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.