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 the UK’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 an international superstar. Noele Gordon died on April 14th, 1985, however, her legacy lives on with her era of Crossroads continuing to prove popular with numerous Network-DVD releases.
In 2012 ITV celebrated Noele with a prime-time half-hour celebration of her work in The Unforgettable Noele Gordon.
The series gained over 3.2 million viewers on ITV in England and Wales with later showings on STV and UTV making it one of the most-watched of the Unforgettable 2012 run.
In 2015 a clip of Noele in Crossroads featured in a Julie Walters fronted Vision Express advert looking back at programmes and people who had influenced her creative performances. In 2018 Channel 5 looked at the sacking of Noele from ATV in ‘The Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of the 1980s’ with Christopher Biggins, Tony Adams and Anne Diamond all reflecting on her demise from the network.
In 2019 the West End musical On The Town was released on CD, featuring Noele tracks that have been played on local radio as well as on BBC Radio 2.
2021 and classic episodes of Crossroads featuring Noele Gordon are now available on BritBox UK in the SoapBox section. In July 2021 Crossroads was the most streamed soap opera on the service. And also in this year Channel 5 once again reflected on the shock departure of Noele from Crossroads in 1981 with fellow Crossroads performers Steven Pinder and Graham Seed discussing her exit from ATV.
In 2022 ITV will air a three part drama entitled simply ‘Nolly‘. described as a ‘love letter’ to Noele Gordon the episodes have been penned by BAFTA winning writer Russell T Davies, who has given television viewers hits such as Queer as Folk, It’s A Sin, Cucumber and the revival of Doctor Who. Noele will be played by BAFTA winning performer Helena Bonham Carter CBE.
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.