Trumptonshire - discuss !
A bit of rollicking good fun for millions of pre-school kids.
Thank you and goodnight !
But .... since we're both here ....
.... it's also a wonderful piece of whistful nostalgia. And was even when it first came out,nevermind now.
Created by a middle-aged man born in 1921 who'd seen the fabric of British life change quite dramatically.
And reflected throughout with his portrayal of the old ways versus the new -most noticeably with Windy and Farmer Bell.
Not that pre-schoolers bother themselves with the social history subtext of course.
But,as adults,many of us do -even if it's just subconsciously mixed in with all the happy memories.
Because it's hard not to feel a certain melancholy at the lost world they represent.
And that can be something as simple as the demise of telephone boxes,right upto the loss of small independant shops at the hands of the supermarkets and global conglomerates.
Nothing to do with politics or ideology.
It's just basic human nature that the older we get the better the past often seems.
It doesn't matter if we weren't even alive in an era that fascinates us.
And selective amnesia means we can always edit out any of the bad bits to suit ....
Victoriana without the squalor .... the 70's without the industrial unrest .... the 80's without Timmy Mallett .... and so on.
In the real world,yesterday's often better than today.And tomorrow's rarely as good as we hope it will be.
But in Trumptonshire there's no such uncertainty or angst.
They're all perfectly happy with who they are......where they are......and what they do.
And show me someone who doesn't envy that kind of idyllic life balance and I'll show you a liar.
If only life imitated art eh ?
We'd all links arms and waltz off into the sunset !
Trumptonshire's very much a sum of all its' parts.
Each individual has a clearly defined role and,ultimately,they're all dependant on one another.
Everyone rallies round to help others when required.
From the obvious ones like the Pippin Forter's and the fireman,but also the likes of the ice cream man who pitches in to repair Mrs Cobbit's ceiling.
So it's little wonder that any problems and discord never last longer than the alloted 15 minutes.
Trumptonshire may portray an idyllic society,but it certainly doesn't represent a particular period in British history.
Because it draws on all sorts of time frames,and includes plenty of slightly bizarre historical and period anomalies.
On the one hand we get Edwardian looking doctors in a boneshakers,women with floor-length dresses,and a working windmill.
But then we get helicopters,Cresswell's Corbusier-style concrete monolith,and a young girl wearing a fab 'n' groovy 1960's style dress.
Yep,it's all over the shop,and quite bonkers really.But few would've noticed and even fewer would've cared.
Although,just for the record,let's look at what else was thrown into this Trumptonshire melting pot ....
So that'll be the Butcher,Baker and Candlestick Maker then ....
But no Candlestick Maker- too retro even for Trumps.Quite apart from the thorny problem of successfully animating fire.
I'm not entirely sure why there wasn't a Butcher's though.Other than it might have been a little too distressing seeing the dismembered relatives of Farmer Bell's livestock on screen.
But the presence of shops like a fishmonger's is a nice reminder that such things did actually exist as stand-alone businesses outside of supermarkets .... and,thankfully,still do if you look hard enough.
A world without supermarkets,fast food outlets,or coffee shops.Who'd have thought it ?
But people did indeed manage to function without them.
Just as we can seemingly manage today without some other notable Trumptonshire trades,like the "bargee", milliner and rag 'n' bone man.All of whom would barely register with any of today's audience and are evidence that the series should be shown in schools as pieces of social history if nothing else !
Any other omissions from this fully functioning society ?
Well,unsurprisingly,none of the usual cradle to grave necessities are shown.
No hospital,church,undertaker,graveyard or crematorium.
Birth was at least recognised as a pre-requisite for existence by the presence of Mrs Honeyman's baby.
But,that apart,there are only 3 children - Mary & Paddy Murphy and Winnie Farthing.
You'd hardly expect death to loom large and the good news is that it doesn't "loom" at all.
Yep,no-one dies in Trumptonshire.Perish the thought .... if not the inhabitants.
Although Gordon Murray did famously dispose of nearly all the puppets in a back garden bonfire in the 1980's of course.
The remarkable Doc Mopp appears to keep all illness at bay single-handedly with his "pale pink medicine and sugar-coated pills".Although a hospital in Trumpton is mentioned, but it's never actually shown.
And neither are many people who might be considered the wrong side of middle age. Because apart from Mr.Carraway and Barney McGrew,I can't immediately think of anyone who looks remotely old aged ....
The Mayor - "Mr.Troop.Have we got a pension deficeit ?"
Troop - "No your Worship.We haven't got any pensioners"
The Mayor - "Ah.Splendid."
Of course,as a youngster,all this seemed perfectly fair enough.
And it's that simple,un-complicated way of looking at things that's enough to make any adult feel wistful.
And if it doesn't it probably should.