News Archive: December 2000 – January 2001





Sunday Mirror


A STAR of the revived TV soap Crossroads will be commuting every week to appear in it...11,000 miles across the Atlantic.

Former Price Is Right hostess Cindy Marshall-Day will make the round trip from her home in California to star in the Midlands-based series.


Cindy, 33, who plays beauty salon manager Tracey Booth, said: "Lots of people commute across the Atlantic these days - I don't think it's a big deal. "I really wanted the part and to be at the start of something new."


She will appear in episodes from Monday to Friday before flying home each weekend.


A Crossroads insider said: "Nobody could believe it when Cindy said she was going to fly in every week from the US.

"We thought she would have to drop out, but she convinced the producers that she could fill the role while living in the US.

"The motel has never had a guest from California - but now we have a staff member from there!"

Cindy, who became a hostess in the hit quiz show The Price Is Right when she was 18, moved to America two years ago.

She met her future husband, marketing millionaire Tony Lane Roberts at a showbusiness party in Los Angeles and they married in Las Vegas only a few weeks later.


A spokesman for the show's producer's Carlton TV said: "We are quite happy for Cindy to commute. Where she lives is entirely up to her.


"There are some great storylines in the script for her which will make the long journey worthwhile."

Crossroads, which was axed by TV chiefs in 1988 after more than 4,500 episodes, will return as a daytime ITV show next spring.


Only three members of the original cast are making a comeback in the new series. They are Jane Rossington (who played Jill Chance), Tony Adams (Adam Chance) and Kathy Staff (chef Doris Luke, but best known as Nora Batty in BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine). There will be no return for the much-loved handyman Benny, played by Paul Henry.


The new series will be shot at Carlton's studios in Nottingham and on location in the nearby village of Redmile in the picturesque Vale of Belvoir.


The refurbished motel makes its first appearance in the 21st century complete with a new gym and swimming pool.

Crossroads first appeared on November 2, 1964. It was originally scheduled to run for 30 episodes over six weeks.

During its heyday in the '70s the show attracted more than 16 million viewers, rivalling Coronation Street for the title of most popular soap.


However, critics attacked the series for its wobbling sets and wooden acting.

Carlton is spending pounds 10 million on the new series. Among the show's fans is Tony Blair.

He is said to be "delighted" that the programme is making a long- awaited comeback.






Julia gives up Oxbridge to star in Crossroads


Daily Express


School girl Julia Burchell has turned her back on a glittering academic career and a possible place at Oxbridge to join the new production of TV soap Crossroads.


She has been cast in one of the major roles as Nicola Russell, daughter of Motel owner Kate Russell, months after passing 10 A-star passes at GCSE. Julia, 17, has already started filming at Carlton's Nottingham studio with the blessing of her school, St. Martin's in Solihull, West Midlands.


Her father Alan, 51, said yesterday that Julia had been scheduled to sit four A-levels and her teachers predicted that she would win a place at Oxford or Cambridge. But Mr. Burchell, from Tamworth in Arden, Warwickshire, who runs an engineering company, said yesterday: "We are very proud of her.


"She was born a very, very clever girl. It was forecast by her school that she would be very successful at Cambridge or Oxford. She was going to do four A-levels in English Literature, French, Biology and History. We have all agonised over her decision.


"But I think she has a very good career in front of her. We have collectively worked out the pluses and minuses. It will be great to see her on television, one can't deny that.


"But the important thing is that she continues to keep her feet on the ground. She always has in the past." Mr. Buchell said he and his wife Anne, 50, knew their daughter was destined for stardom when she sang Crazy for You at a karaoke night in Tenerife when she was eight. "She was superb, she brought the house down," he said.


Julia, who was four when the original Crossroads was axed in 1988 after 24 years, said: "It was a very difficult decision because I worked so hard for my GCSEs. I didn't sleep for two weeks but I couldn't let the opportunity pass. I did my first filming on November 22. It was really strange but very exciting."


Julia, who is continuing her A-levels studies in French and English on a part-time basis with the help of her school, landed the part after attending Carlton's Junior Television Workshop.


Mrs. Sheila Williams, headmistress of St. Martin's, said: "Julia is very intelligent and academically able as well as a very talented actor.


"Whatever she chooses to do she will do it successfully. Julia is maintaining her commitment to academic studies, albeit on a part-time basis. The School is doing everything it can to support her."





Crossroads fans say “Bring Back Benny”




Crossroads fans have launched a campaign urging television bosses to bring back old favourite Benny Hawkins when the soap is resurrected in spring 2001. News that the handyman character will not be cast in the new version of the cult series has been described as a crime by the Crossroads Online website.


The site's creators are urging fans of the show to sign a petition calling for Carlton TV bosses to bring back Benny, played by actor Paul Henry. Crossroads Online says: "Benny Hawkins, played by Paul Henry, is not being cast in the new version of the hit TV soap - we at Crossroads Online feel this is a crime! Benny was one of the greatest things to come out of Kings Oak so we are starting a petition here on this site. If you'd like to see Benny make a reappearance, sign the petition! We will forward our petition to the bosses at Carlton."


Crossroads first hit UK television screens in 1964 and became Britain's first daily soap, renowned for wooden acting, wobbly sets and sensational storylines. A number of actors from the original soap, including Last of the Summer Wine's Kathy Staff, have been signed up for the revived show, which is being filmed at Carlton's studios in Nottingham and on location in the surrounding area. The new series will be screened on ITV five nights a week.





Cast check in for Crossroads


Daily Mail


The cast of hotel soap Crossroads has checked in for filming - 12 years after the series was last aired on TV.

Actors for the show posed in the new hotel built to replace the old motel set, famed for its shaky scenery and creaking sets.


This time round, the soap has been injected with a touch of high-octane sex appeal. Although old favourites such as Jane Rossington, who plays Jill Chance, will appear in the series, slow-witted Benny will be replaced by hunky handyman Bradley Clarke. He will be joined by former Price Is Right hostess Cindy Marshall-Day, who will play beauty salon manager Tracey Booth.


The £10million remake is being filmed in Redmile, Leicester. It will form the centrepiece of ITV’s daytime schedule next spring.


Among others joining the motel are former Hollyoaks stars James McKenzie Robinson and Toby Sawyer, who have been cast as waiters, and Liverpool One actress Rebecca Hazlewood who plays streetwise waitress Beana Vaz.


The new motel owners Kate and Patrick Russell will be played by Jane Gurnett - nurse Rachel Longworth in Casualty - and Neil McCaul, whose recent credits include Eastenders and Hearts and Bones.





RTE to screen Crossroads as soap battle goes on


Yahoo Irish News


RTE looks set to start screening the updated version of Crossroads in an effort to win back audiences in the "soap battle" with TV3 and UTV. The state broadcaster suffered a major blow with the loss of Coronation Street and Emmerdale. However RTE hopes the Crossroads remake, which is promising a "young, good-looking cast", will be a hit with Irish viewers.


The new Crossroads is being shot at present and promises to be a world away from its predecessor which became famous for its wobbly sets and phones that rang after they were picked up. Carlton Television is spending some 10 million pounds on the remake. RTE plans to show the soap at lunchtime with a possible repeat at teatime, it will fill the gap caused by the move of Emmerdale to TV3.