Nolly – First Image of Helena Bonham Carter in new RTD drama

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Russell T Davies has penned the story of the British soap opera legend Noele Gordon. 

While he’s industriously working on the new era of Doctor Who, there’s another Russell T Davies project in production.

Nolly tells the story of Noele Gordon, the star of the 1960s/70s/80s soap opera Crossroads. Her remarkable time in the limelight will be charted across a 3-part ITV drama.

Here’s the premise for the show:

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 brings 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 reveals the truth, the consequences, and the legacy of that terrible day.

Nolly is 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. And it is a love letter to a legend of television, and to the madcap soap she starred in, Nolly is an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Noele Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate and heart-breaking portrait of a forgotten icon.

Helena Bonham Carter

As befits a television legend, Helena Bonham Carter is playing the lead role of Noele Gordon. Joining her, Mark Gatiss will play Larry Grayson, the entertainer who was a close friend of the star. Additionally, Augustus Prew plays Tony Adams, Nolly’s Crossroads co-star, devoted friend and confidante. Con O’Neill is Crossroads‘ producer Jack Barton, while Tim Wallers plays his boss, and ATV’s Controller of Programming, Charles Denton.

Crossroads legends

The wider ensemble includes a number of actors playing the stars of Crossroads and their onscreen alter-egos; Richard Lintern is Ronnie Allen, who played suave hotel manager David Hunter. Antonia Bernath is Jane Rossington, who starred as Jill Richardson, Meg’s daughter. Clare Foster is Sue Lloyd, who played Barbara, wife of hotel manager David. Chloe Harris is Susan Hanson, fan who played fan favourite Miss Diane. Lloyd Griffith is Paul Henry, famous for his role as Crossroads‘ wooly hatted handyman Benny. Also, Bethany Antonia joins the cast as Poppy Ngomo, a young actor thrown into the world of the soap.

Nolly‘s director is Peter Hoar (It’s A Sin). The show’s executive producer is Nicola Shindler, RTD’s long-time collaborator. Together, the pair’s impressive back catalogue includes It’s A Sin, Years and Years, Queer As Folk, Casanova, Cucumber, Banana, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming.

Nolly comes from Quay Street Productions, the first drama under Nicola Shindler’s new production banner with ITV Studios.


Nolly is set to premiere on ITVX, ITV’s upcoming free streaming service. It will then transition to linear broadcast “months later.”

We’ll keep you posted on the show and in the meantime there’s plenty of fascinating archive material on Noele Gordon’s official website.