Saturday, 21 June 2014

Our Top 50 Favourite Characters - 34: Carole Sands

Carole has a mug of tea and misses Kevin...

Think of groundbreaking soap females donning greasy overalls and becoming garage mechanics and the first character who comes to mind might be Charlene Mitchell/Robinson, played by Kylie Minogue, in the Australian Neighbours serial during the mid-to-late 1980s. But, in the early 1980s, Crossroads got there first with a young woman called Carole Sands, played by Jo-Anne Good.

Carole made her Crossroads debut in late 1981. She became housekeeper to David and Barbara Hunter. Carole was a poor, working class girl - looking after her widowed father and siblings. She was a bit of a political activist, again something of a first for Crossroads, and activated Barbara's social conscience, and, to some degree, David's.

Carole fell in love with married Kevin Banks. It was a very pure and innocent relationship, no sex involved, but there was no doubt her feelings ran deep - and he reciprocated. Arthur and Kath Brownlow became concerned as Kevin was influenced by Carole's political fervour, and they were sceptical about her view that the government was allowing unemployment to rise to bring inflation down. This was a contentious view advanced by some people in the real world at the time, and was something of a surprise as Crossroads had never featured politics in this way before.

Carole was something of a breath of fresh air.

In early 1982, she persuaded Kevin to join her on a march for jobs in King's Oak. Unfortunately, Kev's wife, Glenda, suspecting nothing, opted to join them. The march turned into a mini-riot - local villains wanting to settle a score with a local police officer had infiltrated it - and Carole accidentally ended up in hospital - courtesy of PC Ashley Lamont.

Lamont called at the hospital to apologise and to explain what had happened on the march, but Carole mocked him, telling him that the police should go after real villains, after all, Eddie Lee was serving time for a crime he hadn't committed...

Barbara had confided the story of Eddie Lee, which had served as inspiration for one of her novels, to Carole. Carole had promised to keep it secret, but Lamont had irked her - and so...

The situation caused some complications for Barbara, but things looked up for Carole when she landed a job at the Crossroads Garage. Sharon Metcalfe, previously secretary there, had progressed to manager, and she took Carole on. The way now lay open to Carole becoming a mechanic. 

Kevin tore himself away from Carole and went to work away for a while to save his marriage. Carole was broken hearted. Later story-lines saw her coping with her father Ken being manager at the garage and his subsequent accident and brother Colin, who was dallying with Diane Hunter.

I'm not sure how Carole ended up. But I'm sure she's out there coping somewhere. And, no doubt, a fully qualified mechanic of many years standing by now.

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