Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Emmerdale '80s Bus - Part 1

This is a bus with a difference. It travels through time. The Emmerdale '80s bus will drop us at various stops to glimpse life during that decade at the farm and in the village. We begin at December 1984...

Jack is having an affair with Karen Moore, a young auctioneer at Hotten Market. The relationship began when Karen sympathised with him after Emmerdale Farm Ltd decided that his purchase of some pedigree cows had been wrong back in the summer. Even Pat had sided with the others, and Jack had felt suddenly confined by his life at the farm. Ever the free spirit, Jack had kicked back hard, and Karen's sympathy had seemed very attractive. Jack had begun seeing her. By December, he was living with the fact that he was in love with two women.

Matt Skilbeck knew what was happening. He was worried as Christmas was looming and it was to be the first without Grandad Sam Pearson, who had died shortly before. Joe, who was working in France, would be coming back to England for the festivities, but this would be a difficult Christmas for all of them - especially Annie.

Being Jack, the author, the thinker, the simple approach of deciding between his wife and Karen was not a path he could easily take. He loved Karen. He loved Pat. He didn't want to hurt either. And yet he was hurting both. Pat had been his youthful lover, the mother of his son. She now represented family and security; Karen was young and free - she represented the unfettered life Jack also wanted to live.

Pat knew what was going on and was devastated. She reflected on what a difference a bit of tinsel made to the parlour at Emmerdale, and, slightly bitter, commented that she had kept a piece for herself. She had relocated to the boxroom as far as sleeping arrangements were concerned.

Over at Home Farm, Alan Turner showed off his policeman's costume for the Beckindale Amateur Players forthcoming production of The Pirates of Penzance. He'd asked Mrs Bates to get some Christmas shopping for him, including a gift for Jill, his wife. Mrs Bates had chosen a pretty nightie for her. She was unaware that Jill and Alan were estranged, but got a glimpse of the sad state of Alan's personal life when he awkwardly confessed that he didn't give his wife such "intimate" presents.

Later, Alan surprised Mrs Bates by presenting the nightie to her as a present. He was sad and awkward; spoke more about the state of his marriage, and said that he wanted to thank Mrs Bates for her nine months of help at NY. Mrs Bates protested, the gift was too expensive, but Alan insisted and quietly retreated, leaving Mrs Bates feeling as sad and as awkward as him.

Young Sam Skilbeck was celebrating his second birthday, and his parents took him out to feed the geese at the farm. Dolly reflected sadly on the harsh realities of farming life - the fate of the geese now Christmas was upon them, and said she thought it would upset Sam if he knew. Matt pointed out that it also upset her - every year the same!

Annie had preparations for Christmas well in hand in the kitchen at Emmerdale Farm, with Sandie as her assistant. Sandie asked if they could make up a parcel for her father, Tom, who was in prison. Annie happily agreed - pies, sausage rolls, etc.

Annie was delighted when Joe phoned. He would soon be with them. She passed on Matt's jovial comment that he owed them eighteen months' worth of milking!

In the parlour, Annie commented to Pat that there had always been laughter in the house when Joe was there. Pat, aware that she hadn't been very jolly recently, apologised for any signs of misery, but Annie hurried to reassure her: she hadn't been getting at anybody.

Over at the Woolpack, Amos Brearly had been treating the villagers to some truly terrible sounds as he practised for his role in The Pirates of Penzance. There was no Mr Wilks on hand to try and keep Mr B under control. Henry was in Italy, attending his daughter Marian's wedding.

Amos commented that the audience at the rehearsal for Pirates had all been very moved by his singing. Mike Conrad retorted that the audience had certainly MOVED when Amos began singing. Amos rejected that - humph! - but was frightened that he was losing his voice. Would everything be all right on the night?

Seth Armstrong was in The Pirates too, of course.

 As a pirate.

Of course!

Mike Conrad was in love with Sandie Merrick. But the feeling wasn't mutual. Mike confided in Walter, telling him he was sure he knew how he felt. Walter silently assured him that he did.

Up in the attic bedroom at Emmerdale Farm, Jack reflected on the tangled state of his love life. He loved Karen. He loved Pat. To Thine Own Self Be True... Pat had been upset when he'd arrived home in the early hours of the morning, having slept with Karen. He'd had to get back because of the milking. On another occasion, when he'd moved to comfort her, she had been furious - he stank of Karen's perfume!

Jack was hurting Pat.

Jack was hurting Karen.

Jack was hurting Annie, and Matt, and everybody who knew at Emmerdale. Sandie Merrick was having to work with Karen at Hotten Market, knowing that she was sleeping with her mother's husband. Jackie didn't know. Jack couldn't bear to contemplate what the knowledge would do to the fragile relationship he had built with his son.

Pat came in to ask if Jack had bought the bracelet they'd decided on for Sandie's Christmas present? He had. They talked. Pat cried, said she missed him so much, couldn't imagine life without him. Did he want her to leave Emmerdale Farm? Jack was shocked - of course not! It was her home. Pat replied that in some ways she'd never felt she really belonged there. It was HIS home. Jack held her close... they kissed... and... the boxroom had no occupant that night.

Anarchistic goof Archie Brooks didn't really want to be a policeman in The Pirates. He insisted on wearing his CND badge on his uniform.

Joe arrived back in Beckindale and took a stroll around the farm, remembering Grandad Pearson.

It was not going to be an easy festive period.

But, of course, he had no idea of just how difficult it was going to be...