Diane: Crossroads 'Problem Child'

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Sue Hanson talks about her most challenging role

Every family has its problem child.  And Crossroads, a family if ever there was one, has its own particular variety of that special member.  Obviously as the programme has progressed there have been short-lived entrances for characters who didn't reallt fit in, but their exits always came pretty speedily.  However, as far as the tight-knit group of characters who make up the real Crossroads family are concerned, that problem child spot is the unique role of Sue Hanson, known to millions of viewers as Diane.

Like so many of the Motel's 'veterans', with the exception of Noele Gordon and a very few others, Sue Hanson turned up at Crossroads just for a couple of weeks.  "Well, I was an actress and I was sent by an agent for an audition and I came up to Birmingham and got the part.  I worked for two weeks and then went off to the Bristol Old Vic for a year.  Then I came back, this time for a six week spot, but I've just stayed on ever since."
That was ten years ago, almost the start of the show, and since then Sue Hanson has portrayed Diane's tempestuous life with only a few breaks.  "I've had the odd times off, for plays or tele-plays, but for the last three years I haven't done anthing but the series.  I just have my holidays when I've finished one particular storyline."
Some people might think that ten years in the same show, the odd break notwithstanding, might have driven Sue mad, but far from it.  "I suppose by rights it should have done but no, it hasn't.  I like working, I really love working, and I've got used to this sort of pressure.  I'd certainly rather be here than sitting at home waiting for the work to turn up."
For any actor it's always best to work, but if your work is to portray as dramatic a character as Diane has proved to be, it must give the job an added flavour.  Of all the Crossroads regulars, Diane has undoubtedly had the most up and down life, with the bad times unfortunately outnumbering the good.
"She came in as a waitress," says Sue, "and since then she's gone through a lot.  She's been an alcoholic, had an illegitimate baby, had numerous love affairs that have gone wrong, tried to see the baby in America, even put in an unsuccessful stint as David Hunter's secretary.  The amount she's gone through, she's certainly changed."
Even Sue Hanson can't remember all those tragic affairs that might have branded Diane the classic 'scarlet woman' but in fact have left her a more sober, literally and psychologically, and mature woman.  Apart from the movie star who fathered her child, then whipped it away to America, there was the marriage to Vince Parker, played by Peter Brookes, but that broke up, even though Vince did his best.  Then there's been a short affair with Johnnie Briggs who ran the local garage and, of course, her platonic entanglement with Bart Fisher, who, actually turned the lease of his flat over to her, purely out of friendship.  And on the physical side things haven't been so easy either.  When the Crossroads Motel was shattered by an explosion, Diane was the one who had to have psychiatric treatment to soothe her ravaged senses, and when her marriage collapsed she turned to alcohol as the simple, but dangerous road to illusory happiness.

Diane: Crossroads 'Problem Child' continued