The Trumptonshire Trilogy Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley
On this page - "I never noticed that before." A collection of all sorts of anomalies,quirks and continuity errors.
Some are harder to find than others,and doubtless I've missed some. But here they are,for the first time anywhere.
Returning to the theme of scale and perspective,check out the size of the milk bottles in relation to the people in Paddy Murphy's episode (in particular).
Truely the most generous measure of a "pint" you're ever likely to see !
So whilst the customers were no doubt happy,poor old Thomas Tripp was clearly a hernia waiting to happen.
The fact it's got a red top would indicate semi-skimmed.But as serious illness and death were alien concepts in Trumptonshire I sincerely hope it was a thoroughly enjoyable and artery-clogging full cream.
"Good Lord Paddy. Do you expect me to drink it or sell it wholesale ?!"
"Up to you Mr.C,but if we stand here any longer you'll have to scoop it out !"
In Mr.Dagenham's episode - Was the helicopter really such a good idea ?
Well,of course. It was great !
But even stop motion animation needed the help of some Thunderbirds-type wires to get the helicopter off the ground. (well,how else ?)
Although,to be fair,they're not nearly as noticeable as the ones in Gerry Anderson's stuff,and you can only really see them against dark backgrounds ie.when it's on the ground ironically.And invisible enough to mean I've had to make the pic clickable for a blown-up version.
Other helicopter issues ....
It appears to have a petrol tank but no engine ! The downdraft is extremely selective about what it rustles.And the sound effect sounds like a domestic vacuum cleaner.
Take a look at the houses along the regular route used by the fireman ....
No guttering .... no chimneys .... no telephone wires .... or curtains.
And spare a thought for the poor postman ... No house numbers or names.
The actual reason is simply that the set makers ran out of time to add the usual finishing touches ! Which is particularly poor planning for a bit of stock footage that appears in every episode,but true nonetheless.
Mind you,refreshing not to see modern eye-sores either,like inappropriate upvc and stone cladding.The aesthetic clutter of tv aerials,satellite dishes, exterior electricity meters and wheelie bins.Oh,and grafitti and litter and ....
Just a couple of dialogue observations to finish off Camberwick for now.
In Mr.Murphy's episode :-
Mrs.Honeyman mentions "the church bazaar",but we never see a church.
But the Beeb probably had strict rules about the inclusion of religion in their pre-school tv programmes ie. don't !
Quite apart from the prohibitive amount of extra modelling time even a modest rural church would require.
In Mrs.Honeyman's episode :-
Captain Snort informs us that "...we certainly need a better electricity supply..."
Which,of course,pre-supposes that you have one to start with.
Which is interesting when there's not a pylon in sight .... anywhere .... in the entire series.
Not that Windy would care as he's got his own rather large wind-powered generator.
Either that or he rigs his trike up and pedals like fury !
In the Greenhouse episode ....
the fire brigade remove the unsafe greenhouse chimney .... "and not a pane of glass broken"
Which is slightly less impressive when you look closely and realise it doesn't actually have any.
As it's just an empty framework .... as is Mr.Bilton's greenhouse in Chigley,which also happens to be identical in every other respect as well. (shown further down )
In The Mayor's Birthday episode ....
It's clearly stated that the Mayor wants a painting of the Town Hall to "put on the wall behind his desk".
And in all the following episodes that's exactly where it's hanging.
But,strangely,in Mr.Platt and the Painter,it's gone awol.
"Troop. Please call continuity immediately !"
In the Telephones episode ....
we see the engineers van parked in a certain position.Then in the space of 15 seconds real time footage there are a couple of cuts and it appears in a slightly different position each time -clearly moved by the animators so as not to restrict the revised view,below.
The edge of the animating table can clearly be seen in shot here.
And it's a persistant and glaring error with Colley's Mill scenes throughout the 2nd episode-sometimes with the whole edge in view with front-on shots. [and also in the 1st episode to a lesser degree]
By the time they spotted it,they clearly didn't have time to refilm and simply made sure it didn't happen again -which I don't think it did.
Although quite how it was missed at all is fairly remarkable seeing as it's glaringly obvious even in normal time,nevermind frame-by-frame.
2 from the Roger Varley episode
No.1 - When Mickey Murphy is mixing,you can clearly see the wire in his arm where the sleeve ends and the hand begins.
Not the only example by any means,but certainly one of the most noticeable,and probably explains why sales of short-sleeve tops were particularly slow in Trumptonshire.
No danger of arthritis.But did Dr.Mopp have a "pale pink medicine" for metal fatigue ?
Eggs,sugar and flour and maybe just a quick squirt of WD40 ?
No.2 - Black-coloured doughnuts ? Yes,black,see below left. And answers on a postcard c/o Mrs Dingle please.
And not just black doughnuts,but sado-masochism too (some bakery !).
Because,if you look closely,you'll also notice the rather vicious-looking animating pin used to attach them to his hand.
Which is actually visible in quite a few frames,when the doughnuts aren't either flush to his hand or it's masked by the bag.
A perfectly pragmatic approach to getting the job done.
But one that's even more noticeable when the tops of the pins are visible too,and when they also remain in shot for longer, as is the case with both Windy and Paddy Murphy,below right
I should stress however that no actors were hurt in the making of Trumptonshire.
Although the animators probably drew blood occasionally.
While we're on the subject of Mr.Carraway,have a look at the wall behind him
-shown a bit better here >
Ceramic wall tiles suffering from bad bubbling and pleating ?
Anyone would think it was a glued paper effect.
Of course,I suppose it may actually have been a simulated tile-effect wallpaper rather than actual ceramics.In which case,you'd have to hope he did it himself,because it's not much of an advert for Walter Harkin's handywork.
And one last Carraway curio to finish ....
We're all familiar with Cod,Plaice and "A Fish called Wanda".But how about a fish called "Dab", which is mentioned in his song ? Apparently it wasn't an obscure species simply thrown in because it rhymed.But,these days,it seems just as hard to find as a high street fishmonger.
In the "Mrs.Cobbit & The Ice Cream Man" episode ....
the Mintons drive through Trumpton (note,Trumpton)
And they pass Dr.Mopp's house,best known for being in Camberwick of course.
Well,obviously houses can look identical,so it's clearly just a coincidence.
As is the similarity between their van and Mr.Carraway's of course.
And the fact that the wall to the left of the Fire Station looks remarkably similar to the stretch of wall used to adjoin Dr. Mopp's property in Camberwick
And .... well,you get the idea.
"Dad, do you know we're in the wrong series ? " " You hum it son......."
And,speaking of that dodgy chimney ....
It's hard to see clearly even in the stills opposite,
but as it's being toppled there's a brief unintended view of the honey-coloured interior wooden support frame used in the modelling.
Pity poor old Captn Flack though.
A chimney lined with wood and still no fire !
Mind the Gap !
& the real world collide.
Windy stands on the edge of the abyss in "Earth is flat" shocker.
I don't know if this next one is indeed an anomaly or just an embarassing demonstration of my ignorance about the animal world.
But do any breeds of milking cows have horns ?!
I wasn't aware they did,but clearly they do if Windy's "Bess" is anything to go by.
What I do know for certain though is that our 4-legged friends don't have a clearly visible join where the head meets the body -as this one does.
Although it seems happy enough and Windy's clearly not concerned.So,hurrah.
It should also be noted that Bess is the identical clone of a different cow seen in Farmer Bell's milking parlour.......some 30 yrs before Dolly the Sheep showed that such things were even possible.
Is the good doctor admiring his new plate .... or wondering what happened to his old one.
Far right -
Mr.Crockett's red-cabbed breakdown truck was just one of many that went un-plated ....
Thomas Tripp's milk float,Mickey Murphy's van,and Mr.Dagenham's sports car amongst others.
The orange cabbed lorry was another of course,which leads nicely onto the next category ....
And that'll do for now ....
I hope that wasn't too much of an intrusion into the workings of a national treasure.
But,personally,I think it all adds to the charm and actually makes you appreciate just what a good job they did on a shoestring budget.
And if anyone takes a keener interest in stop motion as a result then my work is truely done.
If your attention often wanders to an interesting inanimate object in the background,you'll love these.
Because it's "carpets and curtains" time,Camberwick-style.
Some may have been slip-ups,but others were simply the result of pragmatic corner-cutting,done deliberately
to save some time and money.And they were never intended to be put under the scrutiny of an adult with a
dvd remote and far too much time on his hands of course.
Primarily just a bit of fun. But also a small window into the fascinating world of stop motion animation.
Camberwick. In no particular order ....
In episode 13,A present for Lord Belborough ....
a couple of good "now you see it,now you don't" continuity blips.
Shot one [below] just has a tree behind the wall.
We then follow Mr.Antonio to another part of the garden where he cuts the grass,and when we return the tree's gone and is replaced by some shrubs.
Unfortunately it doesn't end there,because the middle shrub clearly hasn't been anchored down sufficiently and over the course of several frames it slowly leans over to the left before finally disappearing from view altogether.
But that's what happens when you try to mess with nature !
It's the same greenhouse as the one used in episode 13 of Trumpton too of course.
Some more mid-series landscaping.
The first pic is taken from episode 1.
Cue a rethink ....
And the 2nd shot is how the Pottery frontage looked for the remaining 12 episodes.Minus the telegraph poles and less of the mound in view.
No bumper,headlights or number plate.
But the latter was a very hit and miss affair in Trumptonshire. And more on that later
Fans of Windy have already elevated him to almost God-like status.
But I can confirm that the mark on his hand is indeed the top of a pin ....
and not evidence of stigmata.
Unless you believe the Turin shroud is more than just a bit of cloth .... in which case !
As alluded to above,vehicle registration was somewhat haphazard in Trumptonshire.
Some got no number plate at all. Some got a personalised one like Farmer Jonathon Bell (JB1) And some got something near to what we'd call normal,like Mr.Carraway.
And far be it for me to suggest that "JB1" caused some number plate envy,but before Camberwick had run its course,Doctor Mopp had swapped "1901",which was visible in the early episodes,for "MOP1" -both shown below.
Short of both time and money,the production team re-used materials where it was thought no-one would notice (or care).
Which was not only perfectly sensible but pretty well-executed too,because how many of these next ones would you really have noticed at the time ? ....
The orange lorry actually appeared in all 3 series. Below,from left to right :-
As "the workmen's lorry" in Camberwick.
As Mr.Clamp,the greengrocer's lorry in Trumpton.
And as the dustcart in Chigley, complete with a new rigid back section to replace the green canvas.
More noticeable though was probably the one,below,that started out as Mr.Carraway's fish van in Camberwick.
And then turned up in Trumpton being used by the father and son carpentry team of Chippy and Nibbs Minton.
I'm not sure if the green-ish side panel on his version was a paint job or a trick of the light though as I've only just noticed it as I write.But,either way,the only real clue was presumably a strong smell of fish.Although the particular pic I've used for Carraway's version is lifted from episode 11,so that's a painting in the back and not an enormous bit of plaice !
Not that vehicles were the only things recycled in Trumptonshire of course. Above -The life of a jobbing actor
Buildings,scenery,props and even people were pressed into repeat service.
Like Walter Harkin,above right,who was the painter and decorator in Trumpton,but not before he'd appeared as one of "the workmen" in Camberwick -a character that also ventures into Harkin territory by appearing at the end of Trumpton episodes as one of the onlookers at the band concert. Although,you won't be surprised to hear that Mr.Harkin doesn't join him.
And whilst the hair and 'tache make him one of the most memorable,it's also no coincidence that ....
you never see Camberwick's PC McGarry and Trumpton's Constable Potter together in the same shot either !
To the right,
2 snapshots from Captain Snort's episode.
The 1st one has at least one tree,
and probably 2 if look hard left.
And then we return a little later on ..... and someone's had the chainsaw out.
There are some Chigley landscaping quirks too,highlighted further down.
Below right In Mr.Crockett's episode - Mr.Crockett removes the army truck's radiator cap [to the right of the spout] and raises his watering can to fill her up.No water visible of course .... which is just as well when there's no hole for it to go in.
Below left In Dr.Mopp's episode - who knew the bakery was a tardis ? And that kite on the wall has to be an animator's in-joke,because there's enough room to fly one. And,like most old houses,it's probably draughty enough to do it too !
That drunken bush incident is particularly amusing in real time actually. And well worth a look if you can be bothered.
And it's also more proof -as if it were needed- that Stop Motion animation may well a fantastic medium but it isn't very forgiving when you're as pushed for time as the Trumptonshire team were.
And those examples aren't the only ones where scenery movement caught them out ....
Gordon Murray even admits they had to reshoot bits of the pilot episode,that later doubled up as Camberwick's very first episode "Peter the Postman".
The troublesome scene being the bit at the beginning where he walks through the woods.
Because they discovered,after shooting,that the heat of the lights had softened some of the trees sufficiently that they visibly drooped down as he passed by.
And,as with the drunken bush,it wasn't picked up at the time simply because it happened very slowly as they shot frame by frame.
Some more examples that weren't picked up ? ....
Try Camberwick Episode 9 from about 11 minutes in.
The barriers behind P.C.McGarry move on their own several times as he walks up and down in front of them.
Or how about Doctor Mopp's episode in Camberwick
When the Doctor and Windy are watching the thrushes nest,keep your eye on the bush in front of Windy.
And I'm sure there are probably others too if you look hard enough.But I was beginning to loose my sanity by that stage !
The first 2 photos show restricted views of Lord Belborough's train journey during the 1st episode.
Cue a rethink ....
And the foreground clutter of the greenhouse and hen houses were banished for the rest of the series,allowing the much clearer sight lines shown in pic 3.
Fellow anoraks will recognise the latter from Jonathan Bell's Camberwick farm.Although these aren't his as the railway didn't go that far afield.