Column: Soap opera at the crossroads of great television
Back in the sands of time, there was a soap opera that is worthy of its own column, not least because it was so appallingly good.
Every week we tuned in to watch Benny in his beanie, trying to communicate with Miss Diane, who treated him like an annoying pet Chihuahua, while David had the most amazingly deep voice. David’s voice could have had a programme of its own, as it was the embodiment of years of Capstan strong with a hint of Gaulloise thrown in. His favourite word was ‘Meg’ which brings us to that other great character of the same name, She ,of a rather Queen-like demeanour, was the grand dame of the whole show and I’m sure she had little to do with Benny or his beanie, though she seemed to hover around David like moth to flame. I think the heyday was the late 1970s but it ran into the early 1980s before a sad demise. People were upset. It had been a regular feature of people's lives for years and probably not enjoyed for the right reasons.How would they live without their weekly fix of Benny or David’s gravelly voice worthy of a Barry White LP? With doors that seemed to rattle and roll rather than perform their normal opening function, and few guests to be seen, the Crossroads motel seemed more in keeping with Hitchcock’s Psycho at times, though without the seriously sinister leanings. However, there was one character who could annoy anyone, and who also possessed a strangely alluring voice – Sandy Richardson. With a smug and cynical expression permanently on face, even mid crisis, you seriously felt you could tell him a serious disaster was about to strike, and he would have the same smug emotionless expression.This completed the picture and rendered the soap utterly compelling. You began to wonder how all of these disparate characters came to be in the same show, as David seemed more suited to a Shakespeare play while Miss Diane would have been better as a teacher. Meanwhile, Meg was born for the role of headmistress, in the days before one had to be gender neutral, at some old girls’ school. If you missed all these gems, you certainly lost out! Crossroads was certainly a must for many back in the 1970s. Fun times!