Monday, 24 November 2008

Worst Story Line And Who Are They?

Thanks to Cerys for this e-mail:

I agree that the 1980s were a great time for Emmerdale Farm but every decade contains a few dud moments. I think my worst story line of the '80s was Joe's affair with Karen Moore - a desperate attempt to stir up more trouble between Jack and Joe. What was your worst Farm storyline of the '80s?

I have to say Dolly's affair with Stephen Fuller. Matt and Dolly and their very ordinary marriage were favourite Emmerdale Farm ingredients for me.

I always thought that the Skilbeck scenes, with young Sam often in attendance, seemed very warm, natural and low key, and I hated to see Matt and Dolly's relationship end.

I'll leave you for now with a little mystery: pictured above are members of a Beckindale family in the early 1980s. Who are they? More soon.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Poem: Beckindale In The '80s

Amos Brearly and the newly arrived Walter in 1980.

The Beckindale Bugle is getting verse! Many thanks to Mrs Violet Howes for e-mailing her poetic tribute to Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s! I'll drop you a line to answer the '80s cast queries you raised later today, Mrs H!

1980 was a year of change,
Our Jack returned to a home on the range
He had a new face, Dolly did too,
Whilst from Malt Shovel to Woolpack

Seth Armstrong flew

A busy year for Amos
With new allotment and Courier reports so true
And sitting at the bar was
Walter Mark Two

1981 - Pat was Jack's only one
A love so strong, so pure, and good
Did Pat's kids approve?
If only they would!

1982 - a child was born

Dolly and Matt had good news
As did Pat and Jack -
A wedding day
Free of blues

At Home Farm, Alan Turner arrived
Which worried Seth not
At work he still skived

'83 and Joe was in a trance
In love with Barbara
And then off to France

Archie appeared -
Socialist slob
And redundancies loomed
Was John out of a job?

1984 - Sam Pearson died
How we missed him
I cried and cried.

Jack bedded another
Marriage vows he did flout
But Pat found out
They were reconciled
Have no doubt

At Home Farm,
Mrs Bates was on draught
Sensible woman - she found Alan daft
Whilst he blustered and ranted
She just laughed and laughed

1985 - midway through
And lots and lots of news for you
Seth's donkey ran amok
Whilst Amos kept bees
And Mrs Bates' marriage break-up
Almost brought her to her knees

1986 - terror for Matt
Harry Mowlam murdered
Now WHO did that?

Eric Pollard at the market
And Pat Sugden in horror crash
The year was thunder and lightning
But not over in a flash

1987 - nuclear fears were rife
No Nukes In Beckindale!
A threat to land and life
The cry seemed to be ignored
But won through in the end
A happy ending and a safe future
For many a Beckindale friend

1988 - Kathy and Jackie did marry

Their happiness was untapped
But Dolly was untrue to Matt
And so the Skilbecks' marriage
Began to come unwrapped

At Crossgill disaster came with fire
For Annie Sugden the house
Almost became her funeral pyre

1989 - the decade was on the fizzle
But the affair of Rachel and Pete
Gave its dying months some sizzle

Home Farm was sold
The Tates moved in
Mrs Bates departed
Alan's future looked grim

Goodbye to Matt, the Reverend Hinton too
The 90's would see stories
Which seemed silly and untrue

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Sheila Mercier (Annie Sugden) Set For Brief Return To Emmerdale...

1980s memories - left: Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne), Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) and Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers) discuss farming matters. Right: Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) and Dolly Skilbeck take time out for a cuppa. Sheila Mercier and Frederick Pyne had been with Emmerdale Farm since the beginning. Jean Rogers and Clive Hornby debuted as Dolly and Jack in 1980.

A good friend of The Beckindale Bugle has been in touch to tell us that Sheila Mercier, who played matriarch Annie Sugden in the show from 1972-1996, is to return to the series for three episodes. She will be filming just before Christmas and the episodes will be screened around February 2009. This is tremendous news. Will any of our other favourites, like Matt and Dolly Skilbeck, be joining her, we wonder?

November 1989 - filming at Lindley Farm, the real life location for Emmerdale Farm from 1972-1993: in this scene, Annie greets Jack on his return from Italy. Mr Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) looks on. This screen capture is from the final episode of Emmerdale Farm. The next episode saw the show becoming simply Emmerdale.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Emmerdale Farm Who's Who Of The 1980s - Part 2: Always There - Cast And Characters Who Spanned The Entire Decade...

If you switched on Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s, who would you be assured of seeing throughout the entire decade? First and foremost would have to be Sheila Mercier (Annie Sugden), seeing out a decade of tremendous change in Beckindale. She remained a central character, although her scenes were somewhat reduced after the death of Toke Townley (Sam Pearson) in 1984. Annie was still very much the head of the Sugden family and could always be relied upon to provide support and advice. In 1989, her strength appeared to be crumbling, and she became briefly addicted to tranquillisers. But, Annie being Annie, she was soon back to her old self. And we were very glad.

Ronald Magill - the wonderful Amos Brearly of The Woolpack Inn - was another splendid Emmerdale Farm actor who spanned the entire 1980s. This was a tremendous decade for Amos, as Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) became a regular at The Woolpack in 1980, and the very odd silent Walter (Al Dixon) also joined the regulars that year. Amos chuntered at Walter and was wound up to the hilt by Seth. Amos' 1980s were days of fads, strange relatives, allotment rivalries, strippers, leaking cisterns and general mayhem at The Woolpack. Simply terrific.

Arthur Pentelow - "Mr Wilks" to Amos, "Henry" to others, was the calming voice of reason at The Woolpack and a great friend and business partner to the family up at Emmerdale Farm. He also became a parish councillor during the 1980s. Henry survived all Amos' absurdities, and his daughter Marian's marriage problems, and was the man Tom Merrick advised Jackie to turn to if ever he ran into problems. Henry was never a saint but he was a warm and caring character who hid his warm heart under a gruff exterior. We loved Mr Wilks. We loved Amos. We loved The '80s Woolpack!

Stan Richards - Seth Armstrong - began his career in Emmerdale Farm as a temporary character in 1978, made several appearances afterwards, and became a full-timer in 1980.

In the summer of 1980, Seth switched loyalties from The Malt Shovel to The Woolpack and was soon appearing in the Emmerdale Farm story lines as much as the longer-established characters. Seth's glory days became even more glorious when Alan Turner arrived at Home Farm in 1982.

Almost making it on to this list were Frederick Pyne - Matt Skilbeck - who left the cast in November 1989 (Matt last appeared on-screen in December), Hugh Manning - the Rev Donald Hinton, who left the cast in the summer of 1989 and Clive Hornby (Jack Sugden) - who made his debut in February 1980. Frazer Hines (Joe Sugden) was present at the start and at the end of the 1980s, but took three years out (1983-1986) in-between!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Lindley Farm For Sale...

Here's little old me up at Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s. Excuse the editing. My face is neither rustic nor idyllic. The real life location for Emmerdale Farm, from 1972-1993, was Lindley Farm near Harrogate. Interior scenes were filmed in the studios at Yorkshire Television, but for millions of viewers the exterior of Lindley Farm was Emmerdale.

And now the farmhouse - renamed "Lindley House" is up for sale.

And its interior is very far removed from Emmerdale Farm.

Here's the kitchen - no Annie and no Aga. In reality, the part of the house where Annie's kitchen was supposed to be is now a study!

Lindley Farmhouse was rather larger than Emmerdale Farmhouse was supposed to be. In 1982, the area at the back of the house was explained away as being a barn, which was then converted into a home for Matt and Dolly Skilbeck. See the details for the Lindley House sale here.