Category Archives: TV

Crossroads returns to local TV screens

Benny (played by Paul Henry) and 'Miss Diane' (Sue Hanson) in Crossroads, 1980
Benny (played by Paul Henry) and ‘Miss Diane’ (Sue Hanson) in Crossroads, 1980

Iconic West Midlands television ‘soap opera’ series, Crossroads, is being brought back to the small screen by Walsall’s new local television station Big Centre TV, which launches this Saturday, 28th February, at 6pm on Freeview Channel 8, covering Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.

In a move that will delight fans of the show, Big Centre TV, which has studios at the Goldmine Centre in Lower Hall Lane, plans to broadcast all existing episodes, including some classic early episodes from the 1960s.

Crossroads originally ran from 1964 to 1988 on ITV (originally in the ATV days) and at its peak the show’s viewing figures reached up to 18 million. The show, which was the UK’s first full length daily soap, revolves around the fictional village of Kings Oak, near Birmingham, portrayed as the main location of the Crossroads Motel.

Channel director, Chris Perry, said: “It’s an incredible honour to bring Crossroads back to viewers. More than 4,500 episodes were filmed, but only around 3,000 have survived and these are mostly from 1978-1988. The earlier editions were largely lost and only a few classic editions survive. However, we plan to show all editions available, including those known as the ‘Crossroads Classics’.

“Bringing Crossroads back to the small screen has only been possible because of the close partnership between ITV and me and my team at Kaleidoscope. Arranging this deal was not easy, as checking assets from the 1960s took time, restoration and research, but we are deeply proud to be the new home of such an iconic programme.”

Early photo of the cast of Crossroads including Jane Rossington (centre left) and Noele Gordon
Early photo of the cast of Crossroads including Jane Rossington (centre left) and Noele Gordon

One of the show’s stars, Jane Rossington, who played Jill Richardson, said: “I am delighted that audiences will be able to experience the phenomenon that was Crossroads. We filmed at a number of locations here in the Midlands, so it’s great that Big Centre TV, the local station for the area, has chosen it as the headline show.

“Many people have fond memories of the show and even today I meet people who remember characters and storylines.”

Andrew Gavaghan, ITV’s archive operations manager, said: “ITV and Kaleidoscope have worked together for many years in sharing knowledge and information about ITV’s rich broadcasting history and ITV has donated archive materials to Kaleidoscope to help assist with its endeavours in preserving and exploring past British TV programming.

“The in-depth knowledge and enthusiasm that Kaleidoscope possess, is a valuable resource not only to the broadcasting and production communities but also to anyone interested in this important area of our culture.”

Big Centre TV is the UK’s newest station and will provide an estimated 2.3m viewers with an eclectic mix of local and national programmes. It will broadcast seven days a week and programmes will also be available online, giving the station a potential global audience.

Crossroads will be broadcast weekdays at 9.30am, 6pm and 11pm and will be live-streamed via the stations website at: http://www.bigcentre.tv/

For more information on receiving the new station see:  http://www.kaleidoscopetv.co.uk/

And on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BigCentreTV

Countdown to TV station launch in Walsall

The Goldmine Centre, Walsall (pic: Stuart Williams)
The Goldmine Centre, Walsall (pic: Stuart Williams)

A brand-new television station is all set to launch in Walsall this Saturday evening – and it plans to cover Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull from its studios in the heart of the town!

Big Centre TV will broadcast digitally to an estimated 2.3 million viewers across the region, from the Goldmine Centre in Lower Hall Lane, where it has joined forces with Walsall Studio School to get a full programme of local and regional news, light entertainment, comedy, cultural and music shows, children’s programming and nostalgic TV including re-runs of the much-loved West Midlands-based ATV soap ‘Crossroads’, all ‘on the air’ via Freeview Channel 8.

Ofcom’s broadcast licensing committee awarded the TV licence to Kaleidoscope TV, which is the holding company for Big Centre TV, following the failure of City TV in 2014.

The auditorium in use as a studio at Big Centre TV in Walsall (pic: Stuart Williams)
The auditorium in use as a studio at Big Centre TV in Walsall (pic: Stuart Williams)

The new station is the brainchild of enthusiastic co-owners veteran ATV and Central newscaster Mike Prince and ex-teacher Chris Perry, who is the channel director at Big Centre TV.  Their enthusiasm is shared equally by Peter Stack, creative director and head of Sixth Form at Walsall Studio School, Dan Parkes, the school’s principal, and Kevin Davis, CEO of the Vine Trust Group, which runs the Goldmine Centre.

A wealth of experience as well as the latest  technical expertise is behind this new breed of local broadcaster.  Well-known ex-Central TV sports broadcaster Bob Hall is head of news and sport while Shropshire journalist Jennifer Meierhans and Birmingham broadcaster Marverine Cole are senior news producers.  Technical, production and studio staff and a team of roving video news journalists provide the skills needed to get the show crackling across the digital airwaves to homes across the region.

Legendary radio DJ and broadcaster David ‘Diddie’ Hamilton also has a regular chat show with some fascinating guests already ‘in the can’ and more to come.  Audiences are invited to selected shows, with notifications on the station’s Facebook page and presumably via their website, which is also launching on Saturday.

The David Hamilton Show being recorded last Saturday, with guest actress Madeline Smith (pic: Stuart Williams)
The David Hamilton Show being recorded with guest actress Madeline Smith (pic: Stuart Williams)

The station is sharing a media studio, presentation suite and four hundred seat auditorium – which also doubles up as a studio – with the school, and as a result students will benefit from valuable professional experience gained through the partnership.

As well as lighting and sound equipment, the station has the use of broadcast-quality cameras and a ‘TriCaster’ green screen production system, allowing the use of virtual backgrounds for factual programming and news.

A preview is already being shown on Freeview 8. Viewers will probably need to re-tune their Freeview boxes or TVs to pick up the channel initially.  It is not currently on Sky or Virgin.

Regular scheduled programmes will be broadcast by Big Centre TV seven days a week from 6pm on Saturday 28 February 2015, and the station also plans to make programmes viewable online.  Check out their website and Freeview’s programme guide for scheduling.

For more information see: http://www.bigcentre.tv and http://www.kaleidoscopetv.co.uk

Plus on Social Media:

http://www.facebook.com/BigCentreTV

http://twitter.com/bigcentretv