Saturday, 19 September 2009

Archie Brooks (Tony Pitts) - In The Beginning...

Archie Brooks, played by Tony Pitts, in 1984. Mike Conrad (Martin Barrass) had dragged him into decorating the back room at The Woolpack after Amos (Ronald Magill) had accidentally caused his gas cooker to explode, spraying hot casserole all over the walls.

Archie Brooks, of Hotten, was a genuine one-off - right from the time of his very first appearance in Emmerdale Farm in November 1983.

New Emmerdale Farm Producer Richard Handford took over from Anne W Gibbons in June 1983, and immediately decided to give Jackie Merrick (Ian Sharrock) more of a social life. Martin Barrass arrived as Jackie's pal, Mike Conrad. Mike looked on as Jackie lurched through his short-lived relationship with Angie Richards (Beverley Callard).

And then, with the Angie affair consigned to history, Mike came rattling up to Emmerdale Farm one day in his tacky old van (complete with mattress in the back for "entertaining" the local scrubbers, er, sorry - I mean "ladies"!).

Mike had brought with him a pal of his called Archie. Archie was a little on the odd side by local standards, with his Tom-from-the-Thompson-Twins style hairdo and ghetto blaster. But, this being Beckindale, Archie wasn't playing Mr Pharmacist or Party Fears 2 on his ghetto blaster - bless your heart no - he was playing Status Quo's latest dazzling hit, Old Rag Blues. He did get a little trendier by slotting in some Big Country later though.

Archie had great enthusiasm for popular music - spanning everything from Little Richard to Alexei Sayle's Ullo John! Gotta New Motor? He also played the electric guitar.

Archie distinguised himself on his first visit to Emmerdale Farm by being rather monosyllabic and "out of it", and by rocking back and forth on one of the kitchen chairs, finally overbalancing, and causing the chair to break.

He was soon back in Beckindale to play the guitar with local New Wave band The Giro Technics (the name was a clever play on unemployment giro cheques) at the Beckindale Christmas Show, and he joined Jackie and Mike in undertaking some deliveries of quarry stones for local baddie Harry Mowlam (Godfrey James).

When Harry wouldn't give the lads their agreed rate of pay, and the lads were trying to think of a possession of Harry's they could seize and hold to ransom to force him to pay up, Archie thought the answer was obvious: some quarry stones.

As Harry Mowlam owned a large quarry at Connelton, and was in no way short of stones, Mike and Jackie, needless to say, were not impressed by Archie's suggestion.

In early 1984, Archie and Mike undertook the job of decorating the back room at The Woolpack. Archie proved himself a pretty good decorator, but the job took longer than was originally envisaged because of Mike's tendency to skive and Archie's tendency to break off and write poems and love letters on scraps of wallpaper.

Archie was in love.

And her name was Cathy.

However, writing love letters didn't come easily to the slow-thinking lad.

But, with Mike's advice, surely he couldn't go wrong?

Mike: "Why don't you put: 'Dear Cathy, you're the best looking bird I've ever seen, how about a bit of the other? Your secret admirer, Archie.' "

Archie saw nothing wrong with the sentiments expressed, but spotted a basic flaw:

"Hang on. How can I be a secret admirer if I sign my name?"

As the 1980s continued, Archie would appear in the Emmerdale Farm series more and more, become a bit of a thinker, and develop strong political and ecological views.

But that was very hard to imagine in his early days!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

1984: Harry Mowlam And Walter...

Harry Mowlam (Godfrey James), owner of the quarry at Connelton, had been troubling the good people of Emmerdale Farm since late 1983.

And he mistreated his pet dog, causing Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) to take the animal and give it refuge at the farm.

Harry didn't like that. He didn't like that at all.

He threatened to take Matt to court.

Harry was twisted and rotten to the core.

He refused to pay Mike (Martin Barrass), Archie (Tony Pitts) and Jackie (Ian Sharrock) their full dues when they did some work for him, and Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) got the surprise of his life, in early 1984, when he found Harry sitting on the Woolpack bar stool usually occupied by Walter (Al Dixon).

When Walter arrived and tried to reclaim it (silently, of course), Harry simply ignored him, forcing the poor old gent to retreat further into the corner and drink his pint standing up!

This underlined to us viewers what a horror Harry truly was - how dare he take Walter's seat at The Woolpack?! The swine!!!

Jackie arrived and could not resist making a few loud and antagonistic remarks about Mr Mowlam. Harry frowned.

When Jackie left the pub, Harry followed him - nobody got the better of him if he could help it! He was out for revenge.

As Jackie made to leave The Woolpack car park on his motorbike, Harry pulled out in front of him in his Land Rover, causing Jackie to fall from the bike.

Fortunately, no harm was done to either Jackie or the bike.

And inside The Woolpack, Walter was able to return to his usual perch.

Of course, he said nothing. But judging by the expression on his face, he was not impressed by Mr Mowlam.

And neither were we, the viewers.

Godfrey James was a truly memorable baddie as horrific Harry.

The explosive quarry owner seemed rivetingly real.

Mind you, from 1983 to 1984 Harry was an absolute pussycat compared to what he got up to in 1985.

And 1986 brought a violent end to his life.

Read our Bugle posts about the Brute of Beckindale - and the excellent Godfrey James who played him - here.

Friday, 11 September 2009

In Praise Of Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow)

Arthur Pentelow as Henry Wilks - enduring some nonsense from Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) in 1984 and having fun at the Beckindale playgroup in 1981.

William writes to tell me that Mr Wilks is getting a poor deal here...

He was my favourite character - the ideal Dad or Grandad. I think you should feature him more.

So do I, William. I thought the world of that character!

Here's a little tribute...

Henry was kind hearted but straight talking, and utterly reliable as a friend.

Of course, he is best remembered for his partnership with Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) - long suffering Henry was the voice of sanity, and Amos - increasingly... er... idiosyncratic! But Henry was very shrewd. He saw through Amos' daft fads and moods to the man of kindness and integrity that lurked within.

He and Amos were the best of best friends.

They both enjoyed a pipe - and the characters were even declared "Joint Pipe Smokers Of The Year" in 1986.

But Henry's life wasn't totally centred around Amos and The Woolpack - far from it. He was on the board at Emmerdale Farm Ltd, and, from 1981 onwards, was also a parish councillor.

He enjoyed walking, and studying the local flora and fauna.

Henry was the man Tom Merrick (Edward Peel) recommended troubled young Jackie (Ian Sharrock) should turn to if ever he needed help or advice.

Idealistic, eco-friendly Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) had difficulties with Henry's business side - and we must never forget that Henry was a successful businessman before he retired to Beckindale. This provided another fascinating element to the character. The Henry we knew so well was kind and caring, but he'd once moved in very different circles. In 1986 he was canny indeed whilst buying some land for Emmerdale, and in 1989, he told unscrupulous (and, in fact, downright villainous) businessman Denis Rigg (Richard Franklin) that he knew his type.

Henry had once swum in a much more competitive and shark-infested pond than Beckindale!

At the centre of it all was his partnership at The Woolpack with Amos, but who could forget his feelings for Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) and his brief romance with Doreen (Sandra Gough) from The Malt Shovel?

Henry was also a family man, and his concern for his daughter, Marian (Debbie Blythe), added yet another facet to the character.

I recall (and re-watch) with delight the Mr Wilks and Amos story-lines.

But there was much more to Henry's role in the show than just living with and trying to speak sense to Amos.

Henry was a very active pillar of the Beckindale community.

And a much-loved Emmerdale Farm character in his own right.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Poll: Favourite '80s Introduction...

Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) arrived in 1982... poor Joe (Frazer Hines)!

We all know that soaps evolve, as do their characters. As I've written before, my favourite Emmerdale Farm era for Amos Brearly was the 1980s when the character became gloriously mad. This is the era that contains the Amos many of us fondly remember. Not that he wasn't great before, he most certainly was, but in the '80s... well, he became pure Amos perfection.

As well as established characters evolving as soaps move on, new characters are introduced, and old ones sometimes recast. The interpretation of an established character by a new actor is often very different from the original.

Sometimes non-permanent characters, who flit in and out of episodes, join the permanent line-up.

So, who was your favourite Emmerdale Farm character that was introduced, joined the full-time cast or was recast in the 1980s?

Was it Clive Hornby, stepping into Jack Sugden's shoes? Al Dixon taking on the tradition of a Walter at The Woolpack and creating something highly quirky and memorable? Stan Richards as Seth Armstrong joining the full-time regular cast in the summer of 1980? Richard Thorp as Alan Turner arriving at Home Farm in 1982? Diana Davies as Mrs Bates saving his bacon in 1984? Chris Chittell as Eric Pollard slithering into Hotten Market in 1986? Or that lovely new family, the Tates, heralding a new era in 1989?

Or maybe it was Jean Rogers becoming Dolly Skilbeck in 1980, or one of the Merrick family that "floated your boat"?

Or maybe somebody completely different.

So, take a look at our new poll, and let us know your thoughts!

1984: Emmerdale Farm - INCREASING The Farming Content!

Lindley Farm, the exterior location for Emmerdale Farm from 1972-1993, photographed here (by yours truly!) circa 1988.

Surprising trends can be discovered when viewing large tracts of Emmerdale Farm episodes...

For instance, wading into 1984, I have been surprised to find a dramatic increase in the show's farming content!

Suddenly, Jackie Merrick (Ian Sharrock) is seen delivering a calf, aided by the Rev Donald Hinton (Hugh Manning) and Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow)...

Aborted lambs are being discovered in the fields as a sheep-worrying dog begins visiting the farm - we witness the grim discovery and Jackie burying some of them...

Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) is teaching Jackie how to be a shepherd in some very lengthy scenes...

And whilst Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) and Karen Moore (Annie Hulley) dally in their illicit hotel room love nest, Matt and Jackie are discovering that the ram they have brought in for "tupping" might not be up to the job and could be heading (as Matt says) for the "meat pie factory"...

And all this in a few month's worth of episodes - also liberally sprinkled with the usual "out in the fields" and cow shed milking scenes!

Friday, 4 September 2009

1984: Jack Sugden - Being Dad...

Jackie Merrick (Ian Sharrock) and Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) - discovered they were father and son in the early 1980s...

It was never going to be easy. When Pat Merrick (Helen Weir) told Jack Sugden that her son, Jackie, was also Jack's son in late 1981, she knew it wasn't going to be easy.

When Jack had left Beckindale in 1964, Pat had discovered she was pregnant. And so she'd married Tom Merrick. She had feelings for Tom, but was it love?

But the idea of being an unwed Mum in Beckindale at that time was unthinkable, and Pat had acted quickly, out of fear for her future and that of her unborn child.

And Tom Merrick believed that Jackie was his son.

And Jackie believed that Tom was his father.

Tom may have had faint suspicions at times, in fact probably more than that (at one point in the dim and distant past Tom had used the idea that Jackie was Jack's son to try a little blackmail), but Tom loved the little lad in his way and, at the end of the day, believed they were kith and kin.

Another child, Sandie, arrived a year or two later, and the Merricks settled down to a rather miserable existence.

Tom was shiftless and sly. And he wasn't above giving the kids and Pat a "good hiding" at times.

In 1980, Pat took her courage in both hands and left Tom.

In 1981, he gave her another "good hiding".

Life in a caravan for Pat and Jackie after their return to Beckindale in 1980.

1980 had also seen Jack Sugden return to his home village and the old chemistry between himself and Pat was re-ignited.

And in 1981 there was talk of marriage.

But there was a curious tension in the relationship, certain things were being left unsaid, and both Jack and Pat knew it.

Then, as preparations for Christmas began, Pat came straight out and told Jack that he was Jackie's father.

And then Jack blurted out the shock news to Jackie, and Jackie went to see Tom in Hotten to get reassurance that what Jack said wasn't true, and realisation hit Tom.

At first, he rejected Jackie.

Jackie was not the most mature of teens, and took this badly, planning to run away, but his position as gamekeeper's assistant at NY Estates enabled Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) to convince him to stay - at least to work out his notice.

And then Jackie decided to stay on in Beckindale permanently.

Gamekeeper Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) became fond of Jackie and concerned for his welfare.

Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) actually enlisted Tom's help. She desperately wanted her grandson "in the family". Tom's mother had been a friend of Annie's, and Tom liked and respected her.

He told Jackie that not all the Sugdens were bad.

And Sandie (Jane Hutcheson) convinced Jackie to make the run-up to the wedding of Pat and Jack a happy time for their mother.

Edward Peel stepped into the role of Tom Merrick in late 1980, and took the character to new heights of sneering intensity.

In October 1982, Pat and Jack married, and Pat, Sandie and Jackie moved into Emmerdale Farm.

But Jackie, after the briefest of stays and a row with Jack, decided to hole up in the NY Estates caravan the family had lived in since 1980.

And when he was sacked from his job as gamekeeper's assistant, he flew into a drunken tantrum and torched the caravan.

Sandie and Jackie look on aghast as the caravan burns...

The vicar of St Mary's Church, Beckindale, the Rev Donald Hinton, stepped in - offering Jackie accommodation, and to speak up for him in court.

Jackie got a community service order.

He moved back into Emmerdale Farm in 1983, when it was discovered that Sandie was pregnant.

Pat was horrified. History was repeating itself. Sandie was only eighteen. As she told Sandie, despite the fact that people were not supposed to be bothered by pregnancy out of wedlock in the early 1980s, they were.

And single mothers got the "worst end of the world".

Sandie decided to have the baby adopted, and moved up to Scotland to be with Tom for the duration of her pregnancy.

Which left Jackie living at Emmerdale with his real father.

Jack and Jackie bonded a little during 1983.

But they didn't reach a true father-and-son relationship.

And perhaps that was only to be expected.

Jack did not want to do anything to upset his fragile relationship with Jackie, and, as Pat said he was "as soft as butter" with him.

When Jackie bought a motorbike, Pat was worried that he was using it to go out drinking.

Jackie and Jack laughed at her tendency to fret - more like two young lads than father and son.

Jackie was finding growing up difficult: there he was, in his late teens, but still very immature. He could be extremely thoughtless and selfish and his occasional tendency to throw tantrums if people did not see things his way was rather wearing.

But, in 1984, Jack was proud when Jackie managed to deliver his first calf.

Jack, Pat, and Matt and Dolly Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne and Jean Rogers) had gone out to dinner at The Feathers Hotel in Connelton. Back at the farm, a cow had unexpectedly gone into labour, and Jackie had gone smoothly into action, aided by Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) and the Rev Donald Hinton.

Jack was proud of his cows. Since his return in 1980, he'd been building up the Emmerdale herd's Friesian pedigree. He reckoned he should be proud. When he thought back to his father's cattle after the War... well, he reckoned he had cause to be proud.

The Reverend Donald Hinton - a good friend to Jackie.

Jackie was showing more interest in sheep than cows, and Matt was Emmerdale's shepherd. Spending long periods out with the flock and Matt and Nell the sheepdog, Jackie began to confide in Matt about things he felt unable to confide in Jack.

Jack became aware of this, and was hurt. But he said nothing, fearing that he might Jackie drive further away from him if he did.

When the NY Estates bull got out, and did what came naturally with some of Jack's prize Friesians, Jack was furious and blamed Alan Turner (Richard Thorp). Jackie reckoned that he was probably responsible for the bull getting out. He confided in Matt, who advised him to keep quiet - as he wasn't absolutely positive that he was the culprit, surely it wasn't worth the trouble of owning up?

Jackie was nearly certain the incident had been his fault, but didn't trust or feel close enough to Jack to tell him.

Sandie, her baby born and adopted, returned from Scotland for a visit to the farm. Tom (now played by Jack Carr), accompanied her.

Her ex-husband's return threw Pat into a tizzy - what was he up to? Had he returned to England with Sandie simply to ensure that Sandie would go back to to Aberdeen with him? Pat desperately wanted her daughter to live at the farm again.

Jack was hurt that Jackie still referred to Tom as "Dad", but not him.

In fact, Jack bore the brunt of Pat's fears about Tom without being able to express his own concerns a great deal at all.

And he went out of his way to be fair to Tom, not wanting to upset Jackie who still clearly looked up to the man.

Life was often a worry for poor Pat...

Tom still regarded Jackie as his son in many ways, and resented the influence of Jack Sugden in the lad's life.

And then came an opportunity for Tom to "reclaim" Jackie.

Derek Warner, an old pal of Tom's, offered him a part in a terrific money-making venture - poaching fish from the river at NY Estates.

And Tom invited Jackie along for some "fishing".

When Jackie discovered what was going on, he wanted no part in it. Tom, Derek and an associate were using explosives to kill the fish, and then simply scooping them out of the river with nets.

After one session, Jackie had had enough. But Tom sneered at him - would he rather be up at Emmerdale, "philosophising" with Jack Sugden, he asked?

Tom gave some of the trout to Annie Sugden and was invited to partake of the feast at the farm. He thoroughly enjoyed being there, with the "holier than thou" Sugdens, tucking into the stolen trout, when Sergeant MacArthur (Martin Dale) called to inform them of the poaching activities in the district.

The two faces of Tom Merrick in the 1980s, Edward Peel and Jack Carr. Less intense but just as sly, Jack Carr's interpretation of the character ensured that Tom Merrick's visits to Beckindale continued to be a source of trouble to the locals.

Jackie accompanied his "father" on another poaching trip, but left him to it early on.

Tom was furious and almost struck the lad.

Jackie was letting him down in front of his two associates.

But the game was up. Tom and co were apprehended by the police with a van full of stolen trout that night. Seth Armstrong had seen the van heading for the river, and alerted Alan Turner.

It was a good job that Jackie had left the scene of the crime.

Jackie flew into a childish strop with Seth when he discovered that he had "blown the whistle", and lived in fear that the police would soon be arriving at Emmerdale Farm to pick him up.

He told Sandie about his involvement in the fish poaching, but otherwise the family at the farm knew nothing of it.

Until Pat visited Tom at the police station. And he told her that Jackie had nothing to worry about - he and his associates would be keeping the boy's part in the crime quiet.

"You bastard!" said Pat.

And Tom laughed.

During their marriage he had sometimes felt that Pat looked down on him. He hated her deceit over Jackie, hated the way his family had been revealed as a lie in 1981.

And now Pat was up there at Emmerdale with the high-and-mighty Sugdens.

But he could still get at her.

Tom returned to Scotland, on bail, with Sandie - much to Pat's distress.

And Jack got on with the task of trying to build a closer relationship with his son.

One big happy family? The Emmerdale Farm folk in the summer of 1984.

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.

1980:

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.

1981:

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!

1982:

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.

1983:

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.

1984:

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!