Helena Bonham Carter: Russell T Davies champions society's rejects

The actress is starring as Noele Gordon in upcoming series Nolly about the firing of the Crossroads star.

Helena Bonham Carter said Russell T Davies champions society’s rejects as she stars in an upcoming series about a soap star who was sacked in the 1980s.

Davies, best known for Doctor Who, created 11-time Bafta nominated It’s A Sin about the UK’s HIV/Aids crisis in the 1980s and a series about gay men in Manchester called Queer As Folk.

Bonham Carter is starring as Noele Gordon in Nolly, a three-part ITVX series created and produced by Davies, about the firing of the Crossroads star in 1981 from the famous soap, which was set in a motel in the Midlands.

The 56-year-old actress told the PA news agency at an event launching the streaming platform: “(Russell’s) very good at championing the people who I think have been cast aside.”

National Television Awards 2021 – London
Olly Alexander, left, and Russell T Davies in the press room after winning the new drama award for It’s A Sin at the National Television Awards (Ian West/PA)

Davies said: “What I love is digging into a story that people think is well known or people don’t know at all and finding the truth in it, finding the heroism in it, finding the joy of Nolly’s life, and the suffering but ultimately it’s triumphant.”

Gordon was also a presenter, who became the first woman to interview a British Prime Minister when she spoke to Harold Macmillan when he was in office.

Bonham Carter said: “(The series is about the) fall of the queen, she was the most famous woman in Britain, next to the Queen, she was called the queen of the Midlands, and in everybody’s living room, she was then vanished.

“It’s the story of her fall, it is very very funny, having said that.

Operation Mincemeat UK premiere – London
Mark Gatiss stars as Larry Grayson in Nolly (PA)

“She had many, many strands to her, in her time, where quite frankly there weren’t that many women, in front of the camera… a woman ahead of her time.”

When speaking in a panel about Gordon, Davies also said: “I was 18 in 1981 when she was sacked and it was front page headlines in every single newspaper.

“And it always stayed with me because it was a very mysterious sacking. She was sacked overnight, no lunch, no dinner, no warning, no little chat with the agent.

“It was just absolutely ruthless. I wondered about it for many years why that happened. (I) did a lot of research and found out why.”

Mark Gatiss plays Gordon’s close friend, Larry Grayson, host of The Generation Game, who also briefly appeared in Crossroads.

The 56-year-old Sherlock actor told PA: “There isn’t really a story because he wasn’t out (with his sexual orientation) but equally he was sort of bringing outrageous homosexuality into people’s living rooms on a Saturday night.

“So it’s an interesting combination of a trailblazer and also a source of secrets but it’s that, to me, that makes me it very interesting.”

Nolly is not the only show coming to ITVX, which is launching next week with more than 10,000 hours of content in high definition including more than 200 films and series.

The streaming platform will premiere A Spy Among Friends, Tell Me Everything, The Confessions of Frannie Langton and Plebs: Soldiers of Rome on December 8.

At least one show will then launch on ITVX per week going forward including David Tennant series Litvinenko on December 15 and Riches, starring Deborah Ayorinde and Hugh Quarshie, on December 22.

Nolly launches exclusively on ITVX in 2023.

The new streaming platform ITVX launches on December 8.