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Russell T Davies puts Noele Gordon back in the spotlight with Nolly


Russell T Davies puts Noele Gordon back in the spotlight with Nolly

Best on the Box choice for December 27th…

Helena Bonham Carter stars as Noele (or Nolly to her friends) who was a legend in her own lifetime.

As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, she was one of the most famous people in Britain. Then in 1981, at the height of the show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed without ceremony, without warning and with no explanation. With the boss’s words “all good things must come to an end” ringing in her ears, Noele Gordon found herself thrown out of the show that was her life for over 18 years.

In tonight’s first of three episodes, Noele Gordon is at the height of her success, with her famous soap opera Crossroads riding high in the ratings. Then she’s suddenly sacked overnight – but why?

Noele first appeared as Meg in the Motel based soap back in 1964, but prior to this had been one of ITV’s pioneers. She studied production at New York University in the ’50s, also working stateside on television programmes and as a continuity announcer. On her return to England, she was one of the team working on ITV’s opening night in September 1955 and was their first female executive. Gordon was host of a prime time entertainment series Talk of the Town, but became a big star of daytime TV hosting and devising series such as chat show Tea With Noele Gordon, the magazine series Lunch Box and ‘reality format’ Noele Gordon Takes The Air where she learned to fly an aircraft over six episodes.

She was the first woman to host The Royal Variety Performance (sorry Miranda Hart you were greatly misled to think you were first), the first woman to present sport’s news on ITV and the first woman to interview a serving Prime Minster. And, as the drama shows tonight Nolly was the first woman to be seen in motion on colour TV sets as she took part in John Logie Baird’s experiments in the 1940s.

Nolly, 9pm on ITV1 and STV. Continues tomorrow and Friday.

Helena recreates a scene where Noele visited Birmingham’s much-loved Rackhams Department Store

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