...Telling the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly; telling the time for Trumpton.
Thus began every episode of 'Trumpton', the middle of the three Gordon Murray series made in the late 1960s. It says much for its impact on me that I wrote the above quotation from memory!
Trumpton was the largest of the three settlements in Trumptonshire (Camberwick Green being a village and Chigley a hamlet). In Trumpton was located the Town Hall, which boasted the rather grand Trumpton Clock. The Town Hall was presided over by the Mayor, with help from Mr. Troop the Town Clerk and the services of their chauffeur, Philby. In the town centre were most of the shops, including Mr. Clamp the greengrocer, Mr. Platt the clockmaker, Mr. Munnings the printer and Miss Lovelace (with her three dogs Mitzi, Daphne and Lulu) the milliner. Under the statue of Queen Victoria in the centre sat Mrs. Cobbett, selling her flowers.
This tranquil setting was often visited by labourers who lived outside the town, notably Chippy Minton the carpenter and his son Nibs (odd name!) Whenever the good citizens of Trumpton had a problem, the would always call...The Trumpton Fire Brigade! (Altogether now - Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb.) Led by the long-suffering Captain Flack, the boys would come out to get cats down from trees, rocking-horses off bonfires - almost anything, in fact, apart from putting out a fire. And, they ended every episode by giving a band concert for everyone in the park.
In all seriousness, however, the makers of 'Trumpton' recognised the importance to children's stories of a good plot, rounded characters, repeated features (e.g. the Fire Brigade and Clock sequences) and a satisfying ending. It says much that, twenty-odd years after last seeing it, I can remember so many of the characters and story lines. Bring it back - I think today's children would enjoy it.
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