Monday, 31 August 2009

E-Mails... Now And Then, '80s Favourites And Bill Middleton...

Beckindale favourite - Al Dixon as Walter (1980-1985).

Brian writes:

In the 1980s, Emmerdale largely seemed to be about weird old people over 40. Nowadays, it's largely about young prats, who think they're so special, and thugs and villains. When I was a kid, there used to be a saying about sex mad men - "He keeps his brains in his underpants". Nowadays a lot of the Emmerdale women keep their brains in their knickers, too. Modern Emmerdale's all about people falling into bed and then regretting it. BORING. And not a hint of AIDS.

Weird old people, over 40?! Flippin' 'eck - I'm over forty, and I don't consider myself old, Brian! You cheeky young whippersnapper (grin). And the show gained a large young cast and did have its moments of scandal in the 1980s. I can't judge modern day Emmerdale - I never watch the modern soaps.

Cerys says:

I'm glad you've finally started on 1984!

Who was your favourite character in the 1980s?

Ooh, Cerys, that's difficult...

Al Dixon's Walter... I loved that character... but then again I loved the barmier-than-ever Amos, too... and Annie Sugden, staunchly tending the Aga... and Clive Hornby's Jack was brilliant... so was Alan Turner, and the wonderful Mrs Bates... and as for Seth, Matt and Dolly, Eric Pollard, Mr Wilks and the Merricks...

Basically, for me, '80s Emmerdale was a show FULL of favourites!

Chris asks:

When did Bill Middleton (Johnny Caesar) first appear?

Early 1984, Chris


  1. Anonymous1.9.09

    One of the main differences people's perception of the show has changed over the years is the increase in the number of episodes over the last few years. Whilst it did as Andy rightly said have moments of scandal, they happened over less episodes. Now with 5 episodes a week, the style of storytelling has slightly changed. That's the main difference I think.

  2. Anonymous1.9.09

    I'm sure watching 1980s Emmerdale is a delight and I desperately want to see some. But we don't want Mrs Bates giving Alan Turner a cup of tea, and Jack Sugden fretting over his prize cows in soaps nowadays. That was the '80s. The way things were. We want nookie and gore.

  3. Anonymous2.9.09

    It did make me laugh in the 80's, with Walter and Amos and Seth and Alan. They WERE weird. And there was a lot of talking things through in those days.

    And the 1980's gave us Eric and Alan, those two are now the longest running cast members.

    The show was in trouble in the ratings in early 90's and so they brought in Phil Redmond from Brookside who came up with the plane crash. It was a defining moment.

    And since then there's been so much great drama - Steph, Trisha, Mandy, the Kings...

    I wish people would be more into relationships than sex in the show now, but that's the way life really is - people in 2009 want pleasure, material things, sex, power...

    Emmerdale reflects that, just as it reflected life in the 1980's.

    I love your picture of Al Dixon - Walter was so cool!

  4. t'witch3.9.09

    "The way things were. We want nookie and gore."

    I don't.
    Can I recommend a soap on BBC that might be to your taste? :-)
    Apologies to Andy for mentioning it here.;)

  5. I don't mind, t'witch. I never watch soaps nowadays! Good to see you here again!

  6. Anonymous3.9.09

    People always talk about the plane crash, which was a good storyline and had some fantastic acting, but the real defining era of the show's history has got to be the Stuart Doughty and Morag Bain eras of the late 80s/early 90s. There was so many dramatic storylines during that time, including the Crossgill Fire, Annie Sugden hooked on tranqullisers, Rachel & Kim's affairs, Pete Whiteley's death in a hit and run, Sarah's kidnapping and Zoe coming out as a lesbian. All this great drama attracted new viewers who've stuck with the show ever since and it's now judged on the same level as Eastenders and Coronation Street.

  7. Sandy5.9.09

    Emmerdale is not Emmerdale Farm. Simple. People watch now to see if so-and-so will screw so-and-so - the show is now made by morons, watched by morons.

  8. Anonymous6.9.09

    That's rubbish! Soaps are soaps, Emmerdale is no worse than any of the others!

  9. Well, I don't watch so I don't know and this thread is getting a little heated. Knock it off, please folks - at the end of the day, it's only telly!

  10. Anonymous7.9.09

    Very well said Andy, and if as people say Emmerdale is not the same programme as Emmerdale Farm, what are Alan Turner and Eric Pollard doing in it. I'm thinking of compiling a list of people who've appeared in the show under both titles on digitalspy.

  11. Anonymous8.9.09

    Hi Andy, Bryan here!! Do you know the exact date of the episode that Al Dixon made his final appearance as Silent Walter before he died.

  12. I don't know the exact transmission date, but it was the final episode of 1985, the Beckindale Christmas Show, Toad Of Toad Hall. It was filmed on location and Mr Dixon had filmed the scenes before he fell ill in the autumn. There are more details under the "Walter" label.