Despite an ill-fated cash-in on the brand a decade ago Jane Rossington would still return to the fictional motel if a proper revival came about.
The actress played Jill Richardson in the original Crossroads between 1964 and 1988 and has had other soap roles in Brookside, The Archers and Emergency Ward 10.
Speaking in Express Magazine she said,
“Would I do another Crossroads? I did get murdered [in 2001] but then it turned out that the series had been a dream, so maybe I’m alive! Yes I’d do another show, its part of my life.”
Crossroads was cancelled in 1987 by the late Central TV boss Andy Allan who wanted to clear the studio time the ‘soap opera’ took up in order to make more lavish – and seemingly more lucrative – dramas. At the time ITV had planned to give the saga a weekend omnibus and move it to 7pm.
However Rossington feels Central were out of touch with the viewers, especially as ‘soap opera’ became big business in the 1990s.
“Some people were a bit snooty about Crossroads,” she told the magazine, adding, “But our success paid for a lot of other programmes that were being made. Companies were spending lots of money to get an advertising slot during Crossroads. We were pulling in 15 million viewers every week night!”
After 12-years off air Carlton Television decided to cash-in on the brand and created their own modern version of the Birmingham based saga to fill the void on ITV left by the departure to Channel 5 of Home and Away.
“It wasn’t the same, though” Jane notes, “They tried to jazz it up. They wanted dramatic storylines and I kept telling them, ‘this isn’t what Crossroads is about.’ In those first 24-years I think we had one murder! People watched the show because it was about ordinary everyday lives.”
Fans were equally unimpressed saying the Carlton production merely used the name Crossroads with little in the way of accurate or strong links to the series which became ITV’s best rating daytime series. The show did launch some well known faces however with actor Neil Grainger going on to various dramas, and most recently sitcom Hebburn, while Freema Agyeman became a high profile actress in Doctor Who.
Crossroads may have been a daytime saga with prime time ratings back in the sixties and seventies, the fact it was recorded to tape as if going out live lead on occasion to fluffed lines and stilted acting – and famously the sets may have wobbled now and again.
“People made jokes about the sets and mistakes” Jane says in Express Magazine, continuing, “but that nonstop schedule was quite a challenge.”
The new Crossroads ended in 2003 however an official fan club founded in 1987 continues to run. The Crossroads Appreciation Society has over the years released, with Central Television, a number of ‘best of’ VHS compilations as well as a stage show in 1989.
Pictured Top: Jane Rossington at Birmingham Cathedral, an ATV Today photograph. Pictured Middle: A Crossroads episode is recorded in the 1970s and Pictured Bottom: Angus Lennie as chef Shughie McFee alongside motel owner Meg Mortimer, played by the late Noele Gordon.