Goodbye Crossroads 

4 April 2016

Jill meets her Crossroads

19880402-03Rich wheeler-dealer, or the honest publican. That is the choice facing Jill Chance this week in the final, bumper episode of Crossroads (ITV, Easter Monday).

Does she return to high-flier, estranged-husband Adam Chance (Tony Adams) who wants her back, or does her happiness lie with poor-but-honest John Maddingham (Jeremy Nicholas), landlord of the local pub?

‘I don’t honestly know what I would do in that situation,’ says Jane Rossington, who has played Jill ever since the serial began in November 1964. ‘Adam has always been a whiz-kid, but I have always been terribly fond of his character – and, of course, I do get on very, very well with dear Tony Adams.

‘On the other hand, John Maddingham is such a gentle, honest person. A bit of a wimp, really – let’s face it.

‘But, with him, Jill would have a quieter life. If that’s what she wants, of course.’

You can find out what the future holds for Jill in this final episode. If you want to look back on more than 23 years of the Midlands soap opera, why not buy The Crossroads Years, a book of Jane Rossington’s memories? Packed with photographs, it costs only £7.95, including a free poster.

Send a cheque or postal order, made payable to Independent Television Publications Ltd, for £7.95, including postage and packing, to TVTimes Crossroads Book Offer, PO Box 501, Leicester LE99 0AB, allowing 28 days for delivery from receipt of order. Alternatively, Access and Visa card holders may order direct by phoning (0858) 410510. Offer closes 31 May 1988.


6.15 to 7.30pm

‘We’ve done it, Jill – we’ve finally done it!’ It’s the last visit of all to the famous motel as this long-running serial comes to an end after more than 4500 episodes. But what does the future hold for the staff and guests of Kings Oak Country Hotel?

See opposite page 80

Eve Maddingham

Val Holliman

John Maddingham

Jeremy Nicolas

Charlie Mycroft

Graham Seed

Mr Darby

Patrick Jordan

Fiona Harding

Caroline Evans


Andy Rashleigh

Jamie Maddingham

Christopher Duffy


Trevor Harrison

Tara James

Tara Shaw

Mrs Tardebigge

Elsie Kelly


Glyn Prichard

Adam Chance

Tony Adams

Jill Chance

Jane Rossington

Beverley Grice

Karen Murden

Margaret Grice

Meryl Hampton

Ranjit Rampul

Ashok Kumar

Debbie Lancaster

Kathryn Hurlbutt


Shona Lindsay

Anne-Marie Wade

Dee Hepburn

Daniel Freeman

Philip Goodhew

Paloma Gasiorowski

Dorota Rae

Tommy Lancaster

Terence Rigby

Ray Grice

Al Ashton

Mrs Babbitt

Margaret Stallard

Lisa Lancaster

Alison Dowling


Central Production

My Crossroads years

Jane’s behind the scenes secrets

Monday 4 April 1988 sees the final episode of ‘Crossroads’, the ITV serial that critics voted a turn-off but viewers watched in their millions. Jane Rossington, who has played Jill since the programme began on 2 November 1964, takes Christopher Kenworthy down memory lane as she opens her secret diary.


‘It was a foggy November afternoon when, holding a telephone to my ear, I uttered the programme’s first words, “Crossroads Motel. Can I help you?” I thought I was starting a show that would last six weeks.

‘The programme was made by ATV and, of course, built around Noele Gordon, as Meg Richardson, a widow who turned her Midlands home into a motel. I played her daughter Jill, and Roger Tonge was her son, Sandy.

‘In those days, we had no facility to re-record a scene if we made a mistake. Any error just had to stay.’


‘Brian Jarvis (David Fennell) married Janice Gifford (Carolyn Lyster). Brian, who was my screen cousin, had previously become entangled with a lovely widow, Ruth (Pamela Greenhall), but she gently rebuffed him.

‘Quickly recovering, he fell in love with his father’s secretary, Janice, and married her in November. The marriage survived her adultery but not has alcoholism. He emerged from a drying-out clinic to find himself divorced. We missed him.

‘The other big event of the year was my screen mother Meg’s engagement to Hugh Mortimer (John Bentley), man of her dreams.’


‘Sue Nicholls – who now plays Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street – was waitress Marilyn Gates, and she was hysterical. Her mini-skirts were more like pelmets.

‘In the storyline, she was supposed to become a pop singer and have a hit single. Tony Hatch wrote the song, and it was so popular that ATV eventually released it, and it made number 17 in the pop charts. So sue thought she really would have a go at being a pop singer and left. She was to return, though.

‘It was also the year of my screen uncle Andy Fraser’s wedding to Ruth Bailey.’


The programme literally went down a bomb when a wartime bomb exploded under the motel. While it was being rebuilt, Meg and the staff went to Tunisia to help open a new hotel there. Muggins was left in charge at Crossroads. I was livid! Every now and again, I had to say the line, “Somebody has to stay behind to run the motel!” They will never know how often I very nearly added, “But now I’m off to join them!”‘


‘The Rev Peter Hope (Neville Hughes) married Marilyn Gates (Sue Nicholls). ‘Thames Television, in London, dropped Crossroads and almost caused a revolution. Even the Prime Minister’s wife, Mary (now Lady) Wilson, begged for its return. Eventually, it was, but ran six months behind for years.

‘Hugh Mortimer broke off his engagement to Meg that year and married Jane Templeton (Rosalie Ashley), who later died from a brain tumour.’


‘The motel’s Spanish chef Carlos Raphael – played by Anthony Morton – went to Spain and died in a fire there.

‘Meg married Malcolm Ryder (David Davenport), who tried to poison her to get the insurance money.

‘In real life, I was married to me first husband, Tim Jones, a director at ATV.’


‘Paul Greenwood and Diane Keen joined, as Paul Stevens and Sandra Gould. They married in the story and, later, in real life. Unhappily, they’ve broken up now.

‘In real life, I broke up with Tim and plunged myself into work to get over it. On screen, I was bigamously married to John Crane (Mark Rivers) and he disappeared almost immediately. Suddenly, I found myself in a hospital scene – having “lost my baby” – with Nolly Gordon, as Meg, comforting me.

‘One screen birth that did happen was when Diane Lawton (Susan Hanson) had her illegitimate son Nicky.’


‘Ronald Allen arrived, as David Hunter, the motel’s general manager. Ronnie is such a nice man, a great gentleman. You could always tell if people were going to fit in if they got on well in the “green room”, where we all went to relax. Ronnie dropped in without a ripple. It was also the year of Diane Lawton’s marriage to Vince Parker (Peter Brookes) – and Jill’s wedding to Stan (Edward Clayton).


‘Roger Tonge, who played my screen brother Sandy, was in a car crash and quite badly hurt. He broke his arm and needed 80 stitches in his face. While he was in hospital, the producer, Reg Watson, arrived with a new script in his hand, saying, “Right, here’s the rewrite to account for your awful appearance.” In the script, he bumped into a plate-glass door.

‘Roger’s accident was to provide inspiration for a storyline later, when Sandy became paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. Other unhappy events included two divorces – David and Rosemary Hunter, and Diane and Vince Parker.’


‘My screen sister-in-law Sheila Harvey (Sonia Fox) married Roy Mollison (Richard Frost). Sheila was a well established character by now. Another great character was motel cleaner Amy Turtle, played by Ann George. She got the part because she wrote a letter to ATV saying she could do the Brummy accent better than anyone in the cast – and she certainly could.

‘The trouble was that she felt she ought to act like a star all the time. She moved into the Holiday Inn, in Birmingham, and bought diamonds and fur coats. They had to stop in the middle of filming scenes to get Ann to take her diamond rings off.’


‘I had already married David Dunger in real life and this year I had my daughter, Sorrel. Actually, I had been pregnant before and it was written into the plot, but I lost the baby. Blow me if I didn’t get pregnant again! The result was something like an 11-month screen pregnancy.

‘Sorrel was born just as they were recording the episode in which I was supposed to give birth. Ted Clayton. as my screen husband Stan, was able to announce, “Jill’s had the baby and it’s a girl.” She was called Sarah jane in the story – and played by Sorrel.’


‘The year of the big wedding, of Meg and Hugh Mortimer (John Bentley) – in Birmingham Cathedral. Even the cast couldn’t get through the crowd. People kept telling me to stop pushing, and I was saying, “Unless I push, there won’t be any scene – I’m in it!” As a joke, Larry Grayson turned up as a chauffeur in his own white Rolls-Royce. Meg and Hugh were supposed to go to Majorca for the honeymoon, but John Bentley couldn’t stand flying, so they didn’t go. Noele never really forgave him. She rather fancied going to Majorca.’


‘Benny, who had arrived the previous year when Paul Henry joined the cast, was befriended by his “Miss Diane”, who taught him to read and write. It was a great new story and needed someone as clever as Paul to make the character work. Because Paul made Benny such a believable character, we couldn’t lose him. He became one of the mainstays of Crossroads. The Brownlow family was also an important addition to the cast. Glenda (Lynette McMorrough) was raped while hitching a lift.

‘By now, Sorrel was a toddler and used to toddle around the set in some scenes. One was a Christmas party scene. We used all kinds of different substitutes for the drinks, of course. While we were handing out presents, Sorrel, unseen by anybody in the studio, toddled up and drank – on camera – a huge “brandy”, which was water with gravy browning in it. Letters poured in about how dangerous it was to let small children near alcohol.’


‘Ronnie Allen took up with Sue Lloyd, who played his screen lover Barbara Brady. It was a wonderful match. She is an absolutely delightful girl and a great socialite, Ronnie a recluse.

‘Sue is a great one for losing things. I remember she arrived in a terrible panic one day because she had lost all her jewellery. Ronnie was totally unmoved.

‘She’ll find it all in a day or so,’ he said. Sure enough, two days later she put on a different pair of shoes and there it was, tucked in the toe.

‘In the story, Benny’s fiancée Maureen Flynn – a lovely actress called Nell Curran – was killed on her way to their wedding.’


‘Ted Clayton wanted to leave the show, so our screen marriage had to go. We picked up the script one day and discovered I had been up to all sorts of naughty nonsense with my half-brother, Anthony Mortimer, played by Jeremy Sinden, the son of actor Donald Sinden. This was a tremendous shock to both Jeremy and me – there had not been a hint of this in the script before.

‘Jeremy worked out which scene it must have been. Our moment of passion was constrained by the fact that it was shot while we were sitting on a sofa so deep that, if you sat back, your legs came off the floor and, if you sat forward you fell off. We held hands. It was almost an immaculate conception.’


‘The motel garage produced a few real characters. There was sexy Sharon Metcalfe (Carolyn Jones), Jim Baines (John Forgeham) and Joe MacDonald (Carl Andrews).

‘One week, the scriptwriters decided to have naughties in the garage. Carolyn and one of the men were going to sneak into the back of a car. But, when they got to it, it turned out to be securely locked!

‘This was the year when farmworker Lynda Welch (Lesley Daine) was murdered. Benny (Paul Henry) was suspected but was later proved innocent. Also, Hugh Mortimer was kidnapped and died of a heart attack.’


‘We used to get £4 a week to buy clothes, which was ridiculous. It was later put up to a princely £6. Shortly before marrying Barbara Brady (Sue Lloyd), David Hunter was shot by his jealous ex-wife Rosemary (Janet Hargreaves), but he was only wounded.

‘They wanted blood pouring from him, so grudgingly agreed to provide him with a suit. Janet pointed the gun at him, pulled the trigger – and nothing happened! But Ronnie had already broken the blood-bag, and the blood was pouring. It looked as though he had been shot with a silent bullet. They had to get him another suit and do the scene again – they nearly went berserk!’


‘A year of mostly bad news. The motel burned down, at the time Noele Gordon was fired – such a shock. Of course, Meg didn’t die in the fire but sailed off on the QE2 to a new life. I was filmed crying on the quayside at Southampton.

‘Noele had been the star of Crossroads, but she was very un-starry. Even when she had her Rolls-Royce, we used to leap on the bus together to shop.

‘We lost Roger Tonge, too, when he died of Hodgkin’s Disease [a cancer than attacks the lymph glands], after a long battle against it.

‘One person returning was Sue Hanson, after Diane was supposed to have visited her son Nicky in America.’


Adam Chance (Tony Adams) returned, four years after first arriving at the motel as Hugh Mortimer’s financial adviser. It was now that he became engaged to Jill. Then, suddenly, Tony decided he wanted to go back to his boat – his big love – so I was to discover his character had been having an affair and the engagement was broken off.

‘When we had done the sequence where Meg sailed away on the QE2 and we were standing on the dockside, waving her goodbye, Tony came along on his boat as a surprise. She clean forgot about the cameras and started grinning instead of looking sad.’


‘Nina, the little Down’s syndrome girl, added another bit of social realism. She was sweet and adored by all. Sharon Metcalfe showed a different side to her character by befriending Nina.

‘It was also the year when Jill and Adam – back together again – married. When they were burgled and Adam lost his wallet, he thought he knew who was responsible. Then he found the wallet in the bathroom and appeared, waving it, to show Jill he had found it.

‘Tony Adams waited until I was fully involved in the dress rehearsal, then appeared, wearing black stockings and suspenders, to the delight of everybody.’


‘On screen, one of the big stories was Paul Ross (Sandor Elès) revealing he has an illegitimate daughter, Lisa Walters (Francesca Gonshaw).

‘But the biggest story was off screen. It started with rumours that the programme was to be altered, When we came back from our summer holidays, Phillip Bowman had taken over as producer.

‘After that, it was never quite the same, cosy bunch, somehow. Rumours were rife, of course, that the show was going to be axed.’


‘The rumours were true so far as Ronnie Allen and Sue Lloyd were concerned. They left, we gave then a present, and everybody cried. They brought such style to the programme. Glenda and Kevin Banks (Lynette McMorrough and David Moran) also left. Gabriella Drake joined us as the new motel boss, Nicola Freeman, and the producer, Phillip Bowman, decided I was a very sexy woman and brough along Mickey Doyle (Martin Smith).’


‘Mickey Doyle and I were supposed to go off on a romantic weekend in a freezing cottage. It really was perishing cold. A fire was lit and I was still shivering and saying, “Oh, isn’t this wonderful and warm and cosy.”

‘Then, we went off of lunch and they got a wonderful fire going. In the next scene, i was supposed to wake up hours later shivering, with the fire burned down in this very cold room. I was so hot and close to the fire that the sweat was streaming off me. I could scarcely breathe.’


‘Tony “Bomber” Lancaster arrived. Actor Terence Rigby kept asking what he was doing here? In the end he fitted in so well, as the motel became the Kings Oak Country Hotel and a whole host of new characters arrived.

‘Diane was written out with a brain tumour. We seemed to have a lot of brain tumours over the years. I was sad to see Sue Hanson go, but she had a baby in real life and had to decide whether she want to go on living in Birmingham. The screen funeral was awful. We all stood and wept.’


So here it is – Easter Monday and episode 4510, the final programme. More than 23 years is a good run with a show, and I have enjoyed it. What I will miss is all the friendship, really.’

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Christopher Kenworthy and Jane Rossington Contact More by me

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4 responses to this article

Paul Mason 7 April 2016 at 4:52 am

This proves that a soap CAN be taken off. Brookside came off as well after 21 years. Both long outstayed their welcome. I cant stand Coronation Streets current cast either, but it’d be a brave ITV that takes that off, slthough it could be cut to 3 episodes a week.
As Ive said elsewhere Granada ignored Crossroads until forced to take ir as a daytime programme in 1972. I recall the announcer Colin Weston, having trailed a forgettable comedy called “Oh no Its Selwyn Froggitt” added “And now, oh no its Crossroads”. Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a version of the Crossriads theme which was played at the end of the show but was eventually limited to ” sad” episodes.
Mention was made of Mary Wilson, the Prime Ministers wife (now widow). She is still alive at 100

Philip 20 June 2016 at 9:16 pm

@Paul Mason

The Wings version of the Crossroads theme is available as the last song on their 1975 album ‘Venus and Mars’ following the previous song ‘Treat Her Gently – Lonely Old People’ (yes, it was intentional).

june Lloyd 1 September 2017 at 6:16 pm

I absolutely adored crossroad, I was heartbroken when they finally took it off for good…My daughter who passed away in 2004 was brought up on crossroads, she used to pull herself up on her feet and stand transfix to the theme tune when she was eight months old. I had to tape this music to get her to sleep at night…thanks or the memories.

john taylor 17 October 2017 at 1:17 am

get rid of coronation street and bring back crossroads

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