Saturday, 12 January 2008

Seth Armstrong

A signed photograph of Stan Richards as Seth from the 1980s. Did you know that before the 1980s signed photographs of UK soap stars issued by individual TV companies were always black and white? It was several years into the 1980s before they were updated to colour!

Seth Armstrong was originally supposed to be a one story character. In the 1970s many characters (some of them Beckindale locals) were brought into the series just for one story-line and never seen again. And then came Seth in 1978. He was originally a temporary bit-part. But then actor Stan Richards, who played Seth, was asked back for a few more story-lines. The character became a full-time regular in mid-1980.

"Seth was supposed to be a five episode wonder, but I soon realised his potential," said Stan Richards in the Sunday People article from April 1985, pictured above. Fortune was on both Seth and Stan's side as Anne W Gibbons, Emmerdale Farm producer from 1979 to 1983, decided to build up the cast of regular characters and Seth became a fully fledged Beckindaler, bedding down in the 1980s to become one of the show's best-loved characters.

In 1980, Amos Brearly commented disapprovingly on Seth's loyalty to the Malt Shovel, the Woolpack's rival pub. But that was soon to change, and Seth became a Woolpack regular. There was much sport to be had there. Amos soon found himself wound up left, right and centre by the wily gamekeeper!

When Alan Turner was appointed manager of NY Estates' Beckindale holding in 1982, it was fun, fun, fun! He and Seth soon became one one of the funniest double acts in soap history!

And, as with the redoubtable Mr Brearly, it was Seth's skills as a wind-up merchant that provided a lot of the laughs (for the viewers and Mrs Bates, not for Mr Turner!) at NY Estates.

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