Thursday, 24 July 2008

Matt And Dolly, The 1980s And Emmerdale Farm...

Matt and Dolly at home on Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s.

A couple of interesting e-mails...

Richard asks about my views on Matt and Dolly Skilbeck and the part they played in the Emmerdale Farm saga in the 1980s. And were the characters reconciled when Dolly left the show in 1991?

Matt and Dolly were two of my favourite Emmerdale Farm characters - they were Mr and Mrs Average, and provided a bit of everyday normality in a show which had a number of larger than life characters.

It wasn't easy for Jean Rogers to step into the role of Dolly in 1980, she spoke of how complicated it felt playing a character originally portrayed by another actress in several newspaper interviews. But she soon made Dolly all her own.

I think it was a great shame that the couple split up in the Stuart Doughty era, and I believe that after this both seemed a little lost as characters. Matt's departure in December 1989 saddened me.

This blog is not really about the 1990s, but I thought it was daft that Dolly was then seen to get involved with a bit of a villain, and to have an abortion. This last act seemed very out of character and didn't ring true at all. Actress Jean Rogers was herself unhappy with this storyline as Dolly had lost two children during pregnancy and absolutely loved kids.

Were Matt and Dolly reconciled? Well, Dolly did leave for Norfolk, where Matt was living, and, although it was never stated on screen, I'm a romantic and I hope they were.

Certainly, when I discuss Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s with friends, the mere mention of the names "Matt and Dolly" usually brings forth fond smiles and a flood of recollections.

The pair are soap legends!

Chrissy Lawton writes:

I like Back To Beckindale, it covers a time before I was born and I'm really surprised that Emmerdale Farm was so popular in the 80's, because Wikipedia says it wasn't! Why did you pick the 80's for your blog?

No disrespect to Wikipedia, but anybody can write anything on there and I do find it misleading at times. Various 1980s magazine and newspaper articles reproduced on this blog show that Emmerdale Farm was rating well and very much "in the public eye" long before the plane crash storyline of late 1993.

To answer your question, I loved Emmerdale Farm as a kid in the '70s, but soaps evolve, and for me the most enjoyable era was 1980 to 1987 - with the arrival of the Merricks, Alan Turner and Mrs Bates, Archie Brooks and Eric Pollard, and Seth Armstrong settling down as a fully fledged regular character. The 1980s were also the golden era of Amos and Mr Wilks.

I have started another Emmerdale Farm blog covering 1972-1979, but my main interest in the show remains with the 1980s

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