Crossroads 2003: The Producer Speaks

  

Yvonne Grace is well known in the TV industry as an award winning television drama producer who cut her teeth on BBC flagship soap, EastEnders, before turning around the fortunes of (BAFTA nominated) Holby City Series 2. (Her series increased the ratings from 6 million per episode to 9.6 million!)

 

For CITV she produced a pilot called 'My Dads A Boring Nerd' which won “Best Children's Comedy at the Comedy Awards in 1998 and also won it's category in the NYFTV (New York Film and TV Festival)

 

She also happens to have been the Executive producer of Crossroads for its re-launch in 2003…

 

Yvonne kindly spoke to us about her time as producer, and revealed some interesting stories about life behind the camera at the Crossroads Hotel…

 

We asked Yvonne to tell us about her (ultimately unrealised) plans to bring back Tony Adams as Adam Chance…

 

Yes it’s true that we were considering bringing back Adam Chance because in our re-vamped version we wanted only to bring back characters from the 2001 revival that had some sort of sex appeal. I know Adam Chance's sex appeal is a moot point (!) but in our rather heightened re-vamp of the show, Adam Chance would have played Rasputin to Angel's Catherine the Great...(we had in mind a storyline that would take Angel down the obsessed route and Adam into megalomania territory)

 

Tony was a fan of what we were trying to achieve and I am sorry I didn’t in the end, get to work with him.

 

When the 2003 series first started there was some confusion over the plots that were left “dangling”. We asked whether this was a deliberate decision…

 

The remit we had from ITV when we took on the revamp of Crossroads, was to do something entirely different with the show and not hark back to original storylines. That is also why we did not want to get involved in filling in any storyline gaps from the previous revival like the Sarah Jane / Louise Dixon imposter storyline.

Executive Producer, Yvonne Grace

 

Yvonne, here with the cast and crew on the last day of filming.

 

 

 

 

Yvonne told us about some of the other pressures of making a soap…

 

In television drama production, there is never enough development time (pre-production); the pressure for a drama producer is to get the show on air as quickly as possible so it can start earning it's keep! I think I had about 3 months to find my crack script team and start generating storylines, to sign up a stable of good writers who were put to script writing immediately and to cast the key roles. Basically a kick bollock scramble but it is always thus.

 

Next we asked about any back-stage gossip that Yvonne could share…

 

Sherrie Hewson and I only had to look at each other to start one another off into peals of laughter. I had to hide when she was being shot, because if she caught my eye, something we had said at break would surface and she would be off... corpsing all over the show.

 

When Lionel Blair came on the show, he taught me how to soft shoe shuffle. What a nice man and a genuine star.

We were all a very close team. The cast and crew got on famously.

 

The supermarket scenes we shot right at the end of the series, knowing that the show was about to be axed, and the filming of those sequences had a certain energy to them as a result. I thought Princess the dog hit the right note for the heightened character Cindy Marshall Day was playing during these scenes and I recall Princess was very well behaved!

 

We wondered whether Yvonne has happy memories or mementos of her time in charge of Crossroads…

 

I bought the enormous gilded, wooden, carved mirror from Angel Sampson's bedroom and it has pride of place in my living room.

 

I also was given this time, the statue that was carved in her honour, and formed part of a long story line on the show. It sits atop my dressing table in my bedroom and it reminds me of Crossroads and the sheer hard work but fun, that it was.

 

I am happy to go back to those days. I believe I did a great job. As do the 160 people that worked for me on the show, and the 1.5 million viewers a day that followed it and enjoyed it.

 

But it's gone now. Life moves on.

 

We mentioned that we would be making the annual pilgrimage to Nottingham to photograph the set for the site…

 

The script team and I shuttled back and forth from London to Nottingham constantly.

 

Whilst I was in an important meeting with the schedulers one day, they spent the whole time in the Nottingham Robin Hood Museum; they all bought Robin Hood hats!

 

Have a lovely time in Nottingham and please do give the place my love.

 

Fond memories indeed.

 

The text here is © Yvonne Grace and Crossroads 2001. We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Yvonne for taking time to talk to us.

 

Filming on the revamped exterior set.

Photo courtesy of Graham McGrath

 

The master of the soft shoe shuffle, Mr. Lionel Blair

 

Yvonne, here with Linda Robson, Kate O’Mara, Lionel Blair, Emma Noble and soap legend, Anne Charlston.