Noele GORDON (1919-1985)

Noele Gordon This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 347
  • Subject No: 348
  • Broadcast date: Wed 7 Feb 1973
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 31 Jan 1973
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 13
  • Edition: 13

on the guest list...

  • cast members of Crossroads
  • Jane Rossington
  • Ronald Allen
  • Reg Watson
  • Ann George
  • Joan - mother
  • Arthur Penzer
  • Maude Wells
  • Roma Skivington
  • Ted Ray
  • Jerry Allen
  • Ken Ingarfield
  • Lionel Rubin
  • Alan Graham
  • Dick Chipperfield
  • Albert Bird
  • Sister McGeehan
  • Nurse Davey
  • Larry Grayson
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Terry-Thomas
  • crew members of the Aberdeen lifeboat
  • Matron Marie Hessian

production team...

  • Researcher: Sarah Dickinson
  • Writer: John Sandilands
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
  • with thanks to Peter Kingsman for his contribution to this page
related pages...

Motel Life

Crossroads' finest

The Night We Shocked Petula

TV Times photo feature on Petula Clark's second This Is Your Life surprise

Jane Rossington

Ted Ray

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Photographs of Noele Gordon This Is Your Life - and a photograph of Noele Gordon's big red book

Noele Gordon's autobiography

Noele Gordon recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in her autobiography, My Life at Crossroads...

When Thames Television featured me on This Is Your Life they secretly contacted Larry (Grayson) at the Wakefield Theatre Club, where he was currently appearing, and asked him to be the surprise guest at the end of the programme. He agreed at once – providing he could get back to Wakefield in time to appear at 11.30. So after his appearance on the show, Thames Television had a car waiting to whisk him to the station. He arrived at the stage door at 11.10pm.

It was This Is Your Life which started talk of Larry being in love with me.

All the Crossroads cast were in on the secret that I was to be featured on the show – all except me, of course. Even Mother knew, but she never told me. All that I knew was that I had a call from Reg Watson to take part in a rehearsal for a promotion trailer which was to be made at our Birmingham studios. In this particular short promotion spot I had to walk through the doors into reception, say something about Crossroads, and finish up with 'this is my manager, played by Ronald Allen'.

Ronald Allen was waiting at the counter for me and the scene went off without a hitch at rehearsals. However, when it came to the actual take, I came through the doors and started to say the wrong sentence. So I stopped, stood there, and said nothing.

It was not until later that I heard just how near I had come to ruining the whole opening of This Is Your Life; for by this time, Eamonn Andrews had switched places with Ronnie and it was he who was waiting for me.

When the floor manager saw what had happened he signalled to Eamonn who promptly ran out of the studio while Ronnie Allen went back to where he had been sitting at rehearsals.

It would obviously have spoiled the whole surprise element if I had seen Eamonn before the actual moment of the pick-up.

Anyway, I just said I was sorry, went back through the doors, and did my entrance again. This time there was no slip-up. Eamonn was back in position so my surprise and shock was even more real than anyone could possibly realise. For just a moment before, Ronnie Allen had been sitting there and then, as if by magic, it was Eamonn. It was very cleverly done.

It was a fantastic experience – nerve shattering too. I couldn't speak – only gasp.

Mother had packed my clothes – without telling me. One of the This Is Your Life team came with me on the train to London to tape the rest of the programme and I wasn't even allowed to leave the compartment. When I wanted to go to the toilet they made me wear a blindfold!

This was to stop me seeing any of the other Crossroads folk because, unknown to me, they were all on the same train and I didn't see them until they came on the show later in the television studio.

Larry Grayson followed them. I nearly fainted. I knew he was appearing in Wakefield and I just couldn't believe he had come all that way – just for a couple of minutes on television with me. And that's when our 'romance' was born.

'Noele,' he said when he walked on, 'I do love you.'

I knew he was joking so I carried on in the same vein. 'I keep asking him to marry me but he won't,' I explained.

Larry's answer was gallant and to the point.

'I will then,' he said.

After all, what else could he say?

So I carried on joking…

'Remember,' I told him, 'you've said it now. And millions of viewers have heard you too.'

Well, that started it all. We both had congratulatory telegrams, flowers and phone calls. I had a stack of beautiful engagement cards from viewers wishing me every happiness and wherever Larry went he was asked the date of the wedding.

I suppose it was naughty of us both to joke about getting married in the first place but at the time, it all seemed innocent enough and neither of us thought so many people would take it for real.

Looking back, I don't think any real harm was done. We are still great friends – even if we aren't engaged – and when I in turn was invited to be on Larry's This Is Your Life, I was delighted to take part.

Publication title and date unknown

This Is My Life

My mother had known for six weeks. I thought she must be involved in a crime; she was always putting the phone down when I came in.

Crossroads had just been sold in Australia. Reg Watson, the producer, said we had to do some promotion film. He got me into a boiler suit with a dirty face, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the kitchen, explaining how it had been wrecked by a bomb. I then had to say, "Come through to my Reception, where I want you to meet David Hunter." I walked through and thought, "Thats not Ronnie Allen" and of course, when he turned, it was Eamonn Andrews who said, "This is Your Life."

Noele Gordon This Is Your Life: magazine article
Noele Gordon This Is Your Life: Daily Mail article

Daily Mail 28 March 2003

Soap's number one fan tells Crossroads...


No 1 FAN: It's the end of an era for Peter Kingsman's 39 year Crossroads love affair


CROSSROADS – This Was Your Life

The axed soap's No 1 fan Peter Kingsman became the last outsider to visit the set and say goodbye to the stars as they finished filming for the last time today.

He even sprung one last surprise on the cast, showing them the This Is Your Life book presented to original star Noele Gordon by Eamonn Andrews on February 7, 1973. Those were the days when Handsworth Wood-based Noele was winning a record eight TV Times Personality of the Year awards for her matriarchal role of Meg.

But she was suddenly sacked in 1981 and the shock decision was, for many fans, the beginning of the end for the show, and Miss Gordon, who died from cancer in April 1985.

After Crossroads was originally axed in 1988 and then briefly revived from 2001-2002, the high-camp Mark 3 version of the show was abruptly terminated earlier this month after just eight weeks on air.

Despite an emphasis on sex, sex and more sex, ITV bosses decided it had failed to win the ratings war since its relaunch in January.

In May, Crossroads will move to early afternoons from its current 5pm slot, before coming off our screens in June.

Sussex-based Peter, who is a full-time carer, combined his trip to Kings Oak with his 52nd birthday.

He said: "I am sad that ITV haven't given the new series more of a go because it takes time to get to know the characters."

Noele Gordon was featured on This Is Your Life once.

Noele Gordon was born in East Ham on Christmas Day and made her first stage appearance at the age of two and a half. Her birth year is not known officially. Her obituary in The Times said it was 1923. Her Ross-on-Wye headstone just gives the date of her death – April 14, 1985.

Far-sighted Noele was a model who assisted John Logie Baird with his early colour TV experiments.

At the age of 18 she was dumped a week before her wedding after the parents of her 25-year-old prospective groom objected to his decision to marry a 'showgirl'. Noele then had a 20-year relationship with band leader Val Parnell.

She had one room at home converted into a walk-in wardrobe.

Series 13 subjects

Pat Phoenix | Bill Griffiths | Shirley Bassey | Warren Mitchell | Dudley Moore | Phyllis Calvert | Larry Grayson | Clive Sullivan
Bill Shankly | Willie Carson | Jack Smethurst | Mary Peters | Noele Gordon | James Corrigan | Pat Reid | Diana Coupland
Dulcie Gray | Janet Adams | Rita Hunter | Leslie Crowther | Jimmy Logan | Spike Milligan | Jackie Pallo
John Gregson | Jackie Charlton | Francis O'Leary