Mastermind expert Roy Delany has put together a fantastic set of Trumptonshire related facts for us. Trumpton is part of the classic Gordon Murray created trilogy of Children’s TV shows that also includes Camberwick Green and Chigley.
1. Gordon Murray didn’t want the models to decay and perish so burned them, together with all the scenery, on a bonfire in his back garden. Only one remains – a soldier boy that his daughter Emma gave a friend for a present.
2. Brian Cant recorded all his songs and dialogue in a wardrobe at guitarist Freddie Phillips’ house. He always took his shoes off so as not to rattle in the background. He never saw the puppets or any of the action before he recorded his parts, and worked only to written descriptions of the characters.
3. The soldier boys are called Private Armitage, Private Featherby, Private Higgins, Private Hopwood, Private Lumley and Private Meek. The buglar never had a character name, bless him.
4. The bugle that called in the soldier boys was a plastic toy trumpet with colourful plastic keys that Freddie Phillips found in Germany . Wooden blocks were used for the sound of the Trumpton clock while a bamboo percussion instrument called a Kret was used to create the sound of Windy Miller’s windmill.
5. The first ever episode of Camberwick Green was devoted to Peter The Postman, who got his mailbag caught on the sails of Windy’s mill.
6. Camberwick Green is thought to be loosely based on the East Sussex village of Plumpton Green – an area near to many windmills, canals and the private steam railway The Bluebell Line – although Gordon Murray will never be drawn on it.
7. The closest the fire brigade ever got to a fire was when Chippy Minton asked them to get the old rocking horse that hid his life’s savings from the top of an (unlit) bonfire during Tidy Up Trumpton week. The rest of the time they put up posters, mended statues, rescued window cleaners and generally saved lost things from high places. (In fact, Trumptonshire myth would have it that at the time of recording, there hadn’t been a fire in the county for thirty years. So quite where they got the funding for that spanky new engine we’ll never know.) They only appeared in Chigley once, where they helped Lord Belborough pick apples, and never actually appeared in Camberwick Green.
8. Before that Quaker oats commercial, the Trumptonshire characters made another reasonably recent foray into advertising, for Hovis’s Windmill Bread. The characters were seen getting up to all sorts of very unTrumptonly no good. But the bread was axed after only a short time, so the ads weren’t seen for long.
9. Brian Cant made nothing from Urban Hype’s dance remix of Firemen Bold – called A Trip To Trumpton. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t re-record his words just for the record..
10. Other contemporary artists who make reference to songs and characters from the Trumptonshire Trilogy include Half Man Half Biscuit, Pop Will Eat Itself, Oasis, Hacksaw, The Fall and Black Grape.
11. Fifty songs were written and performed for the 39 episodes of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley.
12. The definitive list of the firemen’s names is… Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb, and of course, Captain Flack – although many incorrect variations appear in books about children’s television and in popular myth!
13. Chigley was one of the first British TV series to be filmed in colour – even though colour TV had not been introduced at the point it was first shown. It was also filmed in black and white at the same time, (the cameras were side by side) and it was these mono recordings that were first shown.