Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Emmerdale At 40 - And In The 1980s...

A couple of e-mails from readers as Emmerdale approaches its 40th birthday on 16 October.

Rod writes:

Why do you focus on the 1980's? If it was anything like the 1970's episodes I have seen it was dead boring and naff!

That's all a matter of opinion, Rod! I loved the show right from its lunchtime beginnings in 1972, but in 1980 several things happened which increased my enjoyment hugely: Al Dixon arrived as the legendary Silent Walter, Clive Hornby and Jean Rogers took on the roles of Jack Sugden and Dolly Skilbeck - both would be long-stayers, and Seth Armstrong, played by Stan Richards, became a full-time permanent character. On top of this, the Merrick family were revamped and recast and gave us some splendid gritty drama and an attempt to actually portray modern teenagers as permanent characters. The character of Amos Brearly, played by Ronald Magill, became more eccentric and funny and all in all a delicious brew became even more delicious in my view. Wading on further into the 1980s (1982 and 1984), we saw the arrival of the (as it turned out) hugely lovable Alan Turner and his long-suffering secretary Mrs Bates, the terrifying reign of Harry Mowlam and, to cap it all, the arrival of Eric Pollard (1986). 1989, of course, brought us the Tate family.

All shows evolve, and the '80s era was my favourite in the show. That's why I chose to highlight that decade on this blog.

Claire writes:

This is a very valuable resource. Do you still like the show? Could you extend The Bugle to the 90s and beyond?

Well, I didn't see much Emmerdale in the '90s - or beyond - so that would be difficult. I don't watch modern soaps at all because the pace is too fast for my personal taste. But I'm delighted that Emmerdale has survived all these years and shall be raising a glass to it on 16 October.

I have received copies of some very interesting 1980s Emmerdale Farm memorabilia from Sheila, who wrote to The Bugle some time ago about Al Dixon's Silent Walter - who lit up a quiet corner of The Woolpack from 1980-1985. I'll be putting them on-line as soon as possible. Many thanks to Sheila!

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