Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Beckindale In The '80s - Romantic Complications...

Many thanks To Bill Sands, who provided the 1980s Emmerdale Farm publicity stills for this post.
Sandra Gough was barmaid Doreen in Emmerdale Farm from 1984 to 1985. Here's Mr Wilks apparently about to sup from the barmaid's slipper...

Of course, any hopes of romance faded. With a couple of sourpusses like Amos Brearly and Ernie Shuttleworth on the scene it was hardly surprising! Peter Schofield stepped into the role of Mr Shuttleworth in the early 1980s. Here we get a rare glimpse of the exterior of the Malt Shovel.

Ernie was very keen to entertain his patrons with various special nights - including a disco night with the "latest hot sounds of the '80s". Can you imagine?! Sadly, these nights were never shown in the programme, but we did learn that Ernie's non-attendance at the village bowls match in 1986 was because he'd put his back out at one of these dance-fests.

Joe met and fell for divorcee Kate Hughes in 1988 and they married in 1989. Kate had two teenage offspring and an ex-husband who hadn't totally given up on his relationship with her. Oh dear...

From 1984-1988 Mrs Bates and Alan Turner provided some of Emmerdale Farm's best comedy scenes at the NY Estates Home Farm office. Add to this Seth Armstrong buzzing in and out ("GET OUT, SETH!") and the whole scenario became absolutely delicious.

Asked about the possibility of Mrs Bates' relationship with Alan developing in 1985, actress Diana Davies said: "Well, we don't know, we just think it's probably not a very good idea because it's good fun the way it is now."

She was quite right of course. When things did develop in 1989 the "will she? won't she?" magic evaporated and a lot of the fun left the relationship. Mrs Bates and Alan Turner might have developed as a likeable married couple, and marriage was certainly planned, but Diana Davies left the show instead (although she would revisit it) and Mrs Bates went to look after her sick mother in Scarborough.

As in all good soaps, romance in Emmerdale Farm was never smooth running...

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