In The Beginning ...

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Scriptwriter Peter Ling looks back on 2500 successful visits to the Crossroads Motel

It's all too easy to forget when you're faced with a series as true to life as Crossroads, but when the actual facts are told, then we've all got to accept one, however distasteful it may be:  Crossroads remains, when all is said and done, the product of the scriptwriters' minds.

Still, like it or not, a team of scriptwriters are the creators of all those characters millions of loyal fans have learnt to love over nearly twelve years during which the Crossroads Motel has gained a regular place in the British way of life.  Crossroads Montly talked to Peter Ling, the man who with his then partner Hazel Adair, thought up the whole concept of the Motel and who must be credited with the number one role amongst that unsung band of heroes and heroines, the Crossroads writers. 
Like so many of today's top scriptwriters, Peter Ling's career began in the unlikely surroundings of a hospital bed.  His relish for print had come much earlier, with a piece published at the age of 13 in the surprising pages of Good Housekeeping, but it took a stint in the Army and a nasty attack of TB to set him firmly on the path that he has followed ever since.  Like Galton and Simpson, two more TV scriptwriting greats, the enforced relaxation of his hospital bed put Peter Ling's mind into top gear.  He may have been confined between the sheets but his brain was free.  He began writing for radio and by the time his sentence to a hospital bed had expired the BBC was more than happy to pick up on the talents of a writerwho had already sold them a good many scripts.
"When I came out of the sanatorium," says Peter Ling, "I had already sold some radio scripts and from radio I moved on to TV.  Then when ITV started up I moved over there and became the Children's Script Editor, for Redifussion as it then was.  I pretty well concentrated on children's stuff."  There were other jobs as well.  Ling was regular writer for one of the 1950s top detective series 'No Hiding Place'.  It started off as 'Murder Bag', then progressed to 'Crime Sheet', but come whatever title the producer invented, he was the mind behind the policemen's TV exploits.
"Then I joined up with Hazel Adair, with whom I'd already written children's programmes, not scripts, but just working side by side, so I knew her from way back.  And she said to me "I'm doing a new serial for the BBC called 'Compact' and would you like to do it with me?" and I naturally said "Fine" and that went on for three and a half years.   

In The Beginning ... continued