Fans: Norman’s Experiences

 

Superfan Norman Hayes wrote two great articles for the Planet Crossroads website about two major experiences in the life of a Crossroads fan. We are grateful to Planet Crossroads for allowing us to republish the articles here. The first is an account of a visit to…

 

The British Soap Awards 2003

 

On 10th April 2003 I found out that I'd won red carpet passes for The British Soap Awards 2003, where I would be sure to meet the Crossroads cast! So on 10th May I met up with my friend Natalie who was with her mum at the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, London at around 9:30AM.

 

We were escorted to the Audience Reception where we would wait until 4:30PM to be taken through to the red carpet area. Luckily there were only about ten people ahead of us in the queue and the weather was nice so the wait wasn't going to be too uncomfortable.

 

Our friend Helen arrived with her brother Chris a couple of hours later and there we waited nervously for 4:30PM to arrive. Whenever cars with blacked-out windows pulled up we'd rush over to see who it was, only to find out it was no-one important and go back to our place in the queue! We took pictures of each other in front of the BBC Television Centre to pass the time away and went off to buy extra cameras so we'd be able to take more snaps!

 

When 4:30PM finally arrived the queue was stretching way back down the road and we were finally brought through a security room and taken to the red, or should I say purple, carpet area. When we got to our places, just behind the barrier, we realised how little space there really was for the fans. The press, on the opposite side of the carpet, had far more space to roam which annoyed us!

 

 

BBC Television Centre and the invited

Crossroads Fans. Norman is 2nd left.

 

Colin Wells (Jake Booth) happily signs

Autographs for the Crossroads fans –

Despite being in Hollyoaks by then!

 

 

It was quite a while before anyone arrived, but finally good old Lionel Blair (Valentine Starwood) and Cindy Marshall-Day (Tracey Booth) arrived! We went ballistic calling out their names, but the press got there first!

 

Cindy was lapping it up, twirling around and trying to show as much cleavage as possible - bless her! Meanwhile we got Lionel's autograph! I had brought my 'The Crossroads Story' book along for all of the Crossroads cast to sign. Then finally Cindy turned up and her eyes lit up when she saw my book and realised we were Crossroads fans! She spent ages chatting to us about Crossroads and about her official website which we told her we'd visited. She even knew about Natalie, who is Jane Gurnett's official number one fan, and asked us "Where is Lady Gurnett?".

 

I got my picture taken with Cindy which I was so pleased about - it was really hard to get pictures with anyone we were so cramped! She moved on to sign more autographs then came back to chat to us again! She seemed really grateful for all the support we were giving Crossroads and she thanked us for turning up! Then she moved on and we waited for more Crossroads cast members... then they all seemed to turn up at once!

 

Jane Asher, Graham McGrath, Luke Roberts, Richard Burke, Stuart Milligan, Matthew Maude, Sherrie Hewson, Jane Gurnett, Lucy Pargeter, Freema Agyeman, Jessica Fox, Shauna Shim and Rebecca Hazelwood ALL came to us to sign autographs!!! A lot of them were really surprised when they saw my book and were very keen to sign it! It was so touching to see how much they really appreciated our support. I must say that Freema was especially nice to me and wrote a lovely "Thank you for your support" message in the book.

 

Jane Gurnett was just amazing. She gave Natalie a bracelet Kate wore in the show as a thank you for being her number one fan which was wonderful to witness. I got a photo with her which I was especially thrilled about as Kate is my favourite character in Crossroads!

 

Yvon Grace, the Executive Producer of Crossroads, also arrived and I spoke to her about the e-mail I sent her a couple of months ago regarding the petition to bring Jill Chance back for the ending which she said she remembered getting! She said it was very intelligent, which made me and Natalie laugh! She signed my book also which I was pleased about! I also got Colin Wells, who used to play Jake Booth, to sign my book as he was there for Hollyoaks. He said "I knew this would happen!" which made us laugh! I also got Jonathan Wrather, who used to play Sam Delaney, to sign the book as he was there for Coronation Street. Natalie asked him "Why did you leave Crossroads?" and he said "Because I went to Coronation Street!". "Fair enough" I said back!

 

I also got Jaci Stephens, who starred very briefly as Myfanwy Evans, to sign my book and she was very nice! When Tina Baker, renowned soap critic, arrived we said we were the Crossroads fans and she said "I'm in mourning with you!" which made us laugh! I also asked Sue Nicholls, who used to star in the old Crossroads, to sign my book since she was mentioned in it anyway. My mum loves her so I knew she would definitely want the signature!

 

Then, that was just about it! Natalie, Helen, Chris and I hung around to get as many pictures and signatures of all the other soap stars there as we could (and we got quite a few - many of the stars congratulated me on the number of signatures I had collected!) and then when it was all over and the stars were inside off we went! I said my goodbyes to Natalie, her mother, Helen and Chris and went home in utter shock and excitement, not quite believing that I had managed to meet so much of the Crossroads cast in one night! I would have to say that it was definitely one of the best days in my life and a moment that I shall not forget as a Crossroads fan ever!

 

Cindy Marshall-Day and Lionel Blair pose

for a photo.

 

Its only Kate Russell! Norman meets

Jane Gurnett

 

 

Rebecca Hazlewood (Beena Shah)

 

 

Norman’s autographed copy of

“The Crossroads Story”

 

 

Norman had another major Crossroads experience a month later when he was allowed to visit the set at the Lenton Lane Studios. This is his account of the day…

 

A Visit to the Set

 

I arranged to visit Carlton Studios today (early June 2003) to see the Crossroads set (or what was remaining of it) and so I left home at 7:00AM with my sister to catch the 8:55AM train from London to Nottingham. We arrived at the security gate at Carlton Studios at 11:00AM and were given visitor passes. Then we made our way to the reception where the General Manager John Revill welcomed us.

 

We waited, directly opposite a display of Crossroads cast photos, for him to show us around and then we headed through the corridors of the Crossroads Hotel, which no longer had any doors, but still had the carpet and wallpaper. We turned around a few corners then suddenly found ourselves in the hotel reception! Almost all of the interior had been taken out, but the automatic doors remained. As they whizzed open to reveal the outdoor fountain the feeling was incredible!

 

We ran outside and looked at the hotel sign above us! John took photos of us at the hotel entrance and sitting in front of the fountain, then took us to the trailers where the cast would have changed during location scenes. The trailers were now being used for a new BBC production Doctors and Nurses. He then showed us Bradley’s shed from Mark II, which had a load of junk inside, but was still exciting to look at nonetheless!

 

He then took us to the props area, where my sister had a photo taken holding the blackboard advertising the karaoke night at The Cat In The Moon! John gave us a whole bunch of place mats from The Cat In The Moon and then showed us various rooms that were used for Crossroads filming. These included the interior of The Cat In The Moon pub (which was no longer recognisable) and the staff quarters from Mark II.

 

Down the corridor there were various noticeboards with Crossroads stuff plastered all over them that would have been used for filming. John told us to take whatever we liked so we took everything! These included Crossroads headed paper, a staff notice about holidays, a kitchen rota and two health spa leaflets. We then went back to the hotel reception where I picked up a callsheet that had been left lying there, before going to John’s office where the Crossroads costume designer Eileen Cunningham had left me a gift bag!

 

It was labelled on the front, in Crossroads headed paper, "with compliments - Norman Hayes". Inside there was a personal note (see below) on Crossroads headed paper from Eileen.

 

In the gift bag, she had included Vince Vacarro’s actual kitchen uniform, the kitchen staff’s white sweatshirts, a heart badge and some continuity photos from Episodes 22 and 23, which include Tim Brooke-Taylor and Linda Robson.

 

After that, John showed us to the canteen where we said our goodbyes and thank-yous. But that wasn’t the end of our day, as after our lunch my sister and I decided to do something naughty and sneak back to the hotel entrance to take more photos!

 

We also took three stones from the fountain, before heading to the main reception and taking one final photo of the Crossroads display before leaving! It was one of the most exciting and enjoyable days in all of my life and it is all thanks to the kindness and generosity of the staff at Carlton Studios who so willingly gave up their time to make my visit so memorable.

 

 

Following the axe falling on Crossroads 2001, Norman and several other people took it upon themselves to continue the story at the internet group “Crossroads 2003 and Beyond. Their Episode Archive is available by clicking on the LINKS button at the side of this page!

 

 

Contains material originally published on the Planet Crossroads site.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Neil at Planet Crossroads for allowing us to republish the interview.

 

The text and images here are © Norman Hayes and Planet Crossroads (2003)

Carlton Images are used with permission (See below)

 

  

The Crossroads display in the Main

Entrance at Carlton Studios.

 

The “doorless” corridor of the hotel.

 

The Crossroads sign

 

Waiting for Jane Asher to arrive!

 

Bradley’s Shed – a storeroom

 

A stray table in need of a new home!