...and I ride on the foot-plate, there and back again.
So sang Lord Belborough every week on 'Chigley', the last of the three Gordon Murray puppet series. Lord Belborough was Lord of the Manor in Chigley, a hamlet near Camberwick Green in Trumptonshire. He lived at Winkstead Hall and was waited on by his butler, Bracket, who would go along the same corridor to look for his master each week - and end up in a different room.
Also, Bracket accompanied his master every week when he took out his steam train, Bessie, to call on or help one of his tenants. The above tune was always sung on their trip.
'Chigley' differed from 'Camberwick Green' and 'Trumpton' in that it contained far less characters. There was Mr. Farthing the potter and his daughter Winnie, Mr. Swallow the wharfinger, Mr. Cresswell the biscuit factory owner - and that was about it. As a result, almost all the stories centred on Lord Belborough and his relationship with his tenants. Nevertheless, he seemed to have been a good and just Lord of the Manor. There were no reports of the inhabitants of Chigley refusing to pay their dues to their Lord nor of the biscuit factory workers going on strike! Indeed, they all turned out loyally after the six o'clock whistle, to dance to the barrel organ which Lord Belborough kindly operated for them himself.
Evidently, Gordon Murray knew how to appeal to his audience as, like 'Camberwick Green' and 'Trumpton', 'Chigley' contained good story lines, rounded characters, repeated sequences (Bessie the steam engine) and satisfying endings. All three series were part of my childhood and it is a credit to Mr. Murray that I still remember them so fondly.
(Footnote: unfortunately, a few years ago, Gordon Murray confessed that he burnt all the puppets after the series ended. I think Captain Snort should have imprisoned him in Pippin Fort.)
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