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.

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