Crossroads, recording 'as live' in 1974It was one of ITV’s most successful soap operas in the 1970s and 80s and now Crossroads, last seen on TV screens in 2003, is to headline the opening night of new Midlands broadcaster Big Centre TV.

Crossroads launched in 1964, and instantly became a hit with viewers, however it wasn’t so successful in the popularity stakes with TV bosses and critics. The star of the show was the late Noele Gordon, a Midland broadcasting pioneer – having been one of the founding stars of ATV Midlands.

Set in a fictional motel in the fictional, near Birmingham, village of Kings Oak the show ran for over 4500 episodes and was the UK’s first half hour daily soap.

Over the years the series made many TV ‘firsts’, and now it adds another to its history during its 50th anniversary year as it becomes the headlining show of the new local network Big Centre TV. BCTV will provide a service to Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and the Black Country broadcasting on Freeview and YouView channel 8.

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The service launches this coming Saturday the 28th February at 6pm, with a mixture of classic Midland programming and brand new shows.

“The passion and creativity that exists in the West Midlands has allowed us to create a schedule that provides a balance of entertainment and news that reflects the diverse audience of the region.

 

“It has been very exciting working with the programme developers to create the shows for Big Centre TV and we are delighted to provide the platform to give life to some amazing programmes and showcase fantastic stories from across Birmingham and the Black Country.” – Mike Prince, co-founder and director of programmes for Big Centre TV

Part of the new output includes a look back at Crossroads with ‘those who made the programme’ in Crossroads Reopened!, following the airing of a vintage episode at 7.30pm.

Star names who featured in Crossroads over its run include Bob Monkhouse, Elaine Paige, Ken Dodd, Malcolm McDowell, Kathy Staff, David Jason and Larry Grayson to name a few. At its peak 16 million regularly tuned into the Brummie saga, with the show winning numerous awards. In the late 1970s it even knocked Coronation Street off the number one spot in the ITV ratings. The show was axed originally in 1988 to make way for more drama productions at the ATV Centre in Birmingham, a short-lived revival in 2001 failed to capture the daytime audience like itsĀ predecessor once had.

Angus Lennie and Noele GordonArchive episodes will air on the channel Monday to Friday at 9.30am, 6pm and 11pm from next week and will be available online for viewers outside the region.

Pictured top: Crossroads recording at Studio 1, ATV Centre, Birmingham, in 1974. Photograph bottom: Angus Lennie as Shughie McFee and Noele Gordon as Meg Mortimer in Crossroads’ infamous kitchen in 1978.

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