Saturday, 31 May 2014

Our Top 50 Favourite Crossroads Characters - 40: Darby

Darby:  "Please extinguish that cigarette, Mrs  Tardebigge!"
Mrs Tardebigge: "It's me bit of pleasure, lover."

Mr Thomas Darby, played by Patrick Jordan, was the hall porter at the Crossroads Motel in the mid-to-late 1980s. Thomas was just about always called and referred to as "Darby" or "Mr Darby". Use of his first name no doubt seemed a little too informal to him.

Fiercely devoted to Nicola Freeman, Darby always made sure she received her newspaper and cuppa each morning. As soon she was settled in her office for the day, he was in with a tray - and woe betide anybody who smoked in her office, for Darby would be in with the air freshener (it was called "Whispering Glen" or something).

Darby had quite a rigid mindset and clashed with the likes of cleaner Mrs Tardebigge and new motel owner Tommy "Bomber" Lancaster. He hated Mrs Tardebigge smoking in the staff room. Like all the best "pain-in-the-neck" soap characters, he always believed he was acting for the best. Sometimes his was the voice of doom and gloom. When Tommy took over the motel in 1987, Darby droned on endlessly - saying that it was just like the old Station Hotel at Buxton years before, and that the staff would soon be out on their ears. Perhaps if he wasn't so apt to get worked up about things, Darby could have avoided the heart attack he survived. But he was soon back to his old self.

He developed a friendship with Margaret Grice's mother, Mrs Babbitt, herself a gloomy old fusspot. At the end of the series in 1988, as the Three Crowns took over the newly-renamed King's Oak Country Hotel, Darby was heard saying that it was just like the old Station Hotel, Buxton, all over again...

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