Sunday, 17 August 2008

1980: Introducing The Longthorn Family...

1980 - making plans - Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne), Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) and Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers).

Jack's return to Emmerdale Farm in February 1980, and Joe's absence in America shortly afterwards, was leading to changes at the farm. Jack was keen to upgrade the cattle herd and add a couple of British Friesians. The rest of the family hesitated: how would Joe react - after all he'd been managing the farm up to now?

Jack's decision to use his own money to pay for the cattle did not ease the uncertainties, but once he'd consulted with Joe on the telephone, and Joe had agreed to the new venture, it was simply a matter of buying the cows.

And the best farmer in Beckindale - and in fact for some miles around - to supply the cows was one Clifford Longthorn, of Lower Hall Farm.

In 1986, Annie commented to Joe that there had been Longthorns in Beckindale before there were Sugdens. But none were seen on-screen until 1980.

Clifford (Jim Barcroft) and Peggy (Dorothy Vernon) Longthorn lived at Lower Hall Farm with their teenage children, Andy (David Clayforth) and Carol (Jane Hollowood).

Andy was a bright, studious lad and in the spring of 1980 knew that a confrontation with his father could no longer be avoided. Clifford took it for granted that Andy would carry on the Longthorn tradition of farming and take over at Lower Hall Farm when he retired. Andy saw his future as doing 'A' Levels, going to university, and then becoming a teacher or something else. He didn't quite know what he wanted to do. But he did know that he didn't want to be a farmer.

Clifford was furious. Both he and his father had been happy with farming, and all his efforts had been for Andy. How dare Andy be so ungrateful?

Peggy told Clifford that when it came to raising the children emotionally, Clifford had always left things to her. Andy had a right to want something different from his father.

Carol Longthorn had her own bombshell to drop. She wanted to go to agricultural college and farm!

Clifford could not comprehend this. When it was pointed out to him that Land Army girls had done a sterling job during the war, he said that had been a "National Emergency". He did not want to negate women's abilities, but some things were "men's work".

Andy met Jack Sugden on a walk one Sunday afternoon and, mindful of Jack's difficult relationship with his own father, confided in him.

Jack met Clifford in The Woolpack and rather poked his nose in - to Clifford's way of thinking - speaking up for Andy and Andy's right to decide his own future.

Clifford was highly annoyed, and pointed out that Jack popped in and out of Beckindale as it suited him and had lost touch with what was important to the local people - and the way they thought. He then stormed out.

Things came to a head unexpectedly a few days later when Clifford was brought from his bed by the sounds of a cow in distress. Cherry was about to calf...

Clifford slipped and fell, hurting his back. He called out and managed to rouse his family from their slumbers. They assisted him to get back to the farmhouse.

In great pain with his back, Clifford asked his family to phone Emmerdale Farm - the Sugdens would help...

... but Carol had other ideas. She had assisted at countless calvings and, with Andy to help, was confident she could deliver this calf.

Clifford appealed to his wife, but Peggy was firmly on Carol's side.

And so the calf was born...

... delivered by Carol...

... with no problems at all.

A day or two later, Clifford commented to Peggy that they had a topsy-turvy pair of kids on their hands. But Peggy was convinced that both Carol and Andy would make them proud.

Within a week or two, Clifford was proudly discussing his son's choice of 'A' Levels with Jack Sugden, now the proud owner of two of Longthorn's finest British Friesians, bought at Hotten Market.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous17.8.08

    I seem to remember Clifford. Note "Clifford" - never Cliff! He was a right misery.

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