Thursday, 2 June 2011

Al Dixon - What Walter Did In 1941

Of course, Al Dixon did not make his Emmerdale Farm debut as silent Walter of the Woolpack until September 1980, but by that time a long career in show business lay behind him. I was recently thrilled to be given this souvenir from the Summer Season 1941 at West End Pier, Morecambe. Al Dixon - light comedian and dancer - was a highlight.

With the summer season programme, came a clipping from a March 1986 newspaper:

Al Dixon, 84, who acted in Yorkshire TV's series Emmerdale Farm has died. For five years he played Walter, the character who sat in the Woolpack pub without saying a word.

Al Dixon had a very long career and appeared with many stars. It's said that his stories of his past were fascinating to hear and he often entertained the Emmerdale Farm cast with his recollections.

It was not until the early 1980s though that Al truly became a star in his own right, with the newly installed Walter becoming hugely popular. Al was delighted, but disagreed with a 1983 viewers' petition aiming at getting Walter to speak. The character wouldn't be a novelty any more, Al claimed, quite rightly.

And how did he actually land the Walter role?

"They asked me to take my teeth out, and that's how I got the part!" explained Al in 1985.

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