Russell T Davies has weighed in on the current state of the soap opera as his tribute to Noele 'Nolly' Gordon and her star vehicle Crossroads prepares to drop on ITVX.


The screenwriter, who recently earned acclaim for his Channel 4 drama It's A Sin and made headlines by returning to Doctor Who, had great admiration for soaps in his formative years and early career.

Besides being a Crossroads fan, which helped to inform his three-part drama Nolly, Davies also enjoyed a brief stint working on fellow ITV soap Coronation Street in the '90s – including its Las Vegas-set 1997 feature-length special.

At a press event for the launch of Nolly, Davies reflected on how the 1980s were a transformative time for the genre, owing to the broader commercialisation of the TV industry.

"It’s an interesting time," he began. "It’s 1981, it's six months after ‘Who shot JR?' [in Dallas]... it’s when television starts to become a business and money becomes more important. And that's happening to the whole world in the West. That's the ‘80s starting."

Davies went on to contrast the soap dominance of the time to what we see today.

He continued: "Once ‘Who shot JR?’ had happened, you could see the soaps supersize themselves… They start to become huge in the way that they were huge for the next 20 years – and [are] no more, in a way.

"They had a glorious 20 years. I apologise to the Inside Soap members of staff here [but] they’re not what they were. Sorry. But it was a glorious 20 years."

Helena Bonham Carter stars in ITVX's Nolly
Helena Bonham Carter as Noele Gordon in Nolly. ITVX

Later, when Davies was pushed to offer his opinion on what the future looks like for British soaps, the screenwriter trod carefully, noting that he's "working for ITV now".

Whatever his opinion on modern soaps, there is no doubt that Davies has great affection for the classics and their stars, including the late Noele Gordon.

He added: "I happen to think the memories of an old soap opera are very precious and beautiful and as important as a good book, or any wonderful experience you could have. I think these trivial things are what we're made of in the end.

"And I think they have status and I hope we've made Nolly to give Noele Gordon some status again, to reintroduce her to the public and to say, ‘Well done, Nolly’."

Nolly is available to stream free on ITVX from Thursday 2nd February 2023. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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