Last updated 16-10-2009, 13:58
Mar 08th 2014, 11:56 BST
ATV & CROSSROADS MARK ONE
The classic ATV logo
What Is Crossroads?
Crossroads was a daily soap opera made in Britain. The soap revolves around the hotel's inhabitants and the sticky situations they get themselves into.
The ATV soap originally started in November 1964 (although the hotel itself had opened 18 months earlier) and ran on ITV until 1988. It was revived by Carlton TV in 2001.
Where is Crossroads?
Crossroads is set in the fictional village of King's Oak, on the outskirts of Birmingham. However people used to write to "Crossroads" to book non existant rooms there!
In reality, the show was filmed at ATV Centre in Broad Street in Birmingham. This has been closed since 1996.
Why was it axed in 1988?
To answer this we need to go back a bit further. In the 1981 franchise, after long lobbying that the East Midlands had been neglected the IBA stipulated that the Midlands were to become a dual region, requiring a production base in the East as well as the West. ATV with a degree of reluctance agreed, but were faced by two strong challengers, Mercia Television and MTV (no, not that MTV, but unimaginatively Midlands Television).
The 1981 franchise assessment took local factors strongly into account, so although ATV Midlands won the bid they were required to restructure by divesting 49% of their shares to local interests. A name change to signify this was also required, so ATV became Central.
It's fair to say that the new management did not particularly like Crossroads so they tried to get rid of it. The show changed producer a couple of times but its widely regarded that the post 1984 era (the so-called Jack Barton era) was the show's better times. Central TV announced in July 1987 that Crossroads would finish next year. The show was not axed due to poor viewer figures. It finished in April 1988 after 4,510 episodes and a triple bill of three episodes in one although these were shown separately on UK Gold several years later. Jack Barton, by the way, died in October 2002 at the age of 86.
The first Central logo - the basics of this design remained for the next 15yrs
When did Central become Carlton?
The Central name exists no longer bar Central News, although the name also lives on on the endcaps of its archive programming. It is still Central TV so far as the franchise for the Midlands area and the ITC is concerned despite being bought out by Carlton in 1994 for £758m. This was made possible thanks both to Carlton winning the London weekday franchise from Thames in 1991 and as a result of the new legislation in the 1990 Broadcasting Act.
The original logo, the blue globe, evolved into the so-called pie then disappeared around 1996/7 to create the so-called Carltonised brand which was just the word "Central" in a Gills Sans font. That then disppeared with the Carlton rebrand in 1999 to the wonderful "spinning stars" ident set and package, which was replaced in 2002 when ITV1 decided to network everything from London.
How much of the series still exists?
Nobody knows for certain how much of the original series remains. 4,510 episodes were made of the original series but much of it is missing, presumed wiped as was the policy at the time. At the last count there were only 1,536 existing episodes of Mark I Crossroads, mainly made up of post June 1978 episodes.
Source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crossroadsfanclub/message/1948 and follow-ups
320 episodes of Mark II and 98 episodes of Mark III all live happily at their birthplace in Nottingham at this time. It is presumed that they'll join their ATV/Central counterparts at Birmingham when Lenton closes. Carlton have details on their site on the series, see here (note though that details for series 3 are partially incorrect). Please note that carltonint.co.uk is a business to business site, they will not sell to the general public.
Where can I find more information about Crossroads Mark I?
The Crossroads Appreciation Society (which replaces the Crossroads Fan Club name - see below) deals with this, but there are other sites on our Links page as well, including the odd Yahoo Group or three.
What happened to "The Crossroads Fan Club" and its site?
The Crossroads Fan Club name is deceased. It is now part of the Crossroads Appreciation Society in a sort of "rebrand" exercise.
Mike Garrett wrote on Planet: "Its not the end of the Fan Club as such, just the using of a more widely known name and more respected society. A society that has been around for nearly 16 years. Look at it like Central replacing the ATV name if you like.
"As I say the 'Crossroads Fan Club' is the Yahoo Group and also we will be reopening a memebership [sic] system shortly. [As for] The Crossroads Fan Club website.. well something may appear on there at somepoint but more to do with fan club members special offers (such as members getting special deals on crossroads items we get given or have too many copies of)."