4 items from 2015
Lynne Reid Banks (Letters, 30 November) seems to have forgotten that an adult view of what 12-year-olds should or should not read makes absolutely no difference at all: her own compassionate study of love and unmarried pregnancy in a London bedsit, The L-Shaped Room, was the must-read novel at my convent school in the early 1970s. My own copy, bought from a junk shop to the gleeful instruction “Keep that one under your coat”, I covered in brown paper and wrote David Copperfield on the front.
• Further to her letter (My Crossroads entrance, 28 November), I don’t think Cleo Sylvestre has ever been given the credit she deserves for being the first black British female actor to appear at the National Theatre. This was when she played Nurse Norton in Peter Nichols’ The National Health or Nurse Norton’s Affair at the Old Vic in October 1969.
Grand Theatre, »
Hazel Adair (Obituary, 24 November) was also responsible for introducing the first black character to Crossroads. I appeared as Melanie Harper, the adopted daughter of the main character Meg Richardson. This is important to remember because it was not long after Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech. At a time when racial tension was quite high, especially in places such as Birmingham where the show was based, the decision to introduce a main character who was black was unprecedented and a brave decision for a soap that was sometimes ridiculed.
Joint artistic director, Rosemary Branch Theatre
• I have always welcomed the blossoming of our garden forsythia bush as a sign that spring was really under way. By last Tuesday it was covered in glorious colour. Either the bush is confused, or I am.
Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire
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Writer of Crossroads and other television and radio soap operas
Hazel Adair, who has died aged 95, was a pioneer of soap opera on British television. She was the co-creator of Sixpenny Corner, Britain’s first daily soap; Compact, the first serial to feature a regular black character; and, most famously, Crossroads.
In 1964, she and Peter Ling devised Crossroads based on an idea he had after driving past a board advertising the opening of a motel, an American phenomenon then new to Britain. Reg Watson, a producer at the ITV company Atv, which had studios in Birmingham, had been trying to persuade his boss, Lew Grade, to let him make a soap like the Us daytime serials for five years and was finally given the green light. Adair and Ling presented them with The Midland Road, following the lives of staff and guests at a motel in the fictional village of King’s Oak, »
- Anthony Hayward
Doctor Who script editor and novelisation legend Terrance Dicks features in a special Q&A on this week’s podKast, recorded at the Fab Cafe in Manchester on April 19th 2015. Aside from that, the usual team of Christian, Brian and James will be discussing everything from Crossroads to the new Star Wars movie trailer, and all...
- Christian Cawley
4 items from 2015
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