Saturday, 14 April 2012

The revenge of the Queen of Soaps

On this day in 1985, we lost the fantabulosa Noele Gordon - pioneering TV entertainer and broadcaster, and matriarch of the Crossroads Motel (Meg Mortimer) from the beginning of that soap in 1964 until her untimely and unwarranted sacking by Central Television's Head of Programmes Charles Denton in 1981.

A classy lady to the end, here she is performing that very same year at the staff party for ATV, the company that made Crossroads (and had also just lost the franchise for the Midlands independent television region).

Now, THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get revenge!

[Thanks to Madam Arcati for finding this delicious video!]

Facts about Noele:
  • She the first woman to be seen on colour television sets, when the BBC was testing colour in the 1940s.
  • Noele never married, and rumours circulated for many years that she was a lesbian.
  • Her lifelong friends included the uber-camp Larry Grayson - as part of a hoax, in 1973 the press reported the engagement between Larry and Noele - and, to his own death in 1995, he sent a bunch of flowers to be placed on her grave in Ross-on-Wye.
  • After her sacking, Noele returned to the stage (she had been a theatre actor before her TV debut), and played starring roles in Gypsy, Call Me Madam and The Boy Friend. It was during the latter appearance, in Plymouth Theatre Royal, that she finally succumbed to cancer in 1985.
  • Crossroads - renowned for its actors stumbling over cues and lines, and its shaky sets - was of course the inspiration for Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques.
Here at Dolores Delargo Towers we have a treasured copy of Noele Gordon's (bitter) final single on vinyl, signed by the lady herself, called After All These Years:

A legend of soap opera to the end.

About Noele Gordon

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