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...