Saturday, 21 June 2014

Our Top 50 Favourite Crossroads Characters - 36: Mr Booth

 A favourite King's Oak pairing: Crossroads chefs Mr Lovejoy and Mr Booth.

Mr Booth, Bernard to close friends only (and Shughie McFee), played by David Lawton, arrived at the Crossroads Motel in 1969 to fill in after a slip-up over a temporary chef who did not arrive. Mr Booth took over the kitchen and made such a good job of it he stayed on. He also ran an escort and employment agency.

Prissy and particular, Mr Booth was the perfect foil for established chef Mr Lovejoy. I thoroughly enjoyed their whitterings to each other about the correct way to prepare various dishes and run a kitchen in the early 1970s. Mr Booth was interested in the notion of ESP (extra sensory perception) and fancied himself as an amateur Sherlock Holmes.

Mr Booth was a bit of a bungler and his boss, Meg Richardson, would react with a wince whenever he assured her: "Leave it to me, Mrs Richardson!"

Underneath his starchy exterior, Mr B was actually a kind and caring man. He left the motel for a while, but returned at the end of the decade, married to a young woman called Helen. The marriage was not happy and complicated by Helen's behaviour, but the couple finally patched things up and Helen became pregnant. 

It was hard to imagine Mr Booth as a family man, but he left the motel in 1979 to be with Helen who was enduring a difficult pregnancy, and the best wishes of dedicated viewers (like me) went with him.

As Mr Booth was a permanent recurring character, often absent from the screen for fairly long periods of time, David Lawton had a favourite excuse he'd invented to cover each absence: "If anybody needs me, I'll be in the storeroom," Mr Booth would say. Legend has it that the poor man once spent six months in there! 

David Lawton died in 1979. 

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