ON THIS PAGE- Pugh,Pugh,Barney McGrew,Cuthbert,Dibble and Grubb........Oh,and Captain Flack of course.
Along with Windy Miller,the most famous inhabitants of Trumptonshire. And a chance to seperate fact from urban myth.
"funny looking doughnut "
Trumpton Firemen Facts
Q.Which series do they appear in ?
A. They don't appear at all in Camberwick Green.
They made their debut in episode 1 of Trumpton,and appeared in all 13.
And they went on to appear in one episode of Chigley. ie. they only appeared in 14 of the 39 Trumptonshire episodes.
Q. Why no appearances in Camberwick Green ?
A. It was made before Trumpton.
And Camberwick was too small to have its own fire service.
Camberwick being a village,and Trumpton a town.
Q. Who thought of the names ?
A. Alison Prince -a children's author who co-wrote Trumpton.
Q. How do you tell them apart ?
A. From left to right,we have....
Captain Flack. Very much in command (physically denoted by his epaulettes) He's always seen taking the incoming call for help in his control room.And he's the one who does the famous roll call of course.But he's also remembered by many for his 2 commands when the fire engine hoist is used - "eleee_vate" and "deee_scend".
Easy to spot with his moustache,he's given a suitably crisp and business-like voice by Brian Cant.
And always leading from the front too.....even in the fireman's band at the end of every Trumpton episode,where he's the conductor.But he's ultimately a life-unfulfilled character,which is slightly odd for a place as upbeat as Trumptonshire.A man who feels he should really be in the thick of it rather than tiptoeing round the edges.And when you factor-in the fact that he's desperately keen,utterly fearless and leading a team with slightly questionable abilities,then you can't help but think of the similarities with another well known Captain..................Mainwaring !
His crew :- -Their names have been made so famous by the roll-call that people often logically go on to assume that they were all proper fleshed-out characters in their own right. But that wasn't the case.................
Pugh twins.Alison Prince just thought they looked alike,so it seemed logical to make them twins.And it also helped the rhyme of course.But,that aside,they're actually just "filler" characters who don't get any specific tasks to perform or have any centre-stage scenes,nevermind the wiff of a storyline.
Barney McGrew The fire engine driver in every one of their appearances.His rather magnificent white beard is a pretty big clue he's a fair bit older than the others,which is further reinforced by his general gait and the fact that he never actually opens his eyes.......ever.And it's his ability to drive like that that people most remember.Because that aside,he actually does very little of note.And even takes the least taxing role in the fireman's band too -playing the cymbals !
Cuthbert He not only rides in the hoist bucket,but is always the one who goes up in it too,(apart from one episode and more on that further down) Again,he's characterised by a very simple physical attribute -a fringe which always covers his eyes,making him look a bit dopey.Most notable though for being the only one of the crew that actually gets any real personal airtime.In fact,not just a scene,but a whole episode -"Cuthbert's Morning Off"-when it's confirmed that he's actually a victim of a poor gene pool as we get to meet his equally soppy aunty who's come to Trumpton to visit him.
Dibble Much taller than the others.But that's the only reason he ever stands out because,as with most of his colleagues,he's just a non-descript team-player as far as his airtime goes.
Grubb You don't get much of a sense of it from the photo above,but he's noticeably more roly poly than the others.Once again,he never does anything outside being a team player,although he does briefly feature centre-stage in the very first episode when he has a conversation with Bill Poster Nick.
-No christian names are ever mentioned.Even Cuthbert's just referred to as "Fireman Cuthbert" in his own episode.
-During roll call,the names are always called out in the order they're lined up,from left to right.
Q. Is it true they never put out a fire ?
A. Yes,it's true. Fire is particularly tricky to represent using stop motion animation -especially when coupled with the sort of time and budgetry constraints the Trumptonshire animators faced.So it was simply avoided.
Running water was actually shown at various times in all 3 series (see world of water page) But,without fire,there was never the need for any of it to come out of the fireman's hose.Although the hose itself was actually featured several times and turned into a running gag,when the crew unwound it on arrival only for Flack to tell them to put it away.
(Example from Ep.3 -"No.No.No. Not the hose ! We don't want to wash the branch off the roof !")
And the lack of fire was also referred to directly on several occasions (Example -"Poor Captain Flack. He never has a proper fire to put out") Which is entirely sensible,because the audience may have been young but they weren't stupid.
Q. Is it true they spent a lot of their time getting cats down out of trees ?
A. No. It's a classic urban myth. In fact,they didn't rescue a single cat. Although it's actually quite strange that they didn't Particularly as there were 2 Trumpton cats -one living at the Dairy and one at the Greengrocer's.
Q. So,what did they do then ?
A. Good question,and here's a complete list................
Removing tree branch from Mrs.Cobbit's roof
Trumpton Episode 1.
Sticking up posters for the band concert
Retrieving the Mayor's hat from a tree
Repairing Queen Vic statue in Town Sq.
Hoist-up drive around looking for "the artist"
Fire at Minton's cottage -False alarm !
Hoisting off an item from top of bonfire pile
Removing paint pot blocking clock chimes
Rescuing window cleaner from roof
Hoist search for Cuthbert in Trumpton Pk
Replacing Town Hall water tank with hoist
Removing fallen tree near Minton house
Demolishing chimney in Trumpton Park.
Chigley. Episode 11.
Harvesting Lord Belborough's apple crop
Despite featuring lots of familiar characters from both Camberwick and Trumpton, and despite their popularity,the firemen only appear in one Chigley episode >>>
Ep.11,"Apples Galore" ,where their hoist and ladders were put to good use gathering in the apple harvest for Lord Belborough.
A somewhat strange decision.
Unless it was thought that they were simply too synonymous with Trumpton and/or they'd had enough exposure already.
Flack emerges via the side door,blows his whistle,shouts the immortal "Pugh,Pugh,Barney McGrew,Cuthbert,Dibble and Grubb" roll call,they all get on board and off they go.
The fireman sequence started the same way in all 13 episodes -as shown in the photos below.
Captain Flack takes the call for help and flips the little white switch on his board (hidden in pic).The alarm bell sounds,the concertina fire station doors open by folding back on themselves and the firemen slide down the pole.
The subsequent scene that includes Flack emerging through the Fire Station door,taking the roll call and them all driving to their destination was basically the same unchanged,stock footage that appears in every Trumpton episode,
The only major deviation was in the episode called "Cuthbert's Morning Off" where,as the title would suggest,Cuthbert wasn't physically present at all and Flack's famous roll call was abbreviated to "Pugh,Pugh,Barney McGrew,Dibble and Grubb".
That episode was also notable because it was the only time that anyone other than Cuthbert went up in the hoist -Flack leading from the front and filling-in himself.
But,that episode aside,the only tweek made to that roll call/call-out footage was that you'd occasionally see a different by-stander as they drove by.
If,like a lot of young fans,you watched repeat after repeat it did indeed get very "samey".
But it was simply an easy way to cut animating time and save money.And never let it be forgotten that they were working on a shoestring budget.
AVideo Bonus to finish ............
A clip of a typical call-out.
From the initial phone call for help...the roll call....right through to the completion of the task.