Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Newcomers Of 1980...

Al Dixon made his debut as Walter in episode 597 on 2 September 1980.

"Jack Sugden" has written again:

Great blog! I've read that 1980 was a year of change for Emmerdale, with lots of new characters. Who were they?

Well, "Jack", I've written about this topic elsewhere on the blog, but in a nutshell...

I'm sure you already know about the first newcomer - 1980 saw the arrival of Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden (19 February) - a new head and rather different personality on old shoulders, Jean Rogers as Dolly Skilbeck (1 April) - ditto.

The Tolly family - Enoch (Neil McCarthy), Grace (Margaret Stallard), Naomi (Jenny Tomasin) and Hannah (Rachel Ambler) - made its debut. The Tollys appeared in one story-line in 1980, another in 1981 (when Enoch died) and finally Grace appeared briefly in 1982, before leaving Beckindale for good.

Carl Rigg first appeared as new NY Estates Beckindale manager Richard Anstey in February.

Stan Richards as Seth Armstrong become a full-time regular character and cast member in the summer of 1980.

Pam St Clement (Pat of EastEnders) passed briefly through the show, appearing in five episodes as a Mrs Eckersley in March 1980. Mrs E had a husband, Harold (Roger Hammond), and a daughter, Esmarelda (Debbie Farrington).

The Merrick family were recast and slightly rewritten as Pat Merrick (Helen Weir), her son, Jackie (Ian Sharrock) and daughter, Sandie (Jane Hutcheson), arrived. Pat had briefly visited Beckindale in July, before bringing her family to live there in September. Differing from the Merricks of old, Pat had a new first name (the character was originally called Ruth - in 1982, we discovered this was Pat's middle name) and was minus one child. Just before Christmas, a new Tom Merrick (Edward Peel), glowering with hostility, arrived.

On 2 September 1980, Al Dixon first appeared as wonderful Walter of The Woolpack.

We started to meet the NY Estates workforce as John Tuplin (Malcolm Raeburn) and Daniel Hawkins (Alan Starkey) made their debuts in October.

Trouble brews amongst the NY Estates workers...

Ann Way made her first appearance as Amos Brearly's awful Aunt Emily and Hazel Bainbridge played Henry Wilks' cousin Alice in November.

Martin Dale made his debut as Police Sergeant Ian MacArthur in December.

Bowing out of Beckindale in 1980 was Maurice Westrop (Edward Dentith) - who left on 29 May - and his daughter, Judy (Jane Cussons) - who made her final appearance in the show on 17 July.

Monday, 15 February 2010

1989: Kim Tate Arrives...

Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) was, of course, always a kindly, helpful soul. On meeting a newcomer to the village on horseback one day in December 1989, he noted the "posh" way she spoke, noted she was a stranger to the area, noted she was seeking directions to Home Farm, and decided to have some fun.

The newcomer on horseback was Mrs Kim Tate (Claire King), wife of the new owner of Home Farm, Frank Tate (Norman Bowler). Mrs Tate had set out from Skipdale on a bet with step-daughter, Zoe (Leah Bracknell). The two would both try and reach their new home at Home Farm on horseback, and who ever won the bet would get a quid.

Seth described a very circuitous route to Home Farm, all up hill and down dale...

He was laughing about his trick to Bill Whiteley (Teddy Turner) later in The Woolpack, reckoning that Mrs Tate would probably be halfway to Harrogate by now, when a voice from just behind him stated firmly: "Oh no I'm not!"

And there was Kim, on her first but certainly not last visit to The Woolpack Inn.

Kim was not amused by Seth's mischief. Her horse was exhausted by its hard ride over the surrounding countryside.

Mine host Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) had discovered he had bats in the attic in 1980. In 1989, he had bats in the belfry. Who else but '80s Amos could have dreamt up the idea of turning Dracula into a pantomime? And who else could write such dialogue as: "Fee fo fi fum, me thinks I'll drink the blood of an Englishman" for Dracula to say?

Taking a break from his epic work, Amos emerged into the bar to discover Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) and Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers) hard at work, and a strange woman standing on the public side of the bar with Seth and Bill. And not only that but a strange woman who had left a horse on his forecourt. Horses were not allowed on The Woolpack forecourt!

"Mr Wilks - fetch the shovel!" yelped Amos, hurrying outside.

Henry ushered Kim outside, where Amos let her have it - both barrels - she must remove the horse forthwith!

"Horses are not allowed on Woolpack property under any circumstances whatsoever!"

Zoe had caught up with Kim, and the two women rode off together.

Henry then informed Amos that these woman were two members of the new family at Home Farm.

Amos was horrified. He wanted to keep in well with the local "gentry" - and besides that he'd already met Frank Tate and he was financing Dracula!

"Ladies! Ladies!" whined Amos, but it was too late - Kim and Zoe continued on their way.

Kim's next port of call was Emmerdale Farm, where she tethered her horse in the farmyard and knocked at the farmhouse door. Giving barely a few seconds for her knock to be answered, she set off to search for the farm owner.

A moment later, Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) emerged and was surprised to find no sign of a visitor, but a horse in the yard...

Kim came across Joe Sugden (Frazer Hines) at work in an outbuilding.

"Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find the owner?"

"Who's asking?"

"Is anybody round here capable of answering a simple question?" Kim was getting annoyed.

"Tell you what, let's start again, eh?" said Joe.

Kim explained to Joe that her horse was exhausted, and that she was trying to get to Home Farm. Had Joe got a horse box?

No, replied Joe, but he could get one.

Thank goodness!" said Kim.

As Joe loaded the horse into the horse box, Annie re-emerged from the farmhouse.

"Were you the person who thumped on my door?"

"I knocked, yes, but there was nobody in," said Kim.

"Well there was actually," Annie was slightly cold. She told Kim that she had been working at the top of the house. "And when I got to the kitchen door, all I could see was a horse. Huh!"

And Annie went indoors again, clearly unimpressed.

This was Emmerdale episode 1411, broadcast on 12 December 1989.

And Kim's introduction to Beckindale.

The 1980s were coming to an end. But before the decade died, newcomers were arriving in Beckindale who would ensure life would never be the same again.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Nick Bates In Glasses...

Nick Bates (Cy Chadwick) in The Woolpack in 1989 with Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) and Jock MacDonald (Drew Dawson), and at an interview for the job of gardener at Home Farm - also in 1989.

Further to Chris' enquiry about Nick Bates (Cy Chadwick) wearing glasses in 1990 episodes of Emmerdale, I have checked all the episodes, beginning in March 1990 (when Nick was already wearing glasses) and working backwards.

The first appearance of the character wearing glasses dates back to 1989 - episode 1412, broadcast on 14 December.

I have skimmed through the episodes, looking at all scenes involving Nick and also his sister, Kathy Merrick (Malandra Burrows), and have found no reference in the dialogue to Nick's glasses at all.

It seems likely that actor Cy Chadwick was wearing glasses at the time, and that's why Nick suddenly wore them as well.

Actually, it's been good to focus on Nick for a while. The character was very ordinary and believable, but Cy Chadwick's portrayal never seemed dull.

Friday, 12 February 2010

E-Mail Enquiry: Nick's '90s Glasses...

Nick Bates (Cy Chadwick) had a mullet when he first appeared in Beckindale in 1985. In 1990, he had glasses (briefly)...

I've had an e-mail enquiry from Chris which strays off my 1980s territory a little and into the early 1990s:

I wonder if you could explain something rather strange I have come across on youtube. I came across a trailer for Emmerdale from 1990 ( I know it's not the 80's, but 1990 has always been a 'transition' period for me. The 90's didnt start until 1991 for me!). The first clip of the trailer is Kathy and Nick Bates sat outside the woolpack talking. Now you might think this is normal. It was until I noticed that Nick was WEARING GLASSES! and they seem to be the exact ones that Archie Brooks had started wearing in late 1991/ Early 1992.

Do you know why this was? Do yuo know how many episodes they portrayed Nick has having 'Bad Eyesight'? Nick certianly didnt have problems with his eyes in the 80s and certianly not after 1990 and until he went to prison. I never did see Emmerdale In 1990 (missed the repeated episodes on Granada plus). Any Light shed on this would be appreciated

If anybody can help Chris discover the facts behind Nick's '90s glasses, please contact me here via either e-mail or comments, and I'll pass the message on. I'm going to check the episodes I have from 1990 in the meantime.


A couple of outstanding e-mail enquiries - sorry it's taken me so long to reply...

Firstly, "Jack Sugden" asks:

Was Eric Pollard nice in the 1980s? Somehow I always remember the Emmerdale characters back then being nice!

I think the expression on Eric's face in the 1989 screen cap above answers that question, Jack!

Short answer is "No"!

Sara says:

Was it very sad when Matt left in December 1989?

Yes, it was. He told Dolly he still loved her. Annie said "God go with you," and broke down at their final parting. One of the saddest scenes for me was Matt standing alone in the living room of the extension cottage at Emmerdale Farm. He and Dolly had lived in the place since its creation in 1982.

I was so sorry to see Matt go.

What's Happened To The Beckindale Bugle?

Rushed off his feet? Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) serves Sandie Merrick (Jane Hutcheson) in 1986. Mr Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) dithers over the till.

I've had several enquiries about the lack of recent updates to The Bugle. Sorry about that! I did explain in previous posts that things were very busy here at the moment. Now, the dust is beginning to settle and I hope to start posting again in a few weeks.

We will, of course, return to the December 1989 saga of the last days of Matt and Dolly.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Competition Winner...

Congratulations to "Pronto" who has won our Beckindale Bugle competition.

Your prize, a signed 1980s pic of Ronald Magill as Amos Brearly, is already to send to you, and, as Amos and Mr Wilks went together like eggs and bacon, I'm also throwing in a signed pic of Arthur Pentelow, who played Amos' loyal friend. Of course, Henry Wilks was, in fact, a friend to many in Beckindale.

So, Pronto, send me your address details [to actual80s@btinternet.com], and the pics will be in the post.

We had over sixty entries for the competition.

Thanks to all those that took part - and to those who supplied some witty comments - much appreciated!

The answer was Ross Kemp, Grant Mitchell in EastEnders from 1990 onwards, Graham Lodsworth, son of Dolly Skilbeck, in Emmerdale Farm from late 1986 to early 1987.