ITV has released a first look image of Helena Bonham Carter as Noelle Gordon as filming begins on Russell T Davies' new drama Nolly.
The three-part drama comes 40 years after Noele Gordon’s shock sacking from Crossroads and will explore the all-powerful reign, and fall from grace, of the inimitable Noele Gordon, TV legend and Queen of the Midlands, the darling of the establishment until it turned on her and betrayed her.
Joining Helena Bonham Carter will be Augustus Prew as Tony Adams, Nolly’s Crossroads co-star, devoted friend, confidante, and her occasional chauffer. As well as Mark Gatiss playing inimitable entertainer Larry Grayson, who also shared a close and enduring friendship with Gordon and Richard Lintern as Ronnie Allen, who played Crossroads’ suave hotel manager David Hunter.
Also joining the cast are Antonia Bernath as Jane Rossington, who starred in Crossroads as Jill Richardson, Meg’s daughter, Clare Foster as Sue Lloyd, who played Barbara, wife of hotel manager David, Chloe Harris as Susan Hanson, who played Crossroads fan favourite Miss Diane and Lloyd Griffith as Paul Henry, who for over a decade played Crossroads’ handyman Benny.
Con O’Neill will play Crossroads producer Jack Barton and Tim Wallers will play Barton’s boss, and ATV’s Controller of Programming, Charles Denton. And Bethany Antonia joins the cast as Poppy Ngomo, a young actor thrown into the world of Crossroads.
Noele, or Nolly to her friends, was a legend in her own lifetime. As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, she was one of the most famous people in Britain.
Then in 1981, at the height of the show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed without ceremony, without warning and with no explanation. With the boss’s words “all good things must come to an end” ringing in her ears, Noele Gordon found herself thrown out of the show that was her life for over 18 years.
Nolly promises to bring the true Noele Gordon once more into the spotlight. The Queen of the Midlands, a star who could be tough, haughty and imperious, grandly sweeping into rehearsals from her Rolls Royce, but also a hard-working actress who was fiercely loyal and loved by cast and crew alike.
And at last, the biggest question of all can be answered – why was she sacked? Nolly promises to reveal the truth, the consequences, and the legacy of that terrible day.
A bold exploration of how the establishment turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, the women it cannot understand and the women it fears, Nolly is being described as a love letter to a legend of television, and to the madcap soap, she starred in.
Nolly promises to be an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Noele Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate and heartbreaking portrait of a forgotten icon.
Nolly will air on ITV