Were the Walters in Emmerdale Farm supposed to be the same person in real life? I know there were three and they were very different, and it is the silent Walter played by Al Dixon from 1980-1985 who is the best remembered, but were they the same person in the program?
I'm not sure about Meadows White, but the other two Walters were definitely linked. Geoffrey Hooper's Walter was a Woolpack regular who spoke. It was a lovely piece of character acting, but Walter was not a fully-fledged character in those days - more background. Geoffrey Hooper's Walter last appeared in early 1980. The actor died, but Anne W Gibbons and the production team liked the tradition of having a Walter at the Woolpack and decided to play with the concept. The new Walter was very different - the one and only silent Walter - and achieved a cult following. Some confusion followed with some people thinking that Geoffrey Hooper's Walter had been silent, but that, of course, was not true.
I tend to think of them more in terms of separate characters because they were so different and because Al Dixon's Walter became such a cult. I think the Emmerdale production team expected its audience to be somewhat sophisticated and accept the fact that the new Walter was very different from the old and leave as a mystery whether they were the same character or not (were there two Walters in Beckindale? It was perfectly possible. If so, what was their history?) and just concentrate on Al Dixon as the "Silent One".
I must say that as viewer of Emmerdale Farm from the very early days, the only Walter that registered in my memory was the Al Dixon version. I was surprised to discover later that there had been others.
I recall a friend of mine some years uploading some late '70s Emmerdale Farm onto YouTube with Geoffrey Hooper as the non-silent Walter and us all being surprised that it was not the Walter we all remembered.
In the end, no definite explanation was ever offered - so if you like to believe that Emmerdale Farm was real life you can list the Walters as the same person (despite looking different and having different personalities) or as separate locals in Beckindale. Or you can accept what was going on behind the scenes and just enjoy the Walter tradition, whether your favourite is Meadows White, Geoffrey Hooper or Al Dixon!
And an e-mail from Sandra from March - sorry it's taken me so long to publish it!
Love this blog. It's well thought out, and well written. You really are a gifted writer because you make the old stories live and you have great understanding of the characters. The article you wrote about Jackie and Jack and the difficulties they experienced in finding a way of getting on together showed so much insight. I hope that a DVD company releases many more episodes. In the meantime, I hope you keep this blog going!
Sandra you are really kind. Thank you! The blog is updated infrequently because I'm tied up with other blogs and my work and I'm shortly about to go into hospital, but it will update at times - I promise. Thank you again.
We have an exciting update on this topic - see it here.