Champagne corks will pop and the bubbly will flow freely when the cast of Crossroads get together for one of their happiest
celebrations ever. The show is 20 years old on November 2nd, and the birthday is closely followed by another milestone,
when the 4000th episode is screened on November 20th.
There's a buzz of excitement around Central TV studios in Birmingham as the two great days draw near. They mark
a historic achievement. No show on British TV can come close to Crossroads' amazing record.
Coronation Street is the longest running serial timewise, for it began four years earlier than Crossroads, in December
1960. But even The Street doesn't come near to matching the total number of episodes Crossroads can boast.
That's because The Street is on screen twice weekly, while Crossroads can be seen three evenings a week, and in the past
years it's been shown four and even five times a week.
Throughout its 20-year reign, the comings and goings of the people at this Midlands motel have been compulsive viewing
for millions. Their almost fanatical following of events has ensured a virtually permanent place high in the viewing
ratings. On one occasion the four episodes of Crossroads occupied the top four places.
Yet when the cast gather to raise their glasses at the celebration party they'll be toasting the future as well as the
past. The anniversary marks something of a watershed in the saga of Crossroads.
In January new producer Phillip Bowman takes over from Jack Barton, who's been connected with the show as director then
producer since 1967.
It's been announced that there'll be many more scenes shot outside. Emphasis will switch from inside the motel
and focus more on what's going on in and around the fictional town of King's Oak. There will be new characters in the
show and the indoor set will be moved to a new studio.
"Everyone connected with Crossroads is excited about the future," said Jane Rossington, who plays Jill Chance.
Jane is better qualified than most to talk about the programme. She's the only remaining character from the original
cast of November 2nd, 1964.
In fact, it was Jane who, as Jill Richardson then, opened the very first episode on the telephone in the motel's reception
with the words, "Crossroads Motel - can I help you?"