Saturday, 9 August 2014
Our Top 50 Favourite Crossroads Characters - 29: J Henry Pollard
J Henry tells Val his plans for her in 1982. This was Valerie's debut scene in the series. J Henry had first appeared in 1980.
I was never sure what the "J" stood for in J Henry Pollard, the millionaire businessman who first breezed into the Crossroads Motel in 1980 and was a frequent visitor (and a shareholder from 1982 onwards) until midway through the decade.
J Henry, played by Michael Turner, had not got where he was by being soft hearted. When David Hunter offered to sell him the motel in 1981, J Henry made it plain he expected Mr H to honour the offer. When it fell through, J Henry threatened to take legal action, though soon confessed to Meg Mortimer that he had no intention of carrying out his threat.
There was a human side to the man.
In 1982, he turned up again - stating that the motel must make good on its offer to let him have any new shares in the company. This caused complications as a Mr Malik was already in-line for the new share issue, but J Henry soon sorted that.
Just why was he so interested in a little motel in the Midlands, an international businessman like him?
It soon became plain that one of the reasons J Henry wanted a stake in the place was so he could imprison his faithless wife Valerie there.
Valerie, of course, forced away from her exotic beaches and "pneumatic" (J Henry's word) young men, was not going to take that lying down, and wreaked havoc.
J Henry was keen to install Paul Ross at the motel, ostensibly as restaurant manager, but really as his spy.
And that little move wreaked havoc too, finally rather blowing up in J Henry's face.
J's "dickie heart" helped bring about a reconciliation between himself and Valerie, and they left together, returning late in the year.
After a family set-to about an anonymous letter Valerie sent to Miranda in 1983, Valerie sadly told her daughter that she thought J Henry was the only member of their little family who knew how to love - and she didn't mean sleeping around.
Although J Henry and Valerie clearly had deep feelings for each other, their marriage gusted back onto the rocks in 1984 and divorce was in the offing.
A surprising character was J Henry - the hard-nosed millionaire businessman could occasionally be very kind - even sensitive. He championed Iris Scott against the rest of the motel board of directors in 1984 when she was refused a job, and developed a paternalistic affection for the girl. His anger at the board was, no doubt, part fuelled by an old score - the fact that Adam Chance had bedded Valerie in 1982.
But mixed in with J Henry's desire for revenge were his genuine feelings of concern for Iris.
He also contributed to some humorous scenarios - several conversations with Valerie, encounters with David Hunter, and the Councillor Berry complications were particularly appreciated by our good selves.
A memorable and interesting character, J Henry and his family kept the motel buzzing with gossip and intrigue in the early to mid-1980s.