Life in Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley



My fellow Brits of a certain age may remember the TV children's programmes Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley. They first aired on the BBC in 1967 so I'm guessing only a few of you have heard of them.

  

For you young whippersnappers who can't even remember Farrah Fawcett’s hair in Charlie’s Angels, they were animated shows set in the three eponymous villages.

  

Of course it was an idealised version of life in - I suppose - the 1950s. After all there was no need to scare children to death with stories of drugs, sex and rock and roll, even if such shenanigans were going on in some parts of the country.

 

The Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley residents had to deal with crises like a shortage of flour or a swarm of bees, not the problem of skunk being sold in the school playground.

 

Episodes had hard-hitting titles like Cuthbert’s Morning Off, so you can imagine not much vandalism, wife swapping or glue-sniffing in the park went on.

  

There was even a village policeman, PC McGarry, keeping everyone in order. There was Chippy Minton the carpenter, Mrs Cobbit the florist,  Mickey Murphy the baker and Windy Miller  who ran the working mill, to name but a few of the characters.


The village where I live once bore a resemblance to Camberwick Green and Trumpton. We had a shop, a butcher's, a hairdresser’s and a full-time post office. All those are long gone.

  

But after my initial reaction of anger at losing one more village service came a feeling of guilt. After all, how often did I use the village shops? I bank online and I do a lot of shopping online.  I rarely buy a stamp. If I do, I get it from the supermarket.

 

Until recently I worked 25 miles away from my village so it was easier to get everything I needed in the supermarket near my office rather than make a special effort on a Saturday to use local suppliers.

  

There are a lot of people like me in the village so I guess I am part of the collective guilt for rural areas losing their services.

  

Now I work from home, I would really value those shops - but it's too late.  At least there are still plenty of local tradespeople like plumbers, carpenters and builders. And my village is still a pleasant place to live with very little crime. And for that I am truly thankful.



✋ 80s band Half Man Half Biscuit politicised the programmes with the legendary Trumpton Riots, which you can find on Youtube if  you want to hear it (I personally wouldn't recommend it!) Here are the lyrics:


Unemployment’s rising in the Chigley end of town
And it’s spreading like pneumonia,
Doesn’t look like going down.
There’s trouble at the fire station, someone’s had the sack
And the lads are going to launch a scheme to get rid of Captain Flack.
Tell PC McGarry to get himself a mate
And arm themselves with CS gas,
They’re gonna be out late.
We’ve had cant conformism since 1966
And now subversion’s in the air in the shape of flying bricks.

Someone get a message through to Captain Snort
That they’d better start assembling the boys from the fort
And keep Mrs Honeyman right out of sight
‘Cos there’s gonna be a riot down in Trumpton tonight.

All this aristocracy has really got to stop
We can overthrow the surgery and kidnap Dr Mopp
And Chippy Minton’s Socialists could storm the Market Square
And make plans to assassinate our autocratic Mayor.
Windy Militant leads his Basque-like corn grinders to war
With windmill sails and bombs with nails they smash the town hall door
But Snorty and his boys arrive with one big erstwhile crew
Whereupon they bring about a military coup


 

 



 

 

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4 comments:

  1. Oh, those shows might be such a tonic today or maybe the opposite and make us depressed that they are now days fiction. Kind of like our old Andy Griffith's shows. Sigh.

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  2. There's something nostalgic about the shows we watched as children. Our shows in the US were different from yours.

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  3. Oh! I like Half Man Half Biscuit now that you introduced me. ~grin~ Happy Holidays!

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