John Lydon, better known as Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten, fancied a part in ITV’s top rating daytime saga Crossroads in the 1970s.
The punk star admitted the Birmingham based soap, which became loved by audiences but hated by critics and telly executives, was a must-see show in the sixties and seventies.
The 57-year-old told the Birmingham Mail:
As a kid, I used to rush home from school and put Crossroads on. So, once I became famous, I tried to get a spot on it. I wanted to play David Hunter’s illegitimate son, which would have been one of the worst things ever. After Meg and Sandy Richardson – the first disabled character in a TV soap – having me in there as well would have been a right whack-attack.
Crossroads launched in 1964 and became ITV’s top rating daytime programme, regularly attracting up to 16 million viewers five days a week. Set in a Midland Motel the series lead ground breaking storylines over its 24 years from having the first regular black character – and later family, to the first soap to employ a down’s syndrome actress and bring us the first fictional test tube baby birth to name a few – but punk never really hit the fictional world of Kings Oak Village.
Produced by ATV, it appears Lydon joins a list of stars who tried to check-in to the Crossroads Motel but were left in the guest car park.
I put the feelers out to try to get into it. And, guess what, I got a negative response. It was a shock, that. Because I would have done it in a heartbeat. Seriously.
There’d have been something going on there and it would have been character-driven. In that way, soaps reflect humanity. If they are done well, they work.
Others rejected for parts in the award winning saga, with occasional iffy sets, include Julie Walters and Michael Crawford. With the show recorded ‘as live’ with no expensive editing facilities gifted to the saga its may come as no surprise John wasn’t allowed on the set.
Lydon however went on to note his favorite character from the show was Doris Luke, played by Kathy Staff. Doris surely wouldn’t have approved of his f-ing on Thames Television. The good christian cleaner was as prudish as you could get in soap opera.
Miss Luke was the ugliest woman known to mankind, but, do you know, I absolutely loved her!
Crossroads ended in 1988 when production bosses decided that ‘soap opera’ was ‘past it’ and drama production would be their key focus. How wrong they were, soap opera became big business in the 1990s. At its peak Crossroads, a daytime saga, was beating primetime shows such as Coronation Street, Doctor Who and Morecambe and Wise in the TV ratings each week. Even when it ended the show was the UK’s third watched serial ahead of Brookside, High Road and Emmerdale Farm.
The series format was devised by Peter Ling, Hazel Adair and Reg Watson. The latter went on to create series such as Prisoner: Cell Block H and Neighbours.
John Lydon is heading to the Midlands to perform with his band PiL, Public Image Limited.