Sunday 12 December 2021

SUN TELEVISION AWARD 1974

PRIDE OF PLACE IN THE COLLECTION

Here’s one of those items that deserves pride of place in the collection – the Sun Television Award for “Top ITV Series 1974”.

Crossroads actually won Sun Awards in 1973, 1974 and 1975. It was a time when it was riding the crest of a wave in terms of popularity.

In 1973, Crossroads won the trophy for Top ITV Series, whilst the prestigious “Colditz” won for the BBC.

Title Card for the Sun Television Awards 1973

Table 26

The ceremony was held at the Europa Hotel on Friday 11th May. Noele was at the awards ceremony to collect the award, seated on table 26 with Reg Watson  and Tony Waters.

Noele Gordon receives the Sun Television Award for Top ITV Series 1973

The ceremony was hosted by Pete Murray, with cabaret by Freddie Starr. It was shown on ITV at 10:30pm

TV Times listing for the Sun Television Awards 1973

This was a big deal at the time – Nolly made a speech that summed up just how important it was for the cast to receive the award…

“Crossroads has been waiting for one for nine years… and at last we’ve got it!”

In a previous blog post I've shared these letters that were sent to the cast and crew by producer, Reg Watson and Lew Grade, Chairman on ATV...

Letter from Reg Watson

Letter from Lew Grade

Crossroads would also win awards in 1974, and again in 1975...

Title Card for the Sun Television Awards 1974

TV Times listing for the 1975 Sun Awards Ceremony

Noele Gordon receives the Sun Television Award for 1975

1975 really was a bumper year for Crossroads as the series also won at the TV Times Awards, hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck.

TV Times Awards Show 1975 - Hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck

Nolly receives the TV Times Gold Award for Top Female Personality

Noele collected the award for “Most compulsive TV character (Female) – Meg Richardson” and a special “Top Female Personality – Gold Award” (for winning a record number of times).

The awards, voted for by readers of “The Sun” and “TV Times” really are a reflection of just how popular the show and Noele were in the hearts of the British public – no matter what jokes or jibes have been made about the series in the years since - and that's why the 1974 award has pride of place in the collection.

The Three Sun Television Awards on display in the producer's office

Nolly with a Sun Television Award

Jane Rossington showed Mark Lamarr the 1975 award on The Big Breakfast



Saturday 18 September 2021

MEG'S BUREAU (REPLICA)

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OF BUREAU THERE ARE?

I do. I've been looking for one like Meg's for ages. No - longer than that - forever.

OK. Maybe not THAT long - but a long time.

Sometimes it had the right handles, but the wrong number of drawers.
Sometimes the drawers were correct but the feet were wrong.
Sometimes the feet were right but there was a ledge around the top.

A few years ago I found the right bureau - but I didn't bid on it as it had been "restored" by painting it in chalk paint. Let's just get this straight here and now.... Randomly painting a piece of furniture in chalk paint or whacking a dirty great stencil on the side is not restoring - it's vandalism. But I digress.....

Meg's bureau is another of those iconic pieces that I have wanted to include in the collection for a long time. The original is owned by super-fan Peter Kingsman (also the owner of the red motel sign) so it was always going to have to be a replica.

The original bureau appeared in the show from the early 1960's until February 1982 when the sitting room set was retired.

Early 1970s

Late 1970s

1966


It was sold, alongside many items of Crossroads memorabilia in the 1988 auction, for the princely sum of £150.

Auction Details

Check out 193

Auction Item 193

Peter Kingsman with the original bureau


It is actually NOT that old - and dates from the late 1950's / early 1960's. In terms of the show - it was useful as it meant that "office" scenes could be recorded in the large sitting room set and even using just one camera  - if the actors were positioned correctly. Apart from that - there's not much to say I suppose....


Two shot


My replica came from ebay, and was another one of those famous recommendations that pop-up every now and then with exactly the right item.

The only problem was that it was in a 4 and a half hour drive away. I say "four and a half" as that is the time it took to get to where it was being stored. It took another seven hours to get back - but that's another story...

Did I say that was the "only" problem? I meant the first problem. The second problem was that (again) I didn't actually have anywhere to keep it once I had got it home  - but after some sneaky furniture rearranging I just about managed to fit it in.

Of course - once I had fitted it in - it would have been rude not to paint the wall behind it brown - wouldn't it?

The bureau gets moved in (almost) its last appearance - 1982



Four drawers. Correct feet. No chalk paint.

David checks for the fourth drawer

Diane admires the fitted interior and curved internal drawers


There is a sticker on the back of my bureau from "Jaycee" furniture that shows an inspection date...

Jaycee Sticker

There are a few subtle differences between the original and my replica - but it's close enough for me. 

And it's also useful. 

I'm sitting here, writing the blog, at the bureau.


I'm sure Meg would be pleased.

Side by side comparison - Brown wall essential!



Tuesday 27 April 2021

WHAT'S ON THE MENU?



EARLY 1980's PROP MENU

In March 2001, Jill has returns to the Crossroads Hotel, and soon busies herself getting to know the staff. She finds her way to the kitchen and asks a rather bemused Billy Taylor whether they still have Black Forest Gateaux on the menu – after all, it was very popular back in the day, and the secret of a good hotel restaurant is to give the customer what they want!





Billy is unconvinced.

But… Was Black Forest Gateaux really on the menu back in the day?

Well – I can answer this question quite definitively with a “yes” as the latest addition to the Crossroads Collector blog concerns this – a genuine prop menu from  the early 1980’s.



It is basically a leatherette / vinyl folder containing two printed pages of menu – one of which features the 1980’s style Crossroads Motel logo.

The cover also has “Crossroads Motel” and “Menu” picked out in gold letters.

One of my friends joked recently that as long as an item has “Crossroads” printed on it – I’ll buy it – no matter what it is. Now this is only half true – but in this case, the menu also comes with provenance - and that is why I was willing to spend a little more than usual on it....

Firstly, it is fairly easy to screen match the menu as it has a number of features that can be seen in early 1982 episodes:

Distinctive fabric lining

The gold / elastic rope around the edge

The leatherette cover with gold writing

Secondly, alongside the menu was a Mirror Group Newspapers letter informing the recipient that they had won a prize in their Crossroads competition...



If you remember, I recently talked about the Biddle and Webb auction that was held when the series ended in 1988 - During the auction, Mirror Group Newspapers spent over £3000 buying up lots to give away in a competition in the Daily Mirror. The menus even get a mention....



Thirdly, if you look at the auction catalogue, item number 127 is a selection of Crossroads menus.



In fact, the menu cover still shows evidence of where the “lot number” sticker was – and the number 127 can be seen quite clearly where the ink has leaked through.



And really – that’s all there is to tell you about the menu. I’m really pleased with it, and it’s a great addition to the collection.

Oh – by the way  - back to Jill’s gateaux…

“A selection of Gateaux, Cheesecakes and Trifles” is available on the menu for £1.20 – but to be honest, I would rather go for “Home Baked Apple Pie and Fresh Cream” for 90p

Wednesday 10 February 2021

GENUINE SET DECORATION - DIANE HUNTER'S PAINTING








WINTER PLOUGH

The item we’re looking at today is a genuine prop from the set of Crossroads.  It’s not a “famous” prop – like the red sign, Meg’s lamp or her sitting room painting but it is certainly striking…

This is a (print of a) painting that used to hang in Diane Hunter’s flat in the early to mid 1980’s.

The owners of it recently made contact with the fan-club to find out if there would be anyone who would be interested in taking it off their hands as they have plans to emigrate and  no longer have space for it.

Would anyone be interested in it? Well of course I would!  I got in touch with them and agreed to become the guardian of this little bit of TV history…

So how did they get hold of the picture originally?

During a series of email conversations, the owners of the print told me that in the mid 1980’s they were friendly with the old lady that lived next door to  them, who was particularly taken with it whenever it appeared on screen. 

After writing several letters to Central Television, they finally managed to get hold of the picture in late 1986 (after Diane had moved house) and had presented it to the old lady as a gift. Although she was not particularly well, It apparently brought her a great deal of joy for the rest of her life.

When the neighbour died, she wanted the couple to have it back and they had kept hold of it ever since.

The print is actually a scene by an artist called David Shepherd. It is called “Winter Plough” and you can find out more about it https://www.davidshepherd.com/davidshepherd-winterplough.html

Alongside the print were letters from Central TV from 1985 and 1986, which detail exactly how the painting came into the hands of the people that got in touch with the fan-club. 

Letter 1

Letter 3


As you can see by reading the letters it was an item from stock and even Central admitted by the time they let the picture go, it was looking a little tatty…

Does it matter that it’s a bit rough around the edges? Of course not. It’s Diane Hunter’s picture!