Trumpton (1967) is a stop-motion children's television series from the producers of Camberwick Green. First shown on the BBC in the 1960s, It was the second series in the Trumptonshire Trilogy, which comprised Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley.

Trumpton was narrated by Brian Cant, animation was by Bob Bura, John Hardwick and Pasquale Ferrari. Scripts are by Alison Prince; all other production details were identical to Camberwick Green.

Story and structure

The action takes place in the imaginary town of Trumpton, a short distance from the equally imaginary village of Camberwick Green, the focus of the first series in the Trumptonshire Trilogy. Each episode begins with a shot of Trumpton Town Hall Clock:

"Here is the clock, the Trumpton clock. Telling the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly. Telling the time for Trumpton".[2]

The townsfolk then appear going about their daily business: the Mayor, Mr Troop the Town Clerk, Chippy Minton the carpenter and his apprentice son Nibbs, Mrs Cobbit the florist, Miss Lovelace the milliner and her trio of Pekingese dogs (Mitzi, Daphne and Lulu), and Mr Platt the clockmaker.

Although all of the characters and settings are new, the style of the programme follows the pattern established by Camberwick Green, in which domestic problems are cheerfully resolved by the end of the show, leaving the last minute or so for the fire brigade to become The Fire Brigade Band and play the episode out.

The fire brigade is perhaps Trumpton's most-recognised feature. Captain Flack's roll-call was recited in all but one episode:

"Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub."

Puppeteer Gordon Murray has explained that "Pugh and Pugh are twins you must understand - not Hugh, Pugh."[3] In the episode "Cuthbert's Morning Off",[4] Cuthbert's name is omitted (due to his absence). They are continually being called out to attend some emergency or other (in many cases to resolve fairly trivial matters), but to Captain Flack's annoyance never an actual fire. The main reason for this was the impossibility of animating fire, water and smoke.[5] However, after "Right men, action stations!", this doesn't stop the Fire Brigade absent-mindedly getting out the fire hose and receiving a rebuke from Captain Flack ("No no! Not the hose!").

Writer Gordon Murray has said that the towns of the series are "representative of real locations which are one-and-a-half miles from each other in an equidistant triangle", but declined to name them for fear of the area being "inundated with tourists".[6]


Episode titles were given in Radio Times but were not shown on-screen.

  1. "The Bill Poster" (3 January 1967)
  2. "Miss Lovelace and the Mayor's Hat" (10 January 1967)
  3. "Mrs Cobbit and the Ice Cream Man" (17 January 1967)
  4. "Miss Lovelace and the Statue" (24 January 1967)
  5. "Mr Platt and the Painter" (31 January 1967)
  6. "The Mayor's Birthday" (7 February 1967)
  7. "Telephones" (14 February 1967)
  8. "The Rag and Bone Man" (21 February 1967)
  9. "The Window Cleaner" (28 February 1967)
  10. "Cuthbert's Morning Off" (7 March 1967)
  11. "The Plumber" (14 March 1967)
  12. "Pigeons" (21 March 1967)
  13. "The Greenhouse" (28 March 1967)

Remastered version

In 2011, BBC Studios and Post Production digitally restored all 39 episodes of The Trumptonshire Trilogy (Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley) after William Mollett, son-in-law of the creator Gordon Murray, found some original footage in an attic. He then approached the BBC to see if they could track down the missing 40‐year‐old original footage. They eventually traced it in the BBC broadcast archive (now in Perivale, West London) but it soon became very clear that its age meant that restoration would be a painstaking task. Gordon and William enlisted the expertise of BBC Studios and Post Production, which cleaned, scanned and digitally restored the film footage frame by frame.[7][8]

Appearances in popular culture

  • In 1986, the English indie band Half Man Half Biscuit released an EP record, The Trumpton Riots, whose title track describes an insurrection on the streets of Trumpton.[9]
  • In 1987, a sketch named "Trumpton Raid" appeared in Alas Smith and Jones 's series four. Smith is a news reader on the telephone to Jones (as "Mike Airey" Live from Trumpton) reporting on an early morning American Raid by F-111 aircraft on Trumpton.
  • In the UK in the early 1990s there were several dance music tracks based on children's TV programmes or short educational films. The Prodigy released the track "Charly" in 1991 which was then promptly followed in 1992 by "Sesame's Treet" by the Smart E's and "A Trip To Trumpton" by Urban Hype,[10] which was based on the original Trumpton music by Freddie Phillips with heavy use of Trumpton samples.
  • At the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe, Phill Jupitus and Brian Cant presented Trumptonshire Tales. The format consisted of Jupitus interviewing Cant and introducing clips from the series.
  • In 2009 Chippy Minton appeared in the "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley" music video; he appears at the end of the video and is told that they have just finished. Miss Lovelace and Windy Miller also appear in the video.
  • In their explanation of the fiscal multiplier, More or Less used the Trumpton economy as a model. Notably, Firefighter Dibble was laid off due to the financial crisis. (8 April 2011)
  • In September 2014, a spoof Twitter account @Trumpton_UKIP was created to parody the accounts of UKIP branches. Initially, the account received little notice: however, several weeks later, during a period when the party had been warning members to be aware of possible fake accounts designed to discredit them,[11] UKIP MEP David Coburn encouraged his own Twitter followers to report the spoof account as a fake, leading to widespread media coverage.[12][13]
  • The music video for Radiohead's 2016 single "Burn the Witch" is an animation in the style of Bob Bura and John Hardwick which "crosses Trumpton and The Wicker Man".[14]

VHS and DVD releases

In 1984, 17 years after the broadcasts on BBC in 1967. Longman Video released eight of the episodes on video as part of its Children's Treasury collection. There were two releases, each containing four episodes

VHS video titleYear of releaseEpisodes
Trumpton (SLL 5022)1983Nick Fisher the Bill Poster, Miss Lovelace and the Mayor's Hat, Mrs Cobbit and the Ice Cream Man, Miss Lovelace and the Statue.
Trumpton 2 (SLL 5028)1984Mr Platt and the Painter, The Mayor's Birthday, Telephones, The Rag and Bone Man

later in 1989 the BBC released a video with the last three episodes (including ep13 The Greenhouse as the first episode, ep11 The Plumber as the second episode and ep12 Pigeons as last episode).

VHS video titleYear of releaseEpisodes
Trumpton 1: The Greenhouse (BBCV 4230)6 February 1989The Greenhouse, The Plumber, Pigeons.

then in 1996–1997 Telstar Home Entertainment as part of its 'Star Kids' range released two videos.

VHS video titleYear of releaseEpisodes
A Trip to Trumpton (TVE 3012)1996Nick Fisher the Bill Poster, Miss Lovelace and the Mayor's Hat, Mrs Cobbit and the Ice Cream Man, Miss Lovelace and the Statue.
Tales from Trumpton Town (TVE 3020)1997The Mayor's Birthday, Mr Platt and the Painter, The Rag and Bone Man, Telephones

In 2002 a 3 DVD set entitled THE COMPLETE COLLECTION was issued by Telstar Video Entertainment Limited (TDVD9033). It featured one disc each of Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley, each disc having all 13 episodes of the respective series.