Sooooo..........what was Trumptonshire all about then ?
Well,first and foremost,it was just a bit of rollicking good fun for millions of pre-school kids of course.
Enough said. Case closed.
But 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 someone who clearly wasn't too enamoured with much of it,if his portrayal of the "old" versus the "new" in Trumptonshire is anything to go by (think Windy Miller versus Farmer Bell)
Not that many viewers actually took in much of this social subtext of course.As I refuse to believe I was the only one too busy singing along to ponder such things !
But,as adults,I think 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.
Which is why someone like Fred Dibnah struck such a chord with so many people who had no particular interest in steam engines.And why all those tv programmes about antiques have a far greater appeal than simply finding out what something's worth.
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 "Agadoo".......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.
The joy of Trumptonshire is that 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 !
Sadly,the best I can do right now is to waltz off into the kitchen for a cup of tea and a biccie.
Happy days indeed !
One of the great things about Trumptonshire is that,despite the obvious star turns,no-one's ever really portrayed as a support act
Each individual has a clearly defined role and,ultimately,they're all dependant on one another. Making Trumptonshire very much a sum of all its' parts.
Everyone rallies round to help others when required -ranging from Camberwick's soldier boys and Trumpton's firemen right down to the likes of the ice cream man who pitches in to repair Mrs Cobbit's ceiling.And even Chigley's Lord Belborough mucks in and transports goods on his railway and plays the organ for the Biscuit factory workers at close of play each day.
So it's little wonder that any problems and discord never last longer than 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 working windmills.But then we get helicopters,Corbusier-style concrete monoliths and a young girl wearing a fab 'n' groovy 60's style dress.
Yep,it was 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......
Well,the Baker,yes.But no Candlestick Maker- too retro even for Trumps.Or maybe just a victim of that 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 although there are only ever 3 kids on show besides that,which is somewhat odd.(Mary & Paddy Murphy and Winnie Farthing)
But 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.Although a hospital in Trumpton is mentioned,but it's never 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 kid,it all seemed perfectly fair enough,because anyone over the age of 20 was practically a pensioner.
Which just goes to prove that kids can be equally as cruel as old father time himself........who's probably wondering if he should swing his scythe in my direction to save you all from further punishment.
So I'll leave it there,with the hope that you might have found something that struck a chord with your own personal perceptions of the series.
Or maybe it just served to reinforce the belief that we should never try to analyse a good thing too much.
Either way,thanks for sticking around long enough to find out.