Created 10th January 2004

About Stan Richards who plays SETH ARMSTRONG
in Emmerdale

Stan Richards
Born: 8th December 1930

 

IMDB entry for: Stan Richards

Seth circa 1990

A Huge Big Thank you to Paul Berridge who has made various profiles and photos availabe to me. They were previously on his Beckindale site (that is no more). This is one of those profiles - although info after 2001 has been added

 

 

Stan Richards' favourite story is one involving seth and Alan Turner. As he recounts: "Mr Turner gave Seth a walkie-talkie radio and Seth led him a merry dance all over Yorkshire, supposedly meeting him here there and everywhere...while all the time he was actually in the Woolpack."  

Poacher-turned-gamekeeper Seth Armstrong has become one of Emmerdale's permanent fixtures since actor Stan Richards first appeared in 1978. His Barbour jacket, wellingtons, woolly hat and handlebar moustache are as much his trademarks as the bushy sideburns sported by former Woolpack landlord Amos Brearly were his. 'When I joined the programme, there were just seven regular members of the cast,' Stan recalls. 'It went out around the country on different days and at different times. Now we have a much bigger cast and more variety of characters, and it's been updated, aiming for a younger audience. Whereas the Sugdens and the farm were the whole programme when I started, now they are just a part of it - and that hasn't done us any harm.' Seth has changed too. Since the death of his wife Meg, he has found new love with old flame Betty Eagleton. 'No one gets the better of Seth,' says Stan, 'but he's terrified of Betty! She loves him dearly, though - otherwise she wouldn't stick with him. Stan is one of a number of soap stars who have switched to acting after years working as a stand-up comic. Born Stanley Richardson in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, he started his working life as a Ministry of Labour clerk, but when he was transferred to London he hated the capital so much that he resigned. Returning to Yorkshire, Stan took a job in the accounts department of a firm that sold disinfectants and toilet rolls.
Having played the piano from the age of ten, Stan had been performing with dance bands in pubs and clubs during the evenings. He formed a comedy and musical quartet called Melody Maniacs when he was 21. 'We played all the clubs in Yorkshire,' says Stan, 'and we were a very successful act. Then I joined another lad, Frankie Newton, who played the drums, sang and did impressions, and I did the comedy and played the piano. In 1965, I went professional with a vocal-comedy quartet called the Four Renowns and, three years later, went solo and performed all over the country, at Barley Variety Club, social clubs and working-mens clubs. 'I was building up a good reputation when the BBC rang me and asked whether I would be interested in acting in The Price of Coal, which was being directed by Ken Loach.
This acclaimed 1977 Play for Today cast Stan as a friend of the lead character, played by Bobby Knutt, who, almost 20 years later, joined Emmerdale as Albert Dingle. 'It was a two part play,' recalls Stan, 'and we were both miners. I was killed in the second play in a pit explosion and Bobby was badly injured when he got buried under the coal. As a result of doing that, I got an agent and finished up doing all sorts of things on television.' Stan has appeared in series such as The Cuckoo Waltz, Crown Court and Last of the Summer Wine. He has also played a pig farmer in All Creatures Great and Small and Councillor Stokes briefly in Coronation Street - buying a second-hand china cabinet from Berry Turpin and mistakenly thinking she was having an affair with Alf Roberts.
Click here for Betty's profileHe took roles in the films Yanks and Agatha. Then came the part of Seth Armstrong in Emmerdale Farm, whose reputation as the wiliest poacher in the area inspired NY Estates to employ him as gamekeeper, with the result that there was a sudden decrease in illegal activities. Although Seth, having lost his wife, opted to live with Betty Eagleton rather than marry her, on the basis that there was no need to exchange vows at their age, Stan doesn't believe that Seth has become more liberal and thinks he has changed little over the years.
'He is slightly more domesticated,' says Stan, 'but he is still the eccentric character he was. He is a very good gamekeeper and goes his own way with everything. Seth and Betty were already living together when they planned their wedding, but they decided there was no need to get married these days. Look at the goings-on with other characters. The're floating around from bed to bed. At least we're consistent as a couple. Seth is happy as long as he has something to eat and a few quid in his pocket to go to the pub.'
Stan has three sons and three daughters by his wife of more than 40 years, Susanna, who died in 1994. In 1995, Stan broke his leg while getting out of his son's car, but he insisted on returning to Emmerdale eight weeks later, before he had fully recovered. He arrived at the studios in a wheelchair and was perched on a bar stool for scenes in Seth's favourite abode, The Woolpack. 'I felt I wanted to come back,' says Stan. 'After more than 20 years, Emmerdale is my life.'
On Thursday 7th September 2000 Seth was mugged by two girls on his way home from the bookies.
he was robbed of 120, his best win for years.

Taken from the emmerdale companion by Anthony Hayward

 

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