus Mr Darby, and Mrs Tardebigge, the cleaner who always had a fag on but never put it in her mouth, and called everyone 'duck'.

Isolated plot memories:

1 - Diane Hunter's death, and Benny somehow thinking that he could still buy her a box of chocolates for her birthday. Eventually Mr Darby shouted at him to stop believing she was still kicking.

2 - Mr Darby losing the master key to the motel. Mrs Tardebigge had asked for it so she could start cleaning the rooms. An episode ended on this very cliffhanger...

3 - Roy and Ann Marie finally succumbing to months of sexual tension at a staff do where he DJ'd, put on Lady In Red and went over to her. Naturally, she was in a red dress.

4 - 'Bomber' Lancaster buying the motel and turning it into King's Oak Country House Hotel, a name he chose from a competition held among the staff. Daniel Freeman chose the name, and Lancaster said it was 'compensation for sacking him'.


5 - Jill bursting into tears when she heard of Lancaster's plans, including re-naming the bar 'The Merry Monarch', and pleading with him to leave the name 'Crossroads' somewhere in the rebrand.

6 - Charlie Mycroft finally turning up and beginning the most ridiculously unbelievable relationship with Ann Marie. I'm sure he was brought in as a closeted token homosexual character, only for Central to lose their nerve and 'straighten' him.

7 - Glenda Brownlow's mum Kath getting a video recorder as a leaving present.

8 - Glenda Brownlow's mum Kath snogging her new beau on a settee as the post-credit cliffhanger moment, and the papers revealing the next day he was David Jason's real-life brother.

9 - Al Ashton, now prolific screenwriter, playing Ray Grice, and suddenly becoming Al Hunter Ashton in the credits.

Erm, one more...

10 - Beverley Grice turning up for her first day's work as a maid, and being told to go straight home and remove all her make-up.

Stunning stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Chris Hughes said...

If we're doing arbitrary bits we somehow remember from Crossroads, I remember one scene where 'Bomber' Lancaster was watching telly and switched it off in frustration, declaring "Wednesday night used to be a smashing night for telly!"

And the episode where Meg left on the QE2, and the band struck up... the theme from Crossroads!

Sky Clearbrook said...

Benny's gypsy wife-to-be being knocked off her bike and killed... by a car.

Meg getting married (1975??).

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