Monday, 18 May 2009

Coming Soon - 1982 - The 10th Anniversary, Walter's Budgie And 1984...

We're off back down our 1980s Time Tunnel at The Bugle with lots of fresh goodies in store...

We take a peek at the YTV press pack for the completion of the show's first decade in October 1982; we reveal the full facts concerning the Scandal of Walter's budgie, look at the era when Frankie Goes To Hollywood could be heard booming out of a JUKE BOX in The Woolpack (with Amos' full blessing!), and give you our long awaited 1984 Beckindale exposé.

So, twist those Rubik's Cubes, hoist those brick mobiles, go wild with the hair gel, plonk away on those ZX Spectrums and adjust those shoulder pads... There's LOTS more to come!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Hotten Courier - September 1980: Brearly's Beckindale

From The Hotten Courier, September 1980 - Amos Brearly's Beckindale column - a treat for all Amos fans!

Beckindale's plans for a farm museum with permanent displays showing the history of farming are reported to be underway in the village, according to reliable reports received by AMOS BREARLY.

The museum, which is at yet in the ideas stage, is the brainchild of a villager who wishes for the moment to remain anonymous: but he has informed me that his plans are comprehensive and ambitious. The museum will include permanent displays of farm implements and farming methods of the past, collections of rare breeds of animals, and many other things that this reporter for one, is sure will be of interest to people interested in this sort of thing. Sam Pearson, who has told me with assurance that 'the old ways are best', will be on hand to act as advisor to Mr Wilks' plans, which I am sure will be very successful.


At a meeting of the Beckindale Temperance Society in the village hall, Mrs. Ratcliffe spoke at some considerable length about the aims of the society. Unfortunately this reporter missed the conclusion of her very interesting talk owing to the pressure of his responsibilities at the Woolpack Inn.


At the last meeting of the friends of St Mary's, the Reverend Donald Hinton reported on the findings of the surveyors after their last visit to the church. It was clear, he said, that repairs must be carried out in the immediate future if major rebuilding work is to be avoided. The leaking church roof and the re-pointing of the west wall are the most urgent problems, and the leading of the east window will consequently have to wait until more money becomes available.

Mrs. Sugden and Mrs. Longthorn suggested that the society start work on some charity events to raise money for the church. It is expected that the details of their plans will be made available at next month's meeting.



Beckindale's cricket season draws to a close this September with the annual match against Robblesfield for the Butterworth Ball. This is probably the most important ball of all. We have been playing Robblesfield for the trophy since 1903, and the Butterworth Ball has held pride of place at the well-known and much frequented Woolpack Inn in Beckindale, on the shelf where I keep the tomato juices.

After a long run of bad luck from 1961 to 1967, when the partnership of Eccky Tait and Bob Marly as openers seemed invincible, Beckindale managed to catch up with the opposition and take the lead. Of the seventy-seven matches we have now played, the score now stands at Beckindale 39, Robblesfield 38. So this year's match is very important if the ball is going to stay in its place behind my bar. Brearly expects that every man will do his duty, especially Sam Pearson as Umpire.


Owing to unforeseen circumstances this month's meeting has been cancelled.

When Did Ronald Magill Leave The Permanent Cast Of Emmerdale?

Liz writes:

I know you only deal with the 1980s here, but can you make an exception because I'm mighty puzzled? When did Ronald Magill leave the permanent cast of Emmerdale Farm? I always thought it was January 1991, but I read recently on a Digital Spy soap forum that he "went part time" in 1991, and actually left in 1995?

The Bugle says:

Well, the 1980s are really our bag, but we'll make an exception just this once, Liz!

Ronald Magill left the permanent cast of Emmerdale in 1991, as you originally thought. He did a few short guest stints after that, up to 1995 we believe, but he was guesting, not on a "part time" contact.

When he left in 1991, Ronald Magill was honoured with his own tribute show from YTV - Last Orders For Amos, and also appeared on Wogan, where he had his famous mutton chop sideburns shaved off!

Fond farewell - Amos and Mr Wilks outside the Woolpack in 1991 - Amos actually called Mr Wilks "Henry"! - and (right) Ronald Magill appearing with Terry Wogan shortly afterwards.

Is Emmerdale Today The Same As Emmerdale Farm In The 1980s?

'80s incomer Alan Turner (Richard Thorp), who first appeared in March 1982.

Moggy has written to ask if I think the modern day Emmerdale serial is the same, in terms of style and story-line content, as Emmerdale Farm in the 1980s?

No, is the simple answer. Life changes and soaps evolve. The Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s was not the Emmerdale Farm of 1972-1979, and the Emmerdale of the 1990s was not the Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s, and the Emmerdale of the early 2000s is not the Emmerdale of the 1990s.

Tastes change, soaps have to change with them.

For instance, in the '72-79 era, Emmerdale Farm had a few outlandish storylines: the vicar's son was arrested for gun running in Athens, tramp-like wanderer Dry Hogben turned out to be stinking rich and on the run from his responsibilities, and Sam Pearson worried that one of his forebears was a witch. There were a few other such "oddball" storylines. But these was very much in keeping with the style of soaps back then. Viewers wanted a bit of escapism, a touch of the incredible in their soaps.

The '72-'79 show was also largely centred around older people: teenagers - like Rosemary Kendall - tended to be passing through.

In the 1980s, the show became grittier, more down to earth, faster moving, and more political - the anti-nuclear storyline of 1987 was hailed as a major step forward in the politicisation of soap operas by some, but as anti-government propaganda by others. There were permanent youth characters, an expanding cast, and more graphic and racy scenes - which had a mixed reception. In 1989, the decision was taken to edge farming out of the storyline to some degree and so "Farm" was dropped from the show's title.

The 1990s were a positive riot - with the glorious camp bitchery of Kim Tate and indeed the whole saga of the Tate family, a family very much at war. Once again, the show was keeping up with the times - much influenced by '80s era American soaps, like Dallas and Dynasty. Spectacular disasters - like the 1993 plane crash - altered the village landscape and viewers' perceptions of the show forever.

And so on to the current day.

If the Emmerdale of today was the same in style and content as the Emmerdale Farm of the 1980s, then I doubt it would be attracting viewers. Even EastEnders, which actually began in the 1980s, is not the same show it was back then. Viewers of the early 21st Century want different things from their soaps than the viewers of the 1980s did.

So, Moggy, I must say no, modern day Emmerdale is not the same show as 1980s Emmerdale Farm. I think anybody sitting down to watch, say, an episode of Emmerdale Farm from 1986, and then an episode of Emmerdale from 2009, would see the truth of what I'm saying.

Life moves on, soap moves on. This also applies to Coronation Street, EastEnders, etc.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

2009 British Soap Awards: Elizabeth Estensen's Clive Hornby Tribute...

When Clive Hornby made his debut as Jack Sugden in Emmerdale Farm back in 1980, he could not have guessed that the role would last for twenty-eight years, and that he would become a much-loved soap icon.

Mr Hornby's death in 2008 meant that Jack Sugden also had to die. The role had been recast when Clive Hornby took it in 1980, but he had made Jack Sugden so much his own, over such a long period of time, that a further recast would have been unthinkable.

Elizabeth Estensen, who stars in the modern day Emmerdale serial as Diane, appeared on the British Soap Awards programme to pay tribute to him with a simple, and obviously heart-felt speech:

"Clive Hornby made his first appearance as Jack Sugden in 'Emmerdale Farm' on February the 19th, 1980. For twenty-eight years he continued through, among other things, a plane crash, a barn fire, being shot, and several marriages. But always the farmer, with his signature flat cap and wax jacket, he was one of Emmerdale's most loved characters. Clive was a fine actor, a true professional, and a dear friend and colleague to all of us who worked with him. We miss him."

Happy memories.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

1981 and 1982: The Death Of Enoch Tolly And Its Aftermath...

Enoch Tolly (Neil McCarthy) was very much a man of the '80s. The 1880s, that is. As Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) commented in early 1981, Enoch simply did not seem at home in the 20th Century.

Enoch was in his usual belligerent frame of mind as the year began - lambasting Jack and Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) about the state of a boundary wall.

The Tollys led a frugal and somewhat grim existence on Tollys' Farm. Money was short, but with Enoch, his wife, Grace (Margaret Stallard), and daughter, Naomi (Jenny Tomasin), working together, the family managed to keep the farm going.

When Grace told Enoch that their other daughter, Hannah (Alison Ambler), who had broken away from Beckindale and was working as a trainee hairdresser in Hotten, would not be coming home on Sunday as usual, Enoch was horrified. If she would not return home for the sabbath, then she needn't bother coming home again at all, he ranted.

Grace - very much under Enoch's thumb.

Grace visited Hannah - but Hannah was insistent: on this one Sunday she was going out with her boyfriend - she had her own life to lead.

With a heavy heart, Grace headed home, dreading Enoch's reaction to the news.

Grace, Naomi and Enoch Tolly at home in early 1981. Enoch drank tea and laid down the law. Things were soon to change.

Back in Beckindale, Naomi had prepared a midday meal, and was surprised when her father did not come in for it. Finally, she went to investigate. She found that the tractor Enoch was driving out in one of the fields had toppled over. He was dead.

Grace was devastated. She expected Hannah would now return home and refused a generous offer from Richard Anstey (Carl Rigg), NY Estates' Beckindale manager, to buy her out. The house and much of the land belonged to NY Estates, and Richard proposed a generous deal to purchase the stock, equipment and land owned by Margaret. She refused. The Tollys would stay at Tollys' Farm. She and Enoch had built things up together. She would not even consider leaving.

Hannah caused her mother hurt and disappointment by refusing to move back home, stating once again that she had her own life to lead. However, she did spend some time at the farm to help out, and made it plain that, although she needed to lead her own life, she still cared about her mother and sister.

Unexpected help came via Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards). Seth confided in Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) that he had courted Grace many years ago, before his marriage to Meg. He still retained a soft spot for her, and turned up at Tollys' Farm on several occasions to offer assistance.

Grace was convinced that she and Naomi could not cope alone - Enoch had worked all the hours God sent - and she decided to employ a man to work on the farm. It so happened that Seth was then able to help her further.

Cowman Daniel Hawkins (Alan Starkey) had been unhappy at NY Estates since the arrival of Joe Sugden (Frazer Hines) as farm manager in late 1980. It had been Joe's decision to begin a hormone injection trial with some of the cattle in Daniel's care. Daniel hated the idea, considering it highly unnatural. In 1981, Joe and Richard Anstey declared the trial a success, the injections would be extended to all the NY Beckindale cattle on a permanent basis. Daniel, who had promised to give in his notice in the event of such an outcome, was as good as his word.

People thought he was mad, in that era of high unemployment, and Daniel was not a young man. How would he find another job? But Daniel insisted he would not compromise his principles.

Seth discussed the situation with Daniel in The Woolpack, and Daniel assured him that he'd be all right - he was not only a cowman, he was well experienced in farming in general. Eureka! Seth immediately dragged him off to see Grace Tolly. Within a very short time a deal was struck and Daniel was in the employ of Tollys' Farm.

And for almost a year things were settled. Then, in early 1982, Grace faced facts: even with Daniel on hand, things were not running as well as they had in Enoch's day. Back then the Tolly family had managed to scratch a living, but now... well, the work was too long and arduous and the rewards too small.

Grace sold up, and the Tolleys left Beckindale for a new, hopefully easier, life in Hotten.

And as for Daniel Hawkins - fortune smiled on him. Grace's decision to leave Beckindale coincided with the arrival of Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) as the Beckindale NY Estates manager in March 1982. And the first thing Alan did, much to Joe's chagrin, was stop the NY cattle hormone injections.

Daniel was able to return to his old job, and Alan was able to try and tempt Matt Skilbeck away from Emmerdale Farm to work as shepherd at NY Estates. Dolly (Jean Rogers) was pregnant, and the couple were seeking a home of their own. The Tolly Farmhouse would go with the job, Alan assured them. Tempting bait indeed!

But in the end Alan's ploy was unsuccessful: Matt and Dolly moved into a new barn conversion at Emmerdale, and Tollys' Farm faded from the story-line.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Anne W Gibbons - Taking Emmerdale Farm In To The '80s...

This photograph was captioned: Producer Anne Gibbons discusses a point in the script with Henry and Amos. "Henry and Amos" were, of course, in reality, Arthur Pentelow and Ronald Magill.

From The Hotten Courier, YTV Emmerdale Farm promotional material, September, 1980:


By Our Television Correspondent

On completion of her first full year as Producer of 'Emmerdale Farm', Anne Gibbons looks forward to her second with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. As she told me...

"Considerable work and effort goes into a twice weekly series like 'Emmerdale Farm'. It's worth pointing out that that for this new season, which begins transmission in September, production started in June, and pre-production work began as far as back as last December. When a draft of the proposed shape of the new series was drawn up, I had meetings with the creator Kevin Laffan, Executive Producer Michael Glynn, Script Editor Michael Russell and the scriptwriters who are to be involved in writing the 44 episodes.

In March, the first writer submitted his proposed storyline for the first six episodes, and the new season was underway and had automatically slipped into gear.

The first production team joined at the beginning of June, as the first six scripts were finalised and broken down into shooting order. Locations were found, sets built, props bought and hired, costumes purchased, and graphics ordered. Schedules, call sheets, camera scripts and detailed instructions poured from the 'Emmerdale' office.

We held casting sessions in both Leeds and London to find the right guest artists to be contracted for new roles.

Suddenly, we were moving faster down the production highway.

Production team number one went 'on the road' in June - just as the second team moved in to prepare for the next six episodes.

We were gathering speed and the revs were up.

The third production team is now underway; and with three teams at various stages of production with a total of 18 episodes, and a further 18 scripts discussed, commissioned and in the pipe-line, we are cruising along in top gear.

An extension to the hours in a day, or even days in the week would be very welcome - overdrive perhaps!"

Bugle Note:

Anne W Gibbons produced Emmerdale Farm from 1979 to 1983, spanning the show's tenth anniversary in October 1982. It was Ms Gibbons' task to take Emmerdale Farm well and truly into the 1980s - and all of us here at The Bugle think she did a grand job!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

When Do We Get To 1984?

1984 - friendly service from Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow). Meanwhile, Walter - played by Al Dixon from 1980 to 1985 - gets a new hat and faces a difficult time with charming mine host Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill).

An e-mail from Cerys, who asks:

At the end of last year, you promised us Beckindale tales of 1981 and 1984. Well, we've had lots of 1981 so far, but no '84. Have you changed your mind?

No, Cerys - I just got a load of material together from 1981 and thought I'd do things in year order. We have a couple of further visits to 1981 ahead, then it's 1984, I promise!

1984... when Amos tackles a microwave oven. Can Annie Sugden, a dab hand with an Aga, help? No, sadly not - she's never even seen a microwave oven before... Chaos ahead!

Also, why are Amos' customers periodically deserting The Woolpack en masse? Amos decides to interrogate Walter - who is (strangely) silent...

1984 is a very troubled year at The Woolpack... And elsewhere in Beckindale...

Relive it all here soon!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Amos And Mr Wilks - A Question Of Nationality

Amos serves up Mr Wilks' dinner.

I recently went to a wonderfully inclusive, totally non-racist St George's Day celebration in my locality, attended by people of many different racial backgrounds. It was an altogether terrific day (I was persuaded to do some morris dancing, but fortunately no cameras were present), and since then I've found myself pondering politics.

Devolution has brought about many changes in the UK, including a National Assembly for Wales and a National Parliament for Scotland. England continues to be ruled wholly by the UK Government at present, but there has been a reawakening of the knowledge that England is merely a country within Britain, and not Britain itself (in the past, this fact tended to get muddled!).

So what did Amos and Mr Wilks consider their nationality to be?

Well, back in 1981, Amos described Mr Wilks as being "English and Yorkshire!"

In 1982, Mr Wilks, speaking of Amos, told a Spanish visitor to The Woolpack: "He's not English - he's Yorkshire!"


Amos was definitely Yorkshire. And English too, I'm sure.

But, most of all, he was Amos.

It's my belief that if he'd had "Beautifully Barking" emblazoned across his passport, that would have described him far better than any mere nationality!

1980: Jack Sugden - "A Completely Different Person!" - Sheila Mercier

Jack Sugden returns to Emmerdale Farm with a new face in February 1980 - Clive Hornby has taken over the role from Andrew Burt. Annie (Sheila Mercier) and Sam (Toke Townley) greet him.

When Jack Sugden left Beckindale around 1964, after conflict with Jacob, his father, he went to London - then very swinging! When he returned to the farm in 1972, after his father's death, Jack (then played by Andrew Burt) was not a typical Sugden: he spoke "posh" and appeared educated and sophisticated. Some of his attitudes shocked Beckindale, which had not actually caught up to 1960s London standards even by the early 1970s. Jack appeared as rather an outsider.

When Clive Hornby first appeared as Jack in February 1980, the character was very different. This Jack was not as sophisticated, although occasional reference was made to the book he had written, Field Of Tares, and in 1983 Jack was writing a little poetry.

Sheila Mercier wrote in her autobiography, Annie's Song:

Clive Hornby, who had taken over the role of Jack Sugden, settled in quickly. He was even honoured with a special dinner at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on his arrival. It was, after all, a very important part that he was coming to play, although his character returned as a completely different person, more dedicated to farming than ever before!

Like the first Jack, this version favoured free range farming, but he was far more involved practically, far more interested in working on the farm and making the farm work. The original Jack had simply sat back and allocated shares in the farm to the rest of the family.

Clive Hornby's Jack did not sound as "posh", and his ideas were not as "enlightened". The character was not as restless. He seemed more typically a Sugden.

In 1982, after he married Pat Merrick (Helen Weir), Jack told her that he didn't like her working. She was then a clerk for Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) at NY Estates. The original Jack would, no doubt, have grimaced at such an attitude. But the new Jack was in tune with his grandfather, Sam Pearson (Toke Townley) on this issue.

The new Jack fitted more neatly into the Emmerdale Farm/Beckindale scenario. And although Clive Hornby bore a certain facial resemblance to his predecessor, the 1980s Jack was, as Sheila Mercier said, a "completely different person" from the sophisticated but troubled Jack of the early years.