The Strain Nearly Killed Me

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Crossroads star Noele tells YOU her story for the first time

Article from The News of The World, June 28th 1981
Crossroads star Noele Gordon tells today how she believes the strain of her humiliating sacking nearly killed her.
Noele reveals that doctors saved her life just 24 hours before she bravely told the world she had been axed from the TV show.
She was rushed to London's St Thomas's Hospital at 2 am last Sunday after her tongue swelled up and began to choke her.  Noele, known to millions of fans as motel boss Meg Mortimer, only recovered after doctors put her on a drip-feed.
"They told me I was lucky to be alive," she said.  "If the swelling had started lower down my throat I'd have choked to death.
"You're telling me, I thought, and thanked everyone for the way they had looked after me."
Noele, 57, had known for two weeks that she was to be fired from the long-running TV soap opera.
ATV's programme controller Charles Denton delivered the bombshell to her manager, Michael Summerton.
Noele says that Mr Denton told him:  'All good things must come to an end.'
"Mr Denton's attitude towards me had been incredibly cold and clinical," she said.
"I phoned Crossroads producer Jack Barton who must have known something was going on, yet he'd said nothing.  He told me Mr Denton had sent for him and asked him point blank, 'Can you produce Crossroads without Noele?'
"And what did you say, Jack? " I asked him quietly.
" 'I told him I could,' was his reply.  I put down the phone in tears.  I was shattered.  By this time I was shaking.  I cried all night.  For two weeks I went to rehearsal saying nothing, knowing I'd been dismissed.  Every time the cast whispered together, I wondered who knew.
"The News of the World scoop of the story last week brought the whole thing into the open.  I could keep quiet no longer.  I don't really mind getting the chop.  It's just the way ATV have disposed of me after 25 years, first as hostess of Lunchbox and for 17 years as Meg.
"I never expected to be fired in such a cold and humiliating manner, especially with Mr Denton's observation about good things coming to an end.  This seemed to imply that all my hard work over the years and commitment to the company had been one long party.
"It's no understatement when I say that I'm heartbroken to be leaving as though I've done something wrong."
Noele came face to face with Mr Denton when she was a guest at a traders' dinner in Birmingham on Friday night.  They sat at separate tables and did not speak.
"No way will I talk to Charles Denton," said Noele.  "I don't want anything to do with him."
With special thanks to Maria Brabiner for the article

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