First, some queries:
Pete asks: "Is it true that Seth Armstrong was not a regular at The Woolpack in early 1980?"
Of course, Pete. He was a Malt Shovel man. In early-to-mid 1980, Seth was a semi-regular in the storylines - there are a couple of quite long runs of episodes where he didn't appear at all. By about midway through the year he was a Woolpack regular - winding Amos up at every opportunity! In December, Tom Merrick called Seth a "snob" for deserting The Malt Shovel.
Lorraine asks: "How long did Nellie Ratcliffe appear for?"
I believe that Nellie was originally a temporary character, established in 1978 for a storyline about NY Estates seeking to evict her from her cottage. In 1980, she appeared occasionally - featuring quite heavily in storylines about the horticultural show, Sam Pearson's birthday, the return of the Merricks to the village and the Allotment Association's bonfire night celebration. She also featured in 1981. Amos mentioned her in 1986 and it seems she was still a village resident, but I don't think she appeared on-screen at that point.
Nick asks: "I remember the Merricks' caravan as being quite convincing, was the interior real or a studio set?"
It was convincing, but I believe it was a studio set.
Mrs Shook asks: "Did we actually see The Malt Shovel in 1980?"
No, it wasn't featured - and neither was Ernie Shuttleworth, who underwent a change of actor in the early 1980s.
Greg says: "Tom Merrick, nicking Christmas trees - I read that was 1981."
No, Greg, it was just before Christmas 1980.
Thanks to all those who have written with compliments and suggestions about 1980 Month. I have been asked if a "1981 Month" is a possibility. It certainly is, but will take some time to prepare and will not appear until October at the earliest if I choose to go ahead with the idea.