Created 30th January 2004

About Paula Tilbrook who plays Betty Eagleton in Emmerdale

Paula Tilbrook


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). The following is one of those profiles - although anyhing after 2001 has been added.

Betty Eagleton, Seth Armstrong's wartime sweetheart, walked back into his life in 1994 and the couple have been together ever since. Paula Tilbrook, who plays village gossip Betty, understood Seth's character immediately. 'He is a free spirit,' she says. 'To keep free, he has to lie to Betty now and again or not tell her things at all.'
Acting was always Paua's ambition, since playing Jill in a Sunday~school production of Jack and Jill at the age of four. 'Something came from the audience that I will never forget - approval and warmth,' she recalls. 'It was love from that very second. I was hooked. From the age of 11, I went to a stage school in Manchester, singing and dancing.'
Going into repertory theatre, Paula became an assistant stage manager in Colwyn Bay. After meeting her late husband, Leslie Hall, and having a son, Greg, and a daughter, Gaynor, Paula gave up her career to bring up her children. 'I would never allow anyone else to bring them up,' she says, 'so I stayed at home. But I joined a couple of amateur dramatics societies because there was something missing in my life without it. Once the children had started school, I eased back into acting.'
Paula made her soap debut in Coronation Street in the sixties and later returned to the serial in three further roles, including those of Olive Taylor-Brown, a Derbyshire pub landlady trying to score social points off Annie Walker, and Vivienne Barford, who took a shine to Alf Roberts. Her other television appearances include parts in the plays All Day on the Sands and Thicker Than Water, as well as in Open All Hours, Last of the Summer Wine and the acclaimed television film Walter, starring lan McKellen.
Paula played Mrs Tibbett in two series of the sitcom Sharon and Elsie and Flo in Andy Capp. She also acted Berry Hunt in Brookside, helping in the 'Free George Jackson' campaign, and the Speaker of the House of Commons in To Play the King.
One of her favourite stage parts was that of the title role in a National Theatre production of Effie's Burning, which she also performed on television. Having worked in three different soaps, Paula is convinced that Emmerdale is the best. 'It's the spirit and the camaraderie,' she says. 'We work so hard because we do 70 per cent of our scenes on location and have to travel miles in all weathers, staying there for maybe 11 hours. If you are stuck in a shed in a field with people, you have to get on with them!'
The actress found it easy to relate to the character of Betty when she joined Emmerdale. 'She and Seth are two people of a certain age, who hadn't just met,' says Paula. 'They had known each other when they were teenagers, so they could be relaxed with one another. It had been a toss-up whether Betty married Seth or Wally Eagleton, and she chose Wally. I thought that when she met Seth again perhaps she wished she had chosen him first time round rather than the man she did. I liked the idea of two people in their autumn years.'

Taken from the emmerdale companion by Anthony Hayward

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