Connect with us


Trumpton – A (Baker’s) Dozen Bits of Trumptonshire Trivia




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.



Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess




Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

Continue Reading


Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife




McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

Continue Reading


Classic TV Revisited: The Royal




The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

Continue Reading

More to View