Monday, 12 May 2014

Our Top 50 Favourite Crossroads Characters - 44: Kitty Jarvis

Mrs Kitty Jarvis, wife of Dick, mother of Brian and sister of Meg.

It's often forgotten these days, but part of the original concept of Crossroads was the tale of two sisters and their families - the sisters concerned were Meg Richardson, who was of course played by Noele Gordon, and Kitty Jarvis, played by Beryl Johnstone.

Noele Gordon in her autobiography, My Life At Crossroads, stated that the two sisters were originally envisaged as not having a very happy relationship - Kitty's jealousy of Meg and Meg's reactions to it being a pivotal part of the story. But, once on-screen, this was forgotten as Noele and Beryl got on well and it was felt that a clash of temperaments between the two characters would have been difficult to make believable on-screen.

The original opening theme music arrangements differed - depending on which of the two sisters' families were first seen on screen in individual episodes. There was an arrangement for the Jarvis family and an arrangement for the Richardson family/motel.

Kitty lived with her husband Dick at their newsagent's and tobacconist's shop some distance from King's Oak. They had a son, Brian. Kitty was revealed to be a kind and caring woman, not as unflappable as Meg, but definitely a good sort. She was a good wife and mother - and sister to Meg and brother Andy Fraser, and also a kind daughter-in-law to Dick's father, Enoch.

Kitty endured numerous crises, including her husband being cheated by his business associates, Victor Amos and Charlie Forward, and son Brian being accused of manslaughter.

When Beryl Johnstone died in 1969, the character had to die too. In Crossroads, when the unexpected death of a cast member necessitated the death of the character they played, the demise of the character was only briefly mentioned on-screen and there were no funeral or mourning story-lines. Such was the case with Kitty Jarvis.

Kitty seems largely forgotten when Crossroads is discussed these days. But the character and her family were a central ingredient of the original show, and the character was very popular. No 50th anniversary list of favourite characters of the 1960s, '70s and '80s would be complete without her.

No comments:

Post a Comment