1500 EPISODES BUT NO REASON TO CELEBRATE!
In 1971, Crossroads reached an unprecedented milestone. 1500 episodes. No other British drama series had come anywhere close to clocking up that many editions and ATV went all-out to celebrate the achievement.
Recently, I took possession of a collection of items from the family of Morris Parsons, better known as Wilf Harvey. The collection included his scrapbooks and various other pieces which I will include on this site over the coming months.
The items at the top of this page are his invitation and menu for a luncheon that was held at ATV Centre to celebrate the occasion in June 1971* but this was merely the tip-of-the-iceberg when it came to celebrating…
|Victor Ernest Turton, the Mayor of Birmingham tours the set with Lew Grade and Noele Gordon - Crossroads Fan Club
|Noele Gordon presented with a silver tray to commemorate 1500 episodes of Crossroads - Crossroads Fan Club
In real life, the cast of Crossroads took a plane to Jersey for a celebratory trip. Footage from Channel TV HERE captures a brief, and slightly risqué interview with Roger Tonge, while Noele Gordon recalls that her previous visit to the Channel Islands, (September 1970) when she travelled with Ann George, was cut short due to a burglary at her home in Ross on Wye.
|Jane Rossington, Noele Gordon and Roger Tonge interviewed for Channel Television
|The Evening News reports on the burglary at Noele Gordon's home - 18.09.70
Mace Archive HERE contains a news report about a special cake that was produced to mark the milestone, which was to be cut into 1500 pieces by none other than Noele Gordon herself (19.05.71) and the surviving “ATV Today”material includes some 16mm film taken at the airport in Jersey. (24.03.71)
|Noele Gordon, Lew Grade and a VERY large cake! - Crossroads Fan Club
|The TV Times Crossroads Special celebrating 1500 episodes in 1971
|An advert for the Crossroads 1500 Episodes Special Magazine.
|Crossroads Cast relaxing at La Place Hotel, Jersey
In the magazine the cast are pictured at various locations around Jersey taken during the trip mentioned above, and in particular “La Place Hotel”. Interestingly, in episode 1481, (April 1971) Meg is flicking through a leaflet advertising the very same hotel… (its name obscured by Noele’s thumb )
|La Place Hotel, Jersey. Crossroads Episode 1481
|Noele's thumb protecting ATV from falling fowl of strict advertising rules.
Morris Parsons’ scrapbook contains a couple of articles about the trip to Jersey, and you can read these below.
(Article to follow)
Interesting details include the fact that a special reception was held at Channel Television, followed by a dinner at La Place Hotel given by the States Tourism Committee - The article (Tuesday, March 23, 1971) specifically mentions Morris’ connection to the Chanel Islands and talks about him living in Guernsey for two years from 1935.
|Celebrating 1500 episodes of Crossroads at Walford Hall, Baschurch
I watched Noele on location at the Shropshire Farm Institute at Baschurch - the "model" for the Crossroads motel - where despite unavoidable delays in intense cold she remained calm, patient and helpful. Having given up most of her lunch-hour to a picture session she then found time to give an impromptu stand-up interview to the local newspaper
|TV Times celebrates 1500 episodes of Crossroads
Finally, of course, there was the big celebration episode, in which members of the cast from the previous 7 years returned in scenes reminiscent of “This Is Your Life”. TV Personality Godfrey Winn returned to the motel for his second visit as a way of framing the flashbacks and returning cast.
|Special Listing for Episode 1500
So, with far-flung location visits, Special Edition magazines, and covers, newspaper articles and special luncheons it seems only fitting that I link to the episode on YouTube so that you can enjoy the celebration for yourself…
…but sadly I can’t as the episode was wiped and no longer exists in the archive. The closest survivor is Episode 1495 from May 1971, which features nothing relating to the special.
Even more frustrating is the fact that the next available episode isn’t until number 1674 from March 1874, ten months later!
Imagine that! 10 months of episodes that no longer exist. All the effort, all the work, all the time and expense that went into making the episodes, and they were wiped to reuse the tapes. Of course it IS possible that someone somewhere actually recorded this special episode, but as the years go by its survival is looking increasingly unlikely – which is certainly no cause for celebration!
The menu for the luncheon was as follows....
Clear Turtle Soup with Sherry
Cold Roast Sirloin of Beef
Roast English Turkey
Supreme of Chicken Jeanette
Parslied New Potatoes
Fresh Fruit Salad Hawaii
Cheshire Stilton Brie