Crossroads Fans: Competition Winner!

 

In September 2001, a competition started on the Official Crossroads website which was promoted every so often over the end of the programme. The competition was a simple "answer a few questions and submit your details", but the prize on offer was a visit to Crossroads itself!

 

Well, that's not strictly true as the prize was a trip to Carlton Studios in Lenton Lane in Nottingham to see behind the scenes of the set and of course see how the programme was made.

 

The winner of this competition was Ben Cowell, from Newcastle. Ben wrote a detailed article for the Planet Crossroads site which we now present below…

 

 

The entrance to Carlton Studios -

Nottingham – similar to the hotel!

 

 

I was looking forward to this Thursday for a long time!  Waking up very early on Thursday the 25th of October morning, I jumped on board a Virgin train from Newcastle en route to Nottingham. After a long wait at Sheffield station I finally got on the train that was destined for Nottingham. When I arrived here, I had to wait for my contact (very mysterious), was told to wait under the clock at Nottingham station concourse. She had a red 'Carlton' bag - so I was scanning the people for her!

 

When I met her it was a short chat and off in a taxi to Lenton Lane where the Carlton studios are. The front of the Studios looked familiar, they have the same style as the entrance to 'Crossroads Hotel'. Anyway - I walked down the big wide path, as all the cast must do every day! I sat inside with Fiona (person I had met at Nottingham station) and had a chat about... yes, you guessed it, Crossroads. It turns out 20,000 people had entered the competition to visit the set. It was totally mad! :)

 

We were waiting for Richard Haines - the Press officer. We had a chat (on the move) to his office and inside there was a massive board with the original March 2001 cast, with their character and real name. (I wouldn't have minded taking that for a little memento! ;)) He had a filming schedule for today - but he explained, that since they were doing an outside shot, most of the cast were 'on location' and they were planned to be here, but since with clouds and rain, they were delayed. We left our coats and bags in the office and it was time to take the tour...!

 

We firstly visited the only "Corridor" set you see in Crossroads. It is actually built within an internal corridor in the building. I recognised it, because of the circle windows. The "Crossroads" corridor is about 6 inches narrower than the actual corridor, and the doors only open 6 inches, then it hits a hard door! All of the door numbers are on velcro and can be changed and Richard showed us how, to a room number, but unfortunately couldn't put it back on. Moving swiftly on... :)

 

When the corridor ended, then it was a left hand turn through two double doors. Then around a massive staircase and we were stopped by a stage hand. He put a hand to his lips and Richard whispered: "They're filming outside...we can't go there at the moment." We visited other sets - the Salon, (with all functioning equipment), the one hotel room - (yes, there is only one!) which can be the 'Lake Room' or other rooms, just arrange the furniture differently, and then bingo - no one will notice! ;)

 

We then "walked" into the Russell's apartment. It was such a great feeling! Walking around the 'kitchen' area of the flat - and even into Nicola's and Mark's bedrooms! Oooh! Noticed that 'Nicola' has the same CD player as me! And I was told that the Russell's and the Booth's apartment - are the SAME! Yes - they have 'floating' walls that can be changed, but the basic layout is the same! But it's a major task changing from the Russells to the Booths - but it has to be done!

 

The Crossroads Corridor

 

Inside the brick “tower” – filming just

Outside!

 

The hotel water feature in October 2001

(Photo: Ben Cowell)

 

 

 

I had a look at the set of the Staff quarters, did you know that Phil and Sarah & Beena's room are the same! And if you keep walking down the 'corridor' you end up in KO Cafe!! That's where they had the "Happy 2002" on the blackboards.

 

Then it was onwards to the 'Main' set - the Kitchen, Bar, Restaurant and reception! We walked past Des (Marc) and Minty (Peter) filming a scene in the Kitchen. (There was a mention of "Jenny" - didn't know who this was at the time, but I do now!) Then it was time for lunch. I was given a choice, did I want to go into Nottingham to a posh restaurant with one cast member - or eat in the Carlton TV Canteen? I chose the latter, hands down! :)

 

As I went into the canteen, there was Max Brown1and Peter Dalton2 in the queue. I was so excited! Then I sat down with them - Julia Burchell3, Peter, Marc Jordan4 and Max one side, facing, my mum, Fiona, Richard and myself! We had a lengthy chat - my food was untouched! Peter asked me which hospital I was born in (I was born in Nottingham, but live now in Newcastle) and I replied: "Queen's Medical centre" and he did a hiss and said: "City is better!" :) Julia was nothing like her character and she was lovely. They all were. Max told me about how' he was about to become the face of 'GAP' but he turned it for Crossroads! And I told Peter how people slagged off Crossroads and he said to me:

 

"When EastEnders first started, it's first two years were full of slagging off, and bad publicity - look at it now!" So - that reinforced my faith in Crossroads! :) :)

 

Kieran Hardcastle put in a little appearence and - Jane Gurnett fans listen up… She walked past our table - and she wiggled her bum!! :) :) She looked stunning and lovely, and the TV screen does no justice! ;)

 

Then - a massive load of school children were in the Carlton building. They were filming some TV Programme with a live youth audience. As we all left the canteen - all the school children started shouting and screaming!!! It was brilliant! (Even though, they were shouting at the cast, not me, but hey - I can imagine!) ;)

 

Contains material originally published on the Planet Crossroads site.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Neil at Planet Crossroads for allowing us to adapt and republish the material

 

Some of the photographs on this page are © Ben Cowell.

 

The text here is © Planet Crossroads / Ben Cowell and is used with permission.

 

Close up view of the hotel signage

(Photo: Ben Cowell)

 

The main reception area

 

Welcome to Crossroads!

(Photo: Ben Cowell)