Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Robert Sugden - A Character From The '80s?

Walter (Al Dixon) has a lovely night out at the Woolpack in the 1980s. Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley set out to recreate that Walter magic in 2015. Ryan wins. The resemblance is uncanny. Is Robert Sugden really Walter's secret son? Nothing is impossible in modern Emmerdale...

I've had an interesting email, so many thanks to "robron man" who wrote it...

Robert Sugden, now played by Ryan Hawley, is one of the best characters ever in Emmerdale. And he dates from the 1980's, doesn't he? The son of Pat and Jack, back in the days when Amos and Wilks kept the Woolpack and Annie was in the old farmhouse?

Don't you think the complex storyline of Robert's affair with Aaron Livesy eclipses anything shown on Emmerdale in the 80's? And don't you think you could bring the blog out of the brick mobile phones and shoulder pads decade a bit? I think the stories back then lack the real life complexities of the stories now. In the 1980s, everybody in Emmerdale Farm was straight and it all hinged around Matt and Dolly wanting a baby then having a baby, Annie making the dinner, Amos having fads and Alan Turner turning out not to be such a swine as he originally seemed after all. It was OK, but in the 21st Century soaps are a lot more adventurous and don't "play safe" as much.

Can you honestly say that Alan Turner and Mrs Bates or Walter and Amos are more compelling than modern Emmerdale?

Hmm... well, I saw an episode of Emmerdale a few weeks ago, which is rare, and was surprised to see somebody there who was apparently Robert Sugden. After your email, which I apologise for taking such a long time to reply to, I did a little research on the "Robron" story-line and I think the bisexuality angle would be interesting enough in itself (and Hawley and Miller's acting is quite excellent at times) without the ruthless killer bit thrown in. And, as you say, Robert is a character from the 1980s - the son of Pat and Jack, grandson of Annie and great-grandson of Sam Pearson. Bisexuality is fine, but does he really have to be such an OTT nasty git?

As for the complexity of modern story-lines compared to the 1980s, well, I find many of the modern stories laughable. This "Robron" thing appears to have reached a climax with a burning car blowing up and a helicopter falling through the village hall roof. Too many killers. Too many disasters. Not enough of the trivia of life.

And to all those revisionists who try to make out that Emmerdale Farm was always a den of drama - dramatic events used to be much rarer. Even in the old days, we viewers enjoyed a good disaster, but I certainly find the current trend, with soaps trying to outdo each other with what seems like almost constant mega-horrors, rather daft.

That's why I gave up on the soaps, in fact.

As for Emmerdale Farm characters in the 1980s... well, there were some pretty darned interesting folk around back then, and it was far from being all Monk's Best Ale and Annie Sugden's pigeon pies. Harry Mowlam, for instance, was a disturbing yet fascinating baddie. and, of course, the decade introduced a certain Mr Pollard.

But people drank tea, did the ironing and chuntered on more. There was more of the essence of everyday life.

That's what I enjoyed when I used to come home from work and click the telly on. I'd put my mini-pizzas in the oven, start to scrub up for a night out, and listen to Amos and Mr Wilks.

"Robron" simply doesn't have the same appeal.

Neither does the helicopter falling through the roof.


  1. Maggie5.8.15

    Personally I think the Aaron/Robert storyline is ridiculous given Robert's history as a womaniser - Nicola, Sadie, Elaine, Donna, Debbie, Katie....all in a very short space of time. Robert was never an angel but he was no way as evil as he is portrayed nowadays. Another character change to suit an unbelievable story.
    Why would an 80's blog mention up to date phones - they didn't exist in their current form.
    "Can you honestly say that Alan Turner and Mrs Bates or Walter and Amos are more compelling than modern Emmerdale?"
    Yes I can. More real, more entertaining, much more suited to a tea-time programme when people just wanted to relax..
    Much more enjoyable than the endless sensationalist ratings-chasing drivel we've had the past year or two. It can only get better and a change of production team is due very soon. I don't blame the writers, some of whom have been writing for the programmme for many years and are forced to ignore the history they know so well, but are limited by the dreadful storylines they are given to work with in recent times
    Last night's 'helicopter crash' (CGI) was one of the least believable stunts yet.

    1. Thanks for that, Maggie. As I said before, I think the bisexual story-line thing is fine - though why it has to be quite so explicit I don't know. But I don't like all the sex scenes in modern soaps anyway. If I'm watching with my grandchildren those kind of scenes make me squirm! However, it's all the added killer/big cheese of Home Farm nonsense that really gives me the pip. And the helicopter falling through the village hall roof, of course. Thanks for writing.

  2. Sammy L6.8.15

    The big problem with the bisexuality story is pretty boy (or men) actors playing the roles. There's Ryan Hawley as Robert, looking like he's going to burst into tears alot of the time (very broad range of acting skills) when he's confronted and a lot of the viewers go 'Oh, isn't he a sweetie?' Robert's not sweet, he's evil and he gives bisexuals a bad name. Its pathetic.

    1. I don't think anybody takes the show that seriously, Sammy! Emmerdale gives PEOPLE a bad name, full stop!

    2. Anonymous6.8.15

      Hawley does cry or tear up a lot but you'd cry too if you were in Emmerdale. Mind you I suppose the money comes in handy.