The Real Nolly


Transmission (TX):
TX confirmed:

Week 05 2023 : Sat 28 Jan - Fri 03 Feb

Wed 25 Jan 2023

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Sunday 29 January 2023.

The Real Nolly, with exclusive access to her personal papers, never-before-seen pictures and interviews with those who knew her best, explores the life of Noele Gordon. 

Before Crossroads, she was a star on the stage in the 1940s; she was also the first woman ever to be broadcast in colour in an experiment by TV pioneer John Logie Baird. She was asked to go to New York for a year, where she studied TV production and made hours of notes on US TV. She was a continuity announcer and acted in radio shows, too. She came back to the UK to help set up Associated Television as a TV executive and established daytime TV; she was a pioneer in the world of TV which was run by men.  

The film discusses the remarkable soap opera set in Crossroads Motel in the Midlands. The programme ran from 1964 to 1988, but it’s famous for the period when Noele Gordon was the star. It included remarkable scenes – for instance, when Meg got married, more than 10,000 fans turned up to watch the filming at Birmingham Cathedral, so they put that in the episode. It is almost inconceivable that a soap could have generated such excitement over just an ‘ordinary’ motel owner. Larry Grayson – the famous TV presenter – even drove the Rolls Royce!  

Nolly’s sacking from Crossroads was a devastating blow to her, but she took to the stage again, aged 61, in the musical Gypsy. Sadly, only a few years later, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away. Speaking with those who were close to her, we discover who she was, hear about the heartbreak in her life and learn what gave her the steely determination to keep going. The Real Nolly is a love letter to a true star who is still much missed by friends and fans alike and also still hugely admired.  

Helena Bonham Carter – who stars as Nolly in the drama – narrates the documentary.

The Real Nolly is a Multistory Media production for ITVX. Available to stream for free on ITVX from 2 Feb 2023.


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