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The show originally focused on the different routes taken in life by sisters Meg Richardson and Kitty Jarvis (the former a motel-running widow, the latter owning a newsagents shop), later being joined in King's Oak by their supermarket-managing brother Andy Fraser. The idea of exploring family ties in this way drifted off somewhat when Meg proved to be hugely popular with viewers, and also by the unexpected death in 1969 of Kitty actress Beryl Johnstone. See more »
At its best probably in the 1960s, Crossroads was always terrific fun.
The programme had an innocence and lightness of touch in its 60s days that it lost in the 70s and great fun was to be had as sets occasionally wobbled and studio arc lights fell down! The 1960s characters were great - and included such legendaries as the Richardsons and Hugh Mortimer, Diane, Tish Hope, Marilyn Gates (mark 1!) Mr Lovejoy and Mr Booth and Amy Turtle.
The show was daring - a storyline about a single mother, a waitress at the motel, was strong stuff back then. But murder was more difficult. In a 1960s story involving the character Gerald Bailey (whose wife, Ruth, later married Meg's brother) great pains had to be taken so as not to "distress" viewers in a storyline originally envisaged as murder, but later reconfigured to "sudden death".
However, by the late 1960s, attempted murder WAS allowed as we saw the character Malcolm Ryder trying to poison the show's heroine, Meg Richardson - his wife in the plot at that time! The 70s and 80s episodes are also great fun. The 70s episodes have added value as we see all sorts of middle aged people wearing the garish and flared style of clothes which were so cutting edge and trendy amongst the young hippies of the 1967/1968 Summer Of Love. Younger 70s characters, like Martin Bell, look positively dowdy in comparison to the 60s fashion following older set!
The 70s and 80s episodes saw a continuation of cutting edge soap story lines - I particularly recall the introduction of Benny in the 1970s (learning difficulties) and the terrific Downs Syndrome and racism story lines in the 1980s.
In the 1980s, the show altered dramatically and it seemed a terrible shame to dispatch Meg, but Crossroads gave excellent value with the introduction of chararacters such as Valerie Pollard and Nicola Freeman and a brief return for Amy Turtle! I followed the show from start to finish and enjoyed it all, though I do feel now that the 70s episodes are rather over-hyped (so much 70s stuff really belongs to the 60s!). From wonky but lovable 60s soap to shoulder padded, witty but gentle late 80s ending, Crossroads was required viewing for me for an awful lot of years.
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