Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Matt And Dolly Skilbeck - The End Part 2

Matt and Dolly Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne and Jean Rogers), 1989 - their marriage was in its death throes.

When Matt received the letter from Dolly's solicitor regarding their divorce, he tore round to the mill house. Dolly was divorcing him on grounds which made him look totally responsible for the breakdown of their marriage. He had deserted the marital bed, but there was no mention as to why...

Dolly pointed out that Matt had agreed she should divorce him when they'd discussed the matter some months previously. It was all just words anyway. Things would be easier this way.

Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) was deeply disturbed by the break-up. In her day, marriage was forever. Dolly pointed out that Annie had endured years of misery with Jacob. Annie stated firmly that Matt wasn't Jacob.

But it was no use.

The Crossgill fire in 1988, the destruction of the new home she'd hoped to share with Matt and Sam, had changed something within Dolly. She had been happy with her home at Emmerdale Farm, absolutely thrilled when she and Matt had moved into the extension cottage in late 1982.

But the idea of having a home away from the farm, somewhere for just herself, her husband and child, had entranced Dolly. When it was suddenly and dramatically snatched away from them, she was left feeling isolated - Matt was happy to go on living at Emmerdale Farm. He didn't seem to understand her sense of loss.

And then Stephen Fuller had come along...

And now Stephen was dead, but Dolly's feelings towards him had damaged her marriage. Matt couldn't forgive her. And Dolly felt that maybe it was a good thing. She felt that her marriage to Matt was over.

And she must move forward.

Matt rather bitterly told Dolly that he hoped Sam would forgive her when she came to tell him how their marriage had broken up. Dolly replied that she would be as kind as she could be to both of them when the time came.

"I still love you, Dolly," Matt said.

But Dolly didn't want to hear that. She still had feelings for Matt, but her conviction that it was time to move on was absolute.

Left alone in the extension cottage at Emmerdale Farm, Matt felt lost.

Annie spoke to him, telling him that in her day marriage was forever, if a marriage broke-up, the couple felt that they were letting everyone down.

Matt replied that divorce might be technically easier in the 1980s, but it didn't hurt any the less.

And then, out of the blue, Frank Tate (Norman Bowler), new owner of Home Farm, came up with an offer for Matt that rocked him on his heels. Frank had been both annoyed and impressed when Matt had stuck his oar in regarding the sorry state of some sheep which were being transported by Tate Haulage.

Frank resented Matt's interference, but the man was obviously a dedicated shepherd - his reputation in Beckindale was second to none.

So, via Frank, came the idea that Matt that should relocate and take up a new job on a large sheep farm in Norfolk. Matt was uncertain.

But Frank unsettled him, telling him that farming was on the move - Emmerdale Farm probably had another decade left at the most.

With Joe and Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby and Frazer Hines) bickering again, Matt realised that if he moved to Norfolk Jack could move back to Emmerdale from Demdyke Row, without being around Joe too much.

Jack could have the extension cottage.

Dolly was shocked by the suddenness of Matt's decision. She'd been worrying about him, and called to see how he was.

She'd never envisaged that Matt would leave Beckindale.

The thought of him going hurt her, even though she no longer wished to be married to him.

But she felt it would be a good move for Matt. He would be moving forward with his life too.

"You do right, love," she said, warmly.

And so came the day of parting.

Annie had come to regard Matt as family.

As had her father, Sam (Toke Townley).

When Dolly's Aunt Jessie had arrived for the christening of young Sam in 1983, and was wondering who the baby resembled, Sam senior had said: "He's got my nose!"

"You're no relation, Dad!" Annie reminded him.

"I keep forgetting!" said Sam.

Annie was well aware that she and Matt weren't flesh and blood relations.

But there was a strong family bond between them nonetheless.

Matt asked Annie to look out for Dolly and Sam junior.

"May God go with you," Annie said at the moment of parting.

And then, as Matt walked through the door for the very last time, Annie wept.

Frederick Pyne's last appearance as Matt Skilbeck was in episode 1410, broadcast on 7 December 1989.


  1. Anonymous8.4.10

    This is so sad! I liked Matt and Dolly alot.

  2. Charlie10.4.10

    A black day for Beckindale.