Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Beckindale Beyond The '80s Competition Winner...

Thanks to all those who entered our "Beckindale Beyond The '80s" competition. We had a great time reading all the entries.

The winner is (big fanfare) BERRYMAN! We particularly liked the mix of fun and serious storylining suggestions in this entry. So, Berryman, please send your details to: and we'll post off your 1980s pics of Mr Wilks and Amos!

Thanks again to all those that took part!

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Emmerdale Farm Who's Who Of The 1980s - Part 1: Changing Times In Beckindale - Changing Cast And Characters

1980 - Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) - an original character recast

- Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers) - recast

1980 - Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards). Seth first appeared in 1978, but the character did not become a full-time permanent Beckindaler until the summer of 1980.

- Sergeant Ian MacArthur (Martin Dale)

1980 - Pat, Jackie and Sandie Merrick (Helen Weir, Ian Sharrock, Jane Hutcheson) - early characters, recast, and slightly rewritten

1980 - Walter (Al Dixon) - the second Woolpack Walter

Also in 1980... peripheral characters the Longthorn family appeared for the first time. Seth Armstrong became a full-time character - and regular at The Woolpack. By the end of 1980, Seth's appearances were matching those of the long term characters. It was also "hello" to NY Estates workers John Tuplin (Malcolm Raeburn) and Daniel Hawkins (Alan Starkey).

1982 - Alan Turner (Richard Thorp)

1983 - Archie Brooks (Tony Pitts)

1984 - Mrs Bates (Diana Davies)

1985 - Kathy and Nick Bates (Malandra Burrows and Cy Chadwick)

1986 - Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell)

Also in 1986, Phil Pearce (Peter Alexander) - who left his wife for Sandie Merrick - first appeared.

1988 - Sarah Connolly (Madeleine Howard)

1988 - Kate Hughes, with children Rachel and Mark (Sally Knyvette, Glenda McKay, Craig McKay)

1989 - Frank, Kim, Chris and Zoe Tate (Norman Bowler, Claire King, Peter Amory, Leah Bracknell)

Also in 1989: the Whiteley family, Pete (Jim Millea), his grandfather Bill (Teddy Turner) and wife Lynn (Fionnuala Ellwood) were first seen on-screen.

This is a work in progress - and will build into a complete 1980s "Who's Who Of Beckindale". If you want to know who arrived, who left, who died and who lived in Beckindale throughout the 1980s, keep checking the "1980s Beckindale Who's Who" label below!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sam Pearson And Alan Turner

Kazia asks:

The character of Sam Pearson died in November 1984, and Alan Turner arrived in March 1982. So the two overlapped. How did they get on?

It's interesting you should ask that, Kazia, as I've just started studying episodes from 1982. Alan has arrived, and Sam is saying very firmly to his detractors that Mr T is a gentleman.

I'll write more when I've viewed more.

Teddy Turner As Bill Whiteley

An enquiry about Bill Whiteley, played by actor Teddy Turner:

I liked watching Teddy Turner on TV. Whether he was playing Chalkie Whiteley in Coronation Street, Banks in Never The Twain or Bill Whiteley in Emmerdale Farm he always seemed a really down-to-earth character. Do you have any pics of him?


Yes we do - here's Bill Whiteley with Kathy Merrick (Malandra Burrows) and Bill Middleton (Johnny Caesar) lining up for another fun storyline. The copy of this original Yorkshire TV publicity photograph was supplied by Bill Sands - many thanks, Bill!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

1981: The Beckindale Bugle

"But I've got my finger on't pulse, Mr Tyler..."

When Amos Brearly answered the phone at The Woolpack one morning in late May 1981, he never had any inkling of what was about to happen. He was a blithe, free spirit (well, as much as a Brearly could be) when he lifted the receiver. He was an absolute wreck when he hung up, blood pounding in his ears, despondency fighting intense anger, his life in absolute tatters.

And the first thing he did was to charge through to the back room and tear up the latest edition of The Hotten Courier - under the startled gaze of Mr Wilks: "Bear witness, Mr Wilks, to my severing - finally and forever - any connection I may have had with this worthless and dishonourable newspaper!"

As it was well known in Beckindale that Amos considered The Courier, particularly his contributions, as being just one step down from The Times, this statement came as something of a shock.

Amos, quivering and quaking (what would folk think?!) told Mr Wilks his sorry tale: Mr Tyler, the editor of The Hotten Courier, had decided to make staff cutbacks. And he had decided that Frank Hencoller could easily cover the "Beckindale angle". Amos described Mr Hencoller as a "drunken layabout" with as much journalistic ability as "a goose quill - still stuck in't backside o't goose, an' all!"

Once word got out, Amos would be a laughing stock. He decided to tweak the truth - he would tell people he had resigned - tendered his resignation due to pressure of work.

Still in a turmoil, Amos sought refuge on his allotment where Seth Armstrong, having heard the news of Amos' resignation from The Courier on his morning visit to The Woolpack, came to haunt him.

"If you've owt to get on with, get on with it - I'm in no mood for idle chatter!" said Amos.

But that didn't stop Seth - who was there to have a little dig around in Amos' brain pan and discover the truth behind his "resignation". Never a good liar, Amos spouted something about a "conflict of personality" at the paper. Seth leapt on that. But Mr Wilks had said Amos had resigned through lack of time.

"Aye, that an' all," muttered Amos, pretending to be concentrating on his allotment.

Seth buzzed around like an irritating gnat: "Not quite up to scratch, weren't we?"

Amos rose up before him: "That's nowt to do wi' it. There's problems on newspapers as don't occur to those as isn't un-initiated."

Unitiated? Well, that's what he said!

Amos told Seth that without a skilled local correspondent, The Courier would soon notice the difference.

"'appen!" said Seth, still gleefully stirring the pot. "But 'appen gap'll be filled - think on that, Amos!" and Seth set off on his bike, happy at the successful completion of yet another Brearly wind up.

But Amos was smiling. Happen the gap for a skilled local correspondent would be filled - and who better to fill it than himself? After all, The Courier didn't have a copyright on the local news...

"Why worry about editors and suchlike when you can be your own?"

The next morning, Mr Wilks found Amos up and about early, rummaging around for his trusty old camera, claiming not to have slept a wink the night before. He was clearly excited about something, and was soon sharing his news with Mr Wilks:

"I'm going to produce my own Beckindale local newsheet!"

Mr Wilks asked how he intended to get it printed? Amos had a small, second-hand photocopier in mind - going for the knock-down price of £20 in Hotten. The rest was easy:

"I'll write out all me own copy, type it out, and then get photos of items and events of interest, I'll sell it over't counter - could attract trade an' all!"

"If you felt like making any contribution, I might give you a byline to yourself, a photograph of yourself alongside. How about that, eh?" chortled Amos.

"I don't know if I could stand the honour, Amos!" said Mr Wilks.

Amos does his David Bailey act.

Amos went to Hotten to buy the small, "knock down price", second hand photocopier. I must say, it shows how determined he was: I've never known anybody to have a photocopier at home! "It could be best investment as I ever made!" said Amos to a slightly doubting Mr Wilks.

Amos told Mr Wilks he wouldn't demean himself by carrying advertisements in The Bugle. "No newspaper makes a profit these days - it's a public service!"

"Are you sure gratifying a personal whim doesn't come into it?" queried Mr Wilks.

"I don't know what you're on about!" cried Amos, The Virtuous.

Had Amos any idea of a name for his new venture? asked Mr Wilks. Amos had.

"How do you fancy ring of Beckindale Bugle?!" Amos smiled. And he donned his eyeshade to add an authentic touch to the proceedings.

Amos was soon running amok with his camera: he caused the vicar to upset a pile of books and papers when he got him to pose with a cricket bat at the Vicarage, and got on NY Estates' manager Richard Anstey's nerves by leaving the lens cap on the camera, thus having to re-take the picture of Mr A.

Jack Sugden was startled as Amos photographed him with some of the cows up at Emmerdale, and John Tuplin was bemused when Amos photographed him with some of NY's cattle. Amos tended to rush at each of his victims, sorry, I mean "subjects", jabbering away ten to the dozen, click the shutter, and be off, never taking more than one shot to ensure any quality control.

At The Woolpack, Amos announced to Seth that he was preparing a "photographic portfolio of local worthies" for The Bugle - and Seth just might be in the first edition - although he wasn't promising owt...

The Beckindale Bugle was put together by the original cut and paste method. Letraset lettering was bought for headings, and each article was then typed up in neat columns, cut out, and pasted on to a blank sheet of paper - together with the various headings. Amos planned to add the photographs when they had been processed.

He told Mr Wilks that he planned to run off "a couple of hundred" copies to start with. Publication day would be the same day as The Hotten Courier. The price of a Bugle would be three pence more than a Courier - 15p.

Mr Wilks is fed up with looking after a busy pub on his own and insists that Amos comes through to the bar to help. Amos decides he must burn some midnight oil after closing time...

Although Amos insisted that his publication would be a quality item, it makes me smile to remember just what poor quality photocopied photographs were. The process used by Amos was the one used by me and my classmates on my school's quarterly magazine back in the early 1980s. Nowadays things are totally different - and it all seems positively prehistoric!

Pasting up is coming on a treat - what a great front page...

Mr Wilks leaves Amos at his photocopier, to burn the midnight oil...

... the night ticks on into the wee small hours...

... and Mr Wilks discovers Amos slumped over his typewriter, dead to the world! Never mind. By the morning Amos had run off all the Bugle pages that did not feature photographs.

What seemed an insurmountable setback lay just ahead: "Wilson's want five days to develop that film, say there's nowhere round 'ere can do it quicker!" Amos mournfully told Mr Wilks after an early morning telephone call to the shop.

Mr Wilks had the solution: "Run off an addendum saying that the photographs referred to will be on display in The Woolpack during normal licencing hours sometime next week. Could be good for trade!"

Amos had to admit (although only to himself) that Mr Wilks could be a good and useful friend. At times.

And he'd learn by his mistake - for issue two of The Bugle, he'd have the photographs ready well in time, he decided.

Afternoon trade was brisk that day, and Amos had just given his proof copy of The Beckindale Bugle to the Rev Hinton, who was in the bar, to look at and make comments on "points of style", when Frank Hencoller came rolling in.

"You've got a rival now - that'll keep you on your toes!" Seth told him, as Mr H became aware of the vicar's reading matter.

"Not my fault, I only do what Editor asks me to," said Mr Hencoller, who was more than slightly squiffy.

His attempts to make peace with Amos were unsuccessful: "No 'ard feelings!"

"There may be no 'ard feelings on your part, I'll keep my feelings to meself!" Amos huffed.

Time flew by and the deadline loomed... Amos collated and stapled all his pages, and The Bugle hit the streets...

The photographs were processed and went on display at The Woolpack, as promised.

A selection of Amos' "Bugle" photographs...

"Why does everybody in your photographs look so surprised?" asked Mr Wilks. "I mean, even the cows look a bit startled."

"Well, folk are not accustomed to 'avin' Press on their doorstep," sniffed Amos.

Despite the advent of The Bugle, Mr Wilks did not intend to desert The Courier...

... but then that newspaper, via Frank Hencoller, committed a most ghastly act! Amos came charging out of The Woolpack, clutching The Courier as Mr Wilks closed the trap doors to the cellar.

"I let Vicar 'ave a look at my proof copy, remember? It must've got left on't bar and Hencoller must've walked off with it! He's used my match story, my show story, my vegetable story, in some cases word for word!"

Amos was beside himself and made to tear the copy of The Courier he held to shreds, but Mr Wilks wrenched it from him.

"That's censorship, Amos! What if I want to have a read of it still?"

" Then I hope you'll do me't kindness of readin' it elsewhere than in my presence!" cried Amos.

Was there anything that could be done about Hencollar's plaigiarism, asked Mr Wilks?

"Nowt!" said Amos.

As Mr Wilks sought to uncrumple The Courier, Amos' attention was caught by a figure across the street. "There's Walter. Eh up, he's bought a copy o't Bugle from't shop!

"Your first sale, Amos - let's hope you keep it up!" smiled Mr Wilks.

It was small consolation. But definitely some compensation.

Sales were going quite well and then Mr Tyler, editor of The Courier, phoned The Woolpack the day after publication...

Amos listened to what Mr T had to say: the gist of it was that Frank Hencoller had fallen down on the job quite literally - he'd collasped in The Black Bull in Hotten the night before and hadn't turned in for work that morning. Mr Tyler wanted Amos to cover the Beckindale Versus NY Estates Cricket Match. Amos agreed. On the condition that he was reinstated as local correspondent for Beckindale on the Courier staff.

Amos' demand was readily met, and Mr Tyler promised to put it in writing straight away.

It really was a famous victory.

"And where does that leave The Bugle?" asked Mr Wilks.

"Just as a threat, Mr Wilks," said Amos. "I reckon Courier were worried about competition. I knew they would be when they got to hear."

Amos revealed that he knew that Mr Tyler couldn't do without him: "A good newspaper needs folk with their finger on't pulse!"

But it was the end for The Beckindale Bugle.

"Mind, Bugle served a good purpose though," said Amos. "Perhaps I might not've got my job back if it wasn't for all the work I put in on't Bugle." And he sailed, gloriously victorious, into the living quarters.

"And if it hadn't been for Frank Hencoller being indisposed in't Black Bull!" said Mr Wilks. But not too loudly.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Competition: What A Nightmare! Beckindale With A Dallas Twist!

The Woolpack Inn, Beckindale, December 19, 1989: 7.15 am - Amos Brearly wakes up and goes downstairs to find Mr Wilks preparing a full English breakfast for them both...

"Mr Wilks!" he groans, "I've just 'ad this terrible dream. It seemed to go on for years. Them Tates what 'ave just moved into Home Farm turned out to be right nasty, and there was a plane crash in't village, and Emmerdale Farm fell down, and the post office blew up, and there was a seige at Home Farm and a house blew up in a gas explosion, and a baby died - one o' them cot deaths - and the people who thought they were't parents found out it was somebody else's baby, and there was a seige at Home Farm and a family called King moved in and one of them put his step-mother's coffin in a bin lorry and people in't village were being right strange - like they were actin' in a third rate pantomime... and there were a lot else besides..."

Mr Wilks smiles: "Amos, how many times have I told you not to eat cheese just before bed?"

So, it's still December 1989. Amos has dreamt all the events taking place in Beckindale/Emmerdale from December 1989 right up to 2008. Now, it's over to you! How do you imagine the saga may have continued if there had been no plane crash? If Amos hadn't retired in 1991? If Emmerdale Farm hadn't fallen down? Could Matt and Dolly have been reconciled? Should the teen element in the show have been raised - or lowered? What about the Tates, newly arrived in November 1989 - how would you have developed their characters? Would you have brought in the modern day characters of the Emmerdale saga? Would you have changed the name of the village?

What exactly would you have done if you were taking the show into the 1990s - and beyond?

Please share your alternative Beckindale Beyond The '80s Vision with us here at The Bugle - e-mail or leave your thoughts in the Comments. Our favourite entry will win colour signed photographs of Arthur Pentelow (Mr Wilks) and Ronald Magill (Amos Brearly) from the 1980s.