Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy 2009 - And Welcome To 1984!

1984 always sounds ominous to me - also being the title of George Orwell's famous novel. Did you know that George Orwell took several years to write the book back in the 1940s, and that it was originally to be set in 1980, and then in 1982?

The real 1984 didn't see the arrival of Big Brother - it's more like that today with the various databases (established and planned) and security cameras logging our every move - but it did see the arrival of the Apple Mac - complete with affordable computer mouse. A revolution was beginning...

The UK edition of Trivial Pursuit arrived and we were trivia crazy. Sir Alec Jeffreys accidentally discovered DNA fingerprinting, at the University Of Leicester, England (More here). The miners fought a bitter, losing battle; Frankie Goes To Hollywood shocked the charts; the yuppie era was drawing in; V was on the telly and Do They Know It's Christmas? hit the No 1 spot. Agadoo was another chart favourite. Push pineapple, grind coffee? Hmm...

In the world of fashion, shoulder pads were getting bigger and bigger, people were streaking their hair blonde and using hair gel to very striking (or ugly, depending on your viewpoint) effect and moon boots were a must-have, as were Frankie Say T-shirts.

And so to Beckindale. What was 1984 like in the village? Well, a quick skim through some of the episodes reveals that Al Dixon as Walter (1980-1985) actually got to appear in the show's closing credits on at least one occasion...

Walter himself got a new hat at the village jumble sale, but Amos was not happy. "There's something rotten in the state of Beckindale!" he told Mr Wilks. What was Ernie Shuttleworth up to at the Malt Shovel?

Meanwhile, at Home Farm, Alan Turner was just having a row with Seth Armstrong when a woman appeared, telling him that she was the new "temp" secretary from the agency. Who was she? Can you guess?

One of the NY Estates bulls saw his chance and made a dash for freedom, causing problems for Jack Sugden...

And 1984 ended in tears. The death of actor Toke Townley meant the death of Sam Pearson. Annie, and in fact the whole of Beckindale, not to mention we viewers, mourned his passing in November...

To round things off, Jack began his affair with Karen Moore, which would spill over into 1985.

Our "Twenty Five Years Ago" series highlights 1984 in 2009. We'll also be giving 1981 a thorough looking at (Rubik's Cube, anybody?!) and presenting snippets from other years.

My thanks to Magnus, Will, Cerys, Squirrel K, Bryan, and others, for some very interesting e-mails/comments this year - and To Mrs Violet Howes for her Beckindale poem. Thanks also to Bill Sands for supplying some original YTV publicity stills, and to all those who took part in the competition.

See you in 2009! Or do I mean 1984?!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Amos' English Lesson...

Amos Brearly, seen here with Mr Wilks and Walter in 1983, was a man of words. As Beckindale correspondent of The Hotten Courier, he had to be.

"I'm a weaver of words. Aye, that's the name for it, if I do say so myself, Mr Wilks..."

So what would Amos make of some of our modern day written nonsenses? One of the things that puzzles me is the tendency for people to write that something happened "between" certain years - as in: "the show ran between 1986 and 1988" for a TV programme which began in 1986 and ended in 1988, for example.

But surely, "between" is not the correct word? In our photograph above, Mr Wilks is between Amos and Walter but not part of either. To write that something "ran beween 1986 and 1988" is saying it ran in 1987 and actually had nothing do with 1986 and 1988.

Surely, if something began in a certain year and ended in a certain year, the correct way to indicate it is to say that it "ran from 1986 to 1988" (for example), thus making the quoted years inclusive?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

No Return For The Skilbecks?

Signed YTV publicity picture of Jean Rogers as Dolly in April 1980.

An e-mail this evening expressing disappointment that Dolly and Matt Skilbeck will not be returning to Emmerdale for Jack's funeral.

Chloe writes:

It was lovely to see Frederick Pyne and Jean Rogers with Frazer Hines and Sheila Mercier in the 5000th episode celebration programme. I loved watching them doing the scene from the 80s episode, with Matt, Dolly, Annie and Joe all sat round the farm table!

I know Joe can't return, but I thought it would have been very natural for Matt and Dolly to have been there. I'm really disappointed. Is there any chance that they may still appear?

It doesn't seem likely, Chloe. If I hear anything different, I'll let you know.

The blurb from the 1980 publicity photograph.

Clive Hornby Tribute

Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden, 1980.

February 2009 will see a special Clive Hornby tribute episode of Emmerdale. Mr Hornby debuted in the show on 19 February 1980 as Jack Sugden.

From ITV.com

A special episode, dedicated to the late Emmerdale actor Clive Hornby, will be screened in February 2009, the anniversary of his last appearance in the soap.

The special tribute will mirror the first ever episode of Emmerdale, which featured the funeral of character Jacob Sugden in 1972.

Actress Sheila Mercier will return to Emmerdale as Jack’s mother Annie Sugden and Karl Davies will reprise his much-loved role as Jack’s son Robert Sugden for the episode, in order to bid an emotional farewell.

Karl Davies says “I was lucky enough to work with Clive over a number of years and he was the kindest, funniest man you could've wished to meet. I'm sure the show he loved will pay a fitting tribute to a genuinely wonderful person.

Sheila Mercier says: “It will be a pleasure to return for this special tribute episode to Clive. I’m sure it will be a fitting way to celebrate the life and memory of one of Emmerdale’s dearest characters.”

Series producer Anita Turner says: “It was hugely important to everyone at Emmerdale that we waited until an appropriate time to pay tribute to Clive on-screen.

"We have been in discussion with Clive’s son throughout this process and hope this episode will honour the memories that viewers, friends and colleagues hold of him.”

Clive passed away in July, aged 63.

"Bingle Boy" has written in puzzlement:

I've just read that the Clive Hornby "tribute episode" will "mirror" the first episode of Emmerdale Farm from 1972. But as Clive Hornby wasn't in Emmerdale Farm until 1980, how is that a tribute to him? Surely it's more of a tribute to the ORIGINAL cast and writer? And I'm terribly disappointed that Matt and Dolly won't appear.

The episodes have been written in consultation with Mr Hornby's son, and Karl Davies played his scenes as Robert with Clive Hornby so it will bring back many memories of Clive's later years in the show. It will be nice if the tribute episodes also feature memories of the Clive Hornby version of Jack making his debut and his early years on the show in the 1980s.

It's nice that it will echo Andrew Burt's era in Emmerdale Farm, too. Clive Hornby became Jack from 1980-2008, very much stamping his mark on the character and creating an Emmerdale legend. The programmes will undoubtedly be a fitting tribute to him. But we are also saying farewell to the character of Jack, first played by Andrew Burt, and this is a good, full-circle way of doing that.

I share your disappointment about Matt and Dolly - especially as Jean Rogers made her screen debut just after Clive back in 1980. The characters were very much a part of Clive's early years on the show. I feel that their inclusion alongside Sheila Mercier would have added a great deal to the episodes.