Trumpton had the onerous task of following Camberwick Green- a show that was not only hugely successful,but ground-breakingly original as well.
So,no pressure then !
And it first hit our screens exactly one year later on Jan.3rd 1967 in the same Watch With Mother slot.
Whilst they couldn't hope to repeat Camberwick's intial "wow" factor,you'll be very hard-pushed to find anyone who thought Trumpton was any less absorbing.Delivering a completely new cast of characters,new locations and new songs. And yet all done in a way that still felt reassuringly familiar.
In short,another monster hit and 13 more iconic episodes.Which was great news for all concerned of course.
In fact the only real downside is that it ultimately turned out to be Trumptonshire's geographical high water mark,as the 3rd installment proved you can only reinvent yourself so many times.
But more about Chigley elsewhere.And let's take a trip around good old Trumpton Town .........
Unlike Camberwick,this 4th side of the square isn't totally unseen.
Although we do only see the left hand corner,with housing extending from the street alongside the Greengrocers and into the Square.
The Greengrocers: There's only one scene in a store room,which is basically the Minton kitchen set,stripped bare with some crates of veg on the floor and a table and phone.
So minimalist,in fact,that it's really not worth posting a pic........so I haven't.
2a[below]The Printers: The only room we get to see is the front room,accessed directly via the front door,which houses the printing machine.
The Town Hall: 3 seperate sets used here.
3a The Mayor's office is the main one and gets used a lot.
3b The Town Hall attic and 3c The Clock Tower interior do also get shown,although only in a single episode apiece
4a The Hat Shop: As with the Print Shop,the front room is all we're shown.It houses a rather sparse selection of headgear and it's a wonder she could afford the lease.But,as ever we can put such worldly concerns to one side.
5a The Clock Shop: It's the same pattern here as with the Munnings/Lovelace establishments.ie.shop floor access only. Although we are also shown the back yard where he keeps his pigeon loft - 5b
Locations outside The Town Square
Trumpton Park is a well-used location because it includes various useful storyline components.
All of which are shown here:-
Pic 1 Shows the famous bandstand featured at the end of every episode.So here's a rare off duty moment.
Pic 2 has the duckpond,that Cuthbert falls in to (with what looks like tissue paper doubling as water.)
Pic 3 is the toolshed that Raggy Dan unwisely uses as a temporary store.
Pic 4 shows the greenhouse,prior to the chimney demolition by the fire brigade (who else ?)
Pic 5 The Mintons residence is to the left,with Mrs.Cobbit's to the right.
The only internal shot we get to see of either is the Minton kitchen Pic 6.And we're also shown the Minton's carpentry workshop.Pic 7 -although it's never made clear whether it's the green lean-to in pic 5.And as we never get to see the back of the house it's clearly possible that it isn't.Bit big for an outside privvy though !
The Fire Station
Pic 8 Base camp for the best remembered Trumpton characters.
Pic 9 With the main doors open we get to see the gang make their entrance down the pole,and their solitary tender.
Pic 10 The only other internal view we're given is the control room -although it's never referred to as such.But it's where Captain Flack takes all the calls (usually from The Mayor),and flicks the switch to sound the alarm.
For all the Trumpton characters and their songs please continue on to the Trumpton Pt2 page
Opening Title Sequence thoughts
If it were me .......ok,dream on !....... I'd have faded straight into the episode when the clock tower figures disappear back inside and the doors slide shut,and not bothered with the rest of it.
I realise the subsequent bit was there to signify the town waking up and springing into life,but you could've got that across by some additional dialogue during the clock bit -maybe something like "It's 9 o'clock and everyone at Trumpton is getting ready to begin a new day......."
It's hardly coincidental that those chiming figures and Brian's little speech are the only bits most people remember.
And the rest of it simply felt repetitive and rather superfluous with nothing to specifically lead you into that particular episode.
Obviously everything gets boring if you watch it often enough,but I do remember finding it tedious after only a few episodes.Whereas the Camberwick music box always gave you that element of surprise....even after 20 repeat viewings !
All of which only goes to prove that you're never too young to be a critic. But when you set the bar as high as that Camberwick opening then you're almost on a hiding-to-nothing before you even start.
Which is a polite way of saying "the only way is down" I suppose.
But let's accentuate the positives here (itisTrumptonshire after all !)
Camberwick's opening was a classic.And Trumpton had a great first bit upto and including the clock tower sequence.
And most series would kill for that kind of initial impact.
The set-up here is similar to Camberwick,apart from the fact that Trumpton is a town and not a small village or hamlet.
So instead of a "Green" we get a "market square",which acts as the hub,with a small handful of satellite sites dotted around outside for added interest.
The square is dominated by the Town Hall,with a statue of Queen Victoria in front of it.
And there are 2 shops flanking it on each side with the fourth side largely unseen as that's effectively where we the viewers sit.
What strikes you most is the rather odd mix of shops -ie.a greengrocer,a printer,a hat shop and a clock shop.
Presumably chosen for the storylines they could offer and their variance from the ones' found in Camberwick,rather than what they could offer the poor old inhabitants.Although in their scripts,messrs Murray & Prince do reassuringly mention some more basic amenities that we never actually get to see.And more on them later.
So,let's start with the Square,and I've put them on the page roughly where they appear on screen.
Locations mentioned...........but never actually shown
This was a very quick and easy way of building up a visual picture of the community without ever having to take the time to model them of course.So the following get mentioned in dispatches:-
In the Rag and Bone Man episode,the Mayor informs us that he has "to open the new children's ward at the "Trumpton Hospital".Although that's slightly confusing,because later on he says he'd like the rocking horse at the centre of the storyline "for the children's ward of the new Trumpton Hospital".
Call continuity quick !
Anyhow,it's reassuring to know that Doc Mopp wasn't the only option in Trumptonshire,despite his apparent ability to "cure all ills"
Also in the same episode,Raggy Dan mentions that the Cottages (the Minton/Cobbit semi's) are "out on the Oakridge Road" And still in that same episode,Mr.Craddock makes mention of "the Bank".
A further spin on the Oakridge road location comes in the Pigeons episode,when Mrs.Cobbit walks a very short distance from her house and finds "the Lane" blocked.
It leads to the Market Square.But whether it's either a continuation of the Oakridge Road,or simply "off" it isn't made clear.
In the Mr.Platt & the Painter episode,the Mayor tells Troop that "I shall be late for my bazaar".Which follows on from the reference by Mrs.Honeyman in Camberwick to a "church bazaar".So clearly there is a God in Trumptonshire,but in the absence of a church he just moves in elusive ways.
In the Pumber episode,the Mayor again proves useful by telling us "I'm just off to inspect the Gasworks".
Presumably methane-powered courtesy of Farmer Bell ? [his livestock,not him personally of course.]
In the Pigeons episode,Mr.Platt gives us a double -"I'm taking them (pigeons) to the Station (rail) as soon as the Bus comes."
And once again the Mayor comes up trumps when he's talking to Mr.Bolt in the Telephones episode,as we're told...... "..we've had some complaints about the lights in George Street."
Thanks for that Mr.Mayor,and as soon as you get some street signs made we'll all know where that is exactly.Not that there's any apparent street lighting either come to think of it -except in George Street of course.
But the award for the most references in this category goes to.............Mr.Troop.
And he also delivers them with less sleight of hand than the rest because they're all contained in his song.
So we can add a Library,Swimming Baths,Waterworks and a Youth Club to the mix
Presumably the same swimming baths used by the Pippin Forter's ?
All of which goes to prove that Trumpton was indeed supposed to be quite a reasonably-sized town.
In comparison to the village of Camberwick,and the hamlet of Chigley.
And that ends this first look at Trumpton ........
Left ( and in close-up below ) Middle Right ( and in close-up below )
Pic 3 = The Town Hall
Pic 2 = Mr.Munning's Printers Pic 4 = Miss Lovelace's Hat Shop