DIANE… a happy ending?

Diane down on the farm – where she was a source of strength and help to Uncle Ed when his wife died.

Diane’s life at the Crossroads Motel has had its fair share of ‘ups’ – and more than its fair share of ‘downs’. In fact Diane could be called the ‘problem child’ of the Motel. In ten years she has gone through crisis after crisis. . . .

At first everything seemed set for Diane Lawton. She got married to Vince Parker, the kind, dependable postman. But she was restless, wanted something more from life, and sadly the marriage broke up, despite all Vince’s efforts. After this, several affairs followed, most of them with unhappy endings. Diane seemed to drift, her job as waitress being the only steadying influence in her life.

Other traumas followed, and Diane took to drinking for a while … then there was the saga of Frank Adam, the movie star who fathered her illegitimate child Nicky. Frank took him to America and, despite all her efforts, Diane has seen little of her son since.

Sue Hanson, who plays Diane, agrees that all these experiences could well have soured Diane, but she believes that they have only made her wiser and stronger. Sue’s life, of course, has been quite different. After Drama School she went on the stage at the famous Mermaid Theatre, and later starred in a rock and roll film. There was a stint with the stage version of The Boyfriend, some TV work … and then Crossroads. Although it’s very hard work, Sue loves being part of the Crossroads team, and she finds the character of Diane very stimulating. “Everything I can’t be, I try to put into Diane,” she says. “I try to make her very complex and above all interesting!”

Another difference between Diane and Sue is that Sue is very happily married. She met Carl Wayne, who was a member of the group The Move, in 1968. They live in Birmingham, within easy reach of the ATV studios and Sue’s parents, who live in Lancashire (Sue was born in Preston). It’s also an ideal centre for Carl, who tours, playing nightclubs.

So, what now for Diane? She does seem to have settled down rather now that she’s a frequent visitor to her uncle Ed’s farm. After a long stay there to sort out her problems she is still very attached to the place, and the atmosphere there seems to help. There’s Benny, too – the backward labourer she has taken ‘under her wing’. Sue believes that Benny is a kind of substitute for the son that Diane never sees, and that the protective friendship, with Diane teaching Benny to read and write, has done Diane a world of good. So perhaps it won’t be too long before the girl with the unhappy beginnings finds a happy ending.