Summer Wine On-line

Welcome to the official web site of the Summer Wine Appreciation Society, in partnership with Holmfirth Web. This is our tribute to the world's longest-running TV comedy series which is filmed in the Holme Valley, and surrounding villages.

 

Nora

 

The Wally Batty Mystery Photo

Stop Press: Read the email from the former owner of the BSA! Click here

...there, on the step, is a a rather puzzled looking visitor, holding a mysterious photo of Wally Batty - and a BSA motorcycle combination.

Read your email responses to this story..

One of the nicest things about being based in Holmfirth, the heart of Summer Wine country, is the occasional personal caller. It is fair to say that 99 per cent of our public contact is via email - but occasionally there is a knock at the door. And there, on the step, is a a rather puzzled looking visitor, holding a mysterious photo of Wally Batty - and featuring a rather splendid red and black BSA motorcycle combination. This could be a scene right out of LOTSW.  Can you help clear up the mystery? 


Wally Batty, the late Joe Gladwin, was the rather timid husband of Nora, and always under her thumb. To many fans, Wally was one of the popular and much-loved characters, first appearing as long ago as 1975 in "Some Enchanted Evening." 

What did he do all day?  Keep clear of Nora, there was little doubt about that. Occassionally, he helped out in Sid's Cafe but by far his favourite passion was a pint and pigeons. His final appearance was in 1986 in "Merry Christmas, Father Christmas." 

The mystery photo, which has given us a splendid opportunity to celebrate Joe's character, was found by a Holme Valley resident while renovating his cottage, just outside Hepworth.  He brought it straight round to Summer Wine Online. 

Owner Paul said: "The ironic thing is that I loved watching Wally when I was a kid. In fact, after Compo, he was my favorite character. I loved his accent, the way he talked and the fact that he was always getting into bother with Nora, through the antics of Compo and Co.  

"I think one of my most memorable quotes, no idea which series, was when Wally and Nora were sat in the motorcycle and sidecar enjoying the "view" across the Holme Valley. Wally was undoubtedly bored, he wanted to be home with his pigeons, and Nora was imploring him to look and enjoy the view.  But Wally was having none of this. Finally Nora came out with something like "If it hasn't got froth or feathers on, you're not interested."  You really had to be there!" 

But what about the photo which shows an informal off-the-cuff scene with Wally having a good laugh and pointing at someone holding a Pint. Behind him are some members of the BBC crew, obviously not aware of the joke. In pride of place is his trusty BSA motorcycle combination (I wonder what happened to that?) and Wally looks like a dedicated biker in his leathers and open-face helmet and goggles. The shot was undoubtedly taken outside the White Horse pub, Jackson Bridge, known as the "Summer Wine pub" and still on the popular tourist trail. 

Paul takes up the story: "We have lived in our present cottage for nearly six years and were undertaking some work in the kitchen. I was removing a piece of old board behind one of the radiators - and there, in perfect condition, was the photo.  I recognised the Summer Wine connection straight away and was delighted with the discovery. 

"Like I say, Wally was one of the my favourite Summer Wine characters when I was a youngster, and it was most fitting that this should turn up. I would love to know a bit more about it, when it was taken, which series etc. 

"I have no idea what the photo was doing there, it could have been pinned up on the wall at one time, above the radiator, and somehow fell down and got tucked away..  Members of the crew (or cast!) might have even previously stayed in our cottage, which was empty for a few years before we moved in.

"Enquiries in Holmfirth, at the Summer Wine Exhibition and Sids' Cafe turned up no clues, apart from one person pointing out that the photographer may have been the "official, unofficial" Summer Wine Photographer Malcolm Howarth.

"When no one could help, I knew where to take it - the Summer Wine website. When our family moved into the Valley, the Summer Wine site along with Holmfirth Web was very useful for local information." 

Paul has loaned us the photo, so please contact us if you have any information, suggestions, or a comment on the Wally character. How do you remember him? Please email summerwinetv@yahoo.com 

I would also like to thank some of our regular fans of the website for supplying the additional background notes about Wally. The photo may have come from the Holme Valley...but a few vital bits and bobs about the characters came half way round the world!  Many thanks. 

Editor Patrick Brooke 
July 2003


A note from the Owner of the BSA!

With reference to your photo of Wally and his bike.
 That used to be my bike!  I bought the old BSA M21 many years ago and, after a lengthy renovation, fitted a sidecar (which I also rebuilt).  Problem was that I started seeing my (now) wife and she wouldn't get in the sidecar, tragedy, I had to get a car so the Beeza had to go.  I advertised in in 'Motorcycle News' A props firm rang, they wanted a combo for 'Emmerdale Farm'.  I delivered the bike and sidecar to them and it has since been in 'Brothers MacGregor' and 'Strathblair' as well as LOTSW and Emmerdale.

Chris Salomon



Your Suggestions

Many thanks for your contributions...some received hours after our "mystery appeal" went online! 

I think I can add a bit to this mystery. While working as a courier/dispatch rider, I used to deliver odd packages for the BBC during Summer Wine filming in the Huddersfield disrict.  I remember being asked to deliver a box to a house in the Jackson Bridge/Hepworth area, some years ago. When I knocked on the door, I was invited in and there were a group of "film types" sitting round a kitchen table smoking and drinking cups of tea.  They made me very welcome, they were a nice bunch of people but I declined an offer of a cuppa because I was quite busy. But I remember seeing several photos pegged up on the wall, one of which featured a BSA motorcycle and sidecar. I remember having a squint because I was into bikes myself. I can't say for sure, but it could have been the photo in your story. I got the impression these people were camera crew and renting the cottage during filming. While I am not a big fan of the current series (truth to tell, I don't get a great time to watch with my grandchildren and family commitments) but I grew up with the series in the 1980, and I remember Wally well. Thanks for bringing back some interesting (and happy) memories. 

Mark, Huddersfield, England 



Your writers are certainly correct, the episode was "Jaws", I am not going to say which year it was because it was so long ago and it makes me feel old.  But your photo was a refreshing blast from the past, it looks like it was taken only yesterday. Good luck with the appeal. 

bwhi (AOL email) 



We loved the photograph of Wally and his motorbike. I agree with the other letters on the "Wally" page. this was certainly "Jaws" episode.  But one thing, did anyone notice that his BSA motorbike and sidecar changed models half way through?  I wondered if in fact the original one, in your photo, as stolen part way through the series, or something. 

Alan Wood 
Castleford, UK 



I can't help you clear up the mystery but I love the story and the photograph. As you say, it is another chance to remember Wally. And I agree with you, in my opinion he was only second to Compo. To a lot of fans, I don't think they missed him until he was gone. 

R J Myers 
Blackpool, Lancashire, UK 


 

Hi I am just one of the many hundreds of fans of the show,
i will always remember Wally with his motorbike or his pigeons.
But how the years have gone but Summer Wine will carry on.
 
from David Fell


I can't help clear up the mystery much, but am convinced the photo is from the Wally meeting Eli scene from the episode "Jaws" where Seymour makes a waste disposer for his doting sister.  That might go some way towards pinning down the date if nothing else.

Richard



I do not know how the picture got in the cottage, but I can tell you a little about when it was taken.  The picture was taken during the filming of the 1986 series.  The scene is from the episode "Jaws".  It intoduced the character Eli.  The arm on the right of the picture holding the pint glass is Eli's.  This is the episode where the trio (Seymour, Clegg, and Compo) where at the White Horse when Eli came in to play darts.  Outside Compo explained that Eli and Wally race pigoens together.  Wally just happened by on his motorcycle when Eli saw him.  This picture shows the scene where Eli and Wally meet.  I hope you can find out who took it.
 
Jim Hill
"Last of Summer Wine" fan
 
This was taken from an early Eli episode, perhaps even his first. Jaws I believe.  We see that Eli's long distance vision is perfect as he spots Wally Coming down the hill on his motorcycle.
We have the memorable scene where Eli says "It is - it's Wally Batty". They are obviously glad to see each other as they laugh and slap each other on the back.
Compo explains that they were in the war together.
 
Rob
Birmingham

Editor's Note: Many other similar emails were received, many thanks to Sue, David H, Rob (2), Mr H Roberts, Marjorie C, echo345, esage, Dune34, RB12 and everyone else. If you have any additional info, keep the messages rolling in! 


© 2000 Area5. The Summer Wine On-Line web site brought to you by Area5 Public Relations, Holmfirth. Thanks to everyone who has contributed material to this web site, including Colin Frost, of Side's Café, Holmfirth.