‘Nolly’ Ending, Explained: Why Was Nolly Fired From “Crossroads”? Does She Go Back To The Show?

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We live in a time where groundbreaking content has just come to mean the hyped-up, interesting release of the week. The oversaturation of content means that there is seldom something that we are wowed by, and our standards have lowered to the extent that we are satisfied if it is decently engaging. However, once in a while, there is a piece of writing that is focused more on telling a good story, the kind that stays with you long after you are done being entertained by it. That kind of writing is getting rarer and rarer these days, which is why we were so happy when we came across “Nolly.” Good writing coming together with good actors is a blessing to the senses. The crisp writing really brings alive the richness of the personality of Noele Gordon, portrayed brilliantly by Helena Bonham Carter. Needless to say, some parts of “Nolly” are fictionalized. Either way, let us take a look at the journey of a woman who found her place in the world when the life she had always known changed forever.

Spoilers Ahead


Noele Gorden Gets Fired From Crossroads

Noele Gordon is the first woman to be on color television. We were not aware of this, and the opening scene of “Nolly” Episode 1 was made more stunning by this fact. Next, we see her on the set of her show, and as good as an actress she is, she is also opinionated and doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. She is good friends with Tony Adams, her co-star, with whom she gladly goes window shopping whenever she wants.

One fine day, Nolly comes to know that her character on the show, Meg Mortimer, is going to be killed. Noele Gordon is getting fired. She is given six months in which the story of her death will be written. It comes as quite a shock to Noele, who has been on the show for close to twenty years. Tony suggests that maybe they just want to give her a month-long sabbatical like she has been asking for, but that is far from the case. When she asks Jack Barton if that is true, he replies that it was an order from Charles Denton. Furious, Noele makes it clear that she will not be begging to be kept on and tells him that she does not want to wait six months. Jack suggests Christmas, but that angers her more, so they reach an agreement that Noele’s last day will be in November.

The storyline of her exit starts on the show, and when the cast learns of it, everyone is confused as to what the reason could be. But Nolly’s rage is just manifesting itself. She tells the press, in no uncertain terms, that she was fired from her job. Ideally, one would want to take the high road, but Nolly does not mince words when she says that she was the one who made ATV what it was and gave daytime television the popularity it currently enjoys. To be honest, there was a strange satisfaction we felt when we heard her reaffirm her importance at work, daring anyone to contradict her. That is a lesson we need to learn in life.

However, it is not without repercussions. The day after the interview, the office is flooded with hundreds of phone calls proclaiming their love for the character and asking what the matter is. Charles Denton goes on TV and talks a little unkindly about the way they plan on writing her off the show. Shaken up, Nolly goes to Jack and makes one request of him. She tells him that she is willing to leave peacefully, but she doesn’t want her character to be killed. She had come to work even when her mother had died and even after Sandy, the actor who had played her son for 18 years, had passed away. She had placed her job above everything else, so she felt she was owed that. But Jack keeps deflecting the topic, saying that it is not a real-life death. We get the distinct feeling that he is enjoying her misery with the satisfaction of having shaken up her pride.

The issue is that now that Noele believes that her character is going to be killed, she wants to know how, but that is being kept a secret. Jack has gotten further tight-lipped as Meg’s exit has soared the popularity of the show, so he wants to keep the mystery alive. This leaves Nolly trying to solve the mystery with the cast by finding clues in the scripts, but they come up with nothing. However, when she notices that the set of their show has been removed and is going to be burned, she assumes that is how her character is going to be killed. But things turned out to be better than that. When she receives the script for her final episode, it has her leaving on a ship to another place instead of dying. Turns out, Jack did what she wanted, but he kept her in the torturous dark as some twisted sort of fun. 

When it comes to the shooting of the last episode, the cast mentions how Nolly was not given a proper send-off and how she would be alone in a different city for the airing of it. This prompts Tony to join her at the last moment, and it is a moment of sweetness in an otherwise thankless goodbye. In the new city where she is exploring with Tony, she gets on a bus where the women are wowed by her. It is a charming scene, one where she connects with her fans and puts a misogynist in his place. Now that her stint at Crossroads has ended, she starts looking for new work, and her friend, Larry Grayson, encourages her to start theatre again.


‘Nolly’ Ending Explained: Why Was Nolly Fired From “Crossroads”? Does She Go Back To The Show?

Nolly was the recipient of eight “Best Actress” awards, and in one of the flashbacks, we get to know that one of Crossroads’ competitors was Coronation Street, which is likely going to take the show’s top slot since her exit. In the present, Nolly is nervous about the theatre she is doing, as she feels that she really doesn’t fit in. She has been acting a certain way all her life and is set in her ways. The theatre is considered one of the more serious forms of acting, and Nolly worries that she is not up to it when Tony tells her to get out of her head and take up the challenge. Nolly listens, and she talks to her theatre cast, probably for the first time, in a totally honest way. She tells them about the man she loved once, who was not just two-timing her but, in fact, betrayed her and his wife with a third person. As she settles into her new scene, she gets selected to be part of a play called “The Boyfriend,” which requires her to travel across the world. In one of the places, she is taken to the police station, when the strip club she is at is raided. There, she meets someone who used to work at the ATV studio and who, surprisingly, knows why Nolly was sacked.

Nolly meets Jack later on, and she confronts him with the information she has learned. Jack had called Nolly difficult to work with, and that had caused her to be fired. Nolly says that he could have at least spoken to her about it and points out that he would not do this with a man. But Jack asks her to come back to Crossroads through a shoot in Venice. Nolly initially refuses to work with him but reconsiders it soon enough. She shows up in Venice on the set, and the shot is about her meeting her on-screen daughter again. Jack explains the shot to her and asks her if she wants any changes. Nolly thinks but shakes her head. Right before she is about to turn her head, she remembers a cancer diagnosis that she has recently received. She knows her time is limited, and she wants to spend it in the places and with the people she truly cares about, and we believe that is why she came back.


Final Thoughts: What Works For The ‘Nolly’ Series?

One word for the series is “smooth.” A biographical series cannot rely on subplots and theatrics to keep itself going. They are completely reliant on the brilliance of the life of their subject, and Noele Gordon’s character was as colorful as it could be. Her emotional depth as an artist and as an independent woman couldn’t have been captured better by Helena Bonham Carter. “Nolly” is something we would actually recommend to other people. It is not just crisp and fast but effectively conveys the emotional range of its characters. A great watch for a weekday or a weekend.


“Nolly” is a 2023 Drama Biopic series directed by Peter Hoar.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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