Crossroads (ITV1, 2003)
In what will probably the last in my series looking back at the final episodes of TV soaps (I don’t think I can go through Brookside again, and I don’t want to go anywhere near Eldorado), here’s a look at how Crossroads ended. This was a soap that was originally shown on ITV from 1964-1988, and then there was a revival in 2001 in a daytime slot, which featured the return of some old faces. This met with a middling response from viewers, so it was time for a rethink.
In 2003 Crossroads was relaunched again, and this time it was somewhat daft and camp, as if they were trying to say in this version the acting was deliberately bad, ha-ha-ha! Again, viewers weren’t very fond of all this, and even having guest appearances from the likes of such celebrities as Les Dennis, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Lionel Blair (although on this occasion he didn’t simply say “cataracts?”) wasn’t that exciting.
So the decision was made to end the show in May 2003, for good this time. How would it all end? I decided to give it another watch. Unlike the other soaps that I have reviewed, would they just go down the “it was all a dream” route? Well… they actually did. They took the opportunity to send up the genre somewhat and make references to the show, I believe the word for this is meta as the teenagers say.
Apart from Jane Asher who was brought in as the star attraction for this version and played Angela who ran the hotel, just about every other cast member had already been in a soap or would go on to be in one. So we had the likes of Sherrie Hewson, Anne Charleston and Lucy Pargeter who would all go on to appear in Emmerdale, with just about all the others going on to EastEnders or Hollyoaks. And also featuring was Freema Agyeman who would go on to further success in Doctor Who and Law And Order UK.
Another thing that I noticed was that there was a character called Rio who was played by Georgina Walker (who had become a redhead and picked up an American accent somewhere along the way) who was described by one character as “a right little madam”. Now you might remember that this was the actress who caught my attention when she played the mysterious Jane Harper in the great Night And Day. By a coincidence Crossroads ended about a week before Night And Day did on ITV1, so she was in the unfortunate position of appearing in the final episode of two soaps in very quick succession, and she hasn’t been seen much on TV since.
About halfway through the final episode, suddenly all of the cast worked in a supermarket, and the announcement was made that the supermarket was about to close and everyone would be out of a job. When asked what she would do next, Asher’s character said that she might “bake a cake” (do you see??!). How we laughed. It was definitely one of the more bizarre ways for a show to leave the screen.