Saturday, 24 July 2010

Dolly's Tragedy...

Kim writes:

When Dolly lost her baby in 1980, was it defined as a stillbirth or a miscarriage?

I don't recall hearing the phrase "stillbirth" back then, Kim - apart perhaps from babies who died when the mother was actually giving birth.

Dolly referred to her loss as a miscarriage in 1980.

She had announced her pregnancy in July 1979. Annie Sugden, in a monologue bringing viewers up-to-date with Beckindale news in early 1980, stated that Dolly had been taken into hospital just after the New Year came in. She lost the baby not long afterwards.

I know that times change and there are various technical definitions of a stillbirth, depending on the location, but certainly way back then in England the word I heard used for losses into late pregnancy was miscarriage.

And this was the word Dolly Skilbeck used in Emmerdale Farm.

The Groundbreaking (By Emmerdale Standards) Alan Turner

Kim writes:

Did you say that Alan Turner was groundbreaking? If so, why?

Indeed I did. In Emmerdale Farm, he certainly was.

I wrote about the subject some time ago, and the original article is reproduced
below. Sorry, but to get my full view you'll need to read the whole article. xxx

Groundbreaking Alan Turner.

Chris has been reading a soaps thread where controversy apparently reigns over whether or not Alan Turner was a "groundbreaking" Emmerdale Farm character. He asks:

What do you say?

Well, Chris, I've recently watched Turner's debut and I think he was groundbreaking. Trevor Thatcher, NY's first Beckindale manager, was not actually a "bad guy" - the "should Nellie Ratcliffe leave her cottage?" story-line was pure human interest - whose need was the greatest, hers or a current NY employee? Thatcher's successor, Maurice Westrop, was an old fashioned sweety (even at the time!), Richard Anstey, who took over in 1980, was every inch a businessman - but in no way "bad".

Alan Turner, however, was originally selfish, inefficient, glib-tongued and cold hearted. Watching him deal with Joe Sugden and the workers at NY Estates as redundancies were imposed in 1983, and the way he blackmailed John Tuplin, the shop steward, into going along with it, forcing John to betray his workmates... it was all pretty chilling.

Alan was the show's first long-running character who knowingly did wrong to others for his own ends. And although he mellowed, and although there was a great big lovable oaf trapped inside him, there was always that instinct for self preservation.

I can find nobody to compare to Alan Turner as a permanent Emmerdale Farm character before his debut.

I'm basing my thoughts about this on recent viewings of the episodes concerned.

I believe that the different facets revealed in Alan's character as he evolved also made him groundbreaking. No stereotype nasty businessman our Mr Turner, but a complex human being.

JR Ewing of the American soap Dallas was a brilliant, pantomime character. Alan Turner seemed real. When he hit rock bottom in late 1983, making a disastrous pass at his young secretary, and then being defeated by the computer newly installed at Home Farm, he had done nothing to endear himself to the Beckindale locals or us viewers. But there was something in Richard Thorp's performance, more than a hint of the hurt and the pathetic in Alan's character, that made me realise I actually cared about what happened to Mr Turner.

And I wanted him to be all right.

As for groundbreaking characters in soaps and TV drama in general... well... Emmerdale Farm began a long way in.

And true overall groundbreakers would probably be characters like rascally villager Walter Gabriel in radio soap The Archers, not Seth Armstrong in Emmerdale Farm, and so on.

There's "groundbreaking" within the confines of the show, and the broader picture.

But I think Richard Thorp was, and is, excellent.

And, as far as Emmerdale goes, groundbreaking to the max.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Beckindale Bugle - What Would You Like To See?

"Eee, an 'oliday down south, Mr Wilks! We Brearlys have never been afraid of travel. You take my Uncle Arthur - he went overseas. Isle of Wight, it were... the tales he could tell..."

We are off to Bournemouth tomorrow. It's time for some sun, sand, sea and... fish and chips.

Walter's packed his bucket and spade and got Archie to look after his budgie whilst he's away, Amos is planning to write an article on "Down South" for the Hotten Courier, Mr Wilks is planning a few good walks and some bird watching, and Alan Turner is planning some bird watching of a different kind!

Before we go, we'd just like to draw your attention to our three new polls. Here at The Bugle, we value your feedback, so we'd like you to cast your eyes right and look at our new polls.

We'd love your views.

Got to go now. Nay, Walter, you can't take the goldfish!

See you in a fortnight! xxx