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?

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