Saturday, 26 June 2010

Matt And Dolly And A Shaggy Dog Story - And Changing Times In Beckindale...

Daily Mirror, December 15, 1983.

Ben belonged to the horrifying Harry Mowlam (Godfrey James) and Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) snatched him after he witnessed Harry kicking him.

Of course, Harry wasn't having this - Ben was his property - and he wanted him back...

And there was trouble.

But Harry didn't succeed in getting Ben back.

The terrified dog proved a handful - and frightened the wits out of Dolly (Jean Rogers) when she took him some food to the outbuilding. The hairy beast cornered her, snarling most alarmingly...

But all turned out well in the end.

Until 1985. When Harry Mowlam turned his sights on Beckindale again.

And he hadn't forgotten the Skilbecks...

Was Emmerdale Farm a seething hotbed of anger and passion in the 1980s?


But it certainly wasn't as safe as it had once been.

Many of the story-lines revolved around Amos and Mr Wilks (Ronald Magill and Arthur Pentelow) - in their absolutely golden era, Mrs Bates and Mr Turner (Diana Davies and Richard Thorp) in the NY office at Home Farm, Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) on the cadge or the wind-up, domestic affairs with Matt and Dolly, and the romance between Kathy (Malandra Burrows) and Jackie (Ian Sharrock).

But we also had snarling Tom Merrick (Edward Peel), devious Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell), and, in his early days, awful Alan Turner.

Baddies made their mark on Beckindale, and at least one stuck around.

But the anger and passion were always balanced by beautifully mundane and often comic scenes.

When Derek Warner (Dennis Blanche) almost ran Harry Mowlam over in 1985, and then threatened him with a knife, we were treated to hilarious scenes in the same episode with Alan Turner and the Rev Donald Hinton (Hugh Manning) rehearsing for the Christmas play.

When Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) was bedding Karen Moore (Annie Hulley) in a hotel room in 1984, the show kept flipping to scenes of Amos and Mr Wilks confronting each other over the breakfast table, or Matt and Jackie dealing with a ram at Emmerdale Farm who was no longer "up to it" and, as Matt said, "ready for the meat pie factory".

The scenes of mating sheep on the farm, and Jack's apparently high-minded affair with Karen, which was simply amounting to humans mating in an adulturous fling, seemed beautifully thought out.

Well, it certainly made me think!

Stability won the day in the Beckindale of the 1980s.

It was more chit-chat and sheep, comedy and everyday drama than anything else.

However, although Beckindale had never been an entirely safe place before the 1980s, there was a feeling that the big bad late twentieth century was brandishing a fist at the village rather more than in the past.


  1. Hello Walter looking godd here , just thought I'd pop in and see you :)

  2. Mary! It's great to see you! I'm fine thanks - I hope you are too! I'm sending you a great big hug! x

  3. Ahhh keep it up some great reads here, love ya xxxx