News Archive: April – July 2001



Steps check into Crossroads


BBC News Online


A member of the pop group Steps is to check in to the famous Crossroads hotel as themselves.

It will be the first celebrity appearance in the relaunched soap.


Steps will be staying at the fictional hotel in two episodes from 4 April ahead of a 'concert' nearby.

Although all five will be included in the script it will only be Lee Latchford Evans who appears on screen.

Word gets out about the group's stay and fans and paparazzi lay siege to the hotel.


Latchford Evans is said to be a big fan of the show since it relaunched in March.


Crossroads reopened for business after it was axed 13 years ago because of dwindling audiences.

To give the show a wider appeal at least half the cast are in their 20s.


A spokesman for the show said: "Crossroads has a lot of appeal among the teenage audience and as far as pop goes Steps are the top of the tree, so obviously we were delighted when Lee agreed to take part in programme."


Crossroads goes out twice a day, at lunchtime and teatime.






Crossroads to stay, say ITV


Digital Spy


ITV have denied reports that daytime soap Crossroads is to be axed due to low ratings since its return.
Nick Elliott, ITV Controller of Drama, said: "These stories are utter rubbish. We are quite happy with Crossroads. It's not being shelved.

"The aim all along has been to get it established, then turn up the heat and get more people to watch it in the summer, especially kids who'll be off school."

He also denied reports that it is to be replaced by new soap
Trafalgar Road. "We have high hopes for both shows. Trafalgar Road will be on at a different time to Crossroads," he added.

An ITV spokesman said: "The initial viewing figures were never going to be sustained but now they've stabilised."
"Last week Crossroads' audience share went up by 5% to 25%. Now we think it will grow, but we're not expecting it to match Neighbours' seven million."





ITV bosses deny plans to axe Crossroads




Crossroads will not be axed, ITV bosses say. The revived soap has seen a fall in ratings since it reappeared in March.

It had been suggested the show would be dropped or be replaced by new ITV soap Trafalgar Road.


But ITV drama chief Nick Elliott says: "These stories are utter rubbish. We are quite happy with Crossroads. It's not being shelved. The aim all along has been to get it established, then turn up the heat and get more people to watch it in the summer, especially kids who'll be off school."


He also denied bosses were thinking of replacing Crossroads with Trafalgar Raod, which begins filming soon: "We have high hopes for both shows. Trafalgar Road will be on at a different time to Crossroads."


When Crossroads began in March, 4.8 million people tuned in but the show now attracts between 3.5 million and four million. An ITV spokeswoman says: "The iniital viewing figures were never going to be sustained but now they've stabilised.


Last week Crossroads' audience share went up by 5% to 25%. Now we think it will grow, but we're not expecting it to match Neighbours' seven million."





Crossroads’ Jill takes another chance on Adam




Jill Harvey is to marry Adam Chance in Crossroads for a second time. The couple, played by Jane Rossington and Tony Adams, will wed 18 years after they first walked down the aisle. Viewers will see the wedding on the ITV show on May 17.

An spokesman says: "Things don't run smoothly and there will be a dramatic turn of events. Jill is shattered when she realises that Adam's only after her money."


It will be Jill Harvey's fourth wedding. Her first spouse was bigamist John Crane who almost drove her to suicide. Next was electrician Stan Harvey in 1970 followed by a fling with stepbrother Anthony Mortimer by whom she had a son. She had a series of affairs until she married Adam Chance in the 1980s.





The cast is younger, the sets more solid, but the `Crossroads'


The Independent


CROSSROADS, the 1970s television soap opera revamped with a pounds 10m refit, risque storylines and a cast of trendy young things, appears to be heading for a dead end.


The show, which used to attract more than 16 million viewers in its heyday, has failed to secure a big enough share of the ratings and now faces the chop just two months after its return.


More than five million viewers tuned in when the classic British television soap returned to ITV in March after a 13-year absence but figures for last month were less than half that number while further losses were recorded for last week. Just 1.4 million viewers switched on for the 30-minute lunchtime show and 1.8 million in the afternoon while rivals such as EastEnders on BBC continue to attract closer to 20 million viewers each episode.


Now television insiders are predicting the early demise of the show, which was once legendary for its coarse, one-take acting and painted-chipboard production style, after describing the soap's viewer figures as "appalling". Crossroads, which first appeared on TV screens in 1964 running until 1988, could now be replaced by a new show called Trafalgar Road, starring Lesley Joseph from the BBC's Birds of a Feather and ex- Avengers' star Gareth Hunt.


Fans of the old motel seem to have been unimpressed with a refit that brought in security cameras, beauty salons and Thai fishcakes. It is now portrayed as an upmarket, four-star hotel with a gym, landscaped gardens, working lifts and a chic restaurant. The rickety old reception desk has been replaced by a pine high altar, manned by Sherrie Hewson (the former Coronation Street star) while half the 26- strong cast are now in their twenties or younger.


Despite the drop in viewer numbers, executives at ITV have insisted that the show is attracting a loyal audience





Dark days at Crossroads


The Telegraph


VIEWING figures for the new Crossroads have, alas, nearly halved since its re-launch two months ago. Its future is now said to be in jeopardy.


When it returned to our screens at the beginning of March, five million viewers sat glued to their sets, myself among them. I am ashamed to say that I was also one of the first to jump ship, put off by far too many exciting new characters and needlessly gripping story lines.


The joy of the old Crossroads was that things happened even more slowly than they do in real life. A new guest to the motel would appear in the reception area on the Monday, but it would not be until Friday that he would be shown to his room, and only on the following Tuesday would he begin to unpack.


By contrast, in the new Crossroads everything is speeded up to a terrifying extent. Within five minutes of checking in, a new guest will be having an affair with a chambermaid, who will be announcing her pregnancy ("I don't know how to put this, but") by lunchtime the next day; before the week is over, the chambermaid will have been knocked down and killed by a shadowy hit-and-run driver, who, on the following Monday will turn out to be her baby, now a grown man of 21.


Many will blame the failure of the new Crossroads on the continued refusal by the powers-that-be to implement my proposal that Meg Mortimer be brought back as the proprietor of the motel. The character of Meg was, of course, originally created by Noele Gordon who died some years ago. Some would say that her death is no reason to disbar her from reviving the role. A skeleton behind the reception desk might give the series a Bergmanesque quality rare in daytime television, as well as acting as a sharp warning to any new characters who may be thinking of behaving in too hasty or lustful a manner.


Failing that, I still hold out the hope, even at this late stage, that Margaret Jay could be persuaded to take over. Not only does she have time on her hands, but she also has something of Noele Gordon's brusque, almost haughty quality; and what more suitable place could there be for Baroness Jay than behind the reception desk of a three-star motel on a ring-road on the outskirts of Birmingham?


Oddly enough, with his sharp suits and spruce hair-do, Peter Mandelson bears an uncanny resemblance to Meg's dapper deputy, David Hunter. Faced with the possibility of a challenge in Hartlepool, Mandelson might welcome the chance to take on the crown vacated by the late Ronald Allen. But one nagging question remains. Who will play Benny, the benevolent odd-job boy? At first sight, Nicholas Soames might appear too grand for the role, but there is no telling the miracles a bobble-hat can work. Also, Soames has a benign, puppy-dog quality rare on the Conservative back benches, which are full of people losing their temper.





Crossroads is not checking out, says TV bosses




Rumours that Crossroads is to be axed have been strenuously denied.

Central Television says it has no plans to drop the series.


Viewing figures for the resurrected soap are currently very good, it claims.

The show attracts between three and four million viewers each day.


A Central spokeswoman says: "There is no truth in the rumour that Crossroads is to be dropped. Last week's viewing figures were back up to the levels of the original first week, and pulling between three and four million viewers each day is very good for daytime TV."


Actress Jane Rossington, whose character Jill is being killed off in the series, says she is looking at one or two other projects.


Among them is an appearance on BBC Radio 4's test match special during the England v Australia Ashes cricket match, when she will be interviewed for the View from the Boundary feature on July 7





Jane Rossington glad to be leaving Crossroads




Jane Rossington has admitted she's glad to be leaving Crossroads after her four-month stint.

The actress has told Ananova that having to get up at 5am isn't much fun.


Her character Jill Harvey has been killed off in the ITV daytime soap.  "Crossroads is too much to do all year round," she says.


"I wouldn't want to do any more than the 17 weeks I've done. I don't know how they do it - it's barmy."

Jane also says she is excited about featuring on Radio 4's Test Match Special during the England v Australia Ashes series.


She will host the View from the Boundary feature on July 7.  "It's a great honour and I'm absolutely thrilled," she says.


"I'm really swotting up on the cricket - I'm quite knowledgeable but not totally."





Crossroads actress hits back at critics




Jane Gurnett has hit back at Crossroads critics, saying the soap has a core fanbase.


She says she hopes Crossroads will be in the running for an award at next year's British Soap Awards.

The actress plays manager Kate Russell in the ITV daytime soap.


"People knock it but I think the show will build and build and build. It's much more of a family than other soaps," she says.

"When I was in Casualty with 13 or 14 million viewers no-one ever stopped me in the street but now I meet people all the time."


Jane says ITV's new soap Night and Day is unlikely to prove a threat to Crossroads, when it launches later this year.

"Crossroads will probably work well as a warm-up for Night and Day," she says.


"There's no animosity between the two shows. They're totally different.


The British Soap Awards 2001 will be broadcast on ITV on Wednesday, from 8pm to 10pm.





Former Minder star to join Crossroads




Former Minder star Gary Webster is to join the cast of Crossroads.


Gary will join the daytime soap as a shady businessman during a six-week stint on the show, according to press reports.

He starred in Minder as Arthur Daly's nephew Ray, taking over from original star Dennis Waterman.


The Sun Claims Gary's character will have a fling with Crossroads waitress Beena Shah, played by Rebecca Hazlewood, when he joins the cast in July.


Gary, 37, said: "Friends have given me stick about wobbly sets but it has improved a lot. It's great to be back with a character I can get my teeth into."





Jane’s found a home at Crossroads


Sunday Mercury


Jane Gurnett has occupied a string of houses and is living in a hotel on screen - but she has finally found her home. The Crossroads actress has quit London to settle in the Midlands and has no plans to leave. She moves to Warwick 18 months ago and says her home life couldn't be better. She has a daughter after a 12-year-battle to conceive and for the first time she is willing, albeit reluctantly, to talk about her partner Ray Fearon.


She met Ray five years ago in the Midlands, when they were both appearing in the Royal Shakespeare Company's play The White Devil. He went on to play Romeo and was the first black Othello on the main stage in Stratford-upon-Avon since Paul Robeson in 1959. He also starred with Ross Kemp in last year's ITV drama A Christmas Carol.


For a long time Jane and ray kept their relationship quiet. When their daughter was born three years ago, she refused to name the father. It was such a secret that last year Ray, who is 10 years her junior, was included in a list of Britain's 50 Most Eligable Bachelors.


Jane says: "We had a bit of a laugh about it when he was approached to go on the list. He asked me if he should do it and I said 'Why not? It's good to confuse people'. I still don't really like talking about my private life. I wouldn't have told anyone about my daughter if I hadn't had to."


Rosa May was born with the help of IVF treatment after Jane was told she could never have children. She says: "I went down a long, hard and dark road to have my baby. I was desperate and had almost given up. The doctors told me it would never happen. But having Rosa May is a joy you just can't imagine, a little miracle."


Rosa May has visited the Crossroads set but doesn't think too much of her mother's appearance as hotel manager Kate Russell. "When she sees me on TV she just says 'Mummy looks silly, your hair is funny'." Jane usually commutes every day from Warwicj home to the Nottingham set of Crossroads.


"I love the Midlands, I really do," she says. "I remember filming Dangerfield here and feeling a bit down that I had to drive back to London for the weekend. On the Sunday I was really pleased to be coming back, so I thought 'Hang on, I don't have to live in London'. It's not like I work in London a lot - I've only ever filmed Real Women there. The two long-running series I've been in, Casualty and Dangerfield, were made in Bristol and Warwick.


"The quality of life is so much better in the Midlands and now I can't ever see me going back to London. The countryside is beautiful, I've made some good friends and I have a lovely house - you get a lot more for your money here. I've lived in lots of houses in London. I used to do them up and them sell them and I made quite a lot of money that way in the '80s boom, but it was hard work. I did most of the jobs myself, like plastering and knocking down walls, which was hugely enjoyable. I'm in my element with a dust mark, boiler suit and sledge hammer!"


Considering how private she is, Jane is surprisingly open about her age. She doesn't mind admitting that she's 44.


"I'm cool about that," she says. "I don't even mind having a grandson on Crossroads who is older than my daughter - well, Kate did have her son Jake when she was only 15. There's a youth culture now, especially in this business, and when you get to 40 you realise that the avenues start to narrow. But I thought it was fantastic to go from playing women in their late 30s to a grandmother."


Jane's commitment to the Midlands means she has become involved in several charities, including Myton Hospice in Warwick and she's opening their fete on Saturday.


"I want to be supportive of things in the area and to help some of the smaller charities. And, on a purely selfish level, if I get involved with local causes it means I don't have to travel far and I can spend more time with Rosa May."


Jane is still recognised by people who call her Nurse Rachel, the character she played in Casualty, while other viewers remember her as Detective Inspector Gillian Cramer in Dangerfield. But people are increasingly coming to see her as Kate Russell.


Despite the constant criticism, the relaunched soap set in a Birmingham hotel is doing well. It is watched by 27% of the viewers tuning in at lunchtime and with 3.5 million viewers it is beating Brookside and Hollyoaks. Jane's fan mail is testament to the fact that people are enjoying Crossroads with its mixture of murder and boardroom battles.


"We're proving the Doubting Thomases wrong. It's the viewers who matter - if people came up to me in the street and said 'your show is a pile of rubbish', I'd listen to them. But they don't say that.


"The critics really don't matter. It's far too easy to have a go at Crossroads - can't they be a bit more imaginative? If I've heard the line about wobbly sets once, I've heard it 150 times. I just smile. If anything, the criticism has helped the show - people tune in to see what all the fuss is about and find themselves enjoying it. The more they slag us off, the loyal our fans become. So they're welcome to carry on sniping!"





Ian Hyland's TV Week: Dogged stuff


Sunday Mirror


THE Crossroads lot's day out was ruined when their coach broke down (ITV, Thursday). They ended up going to the dogs instead. Which must have been a familiar feeling for them.