Saturday, 4 July 2009

1989: Beckindale Gets Knitting - Again...

1989... the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, the Berlin Wall came down, Acid House Raves rocked youth culture, Sky TV was launched and, over in America, Game Boy arrived...

And the year also brought a new knitting book from Emmerdale Farm, the first since 1983. Out came the needles across the land.

On the cover were Kate (Sally Knyvette) and Joe (Frazer Hines) Sugden. After a stormy relationship, they tied the knot in '89, but married life was not to be peaceful as Kate found her organic venture at Crossgill beset by slugs, and her daughter, Rachel (Glenda McKay) tumbled into an affair with married Pete Whiteley (Jim Millea).

A traumatic year for Dolly (Jean Rogers) and son Sam Skilbeck (Benjamin Whitehead), also on the knitting book cover, as the Skilbeck marriage finally broke up. For Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) there was irritation as Mr Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) developed hay fever and sneezed his way through the summer...

Evolution not revolution was the apparent intention of Emmerdale Farm producer Stuart Doughty, the man from Brookside, featured in the knitting book wearing a charming jumper. He took the producer's chair in 1988. His reign saw tense drama in Beckindale in 1989, and the arrival of the Tate family at Home Farm in November of that year.

1989 also saw the deletion of the word "Farm" from the show's title, as Doughty decided to begin dropping some of the farming content - and to reflect the fact that a lot of the show was not actually about the farm.

From a temporary bit-part in 1978, to full-time character status in 1980, Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) spent quite a lot of 1989 baiting Amos Brearly. Situation normal.

Kathy Merrick (Malandra Burrows) - looking charming in a lovely '80s cardie. The poor girl faced the tragic loss of her husband, Jackie (Ian Sharrock) in 1989 - he accidentally shot himself whilst hunting a troublesome fox.

Amos and Mr Wilks - a stormy year at The Woolpack as Amos realised just how irritating Mr Wilks was (!!!!). He told Seth: "I cannot understand why I've never noticed before, he's got more irritating habits than anyone I've ever known - including you, Seth Armstrong!"

Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) - lovely cardie, but 1989 had it in for the man. His marriage to Dolly was at an end. Frederick Pyne recorded Matt's last scenes in November, and Matt was last seen on-screen in December.

Caroline Bates (Diana Davies) arrived as a temp secretary at NY Estates in 1984. She soon became permanent. Since his arrival in 1982, Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) had been making a proper pig's ear of things on the estate, and Mrs Bates was his saviour. Romance developed and, in 1989, the two planned to wed. But things didn't work out, and Mrs Bates left Beckindale, in tears, in November to look after her ailing mother in Scarborough.

Matriarch Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier). Her strength finally crumbled in 1989, and she found herself developing a dependency on tranquillisers. Recovering, she faced new heartache - businessman Denis Rigg's underhand attempts to buy the farm, and then the death of her grandson, Jackie.

Archie Brooks (Tony Pitts) - first turned up clutching a ghetto blaster and sporting a hairdo rather like David Sylvian's, of synth pop group Japan, in November 1983. He sported a very natty alphabet jumper for the knitting book in 1989, and temporarily departed from Beckindale in November to live with his mum when the old outbuilding he called home became too draughty.


  1. Anonymous5.7.09

    I think it woud of been better if they had re named the program as Beckindale in 1989 as dropping farm out of the titlke did not make sense. Emmerdale was still the name of the farm.

  2. Anonymous2.1.13

    Malandra is still as gorgeous as ever , I love that babe..