Thursday, 6 March 2008

Tell Us Your Favourite 1980s Emmerdale Farm Storylines!

One of my very favourite Emmerdale Farm storylines of the 1980s began in 1980 itself with the return to the Beckindale fold of Jack Sugden (albeit played by a different actor - Clive Hornby took over from Andrew Burt).

Later in the year, Jack's ex-lover, Pat Merrick (Helen Weir), returned to the village with her teenage offspring, Jackie (Ian Sharrock) and Sandie (Jane Hutcheson). Retreating from her awful husband, Tom, Pat struggled to keep her kids on the right track, living in a grotty caravan and doing whatever work she could find.

But, of course, young Jackie was Jack Sugden's son - unknown to Jackie himself, and the romantic flame between Pat and Jack was soon re-ignited...

For me, this storyline marked something of a departure for the show, with an attempt at realistically portraying late 20th Century teenagers and establishing two of them as major characters.

The days of Pat struggling to get by in the caravan, with truculent Jackie and wise-beyond-her-years Sandie (or so it seemed at first!), are fond memories of mine. Realistic story telling, great acting.

If you have any favourite Emmerdale '80s stories you'd like to recall and share with us here please feel free to use the "Comments" facility, or drop an e-mail to:


  1. lol - you are right, Sandie and Jackie were a major departure as far as featuring up-to-date permanant teens was concerned.

    I recall a character called Rosemary Kendall back in the '70s, she was slightly older and lived with Annie at the farm. She was played by the actress Lesley Manville, who was excellent, but the character was so wet she steamed when the sun shone! 1970s? She was more like 1870s!

    I recall my grandmother, who took the plot very seriously, saying of Rosemary: "Oh dear! She's simple! It's spending all that time cooped up in that farmhouse with all those old people!"

    Martin Gimbel, her boyfriend, wasn't exactly up-to-date, either.

    Sandie and Jackie were excellent - proper 1980s kids.

  2. Anonymous7.3.08

    Bryan Higgins: Well of course from the articles I wrote for this blog, what else can I say but practially anything from 1989 as my favourite 80s storylines, in particular the Denis Rigg scenereo which was such compelling realistic viewing and really took Emmerdale to new heights. Without such storylines Emmerdale wouldn't have survived beyond the 80s.

  3. Sue P7.3.08

    My favourite 80's story was when Seth was training Jackie to be a gamekeeper and he was really nice to him because Jackie was thinking of running away from home. I hadn't liked Seth up to that point. But that story showed he had a good heart.

  4. Anonymous8.3.08

    Best story from the Eighties? When Seth's donkey went bonkers at the village fete and when Joe came home from France.

  5. Anonymous8.3.08

    The best 80's bit was when Eric Pollard threatened Sandie. The lighting was fantastic, the shadow in the hall scared me to death! Soap lighting effects got a lot better in the 80's.

  6. Simon, Cornwall9.3.08

    The anti Nukes story in 1987 takes some beating. And anything with Amos, Wilks, Seth and Turner.

  7. Keith Marshall9.3.08

    One of my nicest 80's moments was when Matt and Dolly Skilbeck were going to dance classes in 1980 or 1981. It was a really boring plot-line, probably more entertaining to elderly people in the early 80's (I always thought Emmerdale in the 70's and early 80's was more geared towards elderly people) but I saw it the other day on video and thought it had gained a lot of charm with age.

  8. Anonymous9.3.08

    The best story was HARRY MOWLAM. Beckindale needed a shake up!

  9. Anonymous9.3.08

    Sandy Merrick's pregnancy story was very well done.

  10. The nuclear dump story - no contest. When the church bell was tolling the hairs on the back of my neck stood up!

  11. Mrs Hughes, Cardiff12.3.08

    Pat's late in life pregnancy mirrored my own!

  12. Anonymous13.3.08

    When Walter smashed Seth Armstrong's glasses and Rachel's illicit nookie-fest with Pete Whitey. You can't get much more contrasting than that!

  13. Anonymous26.4.08

    The farmhouse fire. Matt and Dolly were due to move in, but instead it went up in smoke. Annie had to be pulled out.

  14. Darren4.5.08

    Amos hearing funny noises at the Woolpack and thinking it was haunted - and Clive Hornby arriving.

  15. Barb2.6.08

    Clive Hornby was a real dish in the 80's. And I liked Matt and Dolly and Amos as characters.Saddest moments were when lovely old Sam Pearson died and hunky young Jackie shot himself. Ian Sharrock was a real dish as well.

  16. Anonymous9.8.08

    I might sound morbid but they did Pat's death really well. The aftermath went on and on, it wasn't shoved under the carpet.