Article Sunday People, June 28th, 1981
John Bentley talking to Bill Dorran and Jane Owen
I'm sorry to have to say it, but Noele Gordon has got just what she deserved.
After never turning a hair when other artisites got the Crossroads Chop she is herself being unceremoniously booted out.
Many of those who are left will doubtless breathe sighs of relief.
No more will they have to tloerate her terrible tantrums, the rows, the stupid rules of conduct which she imposed like
an immovable headmistress.
In pay disputes - and there were many during my 11-year stint with the show - she always stood with management.
But then she got a salary - we received fees and were just the poor relations.
Her power grew steadily over the years. There were plenty of rumours that she had the right of hire and fire, but
it could never be proved.
I'll never forget my own sacking. I was written out of the series for a year then told in a curt letter from ATV
that I'd "died" in Australia.
Nolly and I were supposed to be such good friends but to this day - and it's four years since I got my marching orders
- she has never been in touch. It was a brutal way to go. There wasn't even a phone call first. Now Nolly
knows what it feels like.
I first met her when she interviewed me on the 'Midland Profile' TV show. She later asked me to join Crossroads.
I did five episodes a week for £125. Imagine it. I needed the money, but what a way to earn it.
Every Monday morning there were tears in my eyes at the prospect of leaving my Sussex home for the Birmingham studios
and the endless hassle of being Hugh Mortimer.
There was one chair in the studio which no one dared sit on - simply because Nolly liked to use it. If there was
something she didn't agree with during rehearsals we all felt her ice-cold anger. She'd give an imperious, empty stare
- then flee to her dressing room.
The producer, Jack Barton, would run after her like a little puppy, and the screaming would start. You could hear
the noise miles away, despite the closed doors. Eventually she would come back on the set - and things would of course,
The rules of conduct were dreadful. You were in trouble if your breath smelled of beer, even half a lager.
Nolly knew I liked a drink but I was never under the influence on the set. My goodness, I didn't dare! I used
to save up my real drinking for the weekend when I went mad.
But what made things more infuriating was that Nolly could be so warm, gentle and kittenish - even naive. On occasions
she cared for the underdog. The pity was it was only as long as you stayed under.
Our 'marriage' was the TV wedding of the year back in 1975. For her it wasn't just a performance. I'm convinced
she wished it were for real. Not that she loved me, but she has a lot of love in her which is bursting to come out.
The business side of her always seems to win in the end, though.