Yet Maurice Kaufmann is back in Crossroads, to the delight of everyone who follows the career, both
on and off the Crossroads set, of this leading British actor. "It now turns out that not only have I managed
to have my eyesight restored, but that my wife Anne has died in a car crash, and that when she died she was also some
five months pregnant. Not surprisingly this is driving me berserk. So here I am again, being rude to everyone,
and even Meg herself. And of course David, again, and Sandy and everyone else."
Playing a bit of a bastard is no novelty in a career which Kaufmann sums up briefly as 'extensive'. And as far
as any hostile reactions to his on-set rudeness to Meg or David are concerned, he points out that "after all, if they got
so annoyed then I must have been acting awfully well. I know enough about Crossroads and the people who watch
it to realise that to many of them the events on the screen and the people who act them are very real. My own mother,
for instance, is a faithful fan."
Like Mother, like son: Maurice Kaufmann is a staunch defender of Crossroads in the teeth of so-called
'sophisticated' criticism. "The story lines do take a long time to tell, but this is a benefit. People can't watch
it avidly all the time, but with plots taking so long to work out, they can pick up on a story without really missing much
of the essential plot. There are ten to twelve different scenes in every episode and each of them is telling a story
and slowly pushing it along. There are beginnings, middles and ends and everyone who enjoys Crossroads has
plenty of time to get well involved with what's going on."
For an actor whose career has been 'extensive', Kaufmann never belittles the world of 'soap operas'. "It's very
like being in rep," he says. "I don't knock it, nor the people who are in it. Not for a million years. I
might criticise the scripts occasionally, and the odd peripheral thing, but I think everyone works bloody hard and that they're
all very clever indeed. You really need enormous expertise to make this type of series keep working. No insults
meant, 'cos after all there's only one Shakespeare, but it really is very hard working on this sort of series. Shakespeare
is great whoever does him."
Trying to get Maurice Kaufmann to remember the details of all his lengthy career is by no means easy. He's
been in virtually every drama series from 'The Voodoo Factor' to the 'Avengers', 'The Saint', and all the rest. He played
a dissolute son of the Northern mill-owning family in 'Champion House', a series that preceded 'The Brothers' as a saga of
industrial life as seen from the boardroom. He was George Sanders' chauffeur in 'Shot in the Dark' - the original
film in the 'Pink Panther' series starring Peter Sellars as Inspector Clouseau - he played in 'Dr Phibes', the list is endless.
Only one thing unites his many and varied parts. "My career has always been built on Americans or heavies." Like
Kim Fortune he's played 'The Collector' in Tennessee Williams' 'Streetcar Named Desire', though his role was played some twenty-five