Features: Early Ideas – Version 1 – Page 2




To Conrad Hawkins’ mind, if something works you don’t mess around with it. The hotel was never so well run or so popular as it was under Meg Mortimer, something Hawk Properties is determined to revive. So history is, in some sense repeating itself. A strong, glamorous – matriarchal – figure is once again at the helm of the new Crossroads.




SHIRLEY RUSSELL (Nee Arnold), 44 has never shirked from a challenge in her life. Youngest of five children raised in the Halesowen suburb of Birmingham, she learned the hard way that guts and determination were her most useful assets. When other girls her age were opting for secretarial or nursing careers – Shirley knew she wanted a bit of glamour, the finer things in life. Then she met


IVAN RUSSELL and all her plans went to pot. Ivan was a good looking barman with lots of ambition but no application. He moved into Shirley’s bedsit and Shirley found herself being the breadwinner when scheme after scheme of Ivan’s failed to materialise. When she became pregnant with their son MARK they married – just two months shy of the birth. It was a pathetic little ceremony and, as time passed, Shirley began to doubt she would ever see the high life she dreamed of. But, against all the odds, Ivan talked his way onto a management job in a large working man’s club in the city centre. The job came with live-in accommodation. Things were looking up.


With the baby on her hip, Shirley joined Ivan behind the bar and took over organizing simple bar fare. She discovered she had a talent for it – she was efficient, resourceful, tireless and – most importantly – very popular with the customers. But as she grew in confidence, Ivan lost interest and started spending more and more time with friends at the bookmakers and the races. Then, one night he never came back and five thousand pounds was missing from the safe. The brewery was very reasonable about it, considering, and agreed to Shirley’s offer to pay off the debt. She was good at her job and they didn’t see the sense in sacking her. Still shell-shocked by Ivan’s disappearing act, Shirley took stock of her life: no husband, toddler in tow and – the worst news of all – pregnant again. She persuaded the brewery to let her take on more staff but continued to work right up until the last minute. NICOLA was practically born behind the bar, September ‘81. Ivan never returned.


It would be ten years before Conrad Hawkins came into Shirley’s life, but in that time she virtually reinvented herself. She never stopped working, but somehow found the time to take night school classes in basic accounting and business management. Lovers came and went but Shirley always put her kids first – sending Mark to a private boarding school when she could afford it because he showed a talent for sport. In 1996 she was 36 but looked much younger; Conrad was 30 and had just opened his first wine bar. She saw a cocky young chancer who was heading for a fall – he saw an immaculately groomed, very attractive and capable manager who could do his burgeoning business a lot of good. He told her he was opening up two more bars and wanted her to train his staff. She turned him down but a year later he returned, now considerably more successful, and offered her an area manager’s job. Impressed, she gave in and never looked back. In the last nine years, their relationship has threatened to become personal more than once but Shirley has always resisted, firmly believing that it would be the end of everything she’s worked for to mix her work and private life. The bitter legacy of Ivan still rankles.


Jane Gurnett as Kate Russell –

The character developed from

Shirley Russell



Conrad did not hesitate about putting Shirley in charge of Crossroads. There was never any question that she was the right person for the job. Over the years, he’s come to see her as a friend – even confidante – as well as an indispensable part of his growing empire. For Shirley, Crossroads hotel is the reward for twenty years of hard graft. She was involved in every aspect of its re-launch and is the first place she’s really thought of as her creation. And woe betides anyone seeking to take it from her.


MARK RUSSELL, 23, has more than a little of his father about him. Good looking, somewhat feckless – a real charmer, he is also the product of one too many bad boarding schools. He’s never without a girl in tow and has yet to decide what he wants to do with his life. Shirley knows she indulges him but she adores him. HE is currently employed as the SQUASH AND TENNIS COACH at the hotel but he’s just as likely to be mixing cocktails behind the bar and running up a tab.


NICOLA RUSSELL, 18, is much shyer, more introverted than her brother. She’s just started a course in hotel management at college, but what she really wants to be is a chef. For now, she’s gaining valuable experience by working as a kitchen hand in the ARDEN RESTAURANT, three nights a week. From time to time she wonders about the father she’s never met and is never referred to.


Max Brown as Mark Russell –

Not too dissimilar to the Mark mentioned here



EAMMON CASSIDY, 39 is Shirley’s right hand, the Crossroads GENERAL MANAGER. The perfect “front of house” man – Eammon is only Eammon to Shirley – to everyone else he’s Mr. Cassidy. A confirmed bachelor, he is never ruffled, never raises his voice and never loses his patience. Universally popular, he is nevertheless a very private man whose family history is a closed book. His loyalty to Shirley is without question. He quite literally owes her his life – without her he would have certainly dies from drink.


PAT WESSON, 52, is the HOUSEKEEPER – responsible for a large staff of chambermaids – a job she takes very seriously indeed. Pat is also a bitch, but with over 30 years in the hotel trade, she is probably Shirley’s most experiences and valuable employee. Periodically, Pat threatens to leave but never does because no other hotel would give her the power she so relishes at Crossroads.





BARRY WESSON, 55, is the Night Porter and CONCIERGE at the hotel. It is no secret that he has an eye for the younger female staff. But his amorous exploits are largely in his head and he is essentially harmless. He wishes he were not married to Pat.


RAY DOBBS, 28, is the newest member of the Crossroads staff. A likeable, good-natured Australian, Ray is a great raconteur, a handsome shoulder to cry on and reassuringly direct. In short, the perfect BARMAN.


TINA LATHAM, 21, is carrying a torch for Ray but she would rather die than let him know it. Tina is a WAITRESS in the Arden Restaurant and a local girl from King’s Oak.


AMRIT SYALL, 27, is the hotel’s rising star. The son of wealthy parents – both accountants in Birmingham City Centre – Amrit is the BUSINESS FACILITIES MANAGER. In two years time, if Shirley doesn’t look out, he’ll have her job.


PACO MACGREGOR, 40, is the product of an unlikely match – a Glaswegian postman and a Brazilian amateur ballroom dancer, who fell in love under a mirror ball. Paco has a mercurial temperament and a bad gambling habit. He is also an insomniac. But then sleep is not much of an option for an overworked, over burdened HEAD CHEF. Paco, twice divorced, has been having an affair with Kathryn Evans for the last four years.


KATHRYN EVANS, 33, is married to local FIREMAN STEVE. Kathryn is the pretty but sometimes callous SALON MANAGER and HAIR STYLIST. Kathryn wants for nothing – she has her own little business, an adoring, softhearted husband and a ravishing figure. But she’s unhappy and frustrated – hence Paco. Steve wants to try for a baby.


 EUINCE STARK, 60, should be retired but she wouldn’t know what to do with herself if she gave up being a CLEANER at the hotel. Since her beloved husband, Wilf, passed away, she’s found being alone at home in King’s Oak unbearable. And what Eunice doesn’t know about Crossroads isn’t worth knowing, being one of the few who remember the old motel. Eunice is a great one for intrigue and gossip – “What would my Wilf Say?!” is her usual response, uttered with much relish.


MARION JOHNSON, 25, has been a CHAMBERMAID at Crossroads for six years. She will never be anything else. Although she is clearly not the brightest spark in the world she is – as Pat Wesson says – “a good worker”. Marion fantasizes about kissing Mark Russell but he doesn’t know she’s alive. Marion is a kleptomaniac and it is only a matter of time before a guest catches her at it.


NITA, 19, is Marion’s best friend and also a CHAMBERMAID. Mrs. Wesson has her eye on Nita because – unfortunately for Nita – so does Barry.


Roger Sloman as Rocky Wesson

Not quite as amorous as his namesake, Barry



DEREK and MINTY are KITCHEN HANDS and a bit of a double act. Derek Vincent is a cherubic-faced jack-the-lad who did six days basic training in the army before deciding it was too much like hard work. He’s been AWOL ever since. No one knows how Minty got his name (his real name is Morris Thatcher). Minty is terrified of Paco, who can be a bully. Minty is also secretly in lust with Nicola Russell and once sculpted a rose out of a carrot for her. But she never knew.


VAL and TOMMY WHITE are ex-fairground folk who now run BENNY’S CAFÉ. They are a devoted couple who are passionate rock n’ roll enthusiasts. Tommy’s quaff is a miracle of engineering.


DAPHNE ROGERS – who claims to be 38 – but won’t see 45 again, is famous for her all-year-round tan and her success with the opposite sex. Daphne works part time in the MINI-MART (“a little job to keep me out of mischief”) but not nights. Nights she reserves for the Stratford Lounge and a long Campari, when the full splendour of her décolletage is on show. Daphne can spot Club Class at a hundred yards. American businessmen are her particular specialty: they never stand a chance.


IAN RUSSELL, (sic) 50, is a con man who is about to come back from the dead.





Marc Jordan as Des White

Peter Dalton as Minty Sutton.


Derek and Morris?