Noele Gordon was one of the best known faces on screen in the uk in the 1960s. The actress portrayed the character Meg Mortimer in the long-running ITV drama Crossroads.
Gordon was a fixture of British television before her departure from the show in 1981. However, her exit from the show caused chaos for producers off-screen, with huge controversy over Gordon leaving the show.
Her story has now been immortalised in a new drama featuring The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter. ‘Nolly’ is set to screen on ITV in February.
But what happened to Noele Gordon - and why was her exit so controversial? Here’s everything you need to know.
Why was Noele Gordon fired from Crossroads?
Noele Gordon landed a role in the ITV drama Crossroads in 1964. It came after Gordon’s previous venture of Lunchbox drew to a close in the same time slot.
Gordon’s popularity in the role of Meg Mortimer was undeniable. She won her first TV Times Award for most popular actress in 1969, and would go on to win another eight times.
Her pull with bosses was also strong, with Gordon the only cast members to have been on a permanent contract while the show was in production. Gordon was known as the first ‘queen of soaps’ due to her popularity and legacy in the soap role.
However, the fairytale ended in 1981, when Gordon was shockingly fired from the popular show. Viewers were dismayed over the decision to fire Gordon.
The decision came as ATV merged with a new company called Central Independent Television. While Central’s aquirement of ATV meant that they inherited the ever-popular soap Crossroads, bosses were keen to revamp the channel.
One of the ideas for this revamp included to replace Crossroad, which had premiered 20 years earlier, with newer and fresher programming. However, consistently high viewing figures meant that Central had no obvious reason to axe one of their most popular properties.
Bosses then took the decision in 1983 to sack Gordon, the flagship star of the show. They had hoped that Gordon’s exit would have turned viewers off the show and dented viewing figures, giving them a reason to axe the show.
The show would not be cancelled until 1988, making a brief comeback from 2001 until 2003. Despite the bitter end to her permanent contract in 1981, Gordon returned for periodic appearances in 1985.
How did Noele Gordon die?
Gordon’s return to the soap was short-lived, after she passed away in April 1985. The actress was 65-years-old at the time of her death.
It became known publically in 1982 that Gordon had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. She later died from her diagnosis.
When is Nolly on television?
Gordon’s extraordinary story will be immortalised on screen by Hollywood star Helena Bonham Carter in the new ITV drama ‘Nolly’. The three-part series as created by ‘It’s A Sin’ creator and returning ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner Russell T Davies.
The show is set to premiere on Thursday 2 February. It will first premiere on the streaming hub ITVX before it airs live on ITV1 at a later date.