Thursday, 3 September 2009

Amos Brearly Of The Woolpack Inn - The 1980s - Update

Mr Brearly, 1985.

One of the most popular characters on this blog is Mr Amos Brearly, licensee and proprietor of The Woolpack Inn, Beckindale.

Ronald Magill was a brilliant actor, and watching the old episodes of the show it's wonderful to see how the Amos character evolved. We recently watched an episode of Emmerdale Farm from 1978 and Amos was featured. But a far quieter, less blustering and bizarre character than the Amos of the 1980s

As we've stated many times before, 1980 was an absolutely pivotal year for the dour and nosey publican, as Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) became a regular at The Woolpack and Al Dixon began his reign as the weird silent Walter.

Seth wound Amos up to the hilt, and Amos chuntered nine-to-the-dozen to Walter. Any vestiges of commonsense the character had previously possessed seemed to disappear in 1980 and the Golden Era of Amos barminess began.

In our Amos Brearly - The 1980s post, we'll take a brief canter through as many as possible of the Amos story-lines of the 1980s.


Amos starts the decade with a fitness fad - healthy food and exercise. But he soon tires of the food and does himself a mischief with his chest expander.

Strange noises make Amos wonder if a deceased auntie is paying him a visit - but it turns out to be bats in the loft!

Seth Armstrong switches from The Malt Shovel to The Woolpack in the summer and his constant baiting of Amos leads to years of fun. Amos gets an allotment, but is disappointed when Nellie Ratcliffe (Gabrielle Blunt) wins first prize for her marrow in the annual village show. The annual Butterworth Ball cricket match against Robblesfield breaks its time honoured tradition and becomes a bowls match for one year only, at the request of the wily Eccky Tait. Beckindale loses.

Amos spots a strange light in the sky over Bogle Bog and becomes fascinated by bogles and UFOs. His Auntie Emily (Ann Way) visits The Woolpack for the very first time late in the year. Auntie Emily's visit coincides with one from Henry's cousin, Alice (Hazel Bainbridge). Auntie Emily is horrified by Amos' fascination with the supernatural and leaves in a great hurry!

At Christmas, Amos invites local bell ringers to The Woolpack, and, of course, joins in.


Aunt Emily sends Amos a hat as a present. But he's mocked so unmercifully by Seth Armstrong, that he has to stop wearing it!

When a Space Invaders machine is delivered to The Woolpack in error, Amos is most disapproving. That kind of new fangled trash was best left to Ernie Shuttleworth and The Malt Shovel. But Amos secretly becomes addicted to the machine whilst he waits for the supplier to collect it, and Mr Wilks discovers him in the early hours of the morning desperately trying to keep the Invaders at bay.

Amos is devastated to be told that his job as Beckindale correspondent on The Hotten Courier is being cut. He responds by starting a rival news sheet - The Beckindale Bugle. In the end, the new Beckindale correspondent on the Courier falls down on the job (drunk!) and Amos is reinstated.

Amos is annoyed to find that The Malt Shovel has had a burglar alarm installed. Keeping up with the Shuttleworths, he orders a device for The Woolpack. But a combination of penny pinching and Amos' DIY attempts at installation, lead to chaos.

Amos attempts to turn his hand to plumbing, and causes a flood, ruining the living room ceiling at The Woolpack.

Monks Brewery organises a "Best Kept Cellar" competition. Two visits are required by the judge, the awesome Lettice Noble (Patsy Smyth). Amos is disqualified when he applies a coat of whitewash to the cellar between the visits (strictly against the rules) and Mrs Noble discovers that the paint is still wet!


Amos cooks a rabbit pie, using a rabbit supplied by Seth Armstrong, and both he and Mr Wilks end up with food poisoning.

Seth ends up dead drunk when he stands in for Amos and Henry behind the bar whilst the pair attend the wedding of Pat Merrick (Helen Weir) and Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby).

Amos broadens his horizons with a holiday in Spain. Mr Wilks discovers that Amos, through penny pinching, ended up with unacceptable accommodation and flew back to England after only a couple of days, where he spent the remainder of his holiday in Scarborough. Amos begs him not to tell Seth and the other regulars!

Amos is affronted by a Hotten Courier article referring to "Billy Bunter" (fat) pub landlords. The article suggests that the Hotten area (including Beckindale) has many examples. Amos takes up walking to get fit. He ends up twisting his ankle on Blackridge Scarr and having to be rescued by the local fell rescue team.


Amos is encouraged by Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) to take up golf, and Mr Wilks provides a free lesson. But Amos is put off after encountering the fiercesome Major (Michael Sheard), a crony of Alan's.

Amos wins a three wheeler bike in a competition, and is highly delighted.

Amos tries to attract the Hotten Courier's pub and restaurant reviewer to The Woolpack. His support for Alan Turner in a dispute with the workers at NY Estates causes most of the Woolpack's regulars to desert him. Amos is forced to climb down.

Annabelle, a goat belonging to Pat Sugden (Helen Weir) eats Amos' hat when Amos attends Sam Skilbeck's Christening party at Emmerdale.

Amos reports the sorry state of Seth Armstrong's garden to the Reverend Donald Hinton (Hugh Manning). Our Mr Brearly sees it as a major obstacle to Beckindale winning the Best Kept Village competition. Donald consults Alan Turner, who threatens Seth with dismissal if he doesn't tidy up the garden of his home - which is an NY Estates tied cottage.

Seth complies, and is highly commended by the judges, but he ensures that Amos is shown up well and truly by dumping a load of horse manure outside The Woolpack on the morning of the "judgement day"!

Amos takes up meditation and delivers half-baked sermons on philosophy to Mr Wilks and the regulars.

Amos' Aunt Emily and brother Ezra (Martin Matthews) turn up when Amos' Uncle Arthur dies. Aunt Emily is determined to stop her brother, Sidney, getting his hands on Uncle Arthur's valuables. But things don't go according to plan, and the will reading reveals that Uncle Arthur has left a load of worthless tat to Emily, Sidney, Amos and Ezra.

Ezra at The Woolpack, with Walter and Wilks.

Amos organises the annual Christmas Show at the village hall and books a local New Wave rock band to attract youngsters. Amos is so horrified at the din the band makes, he tries to turn the sound down - and fuses the lights, plunging the hall into darkness. Amos is convinced that he is a laughing stock in the village for fouling up the show and takes some time to get over it all.


Peter Schofield debuts as Ernie Shuttleworth of The Malt Shovel, a role previously (and very briefly) played by John Comer.

Amos goes to a health farm for three days rest and relaxation... but it turns out disastrously when he discovers they don't serve potatoes for dinner or sell pipe tobacco.

Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) accompanies Amos to the local Licensed Victuallers' Association ball. Amos ends up leaving in a strop and a taxi, believing that Annie has left the ball with Ernie Shuttleworth. But she hasn't and is annoyed that Amos has left her there. Amos ends up with some apologising to do.

Amos is puzzled when his regulars start leaving The Woolpack
en-masse every night, each time returning after an hour. He follows them, and discovers they are attending Ernie Shuttleworth's "Happy Hour" at The Malt Shovel. There is bad feeling between Ernie and Amos, heightened when Ernie tampers with the clock at The Woolpack, ensuring that Amos and Mr Wilks are caught by Police Sergeant MacArthur (Martin Dale) serving drinks after hours.

Amos grows neurotic after Nellie Ratcliffe suffers a gas leak. He's convinced that there is a leak at The Woolpack. There isn't, but the cooker blows up anyway when Amos tampers with it to make it "safe". A grand meal he has prepared for friends is splattered all over the room. Amos and Mr Wilks decide that it's time to redecorate.

Amos and Mr Wilks install a microwave oven - these were regarded as "new fangled" gadgets back then. Amos asks Annie Sugden for advice - but she's never even seen a microwave oven before! Chaos ensues as Amos tries to puzzle it out.

Seth Armstrong and Amos are in competition to win the village show with their marrows. Seth's exhibit wins on weight - and as he hoists it triumphantly, a load of nails fall out! Seth is disqualified and Amos wins.

Keep an eye on this article - it will grow!

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