Wednesday, 12 May 2010

1987: No Nukes In Beckindale...

A public meeting at The Woolpack, chaired by the Rev Donald Hinton (Hugh Manning), Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) and Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) was dominated by the brothers Sugden...

Jack (Clive Hornby) saw the prospect of the nuclear dump as something to fight. There was no question about it:

"If they can prove to us that the ground around here is as solid as they say it is, bring on the nuclear waste!" he sneered.

"We'll all be happy, reason has won the day! Well, try telling that to farmers in the Dales who've got young lambs registering on the gieger counter! Our only course is to fight so that they can't come to Beckindale to talk or to do tests or to do one damn thing! And that's what we've got to believe. Everybody that lives here."

He looked at his brother Joe (Frazer Hines), standing quietly at the bar.

"And that means EVERYBODY!"

Joe pointed out that this was 1987. Did that mean we wanted radiation? Jack fumed.

Joe did not approve of Jack's outlook. He wanted an objective debate about the proposed nuclear waste dump. The "burning haystacks" method of blind resistance Jack favoured struck no sympathetic chord in Joe.

Feelings were running high in in Beckindale, and another public meeting, this time at the village hall and attended by a representative of the nuclear dump backers, took an unexpected turn when a coffin bearing a radiactive warning symbol was carried in.

"You claim that the risks of nuclear waste are no greater than smoking one cigarette a year," said Jackie Merrick (Ian Sharrock) to the nuclear "yes" man.

And cigarette smoke began to rise from a hole in the coffin lid.

And the coffin lid was pushed aside.

And a skeleton emerged.

A skeleton which sounded amazingly like Archie Brooks (Tony Pitts):

"Well, I think I'd rather have one fag a year than your waste on my doorstep!" it said.

Of course, smoking the fag to make this point was no hardship to Archie - a devoted smoker back then.

The 1987 Emmerdale Farm nuclear waste dump story-line was based on a true story, and hailed as a major step forward in the politicisation of soap.

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