Crossroads fans mark 50th anniversary

image copyrightNOELE GORDON ESTATE
image captionNoele Gordon, who played motel owner Meg Mortimer for 17 years, acted with Paul Henry, whose character Benny Hawkins is one of the soap's best known

Fans of TV soap Crossroads have marked its 50th anniversary at a real hotel which doubled up as the show's motel.

The ITV soap opera, set in fictional Kings Oak in the Birmingham area, was famous for wobbly sets but had 18 million viewers at its height.

The Sutton Coldfield Ramada site was used for outdoor filming in the 1980s before the ITV soap was axed in 1988.

Memorabilia including popular character Benny Hawkins' hat were on show at the event.

'Tortuous and terrifying'

Launched on 2 November 1964, four years after Coronation Street, the show initially ran five days a week and became famous for fluffed lines.

Tony Adams, who played womanising Adam Chance for 10 years from 1978, said it was recorded without stopping.

He said: "It was tortuous, terrifying… yes there was pressure, but it was enormous fun.

"Hardly anybody lifted a cup because they were stuck to saucers so they didn't rattle.

"It was one of the best shows I ever did... if you went into M&S, to Scotland, to Ireland, to Jersey, people recognised you."

image copyrightJOHN JAMESON DAVIS
image captionThe Sutton Coldfield Ramada site, pictured in 1988, was used for exterior shots of Crossroads
image captionTony Adams, who played Adam Chance, said one viewer pulled a knife on him

Adams, 73, of Saltdean, Brighton, said one viewer upset at the way his character treated girlfriend Miranda Pollard got into the Birmingham studios.

He said: "He pulled a knife. Fortunately, there were two security guards. I didn't get hurt, but it was a bit of a shock."

Crossroads was revived in 2001, again starring Adams, but axed in 2003.

An anniversary cake featuring the motel sign has been baked for the Sutton Coldfield event.

'Russian spy'

But the original red motel sign was not on show because "it's so big" to transport, the Crossroads Appreciation Society said.

Proceeds from sales of props and photographs will go to the Crossroads Care charity network, which gives a break to carers.

Fan club member Chris Stacey, 55, of Newham, east London, said: "As a child growing up it was like an extended family... they featured Spaghetti Junction in the opening titles at one point."

But he said while it was "escapism", there were "bizarre" storylines including "when Amy Turtle, a famous Brummie, the cleaner… was thought to be a Russian spy".

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