5 March 1943 |
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Born in Derby, Rossington's family moved to Sutton Coldfield when she was four years of age. The daughter of a bank manager, she attended Sutton Coldfield Grammar School and was an amateur actress, having trained in the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, before appearing in repertory theatre in Sheffield and York. She was the only Crossroads original cast member to be in the first and last episode of the series. She was, however, no stranger to soap opera, having played the part of probationary nurse Kate Ford in the ITV series Emergency Ward 10 during 1963-64.
Rossington spoke the first words of the first episode of Crossroads on 2 November 1964, "Crossroads Motel, good evening". She played Jill Richardson, the daughter of the owner of the Crossroads Motel, Meg Richardson. For the 24 years she appeared in the show the writers delighted in making Jill suffer, and amongst other things, she was married five times - once bigamously - was a drug addict, an alcoholic and had a baby with her stepbrother. As well as being the only actor to remain in the show for its entire series, she also spoke the final words of the final episode in 1988.
Because no regular member of the cast of Crossroads had a permanent contract, she had plenty of time to pursue other roles, and played the minor role of Monica Downes in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers. She was, however, an integral part of Crossroads. When she became pregnant, the show's producer, Reg Watson, ordered the scriptwriters to include the pregnancy in the storyline. When Rossington miscarried, Watson asked her if she would mind if the pregnancy storyline went ahead, as they had had such a positive response from the audience. After agreeing, Rossington conceived again, and in order to not alter the storylines, Jill appeared to be pregnant on screen for 11 months. Jill's daughter, Sarah-Jane, was sometimes played by Rossington's own daughter, Sorrel. After the demise of the original series, Rossington was seen very little on television but frequently appeared on stage. When ITV1 announced in 2000 that the series was to be revived, she returned to the role. Jill was later killed off by her estranged husband Adam, although the revamp was written off as a dream in the final episode when the new series was axed in 2003.
Rossington also appeared in an episode of the children's series Dramarama. For a while, she had her own show on Beacon Radio. She later toured in the stage plays Murder in Mind and Don't Rock the Boat. She has also appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.
She was the subject of This Is Your Life in October 1987 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at a central London hotel. In a video interview on YouTube Rossington stated that she was Eamonn Andrews' final subject on This Is Your Life as he died on 5th November. The show was held over until early 1988.
Rossington now lives in Staffordshire with her second husband, chartered surveyor David Dunger. She has two grown children, Sorrel and Harry. Since 1988, Rossington has been the main patron of the Crossroads Appreciation Society, and continues to take an active role in the group.
- Jane Rossington IMDb profile; accessed 25 June 2014.
- "ITV Series 1, Episode 3". Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 21 January 2001. ITV. Repeated 23 August 2016 on Challenge TV.
- Interview for the Crossroads Appreciation Society Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., crossroadsnetwork.co.uk; accessed 25 June 2014.
- Jane Rossington recalls This Is Your Life appearance, bigredbook.info; accessed 25 June 2014.