Saturday, 21 February 2009

Roxy Music - Some Things Last Forever - At Least In Soapland...

Archie gets funky to Roxy in 1984.

Picture the scene: it's the late 1970s and Suzie Birchall and Gail Potter of Coronation Street are working at Mike Baldwin's fashion shop, The Western Front. Mike wanted teenage girls to staff the shop as he thought they would, hopefully, know what the punters were "in to".

Oddly, Gail and Suzie often used to play severely out-of-date music, like Roxy Music's early '70s stuff, in the shop. Not something I ever heard when Sue, my older cousin, dragged me around real fashion shops in the late '70s...

Picture the scene: it's the mid-1980s, the setting is Tarrant, home of the boating saga Howards' Way, and local teens, wearing very "trendy" ripped clothes are having a boogie... to early '70s Roxy Music. That never happened at any disco I attended back then! (Incidentally, they followed it by hoofing it up to mid-'80s Robert Palmer - PURLEASE!!)

Picture the scene: it's Howards' Way, a fashion shoot, and the background music is a Bryan Ferry track from the mid-1980s...

Picture the scene: it's Beckindale, December 1984, and Archie and the local teens are listening to a Roxy Music compilation LP, including early '70s groover Love Is The Drug, and 1980 sensation Midnight Hour.

Picture the scene: it's the next day at Emmerdale Farm and Jack Sugden is doing the farm accounts and listening to the radio, which just happens to be belting out Roxy Music's 1980 hit, The Same Old Scene.

Picture the scene, it's Tarrant again...

I won't go on. But Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry tracks seemed to crop up an awful lot in our '70s and '80s serials. Much as I love the group and Mr F, and aware as I am that the group and Bryan Ferry as a solo artist had chart hits from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, they seemed to crop up more than was natural, particularly when it came to scenes involving teenagers - who might more realistically have been listening to The Fall or the latest synth epic.

I know there were copyright issues and Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s did make an effort to be modern, including snatches of Party Fears Two, Like To Get To Know You Well, various Sade hits, and Relax. I suppose Roxy/Bryan Ferry must have had an arrangement with UK telly producers which made their music an attractive proposition, but the band's back catalogue cropping up in two separate scenarios in one episode of Emmerdale Farm in 1984 did seem to be straining credibility more than a little!

"Ooh, Jack, not this bunch again - let's switch it off!"

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Amos: When True Love Was Crushed By A Crushed Ukulele

Was Amos ever in love as a young man, asks Cerys? Well, yes, perhaps! Of course, he asked Annie Sugden to marry him in an early episode, but that was purely for practical reasons - and he wasn't exactly young at the time. However, in 1982, he revealed a tragic story to Mr Wilks...

"I might 'a' married Gillian Partridge. Aunt Emily thought I should 'a' done."

"Who were Gillian Partridge?" asked Mr Wilks.

"Oh, very talented, Mr Wilks, very talented!" said Amos. "You've not seen her like this side 'a' Bridlington!"

"Mmm, sounds very impressive - what did she do?" asked Mr Wilks.

"George Formby impersonations," said Amos.

"Oh dear!" Mr Wilks began to chuckle. Even Walter was smiling. But then neither was what you might call sensitive.

"She'd 'a' won that talent contest - if Uncle Arthur 'adn't sat on her ukulele!" continued Amos. "It were all his fault. He ruined what were likely to be a very fruitful relationship!"

And so, it seems, Amos' youthful dreams of romance were crushed.

Just like Gillian's ukulele.

Sheila Mercier - In Appreciation

Sheila Mercier as Annie Sugden made a brief return to Emmerdale as a tribute to Clive Hornby last week. And for fans of Emmerdale, new as well as old, it was a great pleasure to see her on-screen. From being parched for a cup of tea, to fixing Eric Pollard with a glare, and talking good sense to her family, Annie was as wonderful as ever. And it was good to see her with Richard Thorp - now the longest running regular cast member as Alan Turner (I've just been watching his debut episodes from 1982 - seems like yesterday!).

Many thanks to Sheila. Her appearance was a tremendous tribute to Clive Hornby, and a great treat for us viewers.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Tim Fee To Retire

Timothy J Fee began work on Emmerdale Farm as unit manager in 1988, then became Production Supervisor. In the 1990s, his job title was upgraded to Production Controller. He was given the new title of "Line Producer" in February 2002. Here's a brief Emmerdale Tim Timeline:

1988: Begins work on Emmerdale (Farm) as Unit Manager - Sheila Mercier mentions this as his original job title in her autobiography, Annie's Song (1994)

1989: Tim is listed as "Production Supervisor" in the closing credits of a November episode I have on disc.

1994: Sheila Mercier refers to Tim's role as "Production Supervisor" in her autobiography.

1996: Listed as "Production Controller" in the closing credits of several episodes I have on disc from that year.

February 2002: Job title changed to Line Producer - discovered on-line:

Yorkshire TV executives have also announced that Tim Fee, Emmerdale's production controller is being given the new title of line producer to recognise even more fully 'his importance to the smooth running of Emmerdale'. 'As anyone who works on Emmerdale knows, Tim is at the heart of all that goes on there and played a key part in the smooth transition to five episodes a week,' says John Whiston.
Says Tim, who has worked on Emmerdale for 12 years: 'I'm thrilled to be supporting Steve in his new role and look forward to even more Emmerdale success, after taking the show to five-times-a-week with Kieran.' 'With the combination of Tim and Steve both Keith and myself are not just confident but excited about the future for Emmerdale and know that we've got a great team to take the show on from the excellent state that Kieran left it in,' says John Whiston.

(scroll down!)

Sheila Mercier wrote fondly of Tim in her autobiography, Annie's Song (1994):

"He has such a sunny disposition that it rubs off on everyone."

From all of us here at The Beckindale Bugle, we wish you a long and happy retirement, Tim!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Funeral Of Jack Sugden - Farewell To An Emmerdale Favourite

Click on image for details. Clive Hornby debuted as Jack Sugden on 19 February 1980. The character's funeral will be featured in this week's episodes of Emmerdale on ITV1. See all our Clive Hornby/Jack Sugden information here.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

1980: Clive Hornby - First Scenes As Jack Sugden

With the funeral of Jack Sugden to be featured in Emmerdale next week, and Sheila Mercier making a brief return as Annie Sugden, I've had several enquiries about Clive Hornby's debut as Jack back in 1980. So, I've opened my 1980 folder and discovered these pics and details.

Clive's first scene as Jack was outside the farm.

He took a long look at the exterior of his family home, and then made his way to the kitchen door...

Jack's grandfather, Sam Pearson (Toke Townley), answered the door and, with a wink at Jack, said:

"Oh, Annie, it's the man from the travelling library!"

"Eh? They're not coming round door-to-door now, are they?" Annie was highly puzzled.

"Just trying to encourage more people to read, Mrs Sugden!" said Jack, stepping over the threshold.

Annie was delighted: "Jack! You're early! You were gonna phone! I was gonna come to meet you!"

Jack: "I 'ad to walk it, Ma."

Annie: "Oh! Nothing's ready, you know!"

Sam: " 'Course it is! Been ready for ages!"

Annie: "I didn't expect you to walk in like that! Oh, it's good to see you! You look well, I'll say that for you. Welcome home, lad!"

Sam: "Aye, welcome back, lad!"

More to follow on Jack's funeral at the weekend. In the meantime, for all those interested in Clive Hornby's opening decade as Jack Sugden, please look at our 'Jack Sugden' label here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A Warm Welcome At The Woolpack...

The title banner from The Hotten Courier, official YTV publicity information, May 1st 1986. Fiction jostled with fact as the YTV version of The Courier, which was of course based on the fictitious newspaper featured in the series, covered news from the TV programme - cast characters, production team, etc - and was not focused on the unreal world of Beckindale. And yet it contained advertisements, just as the fictional Courier might do, for those arch rival hostelries - The Woolpack and The Malt Shovel - it even included the telephone numbers: The Woolpack's was Beckindale 828 and The Shovel's Beckindale 808!

"There's always a warm welcome at The Woolpack"...



I see what they mean...

Walter enjoys a Woolpack warm welcome.

The Woolpack, with Amos as landlord, was never the most convivial place: in the first eight years of the show, Amos was dour and sour, a gossip and given to puffing himself up like a peacock. Who wanted to spend the evenings with the likes of him and pay for the privilege?!

In 1980, Ronald Magill took Amos up to a new peak - he became less dour, but louder, more animated, more fad-ridden, more pompous, more prickly, more nosey... more everything! The old Amos could display sound commonsense at times. The '80s Amos was usually absolutely bonkers! I believe that the arrival of Seth Armstrong as a full-time Woolpack regular, plus the arrival of Al Dixon as Walter, and Amos gaining an allotment - all events of 1980 - contributed enormously to Mr B's increased oddness.

But he was a sweet, innocent soul underneath. I suppose that's why we loved him.