Sunday, 11 December 2011

1985: The Harvest, The Robbery, The Marriage Break-Up, The Royal Connection...

Harry Mowlam established an alibi at The Woolpack in 1985.

Here's some highlights from four 1985 episodes - comedy, sadness, high drama, farming, mundane moments...

On hearing that Henry, Prince of Wales, visited Beckindale in 1420, and that his servants stayed at a local coaching inn, Amos becomes convinced that the inn was the Woolpack: "You can see him now, can't yer? The Prince of Wales on his armour plated steed, outside these premises, calling to his merry men: 'We few! We happy band of brothers! We'll stop here. I know the premier licensed house in't district when I see it!' Oh, it fills you with pride, don't it, Mr Wilks?"

Whilst Amos drives everybody mad with that little scenario, Jack, Matt and Jackie are in a race against time to get the harvest in at Emmerdale Farm as the weather forecast says rain. It had been Jack's idea to get the harvest in late, and he works through the night, with Jackie Merrick and Matt Skilbeck working shifts alongside him.

Things are going well, when, the next day, Matt and Jack discover that Harry Mowlam has blocked their right of way up to the top twenty acres with stone from a wall he is repairing. Harry refuses to shift the stone - walling is skilled work, the repairs could take two weeks, he says, gloatingly. Jack gives him three hours to shift the stone, or he'll contact the law.

Jack is furious and wants to phone his solicitor as soon as he returns to the farm house. Annie tells him, "No", and is convinced that Jack has contributed to the bad feeling with Harry. Sadly, she doesn't know Harry! She tells Jack to get some sleep and check out the situation in a couple of hours - Harry may have moved the stones by then.

When Jack comes yawning downstairs later, a storm breaks and the rain pours down. Jack is beside himself with fury and stands in the rain shouting: "Damn you, Mowlam, DAMN YOU!!"

Next day, Emmerdale Farm LTD counts the cost of the lost harvest - six thousand pounds. Annie disagrees with Jack that the whole incident was Harry's fault, and points out that it was him that insisted on a late harvest.

Harry Mowlam visits the Woolpack with Derek Warner, a villainous ex-associate of Tom Merrick, and another man - a stranger to the district. The three men arouse Amos's suspicions, and he says he'd love to know what they are talking about! When Matt and Jack come in, a row erupts over the blocked right of way.

When Harry returns to his two friends at the table, Derek advises firmly that Harry should play the good neighbour. After all, they don't want the law on the scene. Harry agrees and tells Jack he'll clear the stone right away - and he'll have no further trouble. Jack comments bitterly: "It's too late now, anyway!" But Harry bustles off. He later tells Amos that God punished Jack for taking risks with late harvesting by sending the rain.

Annie exchanges sharp words with Jack, convinced that he's being unfair to Harry Mowlam. She says that perhaps Harry moved the stones because he'd decided it was better to try and get along with people. She says she's lived at the farm for forty years and seen worse neighbours than Harry. She talks of the days when she was a girl and neighbours were good to each other. The Sugdens had not always been good neighbours, particularly in Jacob's time. But there wasn't all this talk of bringing in the law and the farmers' union. Most neighbours tried to help each other. Clifford Longthorn's father often took care of the Sugdens' stock when Jacob was drinking.

Annie is pleased to receive a letter from Joe in France and is replying when Jack enters the kitchen to make his peace over their difference of opinion. She confesses that she's ageing - it takes her longer to do things these days - and that she can't understand why the family has so many disagreements. Jack says it was always so. Annie agrees: "Maybe it's me that's changed!" But she bangs her fist on the table, and states firmly that she will not be ignored! Jack hugs her, tells her that would be impossible, makes them a pot of tea and reads Joe's letter.

Sandie Merrick leaves Emmerdale Farm for work that morning and goes across the fields to catch the bus from the Connelton Road. Derek Warner and two associates are laying in wait there, to rob the security van bringing the wages for the NY Estates men to Home Farm.

At The Woolpack, Walter and Harry Mowlam are waiting outside when the pub opens. Harry seems in a very mellow mood, and tells Amos he has plenty of time to wait when the barrel needs changing before he can have a pint. Harry is setting up an alibi - Amos, Henry and Walter will become witnesses to his position when the raid takes place on the security van. He later goes to the table outside so that locals passing can see him there, quietly drinking his pint. He becomes even more noticeable when he harasses the vicar about his sermon last Sunday.

On the Connelton Road, Warner and associates, in stocking masks, ambush the van and threaten the drivers with gelignite unless they open the doors. The drivers do so and are quickly tethered. Horrified Sandie witnesses the scene from a field nearby, and is seen by Derek Warner, hurrying away.

Warner and co rob the van and then make off: "Sweet as a nut!" says Warner.

One of the security guards also witnessed Sandie hurrying away and tells Sergeant McArthur. McArthur is concerned and hopes he can find the person before the robbers do.

From the Hotten Courier, 1985.

Alan Turner is concerned that he is unable to pay the men at NY. He gives Seth a cheque, and Seth is horrified, always having dealt in cash. Henry comes to his rescue by cashing it.

Amos blames Seth when the Beckindale Horticultural Society hits financial difficulties and decides there will be no 1985 show. Seth decides to set up "The Seth Armstrong Horticultural Show" and get the vicar, Donald Hinton, to judge it. He tells Amos it's "five quid" to enter - but advises him not to bother - "you won't win owt!"

Amos decides to set up "The Amos Brearly Horticultural Show" on the same day as Seth's show, and get the vicar to judge that, too. Bitter rivalry erupts between the two old enemies.

Seth Armstrong is annoyed when Amos goes into competition with him, Mr Wilks is bothered by Amos's obsession with a possible link between The Woopack and royalty, Walter sees all, hears all, says nowt.

Mrs Bates tells Alan Turner that her marriage is over. Malcolm is seeing another woman. He has told her that he always thought that their marriage was a sham, and was only staying until the children grew up. "He won't leave me, so I'm leaving him!"

Mrs Bates admits that her marriage was not perfect, but she is stunned by recent developments. She's taking her teenage children to stay with her sister in Richmond.

Alan tells Terence that he is worried about Mrs Bates - "She's a good sort" - and he likes his staff to feel that they can take their problems to him. Terence advises Alan to allocate Mrs Bates an NY Estates cottage. Alan agrees it is a good idea. Terence cynically comments that women of Mrs Bates's age are usually grateful.

Alan tells her Mrs Bates that NY Estates has a slightly run-down cottage in Main Street, Beckindale, where she could live. He would charge her a cheap rent of £30 or so a month. Mrs Bates is pleased.

Pregnant Dolly Skilbeck is suffering from morning sickness. When Mrs Bulstrode tells the vicar that Nellie Ratcliffe's flowers always get a better position in churtch than hers, and refuses to lead the Sunday school any more, Donald asks Dolly to help out for a few weeks. Dolly happily agrees, but Matt is concerned that she's overdoing things. Dolly tells him it's only an hour a week for about four weeks, and her friend Liz McDonald is going to help her.

Meanwhile, Jackie Merrick meets his Indian girlfriend Sita's father. Dr Sharma is not impressed with Jackie and tells Sita that Jackie is: "An English boy without great prospects and little education." He refuses to meet Jackie's family. Sita is upset, but her father tells her to think about the situation. Sita replies: "I HAVE thought about it!"

Jackie and Sita discover opposition to their wedding plans.

When Sandie gets home, she finds Jack tinkering with a farm vehicle in the yard. "Eventful day?" he asks her. She replies that it was all right, and makes her way towards the farmhouse, looking terrified...

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