You! The Following has been Written & provided by Eithne
© 2002, 2003 (birth year added thanks to the Emmerdale Archives
Character: Edna Birch
May 2000 –
Family: Peter, son; Eve,
Played by: Shirley Stelfox
Edna Birch appeared in May 2000 as one of the "silent majority" of
parishioners opposed to Ashley marrying Bernice. As we continued to learn
more about this woman, we found out that she was widowed - left with
a son called Peter. Edna had a strong friendship with Gloria Weaver,
also a widow, and a woman devoted to the church.
In August 2001 Edna's granddaughter turned up in the village,
as she wasn't getting on well with her new step mother. Edna thought
that Eve was innocent and sweet, while she was actually cold and
manipulating with her grandmother wrapped around her little finger.
In the hit and run Eve's true colours were revealed. Edna was
very upset to learn that Eve had kicked her dog Batley, and sent
her away to live in York, with her aunt.
Edna has a good relationship with Len Reynolds, and also had a
very unusual friendship with Jason Kirk. Edna
is strong willed and stubborn, but loves and cares for her pets
very well. Her first
pet was Batley, who died after being put down
in 2002. The other animal in Edna's life is Tootsie,
a stray dog whom she took in, after being persuaded by Paddy and Emily.
In late 2002 Edna started a petition to remove wheelie bins from
the village and soon ended up in a war of words over the bins with
new arrival Jarvis Skelton, who was the latest village bin man.
Later in the year Edna was less than impressed by the news that
he was also her new neighbour.
In January 2003 Edna and Len Reynolds entered a dancing competition.
After several taunts from Viv Hope Edna
decided to go against her beliefs
and bet £10 on she and Len beating Viv and Bob.
But things didn’t go to plan and Len (who was secretly being
taught how to dance by Jarvis) ended up with a sprained ankle after
while practicing with Edna. But in the end Edna ended up dancing
with Jarvis, and winning the competition. Edna got to keep the
cup they won.
Later she and Jarvis went to
a hotel to compete in the finals. But he met up with his former
dancing partner Freda. As their stay continued Edna revealed
more about herself to Jarvis, including things about her stern
father. In the end Edna and Jarvis decided not to compete, after
Freda turned him down.
In April Edna took in Jerry “Mack” MacKinley,
who had nowhere else to go, after being kicked out by Syd and
rejected everywhere else. At first Mack and Edna got on well. She
took pity on him,
and helped him. Soon Edna was put in charge of hiring the person
to repair the
village hall’s roof. incident with Mack, Edna
hid herself from village life for a while.
persuaded Mack to put in a quote and in the end decided to help
him by going for his quote,
even though it wasn’t the best one overall. Mack was delighted
about the news, though Edna felt guilty. She made sure he was
working. But when the cheque for materials, worth eight thousand
pounds, entered Mack’s account, he fled the village, leaving
poor Edna devastated.
felt very guilty, especially since she’d cheated and picked his
quote, but decided to make amends by paying back what she could
from her savings. After
the incident with Mack, Edna hid herself from village life for
Soon she was back though, after
help from Ashley. Recently Edna and Len Reynolds have been growing
closer. He even gave her a kiss, but got a slap for his trouble.
Edna has also taken a disliking to Pearl
Ladderbanks, a newcomer
to the village.
Edna Fact: Looking back over the Emmerdale recaps,
it seems that Edna has only been without her red hat on three occasions.
These being when her granddaughter Eve was staying with her and
twice when she was dancing with Jarvis in a competition in 2003.
About Shirley Stelfox: Shirley was born on April
11th, 1941 in Cheshire. She has had a long career spanning four
decades, from the sixties through to the present day. She has appeared
in Brookside, in the mid eighties, Eastenders, an episode in 1999,
Coronation Street, in six episodes as Shirley Henderson and also
in Heartbeat, Inspector Morse and Casualty.
Her earliest role was in 1967. Shirley also appeared in Keeping
up Appearances, the BBC comedy starring Patricia Rouldtage.
In 2002, Shirley escorted her former Emmerdale co star, Bracken,
on stage to receive her British Soap Award for Best Exit.