Tuesday, 24 March 2009

1981: Brothers At War - With Each Other - And Joe Lives In Hope...

Caught between the warring Sugden brothers (Frazer Hines and Clive Hornby), Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) longed for a peaceful life.

There was an outbreak of food poisoning at The Woolpack in late 1981. Amos had made a rabbit pie, from a rabbit given to himself and Mr Wilks by Seth Armstrong. He'd borrowed Annie's recipe book, and the pie was (apparently) a culinary delight. But very soon after it was eaten, the colly-wobbles set in. Seth's rabbit was, it seems, the chief suspect.

As Amos and Mr Wilks were not up to the evening session, kindly Dolly Skilbeck offered to step in and look after the bar for a while. This left her husband Matt alone at a quiet table in the pub with Jack and Joe Sugden. The table was not quiet for long.

Joe was in high spirits: Richard Anstey had gone from NY Estates, gone from Beckindale. Joe had enjoyed his time working with Richard, but the last few months had been fraught. Richard's affair with Virginia Lattimore, wife of NY regional manager Derek, had rather shocked Joe - particularly when he'd discovered the couple openly kissing outside Home Farm.

A wrangle over a pig unit hadn't helped: Joe wanted a unit for NY's Beckindale holding, having visited Lincoln and seen one in action, Richard was opposed to the idea on several grounds - not least that it would give Derek Lattimore reason to visit Home Farm more often to oversee the new development.

And Derek was growing suspicious that Richard and his wife were having an affair.

The languid and lovely Virginia Lattimore (Wanda Moore) shared intimate moments with Richard Anstey (Carl Rigg) at Home Farm in the 1980s.

Richard was also beginning to think that Joe was a bit of a bumpkin at times: "This is big business, Joe, not Emmerdale Farm!" he exploded on one occasion.

Tensions grew, Richard felt that Joe had plotted against him when the decision was taken over his head to start a pig unit at the Beckindale NY operation. He was finally told by NY chief Christopher Meadows to leave.

Joe was sorry to see Richard go, but Richard found it hard to believe that Joe hadn't plotted his downfall, with one eye on his own main chance.

Christopher Meadows asked Joe to take over the Beckindale holding as temporary manager for a few months - and who knows, perhaps he could apply for the position on a permanent basis? NY was apparently very pleased with Joe's work. Joe was thrilled.

But Jack was not so. In The Woolpack, with poor old Matt playing piggy-in-the-middle, Jack told Joe in no uncertain terms that he may be king of one castle, but if he thought he was going to be king of two (NY and Emmerdale Farm) he had another think coming!

The evening ended on a very stormy note.

But never mind. Joe had temporary promotion at NY, and could look forward to a possible permanent manager's post.

Christopher Meadows had been so encouraging.

As 1981 moved towards 1982, Joe decided that he would apply for the post.

But whether he would get it or not, well, who knows?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Emmerdale Spoiler Pics - 1980s Style!

Back in the 1980s, the process of providing "spoilers" for Emmerdale Farm - and in fact all other soaps and TV programmes was rather different. For a start, the World Wide Web wasn't invented until March 1989 (more here) and not up and running until the early 1990s. So, the Internet was a mystery to the vast majority of us and a very different place to today.

In those prehistoric days, TV companies sent out photographs via snail mail to relevant publications - newspapers and listing magazines, with some blurb pasted to the back giving details of the actors and characters pictured, the programme date, and a little teaser about what was going on. The photograph above shows Amos Brearly embarking on his first story-line of the 1980s, and the blurb on the back read:

FULL ITV NETWORK (except STV/WTV/CHA) Tuesday, JANUARY 8, 1980.

STV Wednesday, JANUARY 9, 1980

WTV/CHA Thursday, January 10, 1980 } times vary, all early evening

Amos turns his hand to poetry in the new series of


Mine Host at the Woolpack, Amos Brearly (RONALD MAGILL -right), finds the Curate, the Rev. Bob Jerome (RICHARD HOWARD), very non-committal when he presents him with his masterpiece of poetry for the parish magazine. An amusing moment from the opening episode of the new series of Yorkshire Television's dales serial, "EMMERDALE FARM".

A 1987 "spoiler":


It's Seth's birthday and plans are afoot for a surprise party down at the Woolpack. Seth just thinks all the whispering is people talking about him behind his back. But no-one knows how old the errant gamekeeper is - and Seth certainly isn't letting on.

Press contact: Katy Turner (0532) 438283 Ext 3065

Sunday, 15 March 2009

1981: A Deaf Man In Beckindale...

In the summer of 1981, a young man called Nicholas Houghton (played by David Gillies) arrived in Beckindale to restore a 9th century cross unearthed in St Mary's churchyard, and to make a plinth so that the cross could be displayed in the church.

The Reverend Donald Hinton was surprised to discover that Mr Houghton was deaf. Nicholas was, however, an expert lip reader, and detected much else via sight. He even knew when the vicarage door bell was rung, due to a brief distracted glance from Donald. When Donald walked up behind Nicholas whilst he was working on the cross in the churchyard, Nicholas turned to greet him, saying he knew he was there because of the shadow the vicar cast on the ground.

At The Woolpack, Amos was fascinated by the visitor, who had saved him from a hefty plumbing bill after repairing a leaking cistern (Amos had already sought to repair it and managed to cause a flood, but that's another story!).

Amos was used as the voice of ignorance in the story-line. He spoke to Mr Wilks about Nicholas:

"I cannot get over it, Mr Wilks - I can't believe as that man is deaf. He seems just like an ordinary human being!"

Henry was perturbed: "Well he is an ordinary human being!"

"I know. Well, I know in't way you mean and I reckon you ought to know in't way I mean, no offence intended!"

"None taken - I was just trying to make..."

Amos broke in and got himself in a verbal twist - as he so often did: "I mean no offence intended to him! By saying what I said, which might 'a' been taken as meaning summat what I didn't mean, but which is true any road, 'cos deaf folk aren't normal, are they?"

"Well, of course they are!" cried Henry. "They can't hear, that's all. You wouldn't say a one-legged man weren't normal, would you?"

"I certainly would! Men are s'posed to have two legs!"

Henry sighed. "Yes they are. But a one-legged man is a perfectly normal man who's just lost a leg, you don't treat him like an idiot because of it, do you?"

"I don't treat anyone that way!" said Amos, highly offended.

Before Nicholas left Beckindale, Donald Hinton spoke to him:

"I suppose there's no way... nothing can be done to get your hearing back? I would like to help."

"To make people understand - that would be the greatest help," said Nicholas. "I'm deaf, yes - I wish I could hear. I wish I could make people understand the way deaf people feel. The kind of world we have to live in. But I'm lucky. I can speak. I can read. I have work. There are far more deaf people that I know of that have none of the compensations I have. If you want to help me, try and make the world understand about them."

1982: The Arrival Of Alan Turner - Saviour Of NY Estates!!

Joe Sugden was setting up a pig unit and expecting his first delivery on Alan Turner's first day at NY Estates in 1982. "So I'm arriving at the same time as fifty pigs, am I? I hope that's not ominous!" said Alan.

The SAVIOUR of NY Estates? Alan Turner?! Well, yes, he was! The NY Estates Beckindale operation would have been wound up in 1982 if it hadn't been for our Mr T! The show's production team felt that the NY story-line had run its course and it was time for changes.

Richard Thorp expected to be in Emmerdale Farm for six months:

"But I got such a rapport going, first with Stan Richards as Seth Armstrong, and later with Diana Davies, who played Alan's secretary, Mrs Bates, that the powers that be liked it and kept it."

Of course, NY Estates was gone before the end of the 1980s - but Alan Turner remains in Emmerdale to this day!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

1981: Mr Wilks - The Red Indian!

Dolly Skilbeck took her role as head of the Beckindale playgroup very seriously, and had no hesitation in going to Henry Wilks, who had become parish councillor for Beckindale in 1981, when it seemed maintenance was needed at the village hall, where the playgroup was held.

The rent the playgroup paid, which hadn't been raised in years, was increased slightly and some of the major work was carried out. But Dolly still wasn't happy. When a little girl scraped her knee slightly on a nail sticking up out of the floor, Dolly determined to get Henry on-side. The general opinion in Beckindale was that the village was not getting a fair deal out of the rates - in comparison to larger places like Hotten.

Dolly invited Henry to spend some time at the playgroup. At first he was sceptical: children did scrape their knees, and the hall looked fine to him. He spent several hours at the playgroup, getting involved in face painting and reading stories to the children. By the end of it, he was so taken with the playgroup and the children that, although he still didn't see why Dolly was so up in arms, he vowed his support to her.

Dolly was very pleased with herself for seeing the issue through, and even more so when money was provided to carry out the repairs.

Mr Wilks left the playgroup in a great hurry on the day of his visit, realising that he would be late back at The Woolpack, and not wanting to incur the wrath of Amos.

But laughter not frowns greeted his arrival at the pub: he's forgotten to remove his face paint and head dress!

Arthur Pentelow at the Corner Shop, Esholt, in the 1980s. Always a tempering influence on Amos (particularly necessary during Amos' manic-to-the-max '80s era), Mr Wilks was one of Beckindale's best-loved villagers, and a huge favourite with viewers of Emmerdale Farm.