The programme that really got him recognised. He was in it during what may be called its heyday; still had wobbley sets but some good actors and at the time the only soap doing 4 episodes a week.
I recall some conversations at home about him taking a part in Crossroads. After speaking to his (lifelong) agent Julia MacDermot he would always come and discuss with whom ever was in the kitchen at the time the offer - 'up to town to see Maude Spector' - 'nice bit with Schofield' - 'a week in Sardinia' and this call was no exception. Crossroads was sold to him by his agent as him being the carrot to attract other better known actors, if Jack was in it others would follow. That appealed to him and his ego and took the part.
Its true that Crossroads was always riddiculed for its amatuerishness, that was part of its charm, it wasn't slick drama. It was drama. As he was always pointing out they didn't have time to re-do scenes as they produced a lot of TV in a week. The routine was new scripts on Friday night, read and start learning over the weekend, block episodes 1 & 2 monday morning, 3 & 4 Monday afternoon, rehearse Tuesday, tech run in the studio Wednesday, record 1 & 2 Thursday morning and afternoon, record 3 & 4 Friday am pm, new scripts friday night... and that meant it wasn't always possible to get rid of mistakes. I think it appealed to his old theatre self, the company of actors and constant new material (remember in rep they were doing a new play every week, rehearsing next weeks production in the daytime and performing this weeks in the evening) as well as a regular contract and therfore regular money. It enabled some planning like holidays and purchases rather than the hand to mouth existance of previous years.
He stayed in digs during the week and came home at weekends, travelling by train from Sheffield to Birmingham and being delivered or collected to Sheffield by mum by car. I joined him in Birmingham one week and went in to the rehearsal rooms to watch and meet the cast. It was a highly dramatic week to go in as Jack Barton the producer came into rehearsal to announce that Jo Richardson the actress who played Mrs Whitton had gone missing on holiday, thought drowned in a sailing accident. I don't remember much else.
The character he played, Sam Carne, started of being a bit of a curmudgeonly old bloke, a lock-keeper who not surprisingly lived in the lock keepers cottage with a stinky dog. The dog wasn't written as stinky, it just was and dad hated it with a passion. I believe there was an intention to move some story lines off the motel premises. Carney was befriended the sally-army girl (played by Sally Adcock) and eventually by Benny (Paul Henry) and gradually moved into the motel world by becoming the handyman and gardener and eventually entering the heady hights of reception duty and timing how long Shooey McFee the chef spent in the cold store! (sometimes months on end!)
of the ways he claimed to have improved the quality of the production was
teaching other members of the cast how to use the technical expression ' oh
fuck it' in the studio when mistakes were made which forced a re-shoot of
the scene, in the past drys or fluffs were just used as they happened.
Studio shot for press introduction to the new character Sam Carne