Noele Gordon is the subject and star behind a new ITV series but who was the English actress?

Nolly is a three-part series tells the story of actress Noele Gordon (Helena Bonham Carter) as she is fired from the long-running British soap Crossroads. 

The drama explores how society "turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, the women it cannot understand and the women it fears," ITV has said. 

The series comes from It's A Sin creator and Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies and stars Mark Gatiss, Augustus Prew among others. 

Central Fife Times: Nolly was created by It's A Sin writer and Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies ( ITV)Nolly was created by It's A Sin writer and Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies ( ITV) (Image: ITV)

In the show's sypnosis, ITV explains: "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".

Who was Noele Gordon?

Born on Christmas Day 1919 in East Ham London, Noele Gordon was a beloved English actress who was best known for her role as Meg Mortimer in the soap Crossroads.

Her love for Television began earlier, having appeared in John Logie Baird's world's first colour transmission on July 3 1928.

Gordon attended RADA before she appeared in various West End productions like Brigadoon, The Lisbon Story and Call Me Madam.

She also appeared in a few British films and presented The Weekend Show for Associative Television. 

When her acting career stalled, she studied Television at New York University and then returned to produce and presented the Birmingham-based ATV Midlands.

Gordon became the first woman to interview a British Prime Minister during her chat show Tea with Noele Gordon.

Why was Noele Gordon sacked from Crossroads?

In 1964, Gordon joined a new soap opera - Crossroads - in a part that was specifically designed for her.

As the motel owner, Meg Richardson ( later Mortimer), Gordon was reportedly the only cast member that had a permanent contract.

In 1981, after 17 years in the role, Gordon was sacked when ATV was reconstituted into a new company called Central Independent Television (CIT)

CIT wanted to cancel the soap entirely but couldn't due to ATV's commitment to the soap.

The reason why Gordon was fired from the series was reportedly because the CIT hoped viewers would desert the show and therefore they could cancel the series in favour of other programmes.

What did Noele Gordon do after Crossroads?

After she was fired, Gordon returned to Crossroads in 1983 for two episodes and was even asked back again in 1985 when the show got a revamp and was renamed the Crossroads Hotel.

In the end, Gordon was actually too ill to return to the series. 

Following her exit from the soap, Gordon continued to act and appeared in various theatre productions across the country including in Leceister, London and Plymouth.

In 1982, Gordon underwent two operations for stomach cancer and then retired to her home in Birmingham, where shed lasted died in 1985.

She is now buried in the churchyard of St Mary's Parish Church in Ross-on-Wye.

Did Noele Gordon ever marry and does she have any living family?

Gordon never married and has no living family which has made the show's creator more determined to do her "justice" and "extra determined" to protect her legacy.

Central Fife Times: Noele Gordon never married and has no living family left. ( PA)Noele Gordon never married and has no living family left. ( PA) (Image: PA)

Speaking about sending Bonham-Carter the script, Russell T Davies said: "In absolute fairness, she was so determined, like all of us, to do Nolly justice. There’s no one left from Nolly’s family so there’s no one to protect her legacy.

"I think that made us extra protective – all of us – to take care with her, to be honest but kind."

How to watch ITV's Nolly

Nolly premieres on ITV's new streaming service ITVX on Thursday, February 2 2023.

Viewers can also see the true story behind the drama in the documentary 'The Real Nolly'.

The documentary is available on ITVX from February 2.

Nolly premieres on ITVX on February 2 2023.