Friday, 20 January 2012
Amy Turtle was a character in Crossroads, the classic British television soap opera, played by Ann George from 1965 to 1976 and again from 1987 to 1988.
Amy first came to prominence in the series helping out at the antique shop in Kings Oak (the fictional village where Crossroads was set), but it was as the cleaner at the Crossroads Motel that she is best remembered. Her job gave her the perfect opportunity to listen to gossip and pass it on, yet, despite her irritating ways the staff remained strangely fond of her; as David Hunter ( Ronald Allen), the motel manager, commented in a 1974 episode when Amy had been away from the Motel for a while: "I miss Amy. Don't know why, I just do."
Over the years, Amy was involved in many storylines, some dramatic, some comedic. The last storyline she was involved in was the death of her son Billy. Amy went to visit her nephew in America, and didn't return to King's Oak until 1987.
It has often been (mistakenly) suggested that Amy Turtle was the inspiration for Victoria Wood's parody of Crossroads, Acorn Antiques; Victoria has denied this, and Julie Walters (the actress who portrayed Mrs Overall) more than suggested with her performance and appearance that Mrs Overall was in fact based on Crossroads character Mavis Hooper played by Charmian Eyre. However Walters commented in 2002, that when she first saw the script of Acorn Antiques the Mrs Overall role she thought instantly of Amy Turtle, and so she wanted her to have a Birmingham accent.
Ann George joined the cast of Crossroads in 1965 playing the cleaner Amy Turtle. She got the part after apparently complaining to ATV producers that there were not enough true Birmingham accents. She first appeared in 1966, working in the antique shop. She later became a cleaning lady at the Crossroads Motel, working for the formidable housekeeper Mrs Loomis. Critics derided George's performance; Crossroads was shot as live, and the low budget meant that the recording could not be edited and retakes were rare. Any slips made had to remain for the transmission; memorably, Amy would often answer the telephone with the show's catchphrase "Crossroads Motel, can I help you?" - five seconds later the phone would actually ring.
In 1976 she was axed from Crossroads. There followed a famous photograph of her in the British newspaper The Sun, waving her fists outside the ATV Studios. In the storyline, Amy was convicted of shoplifting; only later did the truth become known, that it was a cry for help as her son Billy had been killed in tragic circumstances. One of her last performances was a storyline in which Amy broke into Coventry Cathedral in the dead of night in order to mourn her son. The character is also famous for a story that never happened. The storyline of Amy being arrested for being a Soviet Double Agent, Amelia Turtleovski wasn't seen on-screen. Crossroads Appreciation Society researchers, working through the show's script documents, discovered that Amy was never arrested, nor was she accused of any crime. Simply a Russian guest at the motel mistook her for Amelia, and left Amy baffled by his reaction to her. In her final 1976 storyline, Amy went to see her nephew living in Texas in order to get over the death of Billy. After her departure the staff of the Motel never mentioned her again.
During these years George worked in clubs and pantomimes, before returning to the soap opera 11 years later. In 1987, she made a return to the programme. Crossroads was now under the management of producer William Smethurst, who insisted on bringing Amy back. When she walked into the studio for the first time in 11 years the cast - many of whom had worked with her first time round - broke into a spontaneous round of applause which brought tears to her eyes. It has been reported that George was unable to climb the stairs to the studio, which meant her appearances were limited to the occasional cameo in the studio, or on location in the village of Tanworth-in-Arden that doubled for the fictional King's Oak. The ATV Centre, however, had at the time fully operating lifts to all floors - including the studio level, so where this story originated from is still a mystery.
Movie Life was Hollywood's only All-Picture magazine. This particular cover dates back to January 1946 and gracing the cover is legendary actor, Gregory Peck wearing a bandanna. Also: In colour are, Diana Lynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmie Stewart & Roy Rogers.