Just back from the trip of a lifetime are the twelve readers of the 'Weekly News' who won our recent comeptition.
Their prize was a trip to the ATV studios in Birmingham to meet the stars of Crossroads, see behind the scenes and crown it
all with a super, star-studded dinner party.
And what a time our twelve ladies had. When they first arrived in Birmingham they were welcomed at the plush Holiday
Inn hotel where they'd be spending the next two nights.
With hardly time for a quick glance at the colour TV in their rooms, the guests assembled for the first time in the pool
bar where the main feature is the indoor swimming pool.
The party then split up briefly to get ready for dinner and at 7.30 pm they met again in the Mainbrace Bar for a sherry
reception laid on by Henk Bosch, Innkeeper of the Holiday Inn.
Lounging in the bars deep armchairs the ladies studied the mouth-watering menu. There was a lot of discussion about
what to pick. Choices eventually ranged from prawn cocktail, eggs benedict or smoked salmon for starters, through Dover
sole, steaks or beef cooked in a pastry case for the main course. The meal was topped off with a fabulous concoction
of ice cream, fresh fruit and whipped cream called 'The Nutcracker Sweet'.
Over dinner Mrs Ivy Fletcher sipped a glass of wine and explained what a pick-me-up the trip was for her. The previous
weekend, Ivy, a widow, returned home from a visit to a relative to find her house ransacked by burglars and among the
things that had been taken was her colour TV set. It was a terrible shock at first, but every time she felt her spirits
sagging she thought about the Crossroads trip to come and it kept her from getting upset.
Next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, the excited party gathered in the foyer for the short trip to the ATV studios
First highlight came when Noele Gordon, who plays Meg Mortimer, joined them as they arrived. She brought over her
gleaming Rolls Royce, NG10, just a fortnight old, so that she and our twelve guests could have souvenir pictures taken with
Then, on the way to the studio canteen, our prize winners caught a glimpse of Fiona Curzon (Faye Mansfield) and Helen
Dorward (Avis Tenneson), dashing to the studio for an early rehearsal, their hair tightly rolled in curlers.
It was over morning coffee in the canteen that they got their first view of members of the cast, taking a brief break
from rehearsal. Later the twelve ladies watched the dress rehearsal for a Crossroads episode.
When this was over they were able to go down onto the studio floor and wander among the eight sets, including the famous
Crossroads kitchen being used for that episode. Audrey Green was stunned to see the kitchen, which looks so immaculate
and clean on the screen, in fact, carried the scars of countless episodes where cameras had collided with parts of the set.
Ivy Fletcher suddenly pointed to the picture in Meg's sitting room. "That's the picture I've got in my sitting
room at home!" she said with delight.
By now the ladies had spent so long wandering around the set there was just enough time to get to the green room, the
actors rest room, to see on monitor the episode recorded.
With this safely in the can, the party waited for members of the cast to join them for a buffet lunch. David Lawton,
still in his outfit as Mr Booth, the chef, was first into the room. He swept over to the delicious buffet laid
on by the studio and announced that as chef he was going to give it his professional inspection.
The joke broke the ice and as other members of the cast came in, the ladies clustered round asking the actors all about
themselves. Sipping wine, eating chicken legs, and sandwiches, a party atmosphere quickly developed. Autograph
books began to circulate freely. When the cast eventually had to leave for the afternoon rehearsal, it was time for
the prizewinners to go back on to the set for souvenir photographs with the stars taken this time in the 'reception area'
of the Motel.