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Crossroads actress Charmian Abrahams dies after traffic incident

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Crossroads actress Charmian Abrahams dies after traffic incident

The performer was killed in a traffic incident on Monday, January 15th.

West Midlands Police have announced former Crossroads regular Charmian Eyre died earlier this week aged 96. Known as Charmian Abrahams off-screen the performer had a television and theatre career spanning over fifty years before she retired in the mid-1990s.

Performing with the Old Vic Theatre Company

Her family have paid tribute in a statement released by WMP today:

“Charmian was a much-loved aunt and great-aunt and a dear friend to many. At 96 she was still full of life and energy and fiercely independent. In her working life she had enjoyed a long career as an actor on stage and screen, performing alongside many great theatrical figures, including Sir Noël Coward, Albert Finney and Sir Ian McKellen. In the early 1980s she became well known for her portrayal of Mavis Hooper in the ATV/Central drama Crossroads.

“We are devastated that her life has been brought to an end so suddenly and tragically, but we will treasure our memories of her zest for life and the many good times we shared with her.”

Popular pair: Stan Stennett and Charmian Eyre as Sid and Mavis

With the Crossroads cast on-set in 1982

Charmian was fatally injured after being hit by a van in Harborne earlier this week. Abrahams was struck by a delivery van on Lordswood Road just before midday on Monday (15 January). West Midland Police’s Serious Collison Investigation Unit is still conducting enquiries into the collision. They are appealing for any witnesses, or anyone who has dash cam footage, to get in touch via their website, or by calling 101, quoting log 2017 of 15 January.

In Crossroads Charmian played Mavis Hooper – visually the inspiration for Victoria Wood and Acorn Antiques character Mrs Overall (with the name based on Mrs Mack from Take The High Road). The character ran a B&B in Heathbury which saw regular characters as lodgers such as Iris Scott (Angela Webb) and Benny Hawkins (Paul Henry). While she could be abrasive and abrupt Mavis had a kind heart and would try to help her lodgers if they found themselves with problems.

The character was, when she was first seen in August 1981, estranged from her husband Sid (Stan Stennett) however they eventually reunited, although she was often chastising him for his gambling and dubious plans. In January 1986, as part of the production’s ongoing upmarket revamp, Mavis was written out with a terminal illness – with the scenes gaining much praise for the performances by Charmian and Stan Stennett.

During her spell in the teatime soap, which ran from 1964 to 1988 and was set in the village of Kings Oak and the Crossroads Motel, the three-episode-a-week series was pulling up to 15 million viewers. The character was also affectionately ribbed by Mike Yarwood in his ITV sketch show in 1983 where he played Sid and Mavis as well as several other motel regulars.

Advice for the younger generation: Mavis (Charmian Eyre) offers words of wisdom to wayward Iris Scott (Angela Webb)

Charmian and the rest of the Crossroads cast and crew celebrate 21 years of the soap in November 1985

“I first joined Crossroads just before Noele [Gordon] was sacked so sensationally, she wasn’t easy. She wanted everything to be right and when half the time it was wrong she would say: ‘I’m going back to my dressing room until.’

“But on my first day when I was feeling nervous and unsure, she was the only one who wished me luck. The last time I saw her before she died of cancer was at a Crossroads celebration. Tony Adams carried her in his arms up the stairs. However difficult she might have been [with the ATV bosses] she is remembered with a great deal of affection.” – Charmian speaking to the Crossroads Fan Club in 2002

Born Charmian Blanche Abrahams on February 22nd 1927 she was the daughter of a doctor and a nurse. As a child, she attended Edgbaston High School for Girls, before moving to London to forge her acting career. Charmian had a long and successful time working on many theatre productions, beginning in 1943, including with The Old Vic Company. In the 1950s she toured with stage companies around Northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It was on the stage she co-starred alongside names such as Sir Noël Coward, Albert Finney and Sir Ian McKellen.

She made her movie debut in 1949 and later several television appearances including in ITC’s Sword of Freedom, ATV’s medical saga Emergency Ward 10, Thames Television’s Armchair Theatre and the BBC’s Maigret.

Crossroads returned to the spotlight last year with the drama Nolly about the soap opera’s leading lady Noele Gordon. Penned by Russell T Davies and starring Helena Bonham-Carter the series received critical praise and has won several awards.

More on this story: BBC News  |  Sky News  | Birmingham Live

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