Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Emmerdale 40th Anniversary...


The way it was. In October 1982, Emmerdale Farm celebrated its very first decade on screen. In fact, the 1980s were the very first decade which the show completely spanned, appearing every year from 1980 to 1989. The show was first networked (shown on the same day and at the same time) across the ITV regions in January 1988.

 How times change! A mid-1980s Woolpack perpetual calendar, still in use in The Bugle editorial office. This particular Woolpack sign seen on the building was first used in 1984.

Well, of course, we at the Beckindale Bugle couldn't let today go by without wishing Emmerdale a very happy 40th anniversary. Back in our day, in 1982 to be precise, the show, then Emmerdale Farm, celebrated its very first decade on-screen. And look how things have changed since then! But then they always have. From 1980, when Al Dixon's Walter first appeared, Clive Hornby became Jack Sugden, Jean Rogers became Dolly Skilbeck and Stan Richards became full time and permanent as Seth Armstrong, to shortening scenes, the arrivals of bad lads Alan Turner (1982) and Eric Pollard (1986) and the show becoming simply Emmerdale (1989), our fave decade saw many changes in Beckindale (as it then was).

Wishing you all the best for the future, Emmerdale! Tonight we'll be toasting your future success in true 1980s Woolpack fashion!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Emmerdale At 40 - And In The 1980s...

A couple of e-mails from readers as Emmerdale approaches its 40th birthday on 16 October.

Rod writes:

Why do you focus on the 1980's? If it was anything like the 1970's episodes I have seen it was dead boring and naff!

That's all a matter of opinion, Rod! I loved the show right from its lunchtime beginnings in 1972, but in 1980 several things happened which increased my enjoyment hugely: Al Dixon arrived as the legendary Silent Walter, Clive Hornby and Jean Rogers took on the roles of Jack Sugden and Dolly Skilbeck - both would be long-stayers, and Seth Armstrong, played by Stan Richards, became a full-time permanent character. On top of this, the Merrick family were revamped and recast and gave us some splendid gritty drama and an attempt to actually portray modern teenagers as permanent characters. The character of Amos Brearly, played by Ronald Magill, became more eccentric and funny and all in all a delicious brew became even more delicious in my view. Wading on further into the 1980s (1982 and 1984), we saw the arrival of the (as it turned out) hugely lovable Alan Turner and his long-suffering secretary Mrs Bates, the terrifying reign of Harry Mowlam and, to cap it all, the arrival of Eric Pollard (1986). 1989, of course, brought us the Tate family.

All shows evolve, and the '80s era was my favourite in the show. That's why I chose to highlight that decade on this blog.

Claire writes:

This is a very valuable resource. Do you still like the show? Could you extend The Bugle to the 90s and beyond?

Well, I didn't see much Emmerdale in the '90s - or beyond - so that would be difficult. I don't watch modern soaps at all because the pace is too fast for my personal taste. But I'm delighted that Emmerdale has survived all these years and shall be raising a glass to it on 16 October.

I have received copies of some very interesting 1980s Emmerdale Farm memorabilia from Sheila, who wrote to The Bugle some time ago about Al Dixon's Silent Walter - who lit up a quiet corner of The Woolpack from 1980-1985. I'll be putting them on-line as soon as possible. Many thanks to Sheila!




Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Truth About Walter...

Early 1980: Geoffrey Hooper's Walter chats to Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill).

Late 1980: Al Dixon's Walter says nowt.

This blog has some amazing fans! No sooner had I posted the previous article on the three Walters (one and the same character?) than I got this e-mail from Sheila:

I well remember Geoffrey Hooper as Walter and liked him a great deal. When Al Dixon became the new Walter in the early '80s, I couldn't accept him as the same character because he was so silent and odd. He was nothing like the previous version. Around 1981, when it became obvious that Al Dixon's version was not going to speak, I wrote to the production team asking if the two Walters were meant to be the same character, because they seemed so different. Clive Hornby and Jean Rogers had been cast as Jack Sugden and Dolly Skilbeck in 1980, but they resembled the previous actors and the characters were the same. The reply stated that the production team, headed by Anne W Gibbons, the producer, liked the tradition of a Walter at the Woolpack, but in casting Al Dixon, they had no intention of adhering to the character of the previous Walter. They wanted to create something fresh and original and so the idea came about that he would be silent.

The letter said that viewers could use their imaginations as to whether he was the same person as the previous Walter or not, so I decided that Amos, depressed by the death of his old regular Walter, had been happy when a new Walter turned up in Beckindale (Walter was a common name amongst aged men in those days) and had taken him under his wing, not at first realising how odd he was.

I wrote to the cast and production team several times in those days and have some lovely souvenirs. I'd be happy to scan some for you. I really enjoy reading your site and am always on the lookout for updates, which are all too rare!

Thanks for that, Sheila! It's amazing!  Thanks for your compliments, too. I'm a great fan of Al Dixon's highly distinctive Walter - he was the only SILENT Walter - and I'd love to see your souvenirs! I'll be in touch.

Friday, 4 May 2012

E-Mails - The Walters And Some Praise...

Terry writes:

Were the Walters in Emmerdale Farm supposed to be the same person in real life? I know there were three and they were very different, and it is the silent Walter played by Al Dixon from 1980-1985 who is the best remembered, but were they the same person in the program?

I'm not sure about Meadows White, but the other two Walters were definitely linked. Geoffrey Hooper's Walter was a Woolpack regular who spoke. It was a lovely piece of character acting, but Walter was not a fully-fledged character in those days - more background. Geoffrey Hooper's Walter last appeared in early 1980. The actor died, but Anne W Gibbons and the production team liked the tradition of having a Walter at the Woolpack and decided to play with the concept. The new Walter was very different - the one and only silent Walter - and achieved a cult following. Some confusion followed with some people thinking that Geoffrey Hooper's Walter had been silent, but that, of course, was not true.

I tend to think of them more in terms of separate characters because they were so different and because Al Dixon's Walter became such a cult. I think the Emmerdale production team expected its audience to be somewhat sophisticated and accept the fact that the new Walter was very different from the old and leave as a mystery whether they were the same character or not (were there two Walters in Beckindale? It was perfectly possible. If so, what was their history?) and just concentrate on Al Dixon as the "Silent One".

I must say that as viewer of Emmerdale Farm from the very early days, the only Walter that registered in my memory was the Al Dixon version. I was surprised to discover later that there had been others.

I recall a friend of mine some years uploading some late '70s Emmerdale Farm onto YouTube with Geoffrey Hooper as the non-silent Walter and us all being surprised that it was not the Walter we all remembered.

In the end, no definite explanation was ever offered - so if you like to believe that Emmerdale Farm was real life you can list the Walters as the same person (despite looking different and having different personalities) or as separate locals in Beckindale. Or you can accept what was going on behind the scenes and just enjoy the Walter tradition, whether your favourite is Meadows White, Geoffrey Hooper or Al Dixon!

And an e-mail from Sandra from March - sorry it's taken me so long to publish it!

Love this blog. It's well thought out, and well written. You really are a gifted writer because you make the old stories live and you have great understanding of the characters. The article you wrote about Jackie and Jack and the difficulties they experienced in finding a way of getting on together showed so much insight. I hope that a DVD company releases many more episodes. In the meantime, I hope you keep this blog going!

Sandra you are really kind. Thank you! The blog is updated infrequently because I'm tied up with other blogs and my work and I'm shortly about to go into hospital, but it will update at times - I promise. Thank you again.

We have an exciting update on this topic - see it here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ronald Magill's Music Choice - 1983

Ronald Magill as Amos Brearly, 1983.

More treasure from Carl "The Gresh" Gresham, who, in 1983, ran a series of hour-long programmes on his Radio Pennine show featuring various stars of Emmerdale Farm highlighting their favourite music.

Did Beckindale ever play home to a larger than life character than Mr Amos Brearly, licensee of the Woolpack Inn? Accomplished actor Ronald Magill took the role of a surly, nosy Yorkshire publican and made it one of the best loved characters in soap history.

One of the best things about Amos was how he evolved. In the era 1972-1979, he was a great character - a puffed up peacock of a man, given to fads, with a stout Yorkshire commonsense underlying. In the 1980s, with Stan Richards joining the cast full-time as Seth Armstrong and Seth transferring his custom from the Malt Shovel to the Woolpack, and Al Dixon arriving as the weird silent Walter, the character of Amos became odder and more lovable than ever, thrusting off the last few vestiges of commonsense and lurching through the decade at war with Seth over his allotment, launching his own local newspaper, seeing UFOs at Bogle Bog, fighting a bitter war with rival landlord Ernie Shuttleworth, visiting a health farm, keeping bees, seeing crop circles and literally dozens of other exploits. The character was voted Emmerdale viewers' favourite in several mid-to-late 1980s polls.

Walter, played by Al Dixon from 1980-1985, gets a roasting from Amos in 1984.

When Carl "The Gresh" Gresham brought Ronald Magill to Pennine Radio to play some of his favourite music, Mr Magill chose the wonderful world of the musicals, and his choices were nothing less than inspired, spanning from the classic "greats" right through to the early 1980s.

Ronald Magill was actually a quiet and cultured man, very different to the part he played on TV, but he displayed his great sense of humour when he announced that a Mr Amos Brearly of The Woolpack Inn, Beckindale, had sent a request to his musical choice show. What would Amos's choice be? And how did Seth Armstrong and Mr Wilks come into the picture?

This wonderful hour with the man who created an Emmerdale legend, is available simply because Carl Gresham is a bit of a hoarder. He kept the old Ampex ten inch tapes containing the Ronald Magill material, and, despite advice that they would have gone "crumply", persisted in seeking help so that they could be transferred onto CD. The result is an hour of sheer magic that might have been recorded last week!

Seth Armstrong - played by Stan Richards - annoys Amos at the 1983 Beckindale Christmas show.

Copies of Ronnie Magill's musical choice are available from:

PO Box 3. Bradford. West Yorkshire. BD1 4QN

The cost is £5.00 - including postage - which is a real bargain. Please make cheques payable to Carl Gresham. We don't usually go in for advertising or selling things at the Bugle, but this CD is, in our opinion, absolutely priceless!

No stranger to the stars - Carl "The Gresh" Gresham with Coronation Street legend Pat Phoenix.



Friday, 27 January 2012

Matt And Dolly 1987!

Frederick Pyne and Jean Rogers were Matt and Dolly Skilbeck, our favourite Emmerdale Farm married couple, for nearly the whole of the 1980s. When Jean joined the cast in 1980, she quickly made the role of Dolly her own, and with the soon-to-be happily chattering Benjamin Whitehead joining the cast as baby Sam in 1982, scenes of domestic bliss or even disharmony at the Skilbecks' were a pleasure to watch.

But surely such scenes as the one pictured above didn't happen in secret at Matt and Dolly's place? It would have given the Beckindale gossips years of bliss had word got out! But don't worry - Jean Rogers and Frederick Pyne had simply donned different guises - Frederick's was Count Dracula, Jean's a saucy French maid - to raise money to keep a real life threatened local theatre in business!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Seth annoys Amos at the 1983 Beckindale Christmas show.

Best wishes for a very happy Christmas from The Bugle.

And, as s always, thanks to all readers for calling in!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Timewarp To 1983: Clive Hornby's Music Choice - Courtesy of Carl Gresham!

Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) reflects on life at Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s.

I've just been transported back to 1983 to spend some time with the late, much-loved Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale actor Clive Hornby. Clive played the legendary Jack Sugden, making his debut on 19 February 1980, and was in the show until shortly before his death in 2008.

During that time, the show was transformed, rocketing out of the (by comparison) sleepy 1980s and into the 1990s and early 21st Century, keeping pace with the other English soaps via a thoroughly modern flavour, geared to the evolving tastes of soap fans across the country.

Through all the drama and comedy, there was Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden, providing a lovely thread of continuity back to the old days - as Elizabeth Estensen said in tribute to the character "Always the farmer".

It was an idea of Carl Gresham AKA "The Gresh", a DJ on Pennine Radio in 1983, to make use of his contacts with the stars of Emmerdale Farm and invite six of them into the studio over a period of about two months - to each present an hour of their favourite music. The Gresh put on his producer's hat for the shows, it being his plan not to interview the stars but simply to let them talk, choose their favourite tunes, and then play the music. Judging by the Clive Hornby hour I have just listened to, it made for marvellous radio.

But it's a long way back to 1983, times and technology have changed dramatically, and The Gresh, faced with the old Ampex ten inch tapes he had kept of the shows (he's a self confessed hoarder!) faced some discouragement from those that thought the tapes would be useless now - they would have degenerated, gone "crumply".

The Gresh persevered, and passed the tapes to his archive producer, Dave Perrett, and, after much work, the interviews were transferred to CD and sound as though they were recorded yesterday!

The Clive Hornby show was originally broadcast on Thursday, 10th November, 1983.

It's a lovely listen, an unexpectedly unearthed piece of Emmerdale history - and makes a tremendous tribute to Clive - who tells us a bit about his youth in the 1960s, the decade from which most of his favourite records originate. There's also a chance to hear the Dennisons - the pop group which featured Clive as drummer - and Clive also relates the story of how he became one of the first people ever to hear a certain classic 1960s hit, comes up with a song which captures the complexities of being seventeen years old, and slips in a request for another Emmerdale Farm cast member.

Throughout the hour, Clive comes across as being a thoroughly down to earth and likeable man who would have made a great companion for an evening's chat in the Woolpack Inn, Beckindale - or anywhere else.

If you'd like to hear Clive's musical choice, the show is available on a CD, available from:

PO Box 3. Bradford. West
Yorkshire. BD1 4QN

The cost is £5.00 - including postage - and we think it's an absolute bargain. Please make cheques payable to Carl Gresham. We don't usually go in for advertising or selling things at the Bugle, but this CD is, in our opinion, absolutely priceless!

Clive (far left) with his fellow cast members - the folks at Emmerdale Farm - summer 1984.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

1985: The Harvest, The Robbery, The Marriage Break-Up, The Royal Connection...

Harry Mowlam established an alibi at The Woolpack in 1985.

Here's some highlights from four 1985 episodes - comedy, sadness, high drama, farming, mundane moments...

On hearing that Henry, Prince of Wales, visited Beckindale in 1420, and that his servants stayed at a local coaching inn, Amos becomes convinced that the inn was the Woolpack: "You can see him now, can't yer? The Prince of Wales on his armour plated steed, outside these premises, calling to his merry men: 'We few! We happy band of brothers! We'll stop here. I know the premier licensed house in't district when I see it!' Oh, it fills you with pride, don't it, Mr Wilks?"

Whilst Amos drives everybody mad with that little scenario, Jack, Matt and Jackie are in a race against time to get the harvest in at Emmerdale Farm as the weather forecast says rain. It had been Jack's idea to get the harvest in late, and he works through the night, with Jackie Merrick and Matt Skilbeck working shifts alongside him.

Things are going well, when, the next day, Matt and Jack discover that Harry Mowlam has blocked their right of way up to the top twenty acres with stone from a wall he is repairing. Harry refuses to shift the stone - walling is skilled work, the repairs could take two weeks, he says, gloatingly. Jack gives him three hours to shift the stone, or he'll contact the law.

Jack is furious and wants to phone his solicitor as soon as he returns to the farm house. Annie tells him, "No", and is convinced that Jack has contributed to the bad feeling with Harry. Sadly, she doesn't know Harry! She tells Jack to get some sleep and check out the situation in a couple of hours - Harry may have moved the stones by then.

When Jack comes yawning downstairs later, a storm breaks and the rain pours down. Jack is beside himself with fury and stands in the rain shouting: "Damn you, Mowlam, DAMN YOU!!"

Next day, Emmerdale Farm LTD counts the cost of the lost harvest - six thousand pounds. Annie disagrees with Jack that the whole incident was Harry's fault, and points out that it was him that insisted on a late harvest.

Harry Mowlam visits the Woolpack with Derek Warner, a villainous ex-associate of Tom Merrick, and another man - a stranger to the district. The three men arouse Amos's suspicions, and he says he'd love to know what they are talking about! When Matt and Jack come in, a row erupts over the blocked right of way.

When Harry returns to his two friends at the table, Derek advises firmly that Harry should play the good neighbour. After all, they don't want the law on the scene. Harry agrees and tells Jack he'll clear the stone right away - and he'll have no further trouble. Jack comments bitterly: "It's too late now, anyway!" But Harry bustles off. He later tells Amos that God punished Jack for taking risks with late harvesting by sending the rain.

Annie exchanges sharp words with Jack, convinced that he's being unfair to Harry Mowlam. She says that perhaps Harry moved the stones because he'd decided it was better to try and get along with people. She says she's lived at the farm for forty years and seen worse neighbours than Harry. She talks of the days when she was a girl and neighbours were good to each other. The Sugdens had not always been good neighbours, particularly in Jacob's time. But there wasn't all this talk of bringing in the law and the farmers' union. Most neighbours tried to help each other. Clifford Longthorn's father often took care of the Sugdens' stock when Jacob was drinking.

Annie is pleased to receive a letter from Joe in France and is replying when Jack enters the kitchen to make his peace over their difference of opinion. She confesses that she's ageing - it takes her longer to do things these days - and that she can't understand why the family has so many disagreements. Jack says it was always so. Annie agrees: "Maybe it's me that's changed!" But she bangs her fist on the table, and states firmly that she will not be ignored! Jack hugs her, tells her that would be impossible, makes them a pot of tea and reads Joe's letter.

Sandie Merrick leaves Emmerdale Farm for work that morning and goes across the fields to catch the bus from the Connelton Road. Derek Warner and two associates are laying in wait there, to rob the security van bringing the wages for the NY Estates men to Home Farm.

At The Woolpack, Walter and Harry Mowlam are waiting outside when the pub opens. Harry seems in a very mellow mood, and tells Amos he has plenty of time to wait when the barrel needs changing before he can have a pint. Harry is setting up an alibi - Amos, Henry and Walter will become witnesses to his position when the raid takes place on the security van. He later goes to the table outside so that locals passing can see him there, quietly drinking his pint. He becomes even more noticeable when he harasses the vicar about his sermon last Sunday.

On the Connelton Road, Warner and associates, in stocking masks, ambush the van and threaten the drivers with gelignite unless they open the doors. The drivers do so and are quickly tethered. Horrified Sandie witnesses the scene from a field nearby, and is seen by Derek Warner, hurrying away.

Warner and co rob the van and then make off: "Sweet as a nut!" says Warner.

One of the security guards also witnessed Sandie hurrying away and tells Sergeant McArthur. McArthur is concerned and hopes he can find the person before the robbers do.

From the Hotten Courier, 1985.

Alan Turner is concerned that he is unable to pay the men at NY. He gives Seth a cheque, and Seth is horrified, always having dealt in cash. Henry comes to his rescue by cashing it.

Amos blames Seth when the Beckindale Horticultural Society hits financial difficulties and decides there will be no 1985 show. Seth decides to set up "The Seth Armstrong Horticultural Show" and get the vicar, Donald Hinton, to judge it. He tells Amos it's "five quid" to enter - but advises him not to bother - "you won't win owt!"

Amos decides to set up "The Amos Brearly Horticultural Show" on the same day as Seth's show, and get the vicar to judge that, too. Bitter rivalry erupts between the two old enemies.

Seth Armstrong is annoyed when Amos goes into competition with him, Mr Wilks is bothered by Amos's obsession with a possible link between The Woopack and royalty, Walter sees all, hears all, says nowt.

Mrs Bates tells Alan Turner that her marriage is over. Malcolm is seeing another woman. He has told her that he always thought that their marriage was a sham, and was only staying until the children grew up. "He won't leave me, so I'm leaving him!"

Mrs Bates admits that her marriage was not perfect, but she is stunned by recent developments. She's taking her teenage children to stay with her sister in Richmond.

Alan tells Terence that he is worried about Mrs Bates - "She's a good sort" - and he likes his staff to feel that they can take their problems to him. Terence advises Alan to allocate Mrs Bates an NY Estates cottage. Alan agrees it is a good idea. Terence cynically comments that women of Mrs Bates's age are usually grateful.

Alan tells her Mrs Bates that NY Estates has a slightly run-down cottage in Main Street, Beckindale, where she could live. He would charge her a cheap rent of £30 or so a month. Mrs Bates is pleased.

Pregnant Dolly Skilbeck is suffering from morning sickness. When Mrs Bulstrode tells the vicar that Nellie Ratcliffe's flowers always get a better position in churtch than hers, and refuses to lead the Sunday school any more, Donald asks Dolly to help out for a few weeks. Dolly happily agrees, but Matt is concerned that she's overdoing things. Dolly tells him it's only an hour a week for about four weeks, and her friend Liz McDonald is going to help her.

Meanwhile, Jackie Merrick meets his Indian girlfriend Sita's father. Dr Sharma is not impressed with Jackie and tells Sita that Jackie is: "An English boy without great prospects and little education." He refuses to meet Jackie's family. Sita is upset, but her father tells her to think about the situation. Sita replies: "I HAVE thought about it!"

Jackie and Sita discover opposition to their wedding plans.

When Sandie gets home, she finds Jack tinkering with a farm vehicle in the yard. "Eventful day?" he asks her. She replies that it was all right, and makes her way towards the farmhouse, looking terrified...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Whatever Happened To Walter?!

Atomic Witch's Portal pics are a popular feature of the Emmerdale Guy And Gals site. They are witty and inventive, and the Bugle regularly checks them out. The one above beautifully mixes the modern Emmerdale characters with that beloved character of the 1980s, Al Dixon's silent Walter.

Mr Dixon was, of course, a delight as the silent Woolpack regular from September 1980 to December 1985. In early 1986, Walter disappeared to visit his sister "down South" and, as far as we knew, never returned. Or did he? Is it possible he came back and has been sitting unnoticed and silent in the Woollie, until one dramatic night - leading to the scenario above?

Probably not, but the idea made us smile.

Cheers, Walter! Al Dixon as The Woolpack's Silent One in 1984.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Gresh

Now, just who or what is "The Gresh"?

Ask many actors and actresses from the TV world of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and beyond and they will not hesitate to tell you - "The Gresh" is Carl Gresham, himself an actor and radio presenter, Carl ran his own agency - Greshstyle Personal Appearances - for many years. It was Carl who brought many favourite stars of TV and radio to meet the public at various "Grand Openings", fetes, etc, organising everything himself, from fees and transport to the production of photographs of the individual stars - "Greshpics" as they were called.

And WHAT names he brought to meet us at various locations!

Remember the "Shut That Door!" man, Larry Grayson? Sparkling comedy duo, Morecambe and Wise? The lady behind Mrs Ena Sharples, Violet Carson? The lady behind Mrs Elsie Tanner, Pat Phoenix? The very lovely Alexandra Bastedo of The Champions? Radio legend Tony Blackburn? The man who brought a generation of children lots of Record Breakers, Roy Castle? Our traveller abroad, Judith Chalmers? Purveyor of the Diddymen, Ken Dodd? Grandad and Dad's Army legend, Clive Dunn? "Ooh, you are awful!", Dick Emery? TV legend of many decades, Bruce Forsyth? The very zany Goodies? "Diddy" David Hamilton? Mr Opportunity Knocks ("And I mean that most sincerely, folks!"), Hughie Green? "I'm free!" John Inman? Mr Hudson, the best butler in Mayfair, Gordon Jackson? The comically warring Mildred and George Roper, Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy? Quick witted comedian and telly legend, Bob Monkhouse? Radio's very own Mr "Open House", Pete Murray? Dr Who and Worzel Gummidge star, Jon Pertwee? 1960s and '70s TV star and fashion icon, Peter Wyngarde? The man from the JY Prog, Jimmy Young? Well, The Gresh booked them all and many more, and his book, THE GRESH - A Lifetime in Show-Biz, contains many fascinating anecdotes about these much-loved stars.

The Gresh and Hughie Green - remember the days of the old Clappometer?

Who gave David Hamilton his "Diddy" nickname? Why was Margot Bryant (Minnie Caldwell of Coronation Street) concerned about her clothes on a public appearance? Which famous star gave a free rendition of his cabaret act on the platform at Leeds railway station when the train was delayed? It's all in the book - a lovely relaxing read, and wonderfully nostalgic.

Larking about with Emmerdale Farm and Dr Who legend Frazer Hines.

For us Beckindale fans, The Gresh brought several of our favourites to meet us, the public, over the years - including Frazer Hines - remember "our Joe", his long quest to meet Miss Right, only to keep meeting Miss Wrong, and his "upwardly mobile" career at NY Estates in the 1980s? "The Gresh" is still firm friends with Frazer. When the character of Joe was killed off in the 1990s, many of us thought the decision absolutely barking mad and the character, one of the first penned by series creator Kevin Laffan, is sadly missed to this day.

"The Gresh" also brought us our favourite soap pub landlords - Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) and Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow), a fabulous pairing, friends and business partners, who were on tap at The Woolpack from 1973, right through the 1980s (which was Amos's golden era), until 1991! Have they been forgotten? "Nay, nay, nay, Mr Wilks!"

Amongst our other Emmerdale Farm favourites, "The Gresh" brought Sheila Mercier, the legendary Annie Sugden to meet us, Frederick Pyne, our much-loved gentle shepherd Matt Skilbeck, and new stars of the 1980s Clive Hornby and Jean Rogers, who stepped into the roles of Jack Sugden and Dolly Skilbeck, and made them their own.

As well as booking the stars for us to meet, Carl has also been a broadcaster, disc jockey, presenter, musicologist and actor. He appeared in episode 298 of Coronation Street in 1963, as a cycling club friend of Jerry Booth called Harrier. Reproduced in the book is a copy of Carl's contract for that appearance, which makes for fascinating reading!

Dear old Jerry Booth (Graham Haberfield) was a keen member of the local cycling club in the early 1960s. Spot "The Gresh" - he's standing on the far right of this photo.

The Gresh with Coronation Street legend Pat Phoenix.

THE GRESH - A Lifetime in Show-Biz - is a lovely relaxing read, bringing back memories of many favourite stars, and providing some fascinating insights. I polished it off in three sessions, and can tell you it was a real "feel good" experience, an excellent choice for anybody who remembers the TV and radio golden days of the '60s, '70s and '80s, and who has ever queued up for the pleasure of shaking hands with a favourite star and gaining a cherished autograph at public appearances.

For details of how to obtain a copy, and lots more Gresh-style fun and nostalgia, check out Carl's own web site, here - www.carlgresham.co.uk

Still bringing the stars closer to the public, Carl now has his own show on Bradford Community Broadcasting - he's seen here with much-loved comedy duo Cannon & Ball - Rock On, Tommy! For more details about The Gresh on the radio click here -

http://www.bcbradio.co.uk/details.php?details=197