Emmerdale Past & Present Wiki

Ronald Magill in 1974 as Amos Brearly in Emmerdale Farm.

Ronald Edmund Magill (21st April 1920 – 6th September 2007) was an English actor and writer who played surly landlord Amos Brearly in Emmerdale from 1972 to 1991, followed by guest appearances from 1992 to 1995.

Pre Emmerdale career.[]

Ronald Edmund Magill was born on the 21st April 1920 in Kingston Upon Hull in Yorkshire. He was the son of teachers. After his father died, he was placed in an orphanage and visited his mother in Ireland. Upon leaving school Ronald worked as a tyre salesman. He then joined the army where he served in the Royal Corps Of Signals. While in Egypt, Ronald helped build a theatre as he was a member of an entertainment comany called Stars In Battledress.

Ronald Magill in a pre Amos Brearly role in the film William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1970.

Following the war, Ronald worked with the Arena Theatre Company and rep. Ronald acted in several plays. He also directed several plays before making his TV debut in 1969. He appeared in a film Julius Caesar in 1970. (Pictured right, is Ronald in that role). He also appeared in Special Branch and Codename, plus a few other TV roles prior to his most famous TV role.

Emmerdale (1972-1995)[]

Ronald Magill was 52 years old when he landed his most famous role, as grumpy and pernickerty landlord Amos Brearly in Emmerdale Farm. Originally, Amos just ran the pub alone but in 1973 he sold half his share to Henry Wilks, played by Arthur Pentelow, and they both lived together on the premises. Ronald Magill became a household name as Amos. Once he got his regular TV role in Emmerdale Farm, Ronald rarely acted on stage.

In late 1989, after 17 years, Ronald apparently gave a years notice that he wanted to quit the role of Amos. In mid 1990, his character had a stroke and later on he sold the Woolpack to his friend Alan Turner so that he could retire to Spain. Henry Wilks sold his share to Alan and went from landlord to lodger. Ronald filmed his final scenes as a regular in late 1990, where he said an emotional goodbye to Henry outside the Woolpack, these epsiodes were broadcast in January 1991. By then the show had become more modern and youth orientated and the word Farm had been dropped from the title.

Arthur Pentelow died in August 1991 and Ronald reprised his role for Henry Wilks' funeral. Ronald again reprised his role for a few episodes in late 1992 and for several episodes in 1993 and 1994.

And Ronald reprised his role as Amos yet again in early 1995, for the last time. Amos' last episode was Episode 1988 (6th July 1995) when him and his new fiancee Annie Sugden left for Spain.

After Emmerdale[]

Ronald had no more acting roles when he finished Emmerdale in 1995.

Ronald lived in London and retired there once he left Emmerdale completely.

Ronald was said to be a "city slicker" unlike his rural dwelling character of Amos. However the character of Amos did originate in a town, Bridlington, but had swapped that for the countryside.

Ronald's partner David Soar died in 1997. He had been Ronald's partner for 32 years.

In the last few years of his life, Ronald suffered from Bells Palsy.


Ronald Magill died in London on the 6th September 2007, aged 87.