The Noele Gordon Story

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Where there is variety there is vulnerability.  Noele Gordon suffers from both.
"They're always trying to make me out as being the Queen Mother of television, which I am not and have no desire to be.  I am not the monster who believes her own image.  I'm an actress, that's all.  Neither am I the bitch I've been reputed to be.  It's people who don't know me who throw all those things at my head. 
"In some incredible way I've got this awful reputation of being an absolute hell-cat, and anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not.  I'm a very frightened, subdued, calm lady really.  I get upset when I read these things that bear no resemblance to what I am in reality.  I've heard that if one of the cast displeases me that's the end of their career.  I have no influence on casting and I wouldn't want it.  I'd no more try to lose an actor his job than fly to the bloody moon.  I'm a professional and I would never hurt a fellow actor.  Anyway there's no time for temperament in a series which goes out four times a week.  I've done more TV than anyone else in the world and my job is to help and reassure those without as much experience."
Noele Gordon is certainly a professional - a trooper of the old stage, with the drive, stamina and self-discipline of a tycoon.  Acting is a business to her, and you get the impression that if she had started off as a wages clerk she would be running the Treasury by now.
After RADA Miss Gordon set out as a serious actress but got nudged into musicals.  In 1941 she made her West End debut in "Let's Face It" with Bobby Howes.  But a cool business head superseded theatre sentiment about the smell of greasepaint and the response of a live audience, and she was the only British actress to go to New York to study television techniques.
After New York she joined ATV at its inception twenty one years ago.  Her first appearances were in a chat show called "Lunch Box" - then along came "Crossroads."  And that, now, is her life, with just weekends free, when she does nothing.
Last year she sold her home in Ross-on-Wye and bought two flats in a small block in Birmingham.  She lives in one and her mother in the other.  Noele and her mother are very close.
"She does all the housework and cooking and still tends to treat me like a child.  This morning she said to me 'You're not having a bath on a cold morning like this, are you?'  Nobody knows how old she is, not even I.  If anyone asks she says, 'How rude.  A woman's age is her own business'.  And if you are about to ask my age I'll say 29.  I can't understand this preoccupation with age. 
"My life is in this studio, and when I meet someone I have to say 'I can meet you at the studio for lunch on Thursday.'  So my friends are real friends.  They are very few, but they are very loyal.  I hate it when Crossroads gets attacked.  I've read things about the glazed looks coming over the actors faces when they forget their lines.  Nonsense.  If that happens we shoot the scene again.  I know what we're doing.  Crossroads is a soap opera, not Play of the Month."
What happens if Crossroads ever ends?
"I love the programme, but I'd also love to be myself, not Meg.  I'd love to do a breakfast chat show.  I love talking.  Just give me a microphone and I'm away.  I suppose Crossroads must end one day, but if you were the kind who worried about that sort of thing you wouldn't go into show business.  It's been a good life, and I wouldn't change a second of it."   

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