Belborough and Brackett enjoyed a very similar star/straight man relationship to that of the Trumpton Mayor and his town clerk,Mr.Troop.
Bilton was a much more peripheral character.
He only appeared in one episode (aside from being a passive onlooker).
But he's notable for being the only character in the whole of Trumptonshire to be given a noticeable accent.
Brian Cant normally just used varying degrees of intonation and pitch to differentiate one character from another.
But he drew on his own Suffolk roots to give Bilton a distinct country lilt.Subtle rather than full-blown "yokel" and completely appropriate to the character.But still an unusual departure nonetheless.
Belborough and Brackett were involved in the 3 main stock footage sequences in Chigley :-
No.1was a well-used ploy to get the storyline running ....
Brackett takes a phone call requesting his Lordship's services in the train.
And he lollops down a long,galleried corridor to either the study or library to pass on the message.
Very much shades of the Captain Flack phone call sequence in Trumpton.
And the garish modern art depicted above the phone and along the corridor was very 1969,when the series was written of course.And probably more than a little inspired by Lord Bath's well-documented artistic endeavours at Longleat House.
No.2featured them emerging from the Hall in their overalls,to take the short walk to the engine shed (below) and set off on Bessie.
And No.3was the actual steam journey itself.
Although there were a few more variations than the fireman's call-out loop that was used in every Trumpton episode.
The train configuration was always the same ie.train...tender...and 3 seated wagons,which also doubled as freight wagons -even being used for a loose load of coal during the Binnie & Bessie episode.
Brackett always accompanied him on the footplate -presumably to shovel the coal, although he was never actually shown doing it.
And,as with Winkstead Hall's artwork,the idea of using a stately home railway was almost certainly pinched from Longleat, who started theirs in 1965.
Cresswell's Biscuit Factory
Pic 1 :- The factory,reflecting real world architecture of the late 60's.Despite actually being in the grounds of the old Hall.
Pic 2 :- Mr.Cresswellwas the hands-on owner in his white coat. His green dungaree'd number 2 was Mr.Fletcher.
Pic 3 :- shows one of the workers -Willie Munn,who was the nephew of Camberwick greengrocer,Mr.Clamp,and featured in his own eponymous episode.
Below .... The Biscuit Factory features at the end of every Chigley episode ....
The clock above the biscuit factory entrance hits 6 o'clock and the whistle sounds.
All the workers stream out to take the short walk to an open air dance hosted by Lord Belborough in the grounds of Winkstead Hall.With music provided by his Dutch organ.
Shades of the fireman's band concert that ended every Trumpton episode of course.
But also the Windy Miller & Farmer Bell idea that the old ways could live happily side-by-side with the new ie. Modern factory and traditional Lord of the Manor patronage.
The main look inside the factory is during "Bessie to the Rescue". Pics below.
Some nice gleaming white machinery that shells the eggs,mixes,shapes,bakes and packs.
With the boxes emerging out at the loading bay,to the right hand side,and into the waiting CCB vans for delivery.
Cresswell conundrums ....
No.1 "Cresswells" ....
A play on the words Crosse & Blackwell ?
No.2 No female workers were ever shown at Cresswell's.
But the 6 o'clock dance was for factory employees.
So .... who were the 2 ladies dancing ?
Chigley Potterywas owned and run by Harry Farthing,who was both a ceramics potter and stone sculptor and had a suitably bohemian beard.
His daughter Winnie was also featured regularly,took a lot of trips on the train and was the only child that lived in Chigley.
No sign of a Mrs Farthing,and I'm pretty sure she was never even mentioned either.
Like most Chigley characters,Harry was less than memorable quite frankly.
Although Winnie seems to have struck much more of a chord.
Presumably because of her appearance and the very well-spoken voice Brian Cant gave her.
Only one interior room was ever shown -the studio above the front door with the big round window. 3rd pic.
The railway line on the doorstep meant Lord Belborough regularly stopped to do pick-ups and drop-offs in between the Hall and Treddle's Wharf ....
Potentially one of the most memorable bits in Chigley,with the convergence of cranes,trains and boats.
But,whilst featuring in most of the episodes,the way it was designed and utilised was pretty underwhelming unfortunately.
And somewhat symptomatic of the missed opportunity was the crane.
Only used very sparingly,and just an uninspiring box cab with a subdued "whirr" for a winch.
When it should've been centre stage as a high-victorian wrought iron,steam-powered effort with some bright paintwork and lots of puffing and clunking sound effects.
And the equally non-descript "wharfinger",Mr.Swallow,didn't exactly help to "lift" things either.
With a hatful of bonus points going to anyone who remembers anything about him .... or his song.
Quite apart from knowing what a "wharfinger" actually was or what he was supposed to do.
He was usually to be found up on the viaduct talking to the train occupants,or at the controls of the crane.
Although the 2nd pic,below,shows him in the only interior shot of the Wharf building that we're ever shown.
No family were ever mentioned either,which might have helped to flesh him out a bit.
But Windy and others had proved it shouldn't really have been necessary.
The river/canal was the exclusive domain of Mr.S.Rumpling,the "bargee",pic 3.
Again somewhat underwhelming unfortunately.
With a barge that just looked nice and went "chug-chug",he had no personality or a decent song to compensate.
And I'm not sure he'd be that memorable even if he'd towed Lord Belborough on water-skis !
And those were the 4 main locations in Chigley with all those involved.
The remaining cast
Just some very minor characters who weren't tied to any of the main 4 locations
Pic,right :- Mr.Clutterbuck the builder and his 2 brickies Horace and Cyril
They only appeared in "The Garden Wall" episode.
And it was never made clear which one was Horace and which one Cyril.
The 2 "corporation dustmen" pictured are widely known as Mr.Gubbins and Mr.Sneed.
But they only appear in the "Lord Belborough's Lucky Day" episode.
And those names are never actually mentioned.
With the most we ever get being when one says "me and my mate,Harry".
So they were probably invented after the event for use in one of the books.
Living in the shadow of Camberwick and Trumpton.
The only time that Chigley really seems to have caught the popular imagination was Lord Belborogh's iconic song "time flies by when I'm the driver of the train".
And if the volume of spin-off merchandise is an accurate gauge of popularity [which it usually is] then Chigley was indeed a very poor third of the three Trumptonshire series.
All of which is maybe a little puzzling when you consider that it was basically just more of the same.
But Camberwick and Trumpton had been repeated mercilessly for nigh on 4 years by the time Chigley hit our screens.
And it was simply unable to provide enough freshness and innovation to combat inevitable Trumptonshire burnout.
Successfully maintaining the continuity,but just too indistinct to make anything like the same impact.
Perhaps not that surprising when you consider the tv law of diminishing returns.
Because if Camberwick was an all time classic,and Trumpton merely confirmation of its genius then Chigley was probably just on a hiding-to-nothing.
A tried-and-tested product,but ultimately just a victim of its' enviroment -a bit like a Siberian ice cream salesman.
But,ask yourself the following :-
1. Imagine if the other 2 series hadn't been made and Chigley was a stand alone show with all the necessary continuity tweeks.
Would it have had the same impact as Camberwick when it came out,and be hailed as a classic now ?
2. Or,put another way .... would Windy have been as popular if he'd only appeared in Chigley ?
Or would he have been as popular if he'd only appeared in Camberwick and it had aired last of the 3 rather than 1st ?
In short,Chigley was undoubtedly less effective simply because it was 3rd of 3.
But .... there were also some major self-inflicted wounds too because :-
1. The new characters are largely forgettable,with the notable exception of Lord Belborough.
A point driven home whenever one of the Camberwick & Trumpton inhabitants arrive on screen and you suddenly think things are looking up.
2. The songs are far less memorable.
Be honest. Apart from "Time Flies By",how many of the others doyou actually remember ?
3. Chigley has no heart.It's just a disparate collection of locations rather than a community.
There's no bustling Camberwick village green or Trumpton town centre.
And whilst I realise hamlet's don't have such things,it does tend to downgrade Chigley as a stand alone location.
Something that's further undermined by the regular appearance of Camberwick and Trumpton characters,who may have helped reinforce the idea of the "oneness" of Trumptonshire but only at the expense of Chigley's own identity.
But .... The Oscar for "Best costume anomaly" (aka the Doc Mopp award) goes to
The women who take part in the daily dance that ends each episode. (left)
Looking a bit like a cross between something out of the American Civil War period and potato pickers from an old Soviet newsreel.
Completely bonkers of course.
But an undeniably colourful,if slightly puzzling,way to end this look at all things Chigley !
But maybe we should have known the game was up right from the start,with the severely under-stated opening title sequence ....
Each one has the same languid little instrumental as we meet a Camberwick or Trumpton character just about to visit Chigley.
When Brian asks "May we come too ?" we hitch a ride.
Using stock footage from the first 2 series to get us there .... and the same songs too.
Yes it's effective.
But so are breeze blocks,and I don't know anyone who gets particularly inspired by them either.
At best,it's rather underwhelming.And,at worst,it's just plain lazy.
Either way you could argue that it sets the tone for what's to come.
Last bit ....
A bit too much negativity surrounding poor old Chiggers ?
Well,it's compulsory to leave any part of Trumptonshire in an upbeat mood of course,so try these before you go ....