Monday, 28 December 2009

Dolly Skilbeck and Norfolk - Information Received...

We strayed out of the 1980s and into 1991 recently to pose the question: "Why did Dolly Skilbeck move to Norfolk?" It was known in 1991 that Jean Rogers, who had played Dolly since 1980, was unhappy about one of her final story-lines - Dolly having an abortion after an affair with the thoroughly unpleasant Charlie Aindow. Dolly had started work at the Beckindale playgroup in 1980 after a miscarriage, had been blessed with the birth of a healthy son, Sam, in 1982, and then suffered a further miscarriage in 1986. As Jean Rogers pointed out, it was well known that Dolly loved children and the idea of her having an abortion seemed totally out of character.

Why did Dolly move to Norfolk, we asked? Was it to be reconciled with husband Matt, who had gone there in December 1989? Several kind people have contributed their thoughts, and now Tim writes to say:

Dolly was tired and distressed after her affair with Charlie and her abortion. The story was highly unsatisfactory, I felt the abortion was something Dolly would not do, it was simply a trendy story the producer wanted to cover and Dolly was the character it was pinned to.

Dolly left the village to take Sam to live near his father and to get totally away from Beckindale. I don't think there was any suggestion of her and Matt getting together again as a couple. Didn't they part on bad terms?

No, Tim, in December 1989, just before he left Beckindale, Matt told Dolly he still loved her.

I don't think there is a conclusion to the Matt and Dolly story - well, at least not a conclusion that has ever been mentioned on screen! Thanks for writing.

December 1989 - Matt tells Dolly he still loves her. Jean Rogers, who debuted as Dolly in April 1980, and Frederick Pyne, who appeared in the very first episode, made Matt and Dolly an excellent advertisement for marriage for most of the 1980s. Then, 1988 arrived...

Monday, 21 December 2009

What Alan Turner Wants For Christmas!

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Sorry posts are slow at The Bugle at the moment. There are important things to attend to behind the scenes which mean that posting will remain sluggish throughout January and possibly into February. But rest assured our 1989 retrospective will continue!

At the top of this post are a couple of piccies of the glorious Alan Turner (Richard Thorp), who made his Emmerdale Farm debut in episode 0723, broadcast in March 1982. On the right, he can be seen with his wonderful secretary Mrs Bates (Diana Davies) - teaching her the gentle art of bowls. Of course, she was much better at the game than he was!

Alan was a truly groundbreaking Emmerdale character. All the permanent characters before 1982 were nice - some even lovable - and, although none of them were saints, they all had the best interests of the community at heart.

Alan Turner, quite frankly, couldn't give a damn, as long as his own nest was feathered. He blustered, bullied, and drank his way into Beckindale's bad books.

Of course, Alan was never a straightforward JR Ewing type baddie - although the popular press of the 1980s liked to label him as such. The character had a deeply lonely and unhappy side to his nature, along with a strong desire to be liked. As time went on, Alan's occasional thoughtful acts, and Richard Thorp's twinkling benevolence, helped to mould Beckindale's first full-time Mr Nasty into a fascinating and multi-faceted character - certainly not all bad, but no fully paid up Mr Nice Guy either!

Below is a doodle drawn by Richard Thorp for charity a few years ago - "A Happy Alan Turner at Christmas".

I wonder if he ate the whole Christmas pudding?!

Bless him!

Back soon.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Emmerdale - 1989 Festivities...

Just discovered on YouTube - a small glimpse of Christmas 1989 in Beckindale.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Why Did Dolly Skilbeck Move To Norfolk?

In 1991, Dolly Skilbeck left Beckindale with her son, Sam, bound for Norfolk, where her ex-husband Matt was living.

Does anybody know WHY Norfolk? Was Dolly seeking a reconciliation with Matt?

I've been asking the question elsewhere for a few days, and so far the most popular answer received is that Dolly simply decided that Sam would benefit from living closer to his father - although nobody is absolutely certain.

If anybody knows the answer for sure, I'd be very chuffed indeed!

Monday, 7 December 2009

1989: Matt And Dolly Skilbeck - The End - Part 1

It was in November 1989 that Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers) took some news to her estranged husband, Matt (Frederick Pyne). She didn't come straight out with it. The conversation began with the thorny subject of the Skilbecks' current financial arrangements - or lack of them.

Their bank account was £185 overdrawn, and as Dolly pointed out, usually it was never overdrawn. Matt began to go through the statement, questioning Dolly about a couple of withdrawals. What had she been spending the money on?

"I've got to live!" cried Dolly. "I still can't get anything out of our building society account, remember?"

"I'll have it put in joint names - you know you only have to ask!"

"I don't want to have to ask - it's our money!"

"What's this sudden interest in money? I mean, what's this gone on?" Matt indicated the bank statement withdrawals again.

"Matt - it's Christmas!"

"That's weeks off!"

"Yeah, but it's still got to be sorted out - and as usual, it's left to me! What have you done?"

"I've been busy," Matt sighed.

"Well don't you think you should've? I mean, what do you expect me to do - give presents and cards from 'Dolly, Matt and Sam'?"

"Some of us've got other things to think about!"

"Oh, so you won't be buying your own son a Christmas present?"

"Of course I will!"

"And what about Sandie and Louise, what about Kathy, what about everybody?"

"I'm not bothered about anyone else! Sam'll get what he wants from me, I'll 'ave 'im up 'ere for Christmas and..."

Dolly was furious: "Oh no you won't!"

"Oh yes I will - this is where he belongs! You can mess me about Sunday afternoons and any other time, but not at Christmas - Sam comes here!"

"No, no - the Mill's his home now, not Emmerdale!"

"And where do I fit in with that?"

"Where do I fit in with your arrangements for Christmas? Right then, me and Sam'll spend Christmas together."

"We'll 'ave to see about that!" And Matt shrugged on his coat and made to go out.

"Matt! I wanna divorce! I want it all sorted, I've 'ad enough!" said Dolly

Matt paused, startled: "Why've you changed your mind? I offered you a divorce months ago - didn't seem to me it'd make any difference, and I thought you felt the same!"

"But it's gone on too long. I'm sure you want something sorted out after all this time - think about Sam!"

"What about him?"

"If we had a proper settlement you could see him at set times - you'd know where you were and so would I. We wouldn't have these arguments. We could start to lead our own separate lives. Not like this - with everything in a complete mess!"

"Well, I'll have to give it some thought - but for now I've got work to do!" Matt left the cottage.

Dolly pursued him outside and round to the front of the Emmerdale farmhouse: "Matt! Matt- listen!"

"I've said I'll give it some thought, not NOW not HERE!"

Dolly dropped a bombshell. "I've already seen the solicitor."

Matt was rocked on his heels: "You've done WHAT?!"

"I've seen the solicitor and I'm going to divorce you, Matt - like you suggested. You don't have to do anything - all right? It's all set up. Solicitor's working on it now. He'll be writing to you..."

"That's instead of a Christmas card, is it?" said Matt, bitterly.

"We couldn't go on the way we are. He'll write to you in a week or two."

Matt was devastated and moved away quickly. Dolly, greatly distressed, got into her car and left the farm...

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Longest Running Location - Home Farm - But Not From The Very Beginning!

Home Farm - as seen in the 1989 Emmerdale opening credits.

Mark writes:

I've just read on the Web that Home Farm is the only original location in Emmerdale, used right from the start. But I can't see it on my 1972 Emmerdale Farm DVD!

The original locations were Lindley Farm (Emmerdale Farm) and the village of Arncliffe (Beckindale), Mark. The use of Creskeld Hall, originally as the ancestral home of the Verney family, does date back to the '70s, but it was not featured in the first series in 1972.