40 years ago, the nation sat in disbelief when TV legend and Queen of the Midlands, Noelle Gordon (or Nolly to her friends), was sacked without reason from her longstanding role of over 18 years, Meg Mortimer in the soap opera Crossroads.
Once the name of everyone’s lips, she quickly faded out of the spotlight, never to regain her deserved glory. Now, thanks to ITV and award-winning writer Russell T Davis (It’s A Sin, Years and Years, A Very English Scandal), her name is set to resurface to fame in new upcoming drama Nolly.
Nolly explores the events that led up to Gordon’s sacking, as well as what she went on to do next. The dramatised three-part ITV drama will reveal how the entire proceedings were brimming with sexism and ageism, in the societal climate of the 60s and 70s. In a press conference for Nolly, Davis explained how the drama is still relevant today: “The MeToo movement era has been brilliant and vital.
“But actually, I think the sexual stories are just scratching the surface of how women are treated,” he continued. “The whims and tempers of men are vast, and that’s what’s happening to Nolly.”
Whilst Gordon was certainly opinionated, this surely should not stand as a reason for her sacking. With her experience, she had every right to be. Gordon was the first woman to appear on colour TV, the first woman to interview a prime minister when she sat down with Harold MacMillan in 1958 for what was then ATV News and had 18 years of experience on the set of Crossroads.
Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning actor Helena Bonham Carter stars as Gordon, taking on the role of the brilliant and gutsy woman. “She was hard-working, she knew her thing,” Bonham Carter said about Gordon. “She was a professional, and she expected everyone else to be.”
“She was the company leader,” Bonham Carter continued. “She looked after everyone who worked on Crossroads, she’d been on it for almost 19 years.”
The question of what exactly Gordon did wrong followed her and the nation around over the next few years, leaving a large impact on the TV world. As Bonham Carter put it so eloquently: “Nolly was in everyone’s living room, 15 million.” The scale of her viewership was extensive.
Joining Bonham Carter in the cast is Augustus Prew (The Morning Show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power) as Tony Adams, Gordon’s devoted friend and co-star in Crossroads.
Emmy and BAFTA-winner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, League of Gentleman, Doctor Who) stars as the gloriously brilliant entertainer Larry Grayson, who also shared an enduring and delicately close friendship with Gordon.
Other members of the cast include Richard Lintern (Young Wallander, Silent Witness), Antonia Bernath (Downton Abbey, Dickensian), Clare Foster (The Crown, The Ex Wife), Chloe Harris (Sherwood, The Spanish Princess), Lloyd Griffith (Ted Lasso, It’s A Sin), Bethany Antonia (House of the Dragon, Stay Close, Get Even), Con O’Neill (Happy Valley, Uncle) and Tim Wallers (The Windsors, Belgravia).
Nolly is a deserving love letter to a legend and forgotten icon of television. Laced with outrageously entertaining humour and fantastic writing, Gordon is poised to get the attention and win the hearts of the millions once again.
Nolly is streaming on ITVX from this Thursday 2 February.