Harry Mowlam was a character in Emmerdale Farm from 1983 to 1986. Harry Mowlam was mad, bad and quite dangerous. He was The Brute Of Beckindale. He was a farmer and quarry owner who terrorised Beckindale. He once tried to kill Jackie Merrick by trying to run him over. He then committed robbery and made sexual advances on Dolly Skilbeck. Mowlam and Matt Skilbeck rowed over farming matters and this lead to a huge fight where Mowlam tried to kill Matt by squeezing him in a bear hug, luckily Matt wriggled free. The same day, Mowlam met his demise when he was beaten to death by his partner in crime Derek Warner, who was worried that Mowlam's bragging about his riches, and general behaviour, would lead the police to discover their part in the robbery. Warner allowed Matt to take the blame for Mowlam's murder but when evidence mounted against Derek, he confessed to Harry's murder. No one, apart from Seth mourned Harry Mowlam's passing, as they all felt the village was a much better place without the nasty Mowlam causing trouble, and the villagers felt the same about his equally nasty killer when he got put in prison. He first appeared in Episode 837 (6th December 1983) and last appeared in Episode 1018 (28th January 1986). Harry was played by actor Godfrey James.
28th January, 1986
Harold Mowlam was born in about 1930. His surname is a Dorset surname, so Harry's father or grandfather probably moved to Yorkshire from Dorset. Harry ran a quarry in Connelton for many years. He never married or had any children. Over the years he gained a reputation as a fearsome quarry owner who drove like a maniac and was never afraid to use his fists to settle arguments. He was also vulgar and often liked to hound women. Mowlam owned a dog called Ben. Mowlam treated the dog badly, and let it run around his dangerous quarry, and the noise of the controlled explosions would not help the dog. Some of Mowlam's customers at his quarry were from Beckindale.
Harry Mowlam was the nasty quarry owner. In December 1983, local shepherd Matt Skilbeck accused Mowlam of hurting his dog Ben. Mowlam told Matt to mind his own business. Mowlam even dumped some rubble in the yard of Emmerdale Farm. Matt took the dog off Mowlam for the dog's own safety. Mowlam said he does not like Matt as he hates the way Matt interferes in other peoples business, and Mowlam could have him in court. Mowlam slapped Matt on the face then laughed at him as he walked off. A truly sadistic man was Mowlam.
In January 1984, Mike Conrad, Archie Brooks and Jackie Merrick did a job for Mowlam. Mowlam refused to pay them. They tried to stand up to him, by acting macho, but the scary Harry Mowlam chased them off. Mowlam even tried to run Jackie off his motorbike. The police told Mowlam they would overlook it if he dropped the case against Matt. Mowlam said Matt could "keep the mutt". Mowlam then left the Sugdens and Skilbeck's alone for over a year.
In September 1985, Mowlam bought some land next to Emmerdale Farm in Beckindale. Harry Mowlam also sabotaged the
Sugdens' harvest at Emmerdale Farm. Jack Sugden was annoyed and vowed to get even with Mowlam. Now that Mowlam was a resident of Beckindale, he started causing trouble for villagers.
In October 1985, Harry Mowlam, Derek Warner and Keith Johnson staged a robbery on a security van. (Mowlam may have supplied the explosives). They hid the proceeds on Harry's land, and Harry hogged the money. Harry also harassed Dolly Skilbeck to get at his rival Matt Skilbeck. Dolly even had a miscarriage in November 1985 due to Mowlam giving her a fright. Jackie Merrick suspected Mowlam was involved in the robbery so told Sgt Ian MacArthur when McArthur stopped Jackie for driving an untaxed van.
The next day, Sgt MacArthur visited Mowlam at the quarry and found nothing, but did not look hard enough as Mowlam sneakily put some metal sheets over the buried loot and acted innocent. McArthur left the quarry, and he then accused Jackie of wasting police time as he found nothing at the quarry. Due to the visit from the police, Harry quickly moved the stolen proceeds from his quarry to a remote field, and built a tacky corrugated iron sheep pen over it. He planned to hog the proceeds of the robbery.
Harry flashed his cash and thought of buying a house in Beckindale. Derek was annoyed, as this meant Harry was keeping the money to himself. Derek threatened him with a knife if Harry did not tell him where the money was. Derek was shown where the money was, and was sure it was safe there. He told Mowlam if he takes any money from the loot without telling him, he will feed him to the pigs.
Harry even made Jackie Merrick's girlfriend Sita Sharma uncomfortable when he made a racist remark to her at Christmas 1985. Shortly after, one of Harry's pigs was caught up in wire and needed the vet. When Mowlam caught Matt and Jackie tending the pig, he flew into another rage. Matt said the sow needs the vet. Mowlam told them to get off his land now.
1986-build up to his murder
In early January 1986, Harry asked Amos where Walter was, and Amos said he has gone to Worthing. Harry then bragged about his money to everyone. Harry also said he could buy out all the businesses in Beckindale if he wanted. Derek overheard so he and Keith took Mowlam to a quiet country lane near a farmhouse where there were vicious dogs barking, and they roughed Harry up, telling him not to tell anyone any more about his money and to keep a low profile. That day, Harry also saw Matt Skilbeck taking his neglected sheep but only to give them some magnesium to treat them. Harry accused Matt of having it in for him, and that Matt was in on it with Alan Turner, Jack Sugden and Henry Wilks to try and show Harry Mowlam up and humiliate him. Matt said he would return the sheep soon. Mowlam then allowed Matt to take the sheep. When Matt left, crazy Harry Mowlam shot a bird in anger, saying he will not forget.
3 of Mowlam's sheep died in Matt's care and 2 of them were returned to Mowlam. Mowlam was told, but did not take the news well. Dolly felt uneasy around Mowlam, as he looked at her in a sinister way. Mowlam said that the sheep dying was not on his land and not by his hand. He said it was £500 worth of stock he lost. He wanted compensation, and continued to make the Sugden and Skilbeck's life miserable. As Henry Wilks was a partner in Emmerdale, Mowlam suggested Henry pays him the compensation, and that he could talk it over with Dolly, just the two of them, alone, and this alarmed Henry. Mowlam caused another scene in The Woolpack shouting out that he has a right to compensation. The next day, Mowlam saw Dolly in the village and even made more sexual advances to Dolly, and almost came close to raping her, by trying to come onto her, saying she would like a struggle in bed, so she ran off. When Matt found out, he was angry and vowed that Mowlam would not do that again.
In late January 1986, Derek Warner heard yet more info that Harry was throwing his weight around, so was hunting Mowlam down. He knocked on his caravan door but he was not in. The same day Harry was stealing some of Matt's sheep, as he blamed them for the death of his badly neglected sheep while in Matt's care. Matt saw him, ran up to him and hijacked the van, and made Mowlam crash into a wall. Mowlam then dragged Matt out of the truck and threw him around and punched him repeatedly. Mowlam then said "I'm gonna take you. Get up Skilbeck, I'm gonna break your bloody back". Mowlam then had Matt in a bear hug, and almost suffocated him but Matt had his arms free, so he grabbed Mowlam round the neck in self defence to get free. Mowlam let go of Matt. Mowlam then hit Matt again, so Matt hit him back. Mowlam tripped and fell down the river bank. He then sat up in the river and said "I'll have you Skilbeck. You and your whole rotten village".
Matt was left dazed after the fight. Derek stood nearby in the undergrowth and watched the fight, neither Matt nor Harry saw him. Derek waited until Matt left the area and then as Harry Mowlam waded off downstream, Derek came after him and confronted him. He then hit Mowlam in the head several times, and the scarpered, leaving Mowlam laying unconscious and badly beaten in the river overnight. Mowlam was still alive but due to the head injuries, was too badly hurt to summon for help. Also it was night time, and in an isolated part of the village, so no one would see him.
Mowlam is found the next day, and dies shortly afterwards
The following morning, Henry Wilks went for a morning walk. He looked at some birds in the trees. As he crossed a small bridge, he noticed a figure in the river which looked like a human body. He went to see, and it was Harry Mowlam by the side of the river, his head and face was battered and bruised, and on the very brink of death. Henry was shocked and witnessed Mowlam take his final breath. Henry rushed back to the village and called the police. Henry returned to the murder scene, then went back to The Woolpack.
Henry was consoled by Amos Brearly, and said how he found Mowlam and how he had fear and terror in his eyes, and was badly knocked about in the head and face. Henry said he has never seen a dead body before. Amos said Harry probably died how he lived, in a fight. Matt still did not know about Mowlam's death and felt a bit relieved that he finally had a fight with Mowlam, and it may make Mowlam back off a bit. Henry went to Emmerdale to break the news. He heard Matt had been in a fight with Mowlam the day before. When Matt came in for his dinner break, Annie broke the news to him that Harry Mowlam is dead. Matt looked stunned.
Matt went to the site where Mowlam's body had been found. There was about 10 police officers, and several forensic officers all over the scene. Matt handed himself in, but was soon arrested after he went to the police of his own accord. Matt's fight with Mowlam had left him dazed and confused, as he did not know if he killed him or not. The autopsy said that Mowlam died from severe blows to the head and contusions on his neck and throat, suggesting he was held underwater. During the fight with Matt, Mowlam had him in a bear hug and Matt grabbed his neck and Harry let Matt go. But when Matt told the police this, the police thought Matt was lying about how Mowlam got the marks on his neck, and that Matt had held Mowlam underwater and killed him because of him causing Matt's wife to have a miscarriage, and terrorising her.
In early February 1986, Sandie Merrick said that Derek may have been involved in the robbery. The police called Derek in but all they could prove was that the only connection between Mowlam and Derek Warner was Mowlam knew him so Warner was released. DS Webb also thought the Mowlam was not involved in the robbery and the only troublesome things he did was drive his van like a maniac and get into a bit of bother with his neighbours. Several of Mowlam's relatives wanted to lay claim to his land but the Sugden's wanted it as well. Alan Turner scoffed at the prospect of more Mowlam's descending on Beckindale. Jack Sugden and Jackie Merrick paid for Matt's bail.
When Matt and Mr Wilks visited the scene in mid February 1986, when Matt was on bail, it transpired that Henry had found Mowlam's dead body 30 yards away from where Matt last saw him, and they knew Matt could not drag a 18 stone man downstream by himself in the dazed state he was in after the fight. Mowlam was much heavier than Matt and was a big man and it would have taken a lot to stop him. Matt felt happier that he had in ages and was convinced his problems were over. However, DS Webb was convinced that Matt may not have been sure where he last saw Mowlam and that he still could have killed him. DS Webb said the pathology reports say he died by drowning, and contusions on the neck and throat, so it is still murder.
In March 1986, after 2 autopsies on him, confirming he died of his injuries, not of a heart attack, Harry Mowlam's body was released and he was buried in Beckindale Village Cemetery. Seth was the only mourner, shows how hated Mowlam was. Even though he lived by the sword and died by the sword, Mowlam was finally at peace. Although hardly anyone would miss him as he was a real troublemaker, and the village would be a much safer place and a quieter place now that Mowlam was 6 feet under forever. Most villagers would be relieved that the nasty ruthless Mowlam was dead. Derek Warner started acting strangely, and suspiciously, hinting that he knew more about Mowlam's death than he was letting on, and was allowing Matt to take the blame.
The police suspected that the robbery proceeds was hidden on Mowlam's land, and they knew there was probably more to Harry Mowlam than they first thought. The police kept watch over the loot, and overheard Derek say to his partner in crime Keith that he killed Harry Mowlam. Derek got away but Keith was caught. Derek headed for the vicarage and admitted he killed Harry Mowlam. Derek was persuaded to give himself up by Hinton. Derek made out he never meant for Matt to take the blame for the killing. Derek surrendered his gun and was then arrested.
In custody, Derek Warner showed his rarely seen good side when he admitted to Harry Mowlam's murder. Matt was exonerated.
For the next few months Matt was still haunted by Mowlam. In May 1986 he did say that he still could not stop thinking about Mowlam. Dolly said that Harry Mowlam is in the past now. Matt soon realised it was time to forget Mowlam and move on with his life. It would always however be at the back of his mind that he was once accused of murder.
As said, many people were relieved that the villainous, troublesome Harry Mowlam was dead. Although, the crime-wave caused by the nasty Harry Mowlam, and his grizzly murder was to be felt in the village for years to come, and the killing was mentioned or referred to several times after his killer was caught.
In July 1986, Mowlam's old land was being dug up now it was part of Emmerdale. Mowlam was mentioned that month as not having looked after it very well when he owned it. Mowlam was mentioned again in July 1986 when Dolly said she was pleased they got that Harry Mowlam business sorted.
In May 1987, Jackie spent the night in the cells after hitting a builder during a row over a proposed nuclear dump. Jackie and Matt got chatting and Matt was reminded by Jackie of his previous prison experience when he was accused of murder.
In October 1987, Alan Turner told Eric Pollard that he thought Matt had a sinister side. Turner told Eric that Matt was once up on a murder charge, accused of killing Harry Mowlam, a local farmer. Turner said Matt got off, but that Emmerdale Farm acquired Mowlam's land. Turner said living next to Emmerdale can be dangerous.
In June 1988, 2 and a half years after Harry Mowlam died, Dolly mentioned her 1985 miscarriage to Steve Fuller. She said after Sam was born she was going to have another baby but that went wrong, and she is still very sorry about it. This was the miscarriage that Mowlam caused after making advances to Dolly and scaring her. Even over 2 years after Mowlam's murder, he was still getting at Matt and Dolly from beyond the grave.
In early September 1988, Jack Sugden said "Beckindale is hardly The Garden Of Eden" and at times over the years he has "cursed Beckindale, its weather and some of its people" over the years. No doubt Harry Mowlam comes under those people that Jack Sugden has cursed.
In late 1989, Matt Skilbeck tried to take some of Chris Tate's neglected sheep away, and when Chris father asked if Matt does this often - liberating neglected animals, Matt says "Not often", which does refer to the rare times he has done it, such as when he took Mowlam's dog off him in 1983, and Metcalfe's sheep in 1987. When Matt left the village in December 1989, he said "A few bad times as well" when talking about his years at Emmerdale Farm. Being accused of Mowlam's murder would have been one of those bad times.
Even though it is over 30 years since his murder and he has been long forgotten, the remains of Harry Mowlam will lay buried in Emmerdale Village Cemetery forever.
Born: Unknown, about 1930
Died: 28th January 1986
Full Name: Harold Mowlam
- Harry Mowlam - List of appearances
- Murder of Harry Mowlam (1986)
- Harry Mowlam's Land
- Mowlam's House
- Mowlam's Quarry