Sunday, 9 August 2015

Beckindale 1983 - Behind The Scenes...


I know several actors, and, for the majority, it's a funny old life. There they are, one month serving in a wine bar or doing a Christmas temp job at Boots, the next doing a bit-part in Emmerdale, the next "resting", the next auditioning for a stage play and probably not getting the part...

Of course, for many actors a regular role in a long-running soap is a dream (and for some, given current standards of a lot of the plots, it's also a nightmare), but back in the 1980s it was a funny old life working on Emmerdale Farm or Coronation Street or whatever. Today, much soap drama depends on the out of the ordinary, the bizarre, the downright absurd, but back in the 1980s the majority of soap action centred on people nattering about, and doing, everyday things.

And that must have been exceedingly difficult to convey with a load of technical paraphernalia all around, plus being watched and directed by a load of people the actors had to pretend didn't exist.

Here's Jean Rogers (Dolly Skilbeck since 1980), Sheila Mercier (Annie Sugden since episode one), Toke Townley (Grandad Sam Pearson since episode one) and Frederick Pyne and Frazer Hines (Matt Skilbeck and Joe Sugden - both original cast members) standing around in the rain at a Beckindale event in 1983, with little Sam Skilbeck (born 1982) out of vision, apparently asleep in his pram.

Annie's plastic headscarf (14p from Woolies - a snip!) is such an important style detail in setting the tone.

Just how "everyday" and of their time the cast looks, and the fact that they are conversing in character, apparently oblivious of the onlookers and the sound boom hovering above, is something I find fascinating.

Skill, or what?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

"Nay, Nay Mr Wilks" Mystery Mug


September, 1981, and Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) ensures there's a warm welcome at the Woolpack.

In 1980, Seth Armstrong became a full-time Emmerdale Farm regular. He deserted the Malt Shovel in favour of the Woolpack, where he discovered the endless delights of baiting Amos Brearly. In his new found respectability as NY Estates gamekeeper, Seth had plenty of time to scive off and haunt the bewhiskered landlord. And poor old Mr Wilks was often caught up in the attacks and counter-attacks, trying to bring reason to bear. "Nay, nay, Mr Wilks!" Amos would bluster (in fact, in moments of high dudgeon it was usually thrice "nay").

Poor Mr Wilks!

That man deserved a medal.

We're still catching up on our comments and Sara wrote:

I have a mug featuring a caricature of Henry Wilks, Amos Brearly and Seth Armstrong. It is stamped on the bottom 'Churchill England'. Do you know anything about it?

No, Sara, sorry. I do have one, but it was bought for me as a present a few years back, second hand, and I don't know its origins. Does anybody else?