With the arrival of Joseph Tate back in Emmerdale, linking characters and storylines of the past with the present, guest blogger @EmmerdaleFarmer is calling for Emmerdale to do the same for one of the Dales’ more famous families by bringing back Sandie Merrick – and the fans are fully in support!
In our review of 2017, one of the things fans most wanted to see was more Sugdens. Once the main focus of the show, the Sugdens were the first family and the heart of Emmerdale for many years. Although long-time resident Andy Sugden has left the Dales (on the run thanks to Chrissie White), the past couple of years have seen Robert Sugden very much in the foreground of the show. But he doesn’t always get the support he needs and this is why we’re backing guest blogger @EmmerdaleFarmer’s call for Emmerdale to bring back Sandie Merrick and here are the reasons why!
1. She’s Robert’s older sister
Sandie Merrick and Robert Sugden are half-siblings; they share the same mother, Pat Sugden. Pat died in 1986 just a few months after Robert was born. Like Robert, Sandie often felt like the outsider in the family – she was a Merrick while her mother and her two brothers were Sugdens. These feelings were only made worse following the death of her mother. Despite being made to feel included by the rest of the Sugdens, Sandie left the family farm and moved into Mill Cottage where she remained until she left the village in 1989. Her brother Jackie died in a shooting accident later that year. Sandie hasn’t been seen onscreen since 1989 and little is known as to what kind of relationship she maintained with Robert over the years which leaves it wide open for today’s writers to fill in.
2. She’s a link to the early episodes
Sandie could be considered an original character having first appeared in Episode 12. She was then played by a child actress before Jane Hutcheson took over the role when the Merricks moved back to the village in 1980. Sandie would go on to be an important character in the show throughout the 1980s. Unlike the other soaps, Emmerdale has sadly no original characters among its current cast and has very few characters who have links to the 70s or 80s. The current longest serving character, Eric Pollard, first appeared in 1986 – 14 years after the show first began.
3. She knows Pollard from old
Sandie Merrick was our introduction to Eric Pollard, she was working at Hotten Market when Pollard was brought in as her new manager. They would have a difficult relationship for the next several years. When Sandie passed her auctioneer’s exams and took over Pollard’s job, he mounted a hate campaign against her. It culminated in him breaking into her home at Mill Cottage and drunkenly threatening her with a poker.
Pollard’s recent behaviour – setting the Dingles up to be evicted from their home – proves that there’s a lot of the old Pollard still in him. How would he react if faced by an old foe like Sandie?
4. She could help Robert get his hands on Home Farm
Robert may have recently proclaimed that he’s no longer interested in money or Home Farm, but I reckon he’ll always have his eyes on the Big House. Sandie shares Robert’s ambitious nature, back in the day she quickly moved up the ladder at NY Estates (the company that owned Home Farm in the 1980s) could she use her knowledge of the business to help her brother achieve his dream? Brother and sister could be a force to be reckoned with – especially when it comes to taking on the likes of Joseph Tate! And a successful career woman for Sandie’s age group would be an interesting mix for the show.
5. Introducing Louise Merrick
Robert has a niece who is actually three years older than him. The show first tackled teen pregnancy when Sandie fell pregnant by local boy Andy Longthorn in 1983. Pat was unhappy when she learnt the news, she feared history was repeating itself as she too had fallen pregnant at a young age and wanted more for Sandie. Sandie refused to have an abortion and left the village to live with her father Tom for the remainder of her pregnancy – the baby, who she named Louise, was put up for adoption. In 1989 Sandie made contact with her daughter after Louise’s adoptive parents were killed. The story wasn’t fully resolved as Sandie left the show shortly afterwards.
Louise could be a welcome addition to today’s thirty-somethings and a potential love interest for Andy Sugden if he was ever to return or Ross Barton maybe. Could you imagine Robert’s reaction?
6. Her love life was just as complicated as Robert’s
As if a teenage pregnancy hadn’t caused enough strife, Sandie caused another stir when she started a relationship with married man Phil Pearce. Phil left his wife and family to live with Sandie in Mill Cottage. His wife then revealed the affair to a packed audience in The Woolpack. Things managed to settle for a while until Phil ended up being jailed following a dodgy antiques deal organised by Eric Pollard. Sandie left the village shortly afterwards to start a new life in Scotland. Has her personal life now settled or could Sandie potentially bring a whole lot of drama back to the village in 2018…
7. The Sugdens need more family members
The Sugdens were traditionally made up of a close knit extended family of Skilbecks, Merricks and Hughes – while not all related by blood, all were considered family. Sandie was no exception. Unlike Aaron Dingle (Robert’s on/off partner) who has a well-established relationship with his onscreen family, Robert’s relationship with Diane and Victoria is shamefully underdeveloped. Sandie (and Louise) could be what is needed to bring the rest of the Sugdens closer together.
Follow @EmmerdaleFarmer on Twitter for more blasts from Emmerdale’s past!
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