The Noele Gordon Archive – Nolly Online

Noele Gordon, 1938

Multi-award-winning television personality Noele Gordon was born Joan Noel Gordon in East Ham, East London, on December 25th 1919 to Scottish parents James Gordon OBE – a commander engineer with the Royal Navy – and Joan Gordon.

From those humble beginnings, she worked her way up to become one of Britain’s most well-known personalities. Beginning her theatre career in 1937 Noele starred in hit stage productions and later radio plays, live television dramas, and Britain’s first half-hour daily ‘soap opera’.

She also worked as a presenter on both television and radio and released several records. Noele also has many firsts to her credit thanks to being part of Associated Television during its formative years in which she became ITV’s founding female senior television executive. At her peak, in the 1970s, ‘Nolly’ was the most popular woman on television – winning awards such as ITV Personality of the Year, most compelling character, and Best Actress between 1968 and 1981.

In 1978 she became the first to be inducted into the TV Times Hall of Fame. Other awards were bestowed on Noele from publications ranging from The Sun to The Daily Telegraph. She became the nation’s first soap queen and was adored by up to 18 million viewers in the UK for her serial role as Meg Richardson in Crossroads – a character that also made her a TV superstar. Noele Gordon died on April 14th, 1985, however, her legacy lives on with the charity she co-founded Crossroads Care and her era of Crossroads continues to prove popular with numerous Network-DVD releases and top streaming ITVX and BritBox UK episodes.

Over this website, you can find out more about Noele’s life, her extensive theatre work, music releases and television appearances across the BBC and ITV.

Nolly News

Spotlight on Crossroads Care

The June edition of Yours Retro Magazine takes a look at how Noele and ATV helped establish the Crossroads Caring for Carers charity which began as a fictional scheme in the soap and then became a reality following viewer demand for such a venture. The charity, which assists carers across the UK, continues to run.

Nolly to air on PBS Masterpiece

Russell T Davies’ tribute and celebration of Noele Gordon will begin airing on PBS Masterpiece in America this weekend, as Helena Bonham-Carter brings Noele to life in Nolly for American viewers. Already the three-part drama which aired on ITV1/STV last year has received high praise from publications such as The New York Times – “A fun biographical drama”, The Boston Globe“a treat, thanks to Helena Bonham Carter… It’s a warm, smart, and concise portrait of British actress Noele Gordon” and Chicago Tribune – “Helena Bonham Carter gives a very funny and affecting performance as Nolly Gordon, the imperious soap opera legend of British TV.”

The series begins on Sunday, March 17th stateside. The drama has already aired in Australia.

Noele items to go under the hammer

A family friend of Noele and her mother Joan is parting with some items gifted to her during a friendship that spanned the late sixties to the early eighties.

The lot contains items such as original ATV cast card signed photographs, an autograph album and other signed publicity photographs and personal dedicated pictures. The majority are from Noele but others in the collection include Susan Hanson, Ronald Allen, Ann George and Paul Henry. Some items come from the time Noele appeared with Larry Grayson at the London Palladium in his sell-out Grayson’s Scandals show. The opening night was attended by the entire Crossroads cast. And as Nadine Hanwell, who played Marilyn Hope recalls, ‘the entire cast got soaked in the rain as the theatre was evacuated due to a fire alarm.’

The vendor’s father, Dr. Nicholson, was a GP in Ross-on-Wye where Noele Gordon and her mother, Jockie, lived at Weir End a large country house for a decade from 1963. Such was his friendship with Noele he was their doctor for over 15 years, even after she relocated to live in Birmingham full-time.

Caroline recalls:

“I was adopted as a surrogate grandchild by Jockie (Joan) and Nolly and was asked over to play at Weir End, where they both lived when Nolly wasnt in Birmingham filming. They used to let me play on their baby grand piano and Jockie used to make tea parties for me with dollies and teddies as company. There was a local lady who made beautiful handmade soft toys. Nolly and Jockie had several of these made for me, which I still own.”

The auction, by The Burnt Common Auction Rooms, is held on February 15th and the collection is estimated to sell for £150 – £250. The items can be bid for online at The Saleroom. There has been a huge interest in Noele Gordon since the release of ITV drama ‘Nolly’ last year which looked at the life of Noele as penned by Russell T Davies. The award-winning drama starred Helena Bonham Carter as Noele, the ‘Queen of Soaps’.

“I remember laughing a lot, listening to music, singing and having a lot of fun with both of those ladies. Nolly would bring fellow actors to visit, and she asked all the cast to sign these photos for me. The Larry Grayson photo comes from a time when we were her guests at the London Palladium and went backstage to meet him…” Caroline adds.

Crossroads CD is ‘top of the pops’

Noele Gordon, 1945

The recent Stage Door Records re-issue of the 1975 Crossroads Wedding Party Album has topped the Amazon charts in soundtracks and entered the Official UK Charts for soundtracks at number 4. The company behind the release of the CD note that there is now limited stock left of the album which contains songs by Noele, John Bentley, Stephanie De Sykes and Paul Henry. The original release was to mark the wedding of Meg (Noele) to Hugh (John Bentley) in the series after an on-off love affair which had spanned a decade.

Wow! We’re absolutely thrilled to see the ‘Crossroads Wedding Party’ album is currently #1 on Amazon’s TV Soundtracks chart!! The album is also #1 on the “Classical Wedding” chart. Meg would be proud! – Stage Door Records

It is also the only release which contains the Tony Hatch Crossroads Theme in stereo. The album also contains cast sing-along tracks which also guest star Larry Grayson, ‘highlights’ from episode 2301 recorded at Birmingham Cathedral where Meg and Hugh are blessed to a packed St Phillips while 10,000 fans outside bring the city to a standstill.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to learn Stage Door’s ‘Crossroads Wedding Party’ album has made the Top 5 in the UK’s “Official Soundtrack Album Chart”! The release is currently at #4.”

“The album also made that week’s “Official Compilations Chart” where it’s currently at #66. This is Stage Door’s first album to make the Official UK charts, so a big thank you to everyone who supported the release!” – Stage Door Records

Helena Bonham Carter ‘Nolly outfit’ goes up for auction

The costume by designer Annie Hardinge is a Chanel-imitation suit in multi-shaded blue tweed flecked with lurex threads, comprising a box-cut jacket edged with ‘chain’ braid; matching skirt, silk lined, bust 92cm, 36in, waist 28in.

It was worn by Helena Bonham Carter in the three-part drama Nolly which saw Helena appear as Noele Gordon. The outfit in question was one of Meg Richardson’s costumes in Crossroads as part of the drama storyline.

The item is part of a lot that is to raise funds for The Bright Foundation. The sale proceeds will go to this arts-based education charity based in Hastings, which provides free access to creative activities, and visual and performance arts for children and young people facing disadvantage. 

The estimated sale price is £200 – £300 at Kerry Taylor Auctions. The telly costume goes under the hammer on March 5th 2024.

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