Noele Gordon is amazing! As she says herself, she's been an actress since the tender age of two-and-a-half ...
an extremely enviable record in the light of her stage triumphs - West End theatre, pantomime, chat show host, interviewer,
cabaret artist and, of course, the Queen of Britain's favourite TV series.
Crossroads Monthly travelled to Birmingham's ATV studios to meet this remarkable woman. While the cast were running
through a rehearsal, we sat in a comfortable dressing room which could be none other than Noele's. On the wall there
was a large portrait shot of Larry Grayson, announcing Best Wishes to his friend. On the mantlepiece was a small doll
dressed as Queen Elizabeth 1, the monarch who is Noele's favourite historical character. Above the wall-sized mirror
were a score of photographs and notes from famous names, all addressed to Noele.
Suddenly the door opened, and there she was ... Meg Richardson in the flesh, complete with perfectly coiffured auburn
hair, beautiful blue eyes, and the most friendly and disarming of smiles.
Noele, you have been living with Meg Richardson now for a dozen years. How has this unique achievement
affected you? Does Meg intrude on Noele's life?
Oh no, we are completely dissimilar and you drop these things entirely when you leave the studio. I would say that
perhaps the only effect the programme has had on me - apart from ageing me - is that it has made me a lot more tolerant
than I used to be. We've dealt with so many problems in Crossroads which, if one doesn't know much about them, one is
inclined to shrug off. For example, the problems of the handicapped were treated in depth when my son was crippled three
years ago. We especially looked into the effect a handicapped member of a family has on the rest of the relatives.
Illegitimate children ... that's another problem ... foster children ... alcoholism. Each time we looked at them, it
gave us an insight into these problems.
You say you and Meg are dissimilar. How different are you to her?
Oh, I'm completely incapable as everyone at ATV knows! People often say, 'Why don't you run a motel?'
I could no more run a licensed premises than fly to the moon! Meg's very practical ... she can count which I can't!
She's very good at dealing with staff whereas I would never be any good at hiring or firing people ... I'm much too much
of a coward. If I ran a motel I'd end up with about a thousand employees. I'd never have the nerve to sack them!
Meg Richardson isn't allowed to smoke; Noele Gordon smokes like a furnace. But then again, it is very difficult
to say just how different we are. I don't know if I would treat my children in the same way Meg Richardson treats her
children. Then again, if I had children, I might. I just don't know.