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Noele's desperate plea,  But TV star stays axed

Article by Gordon Blair, Sunday Mirror, June 28th 1981
Sacked Crossroads star Noele Gordon made a dramatic eleventh-hour plea to ATV boss Lord Lew Grade to save her job.
She asked if there was any way she could carry on for a further six months with a new contract.
But Lord Grade was unable to help.  He said yesterday that he had put Noele's request to ATV's Director of Programmes, Charles Denton.
It was Mr Denton's decision to sack Noele, who plays the motel matriach, Meg Richardson.
Lord Grade said: "Noele's agent asked if there was any way for her to carry on.  I asked Charles Denton if it would be possible to consider it.  His reply was that he didn't want to change his plans, and that it would be nice to start the next season with something new and exciting.
"I just put the point to Charles.  I didn't ask him to reconsider.  I am not allowed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to interfere in any programmes."
Lord Grade also revealed that Noele had had a massive change of heart about Crossroads.
"About a year ago, Noele came to me to say that she wanted to leave the programme, but I persuaded her to stay," he said.
"She is a very sweet person, and has worked very hard for Crossroads and ATV.  But I do not know whether she has any future role in the network."
Mr Denton, 43, said that since Noele's sacking was revealed, he had received hundreds of protest letters from fans, among them two death threats.
One, he claimed came from the Birmingham chapter of the Hell's Angels.  "I really didn't know there were such Crossroads fanatics," he said.
The dismissal of 57-year-old Noele from the programme came as a huge shock to the rest of the cast.
Even Charles Denton does not yet know how Noele will be written out of the series.
He said:  "It could as some people have suggested happen in an explosion.  Concorde could fall out of the sky and hit her on the head.  She could be hit by a bus or swallowed by a whale.  We will have to wait and see."
But he said he had felt it time to make changes to the show.
The long-time producer of Crossroads Jack Barton, a silver-haired genial father figure to the cast, took it upon himself to bring back their morale when the sacking was announced.
Mr Barton, who was "very upset" about the axing of Noele, also said:  "It has to be said no one person is bigger than the programme.  There are also another twelve actors on the series, and they all have their own following too.
"I don't want to sound hard but I'm not worried about Noele.  She can look after herself.  She is a strong person.  The ones I am worried about are the other members of the cast.  I am responsible for them and they look to me to put things right."

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