Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Why No Alan Turner?

Our Mr Turner enjoys a nice cuppa in 1986.

Hassan asks: Why no Alan Turner in your 1980 and 1981 reviews so far?

Because he didn't arrive in Beckindale until March 1982, Hassan. Apparently, the plan was to feature the character for a few months, then NY Estates was to pull out of Beckindale and Alan would leave. But, of course, his on-screen rapport with Stan Richards as Seth Armstrong ("GET OUT, SETH!") and a certain child-like vulnerability about Mr Turner's character, coupled with a warm smile and twinkling eye, ensured that the character stayed on. No cardboard villain, this!

There is quite a lot of Alan Turner material on this blog - click here - and I have prepared a little chart of 1980s NY Estates managers below.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Jackie Merrick - Out Of Fashion?

Cerys writes:

Jackie Merrick must have been one of the most out of date teenagers in England in the early 1980s! He seemed to have hardly any clothes, and those that he did have, particularly those dreadful patched flares, made him look like he was off to Woodstock in 1969 - or to a tramps' convention! And yet he was into modern bands like Adam and the Ants!

Sandie ran him pretty close for the first couple of years. I know that Pat was hard-up, but no working class teenager I knew would have been seen dead in the clothes Jackie and Sandie wore in the early 1980s! If teenagers had actually been playing the roles, I'm sure they would have protested!

I see what you're saying, Cerys. I think the "Woodstock" flares stood out like a sore thumb when Ian Sharrock played scenes with other young male characters in their fashionable narrowed legged trousers post-1980. But to be fair, Jackie was mainly using the flares for work at that time. Meanwhile, Sandie seemed to be making an effort at fashion by late 1981 - and, let's face it, flares were still very common in 1980. They had been cutting edge in the late 1960s, stagnated in the 1970s, and there wasn't much dosh around for splashing out on new gear in the early 1980s.

A pal of mine recently watched a documentary about the football scene in 1980. Included was footage of fans queuing for a match and my friend tells me it looked like "Attack Of The Flaredy People"!! The queue was literally knee-deep in them!

Pat was financially hard-pressed, as you say, and the Emmerdale Farm wardrobe department was not exactly up-to-date (teenager Rosemary Kendall was not exactly a thrilling dresser in the mid-1970s). I was just glad to see some permanent teens in the show. And, hey, Jackie was making a bit of an effort for his courting of Angie Richards in 1983 - he took her for a drink at the ultra-trendy Woolpack and actually pushed up his coat sleeves - a very fashionable thing to do!

Emmerdale Farm - The Novels!

I've had a couple of enquiries about the Emmerdale Farm novels. These were published from 1977-1989, and written first by Lee Mackenzie and then by James Ferguson. The first novel was called The Legacy, and the last Wives And Lovers.

Additions to the series were usually advertised on ITV directly after an episode of Emmerdale Farm: "The latest Emmerdale Farm novel, Wives And Lovers [and so on], is now available." The screen capture above is from 1989.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The 1980s AND The 1990s?

1984 - Amos is furious that Walter has been sneaking off to The Malt Shovel; 1994: Jack Sugden surveys the devastation after the plane crash which ended 1993.

I've had an e-mail from Karl:

I love your blog - it's informative, fun and packed with great pictures. Would you consider extending the Beckindale Bugle to cover the 1990s, as well as the 1980s? It would be great to see these two wonderful Emmerdale decades here.

I'd love to, Karl, but I didn't see a great deal of Emmerdale in the '90s for various reasons. The Bugle is written out of affection for the 1980s era in the show, which gave me lots of viewing pleasure.

Still, there's no doubt that the 1990s were a fascinating decade in the show. How about starting a 1990s Emmerdale blog yourself?

Thanks for your kind words about The Bugle. There's much more to come as we put 1981 and 1984 under the spotlight.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

1981: The Sheep Shelter

Jack was not happy when Matt suggested buying a sheep shelter from Clifford Longthorn. He wanted to invest money in starting organic farming at Emmerdale, although Joe was in opposition and the other members of the household had misgivings. Jack was even more disgruntled to discover that Matt had been to see Henry Wilks to discuss the financing of the shelter. Matt had seen the shelters in action on a visit to Smithfield in 1980, and been highly impressed.

"Matt, not another new fangled gadget, eh?" groaned Grandad Pearson.

"Oh no, Grandad, it's just a shelter for sheep, that's all," said Dolly.

Grandad was not convinced of the need for such a thing: "Well, they never needed shelters in my day!"

"Ah, but they did, they just didn't 'ave 'em, that's all!" said Matt. "They save a lot of money in lost lambs, do them shelters."

"Aye, Matt, well, we did lose a lot in the old days - especially in a bad winter," Grandad conceded.

Jack was still not happy.

Then Matt dropped a bombshell: asked where the shelter would go, he announced: "I've thought about that. There's only one place that it can go."

"Where's that?" asked Joe.

"Well, it's got to go round the back for a start," said Matt. "And it's got to go on well-drained land. I mean, that bit of land has got the right gradient. There's no other land round the back there that's really flat enough. "

"Well, which bit of land?" asked Joe.

"I don't really like to say..." Matt was looking very uncomfortable.

"Come on, Matt," urged Annie.

"Grandad's vegetable patch," said Matt.

Grandad was most unhappy. When Dolly asked how he was a day or two later, he bellowed: "Nobody round here takes any notice of my feelings anymore!"

He was promised another patch, but still felt he was being ill treated.

The rest of the family, and Henry Wilks, backed Matt's sheep shelter plan, but Jack - who was still fixed on the idea of investing in organic farming, tried to stall things. When Matt showed him a photograph of the shelter, he announced its appearance wouldn't fit in with the existing buildings.

Matt did not understand Jack's view of farming at all sometimes: the sheep needed the shelter - aesthetics didn't come into it!

As the days passed, Annie grew increasingly annoyed with her eldest son. Until, realising that her intervention was needed, she decided to take action.

Jack was feeling misunderstood - but was convinced he knew best:

"We're still spending too much on concentrates. I'll be glad when I can cut back on them and start using the grass better. Of course, it'll take time. The others don't really understand the principles involved. You can lead a horse to water, but if he thinks he can do without it..."

"I wish you could hear yourself talk, Jack - if only you knew what you sounded like!" cried Annie.

"What?" Jack was puzzled.

"You really do think you're the only person around here with any sense, don't you? You've been carrying on on this farm as if you owned it!"

"I haven't, Ma!"

Annie ignored him: "Well you don't own it - just remember that! I'm getting so fed up of you and your grandad behaving as though you're the only two people that matter!"

"It's not me I'm talking about - it's the farm!" said Jack, startled.

His mother glowered: "We agreed on this sheep housing for Matt, didn't we?"

"Aye. I've not forgotten that."

"No, but you're ignoring it - you're putting it off, hoping he'll forget the whole thing. Well, he won't forget it and neither will we. You can think we're a lot of idiots if you like for not understanding your farming principles, but let me tell you this: Matt knows more about sheep farming than you'll ever know. He's more expert in his field than you, with or without book learning!"

"I know that, Ma, but..."

Annie bulldozed him: "Happen you do! And happen that's why you're being so pig headed about letting him have his sheep house!"

"Oh, that's not fair, Ma..."

"Then why hasn't he got it? It's been over a week since we decided!"

"I don't mean to be pig headed. I know Matt's good at his job. Oh, he's a bit slow sometimes..."

Annie rose from her chair, furious.

"No, I didn't mean it, Ma!" Jack was shaken.

"All right, go and talk to him!"

"Aye, I will..." said Jack, playing for time.

"GO ON!!" cried Annie.

"What, now?!"

"No point in holding back!"

Jack scuttled for the door: "I'm going!"

Annie watched her eldest son scuttle out of the kitchen, like some daft little lad, her face stony.

Then she turned...

... and burst out laughing!

Jack sought out Matt and soon Matt was smiling.

The sheep shelter went up.

Matt was thrilled with it. He showed Grandad the ventilation system: "You can have a howling gale blowing outside, and in here all you get is fresh air!"

Later, Annie asked Sam about the loss of his vegetable patch: "You're not too upset, are you, Dad?"

"No, of course I'm not, love!" said Sam. "He's a good lad - and to see him running around like a spring lamb is worth any amount of vegetable gardens! Mind you, as long as I have another one as good!"

"What do you reckon, Dolly?" asked Matt.

"Seven!" said Dolly.

"Eh?!" Annie was puzzled.

"I've been counting up how many times he's said 'What do you reckon, Dolly?'!" grinned Dolly.

A hay fight broke out between the Skilbecks, and Matt chased Dolly to the nearby barn...

... where Mr and Mrs Skilbeck indulged in a quick kiss and a cuddle - both well pleased with the outcome of the sheep shelter affair - and with each other.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Freddie or Frederick?

Yasmin has written:

I've read that Frederick Pyne is sometimes referred to by friends as "Freddie". How was his name listed in the closing credits of Emmerdale Farm?

As Frederick, Yasmin.

I hope the 1981 screen capture above will bring back some happy memories of Frederick Pyne and Jean Rogers as Matt and Dolly - they were two of the audience's favourite characters in the 1980s. And that included me!

Click on one of the labels below for more information.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Beckindale Bugle Review Of 1981

E-mails: Seth's Sons And Screen Caps Of Beverley Callard

McDuff enquires:

I've been reading that Seth Armstrong had two sons, Fred and Jimmy. Do they appear in the 1980s?

Fred does, briefly. I'll be writing more about that soon, although I don't recall seeing Jimmy!

Mark W writes:

PLEASE some larger screen caps of lovely Beverley Callard in her 80's Emmerdale gear!

Here's a publicity pic I prepared for one of my other blogs! I'll upload some more Beverley Callard/Angie Richards screen caps as soon as possible.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Am I A Fan Of The 1980s Walter?

Are you a fan of Al Dixon's Walter (1980-1985) asks Laura, via e-mail?

I loved that character, Laura - one of Emmerdale Farm's '80s and in fact all-time greats.

When Walter was in The Woolpack, with Amos chuntering on at him, all seemed right with the world!
Read The Bugle's Walter information here.

1983: Beverley Callard In Emmerdale Farm!

Beverley Callard (then Beverley Sowden) made her soap debut in Emmerdale Farm in 1983. She played Angie Richards, a chip shop cashier, who was briefly Jackie Merrick's girlfriend. She had big hair. She wore pixie boots... and she was a little too modern for Beckindale.

The relationship was doomed to failure. The couple had nowhere to be alone together - Angie, who was older and more experienced than Jackie, ended up taking his virginity on the parlour sofa at Emmerdale Farm in the dead of night - although Jackie bluffed that it wasn't his first time.

Annie Sugden suspected what Jackie had been up to under her roof, and he was strongly reprimanded.

Soon, Angie was calling the whole thing off. This led to an altercation at the local disco: as True by Spandau Ballet played in the background, jealous Jackie almost came to blows with Angie's new boyfriend.

Jackie cooled it, and Angie disappeared from his life.

In 1989, Beverley Callard appeared in Coronation Street as Liz McDonald, wife of big Jim, and mother of Steve and Andy - and more permanent soap stardom was hers.

UPDATE: I've had several comments and e-mails pointing out that Beverley also appeared as June Dewhurst in Coronation Street in 1984. Many thanks to all those who have written.