Tuesday, 2 December 2008

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.


  1. I read somewhere that Sandie Merrick was returning. Do you know whether there's any truth in that?

  2. I think you summed it up well Andy. While it is very much a tribute to the wonderful Clive Hornby we are also saying goodbye to the character of Jack. The very first episode is just as much a part of Clive's Jack as his predecessor. I think it's a great idea and really brings things full circle for the Sugdens.

    I'm gutted too about Matt & Dolly. Matt especially as he is the only other original character that could return with Annie as the actors who played the rest have either passed away or their characters were killed off.

    Today was the official announcement of who is returning. I doubt there is anyone else to be added as Sheila will be filming in 2 weeks.

  3. SHOEGAL: Lots of rumours, but no, I don't think Sandie is returning!

  4. Anonymous2.12.08

    Sounds absolutely bloody ridiculous to me. If you play the first episode, there's some great acting, it's a wonderful scenario. But Clive wasn't there.

  5. Cerys3.12.08

    I understand that they are making a tribute to the character of Jack (or rather "characters" - Clive Hornby and Andrew Burt played things so differently) but it is a shame that the likes of Matt and Dolly, who were with Clive Hornby's Jack a lot in the beginning, won't be returning.

  6. Cerys3.12.08

    Will YOU be watching the show?

  7. I shall make of point of watching Sheila Mercier's return and departure from the show. But I haven't been a fan of Emmerdale since the plane crash of December 1993 so don't envisage becoming a regular viewer - as I was with Emmerdale Farm.

  8. Anonymous3.12.08

    I would predict that Matt and Dolly have since reconciled, but it will be a shame seeing Annie return alone. I just think it is a shame that Annie has outlived all of her children and half her grandchildren. Just out of interest, what was Peggy Skilbeck doing when she died? How did Annie Sugden get on with Alan Turner? And if you could, would you post some of the episodes you have, this would be great to see the great characters of the 80s. Thank you

  9. I do hope Matt and Dolly have reconciled! I agree, it is a shame for Annie to return alone. Peggy Skilbeck died suddenly of some kind of minute cerebral defect if I remember rightly.

    Annie tried hard to get on with Alan as he was a neighbour - but I think she found it difficult at times. Later, in the Mrs Bates era, she was often amused by him.

    I do have many '80s episodes of Emmerdale Farm taped from Sky Soap, but I'm afraid I cannot post them as it is against copyright. This blog is designed to help encourage more official episode releases - particularly from the 1980s, which are often ignored or played down in Emmerdale history.

    To this end, I post lots of stories from the '80s and screen captures.

    Many more to come!

    Thanks for writing.

  10. Its been much discussed that Joe's death was unnecessary but what about Jackie Merrick? I know it's a bit different in that the actor was still on screen but after everything the Sugdens/Merricks had been through up until that point another death seemed unneeded and in some ways lazy. Jackie could have just left the village, his marriage to Kathy having ended.

    It would have been great if Ian could have returned as Jackie eventually especially with his father being a long running character. Jack having lost so many family members always felt a bit unreal to me especially when all this tradegy didn't always come through in the character.

  11. Apparently, and I'm going on hearsay here, Jackie's death was needed as Ian Sharrock did not give a lot of notice of his intention to quit to the Emmerdale production team. So, there was no chance to give him a lengthy, satisfying exit storyline - and the producers of the day wanted to save Kathy so he couldn't just leave, as she would have gone with him.

    Personally, I would have favoured immediate recasting - as with Dolly in 1980. But that wasn't a popular option in 1980s soaps.

    Also, this was 1989 and plans were already in the wind to take some of the spotlight off of the farm family, which had recently expanded with the addition of Kate, Rachel and Mark.

    I don't agree death was a "lazy" option in Jackie's case, in fact I thought the episode was extremely well done, sad and true, with more than a hint of '80s irony ("What Have I Done To Deserve This?"!) but I do think you have a point about Sugden deaths in general - Peggy, Pat and Joe all spring to mind as being lazy options, but the worst was the Skilbeck twins, killed off in an horrific storyline with Matt's auntie, simply to clear away the last vestiges of the storyline of Matt and Peggy's marriage.