Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Crossroads - The 1960s

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Crossroads - The 1960s
ATV for ITV, from 2/11/1964
1,210 x 30 min eps, black & white/colour
ProducersReg Watson
 Eric Fawcett
 Pieter Rogers
Writers includePeter Ling
 Hazel Adair
 Ted [Terrance] Dicks
 Don Houghton
 Derrick Sherwin
Theme TuneTony Hatch

Cast: Noele Gordon (Meg Richardson); Beryl Johnstone (Kitty Jarvis); Jane Rossington (Jill Richardson); John Bentley (Hugh Mortimer); Roger Tonge (Alexander 'Sandy' Richardson); Susan Hanson (Diane Lawton); Ann George (Amy Turtle)

Show full cast and credits

Widow and mother Meg Richardson opens a motel in Birmingham, where drama and intrigue will be constant guests.

Show full synopsis

Crossroads made its debut in 1964 after Lew Grade had finally decided that the Midlands region should have its own continuing serial. Hazel Adair and Peter Ling, who were responsible for the earlier Compact (BBC, 1962-65), created the series, while producer Reg Watson cast regional celebrity Noele Gordon in the key role of Meg Richardson, the widowed owner of the Crossroads motel. The daily demand for episodes required that each show be recorded 'as live', with virtually no retakes other than in dire emergencies. This put tremendous pressure on the cast and apparently (very few 1960s episodes now exist as evidence) led to a number of on-screen mishaps - a problem which would haunt the show in the years to follow.

The series initially featured two sisters: the independent businesswoman Meg Richardson, and her sister Kitty Jarvis, who kept the local shop. Most storylines were small in scale and a high proportion of plots involved the growing pains of Meg's children, the respective love-lives of motel waitresses Marilyn and Diane, and the mishaps of the verbally challenged old gossip Amy Turtle. However, in the early years, Amy's antics could only be seen in some ITV regions, and then at wildly varying times. Bigger problems appeared in July 1967 when the show was cut to four episodes a week by the Independent Broadcasting Authority on quality grounds, and then a year later Thames Television unceremoniously dumped Crossroads from the schedule. The resulting furore was so fierce that even the Prime Minister's wife Mary Wilson (a devoted fan) became involved before Thames eventually reinstated the show. Although London trailed six months behind the rest of the country for some years, the reinstatement was a significant moment for Crossroads and its status as a national soap.

As the decade progressed, storylines grew more sensational. Meg's new husband Malcolm Ryder attempted to kill her, her true love Hugh Mortimer married a dying woman and she was later imprisoned for running down Vince Parker. The motel itself was blown up, and the cast sent off to Tunisia while it was rebuilt. This fictional ploy explained away the very different looking motel set that had recently been built in the brand new ATV studios in Birmingham, and these changes set the programme up for the 1970s, although the new decade would bring madder stories, greater criticism and massive audiences.

John Williams

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Haunted cottage (4:19)
2. Meet the staff (4:28)
3. The Hollow Wall (2:15)
Complete 1968 episode part 1 (8:27)
Complete 1968 episode part 2 (11:58)
Compact (1962-65)
Crossroads (1964-88, 2001-03)
Crossroads - The 1970s
Crossroads - The 1980s
Crossroads - The 2000s