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A Trumptonshire Degree

Do you fancy taking a degree in the subject of Trumptonshire ? Katy Brier did.

OK, it wasn't actually a degree in Trumptonshire, but she did get a BA in "Theatre, Film, TV and Literature" at the Univeristy College of Ripon and York St. John in York. As part of her studies she wrote a serious dissertation which examines how the Trumptonshire trilogy and other children's programmes effect children.

Katy's dissertation which you can read below helped her get a 2:1 grade, so well done Katy.


What are the moral, social, rural and traditional values demonstrated in children’s television, with particular reference to the "Trumptonshire Trilogy", and how does this positive or negative ideology effect the viewer?

Here is a box, a musical box…

The arrival of Camberwick Green and a history of children’s television.

Children’s television has a special place in many of our hearts. Almost everyone has a favourite series, characters and story lines still play an important part in many a pub discussion. It must be admitted that I am a child of the "He-Man" and "She-Ra" Generation where American cartoons were dominant in the schedule. However, my memories of children’s television also include the likes of "Play School", "Bagpuss", "Terrahawks" and the Trumptonshire repeats. Like many children grew up with Windy Miller and Farmer Bell’s rivalry and an in-built curiosity about Chigley’s tiny biscuit factory as well as the ability to complete the Trumpton Fire Brigade roll call. This fascination with the programmes of my childhood has prompted me to study these programmes with a critical eye, in order to establish the effect they may have had on my understanding of the world. 

The "Trumptonshire Trilogy" are three separate television series; "Camberwick Green", first broadcast by the BBC in January 1966, "Trumpton" from January 1967 and "Chigley" from October 1969. All three are set in the fictitious English county of Trumptonshire. The programmes were created by Gordon Murray, animated by Bura and Hardwick and narrated by Brian Cant with music and songs composed by Freddie Phillips. Each series had its own cast but the characters did overlap. However, to fully understand how Trumptonshire fits into our children’s television heritage we have to go back to the beginning of children’s broadcasting and the formulation of its audience. 

One of the first commitments made by John Reith when he became General Manager of the BBC in 1922, was to children, The commitment of the BBC was to public service, giving the public what they need. Even in its earliest days John Reith saw the potential for education using broadcasting. He aimed to present a unified Britain and saw his role within the corporation as a moral crusade to provide programmes that supported his values. The Reithian theory was to promote national, social, democratic and religious integration. This philosophy reached across all programmes and still is central to the BBC’s broadcasting policy. The BBC Charter still contains their traditional remit as a public service broadcaster, the mission to 

"inform, educate and entertain" (McIntyre,Ian; The Experience of Glory; Harper Collins, 1993.) "Children’s Hour" was one of the earliest programmes to be broadcast on radio. Despite this, there were no designated children’s programmes on television until the BBC resumed service after the Second World War, in 1946. These programmes were instigated by Mary Adams, Head of Talks-Television and were transmitted live on Sunday afternoons. This Sunday afternoon time slot varied in length and was called either "Children’s Hour" or "For The Children", until 1950 when it was finally decided to stick with the one name, "For The Children". It was in 1950 that the BBC began broadcasting specifically for pre-school children. In 1942 Derek McCulloch, director of "Children's Hour" stated that three to five year olds could not be "catered for deliberately." (cited in Bazalgette & Buckingham; In Front of the Children BFI; 1995)

The problem that the BBC had with the pre-school audience was that it could not conceive what their requirements would be. The BBC could not fit them into any category at all and this was the reason for the lack of regular programming. This did not mean that these children did not watch the television or listen to the radio, only that there was no specific programming made for them. But 1950 saw the 

"invention of this small audience for broadcasters and within the institution of broadcasting… It is in this sense that the pre-school television audience is not natural, but created" (Oswell; cited in Bazalgette & Buckingham; In Front of the Children; BFI, 1995) The creation of this audience instigated the rise of a group of programmes predominated by puppets of varying descriptions. These programmes caused some concern about the effect they may have on the child within the home environment, because of this a panel of experts, representing the Ministry of Education, the Institute of Child Development and the Nursery Schools Association were called in along with various child psychologists. It was decided that the watching these programmes should not be publicised as something for children to do on their own but rather with an adult; and so "Watch With Mother" was born. 

Puppets and animation have always been an important part of children’s television, especially in the 1950’s, with stars such as "Muffin the Mule", "Andy Pandy" (along with Teddy and Looby Loo of course) in 1950, "Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men" in 1952. "The Woodentops", with their Spotty Dog (operated by Gordon Murray) and cleaner Mrs Scrubbit joined "Watch with Mother" in 1955. Gordon Murray worked in the BBC Children’s Department in the 1950’s and created and produced the puppet series "Rubovia Legends". Rubovia consisted of well known stories and new plays brought to life by a cast of marionettes. 

In 1964 the Children’s Department merged with Women’s Programmes to form Family Programmes. It was at this stage that Gordon Murray left the BBC as he suddenly found himself:

"at a meeting entirely surrounded by arguing women which was most unpleasant and as my contract with the BBC was due for renewal I decided to leave" (Quicksilver Magazine; http:\\, 2001) This amalgamation had serious repercussions for children’s television. The new head of department was Doreen Stephens, who had experience of Women’s Programmes but "was not particularly enamoured of taking over a department which included children’s programmes" (Home, Anna; Into the Box of Delights; BBC Books, 1993) However it was during her time in as Controller of Family Programmes that the "unfashionable" announcer linking all programmes was cut. Also it was during Ms Stephens time in this role when the early "Blue Peter" really became established using the logo designed by Tony Hart and "Play School", "Vision On", "Jackanory", "The Magic Roundabout" and "Camberwick Green" were first broadcast. 

When Doreen Stephens and Joy Whitby (the creator of "Play School") left the BBC in 1967, the Children’s Department reformed. Monica Sims was appointed the new head of Children’s Programming after being persuaded away from Woman’s Hour on Radio 4. She was head of the department from 1967 to 1978 and during this time children’s broadcasting developed and expanded and once again drama and light entertainment programmes were made within the department, and children’s programming expanded and developed time slots on both Saturday mornings and afternoons. Monica Sims 

"believed passionately that the child audience deserved the best possible service and she, like her predecessors fought hard to increase the range of programming and the BBC’s investment in it" (Home, Anna; Into the Box of Delights; BBC Books, 1993) Between 1967 and 1978 the other Trumptonshire series, "Trumpton" (1967) and "Chigley" (1969) were first screened, Morph made his first appearance on "Take Hart" (1977), the children’s news programme "John Craven’s Newsround" (1972) earned an important place in the schedule as did "The Flumps" (1967), "The Clangers" (1969) "The Wombles" (1973) and "Bagpuss" (1974).

With stop motion animation firmly established, the next two decades brought many new comers onto the small screen. "Postman Pat" arrived into the nation’s affections in 1981, "Bertha" in 1985, "Joshua Jones" in 1992, and later still "Fireman Sam" and "Bob the Builder". All these programmes follow a tradition in British television started by Gordon Murray in the creation of Trumptonshire. Until the arrival of "Camberwick Green" in 1966, (with the exception of "The Woodentops"), children’s animation used strange creatures in strange lands. "Camberwick Green" was the first to be set in a naturalistic community with human characters. 

At this time there were a number of children’s animation companies, often affiliated with specific television channels. Bura and Hardwick, the puppeteers behind Trumptonshire also made a number of "Watch With Mother" and "Words and Pictures" programmes, including "Rubovia Legends" as well as "Captain Pugwash". Bura and Hardwick are credited with pioneering "Stop Motion" animation, and that term is the registered trademark of their company. 

This technique is also known as "stop-frame" and is also credited to Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. These animators are responsible for some of the best loved children’s animations "Pogles Wood", "The Clangers" and "Bagpuss". 

Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall formed the Cosgrove Hall production company in 1971, Cosgrove Hall was a part of Thames Television. As well as model animations such as "The Wind In The Willows" (ITV 1984-88) they also worked in cell animation and created "Dangermouse" (1981) and "Count Duckula" (1988). 

The company which predominantly worked for Central Television was called FilmFair, founded by Graham Clutterbuck. This was the company that made "The Herbs" in 1968 and "The Wombles" in 1973. It was from this company (and work with Serge Danot on "The Magic Roundabout") that Ivor Wood emerged to create the outstanding "Postman Pat". It is very easy to draw similarities between this programme and Trumptonshire, through characters, settings and plot lines. 

Using Trumptonshire as an example I aim to explore the various messages and values highlighted in children’s television. I intend to discuss the effect the style of animation has on the overall programme, the use of narrator as well as the messages delivered through use of both character and story. Despite the fact that both children's broadcasting and animation have come a long way since the days of "Camberwick Green", I feel it is still relevant as many of today’s children's animations use the same principles. 

The Ideology of Magnetic Shoes

Use of animation and its effect on the ideology of the programme. What messages does the animation reinforce?

Puppets have formed a prominent part of children's television from its beginning. The early puppets were operated by strings, for example "Muffin the Mule" and "The Woodentops". "Camberwick Green", "Trumpton" and "Chigley" were filmed using Stop Motion animation. It was not the first children's programme to use this technique but the concept was still in its infancy and therefore the animators had to learn from mistakes and experience with each company developing its own style. Stop Motion arrived on televisions in the mid sixties pioneered by the likes of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin ("Pogle’s Wood", "Bagpuss", "The Clangers"). Stop Motion is created through taking a single still picture then moving either the subject or the camera by a small amount, taking another still and so on. When the film is played back it shows a moving image. It is the use of this technique by the animators, Bura and Hardwick, that gave the characters their distinctive walk, "almost as if they are wearing magnetic shoes." (Evans, http:\\, 2001)

The puppets were designed and made by Gordon Murray as he created the first series. However they were reconstructed by the Bura and Hardwick to allow for the joints which were needed for the filming process. Each puppet was about 18cm tall, with a head made from a Ping-Pong ball. 

Most of the characters have no mouth, except when they are shouting or whistling, to distinguish which character is "speaking" they wave and nod. The lack of mouths was very useful for the animators as it gave them one less part of each puppet to move. Each episode required 11 minutes of new footage and this took 4 to 5 weeks to make. Due to the technology at the time the animators could not see what they had filmed until it had been processed much later. But due to the skill of the animators they were often able to shoot a 2 minute 30 second reel of film, in story-line sequence, so accurately that no editing was required. 

I believe that the style of animation was central to the programme’s success. Imagine how different "Camberwick Green" would be had it been made using cell animation, or acted out by people as a drama. The choice of animation dictated the style of the programme. It is widely agreed that the form of a production, be it theatre, film or television, directly effects the content. 

"This relates it to what it does rather than what it is or what it shows." (Fiske; Television Culture; Methuen, 1987) Therefore the simple definition of the Trumptonshire series as a young children's puppet series, creates certain expectations from the viewer. The form of a puppet series, like any other fictional story makes certain demands on its audience, for example the suspension of disbelief. On watching this type of programme the viewer enters into a contract where they agree to accept what they see as true. Despite the use of puppets in constructed settings the audience suspends their disbelief and therefore will not question what they see as different from reality; but rather enter into the world of the programme and note its content rather than its form. 

The use of puppets set many of the parameters of the programme. Because of the size of the cast, there were over seventy named characters across three series as well as numerous extras, a narrator was the best solution to the problem of story-telling. Brian Cant was used to tell the audience what the characters say to one another and commentate on the action.

The use of a narrator has various effects on the overall programme content. The narrator tells the story, explains how characters feel, and gives reasons for events that the characters cannot. He can also talk to the characters and they respond directly to him and the audience. The use of a narrator directly effects the ideological emphasis of the programme as he is able to comment on the action, for example it is through the narrator that we learn that the residents of Camberwick Green often feel trapped by Mrs Honeyman talking to them. Through the voice of the narrator the values and morals of the script writers are enhanced. Therefore it is the ideologies of the production team that are demonstrated within the programme. 

"This structural mix of ideological, social and personal values …… does not reflect the unity of the self but rather the diversity of social experience, and which discourages any identification between a unified spectator and an individualised character." (Fiske; Television Culture; TJ Press, 1987) The structure of the Trumptonshire programmes, using a narrator and puppets, is a good example of this theory as it is through the narrator that the audience get to know the characters, thus creating a distance between them and the viewer. However many fans of the programme had their favourite character, even if they could not identify directly with them, but rather admired or aspired to their role in the society which was shown. 

This demonstrates that despite the apparent lack of characters which the target audience would be able to relate to they were still effected by the story and became attached to certain characters. This shows that no matter what the programme and its target audience there is always something of significance to be gained. 

"there is no play and no theatrical performance which does not affect the dispositions and conceptions of the audience… art is never without consequence" (Brecht, cited in Storey; An Introduction to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture; Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1997) Many people agree with this standpoint as far as television is concerned and this is the reason for many of the debates as to programme suitability for children. It also shows how television always effects the audience in some small way even if it is only to make a four year old child want to become a fireman. 

Children's Stop Motion animation was changed to some extent by the arrival of "Camberwick Green". The use of stop motion puppets performing as real people with real problems and had not been tried before and can be seen as a great success as it has been emulated ever since. The use of puppets in this way makes the portrayal of everyday situations more possible as the characters are supposed to be actual people. The use of puppets effected the ideology of the programmes because through their use the idealised setting became more believable and therefore the stories became more captivating as the audience could enter the world of the production.

Miller, Milkman, Soldier, Sweep, Policeman, Fireman, Rag and Bone Man… Thief?

Characterisation and value reinforcement in Trumptonshire.

The Trumptonshire programmes are in essence all about socialisation, 

"the process whereby the helpless infant gradually becomes a self aware, knowledgeable person, skilled in the ways of the culture into which they were born." (Giddens, A; Sociology; 1997.) they aim to show the viewer the world and develop ideas and concepts of what is right and what is wrong as well as basic teaching principals. The programmes do this through use of character, as shown in this chapter and through story-lines, discussed in chapter three. Although many characters show various points of view and perpetuate different lifestyles, most of the morals and practical advises are shown through story-line rather than character. 

One of the most important issues within Trumptonshire is the role of the individual in society. The characters all have a part to play in the mechanics of their town or village. This can be seen as part of the theory of the sociologist George Mead. He saw human interaction as being capable of both creating their environment as well as being affected by it. The theory relates to Trumptonshire because through each individual’s actions and those of other characters they are all able to live in their idealised environment. 

"Individuals initiate and direct their own action while at the same time being influenced by the attitudes and expectations of others……the individual and society are regarded as inseparable" (Haralambos & Holborn; Sociology, Themes and Perspectives Fourth Edition; Harper Collins, 1995) Trumptonshire was created as a utopia, a place where despite small problems with the telephone system, bees near the bakery and the great walnut cake mix up everything always turns out alright in the end because everyone works together. This creates a positive ideology and therefore delivers positive messages to the audience about co-operation and support. When the characters interrelate there is never anything more than friendly rivalry to disturb the peace, and peace is very important to the inhabitants of Trumptonshire.

A vital facet to each character in Trumptonshire is their career, and every character is introduced by their name and their job, for example Mickey Murphy the Baker or Mr Crockett the Garage Man. Their job was vital to their character and there was someone to help with everything that could happen. The importance and foregrounding of the career in my opinion is a very significant aspect of the programme and the messages it gives out to its young audience. An important example of this can be seen in "Trumpton" when the fire brigade put up posters advertising their band concert. They promptly were in trouble for putting them up in the wrong places and so they call in the professional, Nick Fisher the bill poster who emphasises the point that certain jobs should be left to the experts. 

Through watching a programme such as "Camberwick Green", "Trumpton" or "Chigley" it can be seen that the value of a job, whatever that job may be, is central to the lives of its characters. This gives the impression to the audience that their career will be central to their lives as an adult. It is also interesting to note that many children gain information about careers from television. 

"actual choice of job or career path may … be shaped by the degree of visibility particular occupations attain in the public sphere, particularly through the mass media. The potential role television might play in this regard is illustrated by the finding that teenagers cite television as a source of occupational information" (Gunter & McAleer; Children and Television Second Edition; Routledge, 1997) An interesting aspect of the Trumptonshire website was where it asked for feedback from viewers of the series as to whether their choice of career could be connected to their favourite character. Despite a large number of replies stating no obvious connection between the favourite character and future career some parallels were made. For example one reply states that his favourite character was Sergeant Major Grout and that he later became a soldier, another related a connection between a liking for Mr Munnings the printer to becoming a Journalist. (The Trumptonshire Web;, 2001)

All the occupations within "Camberwick Green" are of a practical nature and make the village virtually self-sufficient. Windy grinds the corn, bread and walnut cakes are made by Mickey Murphy. Farmer Bell and Windy both provide eggs and milk, to be delivered by Thomas Tripp the milkman. Mr Carraway’s Fishmongers backs onto a stream where they go fishing. Dr Mopp can cure any medical problems, and Mr Crockett deals with car repairs and the like at his garage. Communications are taken care of by Mrs Dingle the postmistress and Peter Hazel the Postman and of course Mrs Honeyman the ultimate gossip. However if any problems do arise the "big friendly policeman" PC McGarry or the fearless soldier boys from Pippin Fort are bound to save the day. 

In many programmes for children, children are the principle characters and the focus of the story, therefore creating roles with which the viewer can empathise. In "Camberwick Green", "Trumpton" and "Chigley" this is not the case. There are approximately four children in Trumptonshire. Mary and Paddy Murphy (and Baby Honeyman) live in Camberwick Green and Winnie Farthing in Chigley. Out of these, Paddy had an episode of Camberwick Green about him and Winnie always rode on Lord Belborough’s steam train, Bessie. Mary on the other hand was never centre of attention, except when Windy waved to her causing himself to be accidentally lifted up by a helicopter, but she was often in the background with Paddy, neither contributing much to the story-line. I believe that the reason for few child characters was because as Richard Evans describes the programmes on the Trumptonshire web site;

"the Trumptonshire programmes were all about the jobs people did". (The Trumptonshire Web; 2000)

and as children tend not to have jobs they were not central to the story-lines. The exception being Paddy who helped Thomas Tripp the Milkman on Saturdays, and was therefore given his own episode. 

As well as a shortage of children there was also a shortage of female characters and these tended to have small roles. Mrs Honeyman was the only female character to be given her own episode in the "Camberwick Green" series. She is the village gossip and all the other characters acknowledge this, usually when they get stuck talking to her and the narrator sympathises with their predicament. Mrs Honeyman was never seen without Baby. If Mrs Honeyman had been the only female character then her being the village gossip could give the message that all women do is gossip. However as the few other female characters are very restrained when it comes to gossip, it is my opinion that Mrs Honeyman represents all people who gossip, rather than all women. There always was one other characteristic central to Mrs Honeyman which drew the audiences attention, where was Mr Honeyman? He may have run the Chemists shop but he was never seen, nor was the shop, even when he should have been available to look after Baby in the Captain Snort episode. This caused a great deal of speculation amongst the viewers as they got older and the general opinion was that Mr Honeyman may have been talked to death; although as no-one in the village ever seemed to be that worried about him, he may have simply been a very busy man. 

As for the other female characters, Dora Minton (Chippy’s wife) is the only one who does not have a job, but all the others work, mostly running their own businesses. Mrs Dingle runs the Post Office, Mrs Murphy works in the Bakery, Mrs Cobbitt sells flowers in Trumpton Town Square and Miss Lovelace owns Trumpton’s hat shop. Most of the female characters are independent individuals which they have in common with the male characters and this reinforces the message that no one has to be co-dependent.

Dr Mopp reinforced a number of stereotypes associated with being a doctor, not that all doctors look like Abraham Lincoln and wear a top hat, but they are reliable, dependable and trustworthy. He was a responsible, upstanding member of the community. He represented the intellectual element, was often asked for advice and could cure anything. Every character showed the positive angle of their chosen career and Dr Mopp was no exception. Even though some of his advice was rather strange, for example "look out for painters when you park your baby" (Camberwick Green; "Doctor Mopp" 1966)

Windy Miller and Farmer Jonathan Bell created the only feud in Trumptonshire. They both had extreme ideas and neither would compromise. Windy Miller was a traditionalist with many strange ideas and superstitions. On the other hand Farmer Bell was arguably the most forward thinking of all the characters, he owned a "modern mechanical farm" (Farmer Bell’s Song Camberwick Green; "Farmer Jonathan Bell" 1966) and always wanted the newest technology. This was the basic argument between the two and in various episodes they compete against one another. What is so interesting about these confrontations was that Windy won, thus reinforcing traditional rural values by saying that the traditional way of doing things is better. 

But the confrontation between contemporary and traditional values cannot be discussed without mentioning Mr Dagenham, the Salesman. Mr Dagenham appeared in Camberwick Green and Chigley in his red sports car, the epitome of a city-boy and as his theme song states: 

" Our Mr Dagenham he can sell anything, anything, anything money can buy" (Camberwick Green; "Mr Dagenham, the salesman" 1966)  This pretty much sums up the capabilities of the character. He is a definite outsider, almost an anachronism (and he owns a helicopter). He does not appear to fit into the time period in which "Camberwick Green" is set, although this time is very had to define. The ambiguity of the time frame made it possible for the likes of Mr Dagenham to mix with the solider boys from Pippin Fort in their Napoleonic garb without so much as a blink of the audience’s eye. The reason that there is no need for a specific time period is that a young audience is willing to suspend its disbelief without questioning anything that might be seen as unusual. 

The community is served in "Camberwick Green" by the soldier boys of Pippin Fort. These soldiers may not be prepared for battle, but they are willing to serve the community (in anyway they can) thus reinforcing the positive ideology at the centre of Trumptonshire life. The soldier boys in Camberwick Green fulfilled a similar role to that of the Trumpton Fire Brigade. If ever man power was needed to whistle for the wind, build a temporary shop because of bees near the bakery or just to lend a hand with various small emergencies, Captain Snort would give the word and Privates Lumley, Meek, Armitage, Featherby, Higgins and Hopwood would answer the call to action. The soldier boys showed the viewer that it was not necessary to be an adult to help others or to be relied upon. Between them they taught the viewer a number of things, not least what problems can be caused if you do not learn to tell your left from your right. 

Trumpton was different to Camberwick Green in its atmosphere at least, after all it was the county town and a certain amount of bustle was required. There was more structure to life in Trumpton, the Mayor would buy a flower for his buttonhole from Mrs Cobbitt then something disastrous would occur and the fire brigade would come to the rescue and then entertain the populous with a band concert in the park. 

Most of the "Trumpton" episodes focused around a particular resident and his occupation. Many characters are introduced to star in just the one episode. But the regular cast appears in all of them. 

The Trumpton equivalent to the soldier boys, the fire brigade, were similar in their ability to answer the call to action, except they had to answer it in every episode. They were able to put the crown back on the statue of Queen Victoria in the square and rescue the Mayor’s hat from a tree, but they only ever had one potential fire. That potential was enough for Captain Flack to nearly have heart failure. The Trumpton fire brigade were the best publicity the fire service could have hoped for;

"subliminally, this weekly scene made firefighting seem as though it was the best of professions, one where could be a hero during every shift and everybody in society admired you." (Jeffries, Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy Flamingo, 2001.) "Chigley" brought with it more characters with even more contrasts. More industrial than Camberwick Green or Trumpton this small hamlet housed a stately home, a biscuit factory, and a pottery as well as a railway and a canal. Wingstead Hall, the residence of Lord Belborough, who through hard times has had to open to the public and give rides on his beloved steam train Bessie. Bessie’s usual destination is Treddles Warf to collect various packages brought along the canal. Mr Cresswell owns the biscuit factory and it is his workers that stop on the sound of the six o’clock whistle and dance to the music of Lord Belborough’s Dutch Organ. Mr Farthing is the potter and a single parent. 

The characters in "Chigley" do not live in such a close community as in the other series but the same messages are there, everyone has a job and a role to play within society and everyone respects one another and works together for the common good. 

Every character was a walking, (albeit with what looked like magnetic boots) talking, (waving and nodding) advertisement for their particular job. Thus aiding in the creation of this utopic county, everyone had complete job satisfaction.

However, it can be argued that giving children a view of a perfect world does them more harm than good and that Gordon Murray’s idyllic piece of England is not what the young audience need. Rather that plots should more closely reflect reality so as not to encourage children into thinking that the world is really like that. To this Gordon Murray responded in a way with which I fully concur by saying 

" some people throw their children in at the deep end of the swimming bath at an early age and say "swim". You know, that’s the way to learn. Hard things are coming to you. I don't believe in that. I believe that you must protect your children while they are children far as long as possible, from this dreadful world we’re living in." (The Trumptonshire Web;, 2001)
A fire? A real fire? Are you sure?

The reinforcement of norms and values through Trumptonshire storylines. 

Various investigations have been carried out into the development of moral values in children. These offer some explanations as to how children internalise the standards of behaviour and values of the society in which they are brought up. Internalisation is the procedure by which these moral concepts 

"become a part of one’s own motive system and guide behaviour, even in the absence of pressure from others" (Malim & Birch; Introductory Psychology; Macmillan Press, 1998) The average child spends approximately 20.8 hours per week watching television (Radio Times Review of the Nation Survey, Radio Times 1-7 September 2001). This is about 12.5% of their time. Using this information it is possible to presume that television has a prominent influence on children, and that they will take away a number of the messages delivered by the programmes which they watch. Although there are a number of concepts as to how a child’s sense of morality develops, one of the bodies of research suggests that both conventional morality and moral principles increase with age and mental development. Through using this theory, developed by the philosopher Piaget and data gathered by Kohlberg to expand the same idea (Hilgard & Atkinson Introduction to Psychology Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967) it is possible to assume that this moral development will also increase with social experience. This experience can be gained from various life situations and also through observation of other people, possibly through watching situations develop on television.  "Television is arguably the biggest influence, after parents and school, on how children see the world." (Thomas, cited in Donnellan; Television & Censorship; Independence, 1996) Most children’s television programmes, especially those for young children aim, in some small way, to educate the viewer in the ways of society; to promote a sense of right and wrong and to demonstrate socially acceptable behaviour.  "This is because the behaviour in which human beings are engaged is underpinned by beliefs, values, ideas, purposes and goals. Societies are characterised……by complex……networks of relationships……but there are also important shared cultural norms and values……Thus people work out their lives individually and collectively by drawing on shared ideas about what is desirable and undesirable, appropriate and inappropriate, good and bad, right and wrong." (Bilton et al; Introductory Sociology Third Edition; Macmillan Press, 1997) There are many examples of this outside of Trumptonshire; for instance in "Fireman Sam" there is a character, Norman, who always demonstrates the wrong thing to do. Norman makes hoax calls to the fire brigade, sabotages various inventions of Sam’s and is always in trouble. As well as entertaining the audience, this character is used to demonstrate unacceptable behaviour and he always get his comeuppance. As well as emphasising certain "universal" values such as the difference between right and wrong, children's programmes often attempt to also give advice on issues such as personal safety. 

Gordon Murray created Trumptonshire as a utopia and as such nothing really went wrong. Many of the ideals within the series are made more prominent through various story-lines. Some of the more prominent ideas explored are the importance of democracy and interpersonal harmony. Despite this there is conflict between traditional and contemporary values across all three series with various ideals being embodied by specific characters. These are highlighted through the stories which are told and examples will be discussed. 

The characters are placed in the context of their particular town or village. They do not commune in any of the conventional meeting points such as a church or a pub, perhaps this is because both of these places, though typical to an English country village, were not only superfluous to the story-lines but would create a base for too many questions to be asked. The stories did not suffer from this supposed lack of meeting places and the missing characters of the publican and the minister can easily be explained away when all the other characters have practical jobs.

The stories are very formulaic, especially "Trumpton" and "Chigley". There is a specific sequence to the events for example each "Chigley" episode begins by meeting a character who is going to Chigley. Lord Belborough then receives a telephone call and is asked to either collect or deliver something to Treddles Wharf so off he goes in Bessie the steam engine, via the pottery, and saves the day. The programme ends with the biscuit factory’s six o’clock dance. 

When Alison Prince was asked to write the scripts for "Trumpton" it was with the proviso that each episode should include the fire brigade but not involve fire, smoke or water because of the difficulties this would cause with the stop motion animation technique which was used. Through the lack of fires, other story lines developed, from trees in the road and pulling down chimneys, to fetching the Mayor’s hat down from a tree. The slightly bizarre uses for the fire brigade and their cherry picker added a great deal of the charm to the series and despite giving out slightly incorrect information, for example that the fire brigade would be more than willing to use their engine to pick apples, it reinforced the concept of mutual co-operation and respect. The fact that they never had to deal with real flames also added to the tension in "The Rag and Bone Man" when Captain Flack gets very excited on answering the telephone and uses the line " A fire? A real fire?". 

The confrontation between differing values is shown more clearly in "Camberwick Green" than either of the other series. By using Windy and Farmer Bell to embody two very different views, the story creates a message to the audience. In every confrontation between these characters Windy prevails, thus reinforcing the traditional values for which he stands. An example of this is in "Mr Crockett the Garage Man" Windy and Farmer Bell have a race which Farmer Bell looks like winning until he runs out of petrol. Or in "Farmer Jonathan Bell" when after teasing Windy about the small number of eggs he produces, Farmer Bell discovers that he cannot sell the usual number because people have started buying Free-range eggs from Windy. Farmer Bell then decides to sell his eggs to the packing station instead. The other incident was when Windy saved the day by providing milk from his cow when Farmer Bells Milking Machine breaks down. The success of the traditionalist, Windy, in these situations shows the audience that the modern, technical way of completing a task is not always the best; this in turn promotes the traditional way of life. 

Windy and Farmer Bell also help with the educational and socialisation aspects through both demonstration and offhand remarks which add to the charm of the programmes. An example of this is in "Windy Miller" when Farmer Bell declines a drink of Windy’s home-made cider because he is driving. We then see that drinking cider makes Windy tired and he falls asleep. Through these scenes the message is given to the viewer not to drink and drive and a reason is given, because it will make you tired. Although the viewer may not acknowledge the content of these scenes they may have created an awareness of an issue which before the audience had no understanding. 

The use of story-line to broach subjects for discussion is common in children's television. The messages delivered through the Trumptonshire Trilogy are not always obvious to the target audience but the positive ideology and high moral standards are always prominent whatever the story-line thus reinforcing the norms and values of the society in which we live. It is in this respect that the programmes have not dated as conventional morality has not changed. Trumptonshire still 

"defines what is important, worthwhile and worth striving for" (Haralambos & Holborn; Sociology, Themes and Perspectives; Harper Collins, 1995)
The Legacy of Windy Miller

How Trumptonshire effected the animation of today and why it remains a favourite. 

Many things have aided the popularity of the Trumptonshire series; the gossipy Mrs Honeyman, Windy Miller always missing the windmill’s sails, the amazing songs of Freddie Phillips and of course the brave Trumpton fire brigade and the soldier boys from Pippin Fort’s epic adventures. 

The memories of Trumptonshire have stayed with many of its original fans as well as following generations which was proved when "Trumpton" came in at position number 21 in a recent television poll of the top 100 children's television programmes. The programme rating so highly shows that although the programmes may be old they have a charm and appeal which can cross generations. 

Personally as a child who grew up with Trumptonshire I will always remember certain lessons learnt from the programmes, that cider makes you sleepy and that things can go horribly wrong when you don’t know your left from right. These things stayed with me for at least seventeen years along with the puzzle of Mr Honeyman’s whereabouts and there are still some people assume that young children will not absorb much of the content when watching television. 

Trumptonshire may be lacking in dramatic story-lines and people may see it as out of date but as Gordon Murray admits 

"they were always old fashioned actually. They were old fashioned from the word ‘go’ " (The Trumpton Riots; Radio 4, 1995 cited in The Trumptonshire Web; http:\\, 2000) and in my opinion this simply adds to the popularity of the series rather than hinders it. The messages within the series will never go out of date because they are not radical, they are simple and demonstrate ways in which people with different opinions can live together in a community which operates successfully through working together despite their differences. 

"Trumpton" may be seen as old fashioned but it set many standards for children's broadcasting as did a number of the early programmes. There has been debate recently with the addition of programmes such as "Teletubbies" to the schedule, that the standards of children's programming are slipping. The prime debate here is the use of language. Although the pro-"Teletubbies" argument states that many previous pre-school programmes such as "The Clangers" and "Bill and Ben" did not use grammatical English, this does not allow for the fact both teachers and child psychologists agree, that children learn to speak properly through adult correction and observation of use of words in their correct context. This shows that like in "Trumpton" children's programmes can use advanced language without confusing the viewer. A prime example of this is with the Trumpton Fire Brigade. When Captain Flack shouts "ascend" or "elevate" the audience sees the cherry picker move upwards and on the word "descend" move downwards. This advanced language and its demonstration can teach larger words to younger children through simple use and recognition. The over use of the baby-talk in "Teletubbies", although it is recognised by the viewer as such it does not give the audience the correct version of the word the characters are trying to say. The language used in "Teletubbies" can be described as paralanguage, approximations of words and the "umms" and "errs" of everyday conversation. The noises are more likely to convey an idea through an emotive sound than through a fully formed word. 

"Camberwick Green", "Trumpton" and "Chigley" were the beginnings of a winning formula which has been emulated ever since. Between "The Woodentops" and the soap like traumas of the Trumptonshire countryside children's animation used imaginary creatures and inanimate objects which came to life. With the advent of "Camberwick Green" this changed. In the Post-"Chigley" era various other stop-motion series emerged, set in small British villages, using a narrator and with the main character set in a career which is central to the story-line. The career chosen was frequently one which had been previously explored through the Trumptonshire series. "Postman Pat", "Fireman Sam" and more recently "Bob the Builder" have shot to fame using similar structures to the Trumptonshire programmes. 

Despite the advances in technology, children still enjoy both stop motion and the more traditional marionette based animations. In the survey which I conducted in an attempt to ascertain which children's animations had stood the test of time and the conclusion had to be drawn that the programmes with the largest following, both young and old were the Gerry Anderson series of "Thunderbirds" and "Captain Scarlet’ aided by their recent run of repeats on BBC2. Thus proving that story-line and characterisation both contribute far higher than technological advances to the audience. Through a good story the child audience will follow the characters unfalteringly even if they can see the strings. 

Although according to my survey the Trumptonshire programmes were not incredibly popular with today’s children, they were not unpopular and had a larger following than some of the more recent programmes such as Fetch the Vet. This may be due to the wide availability of the Trumptonshire series on video and the regularity of the repeats in the early morning slot on Channel 4. This slot on weekday mornings also periodically houses the classic children's programmes of "Bagpuss" and "The Magic Roundabout". It is also interesting to note that the most popular modern Stop Motion animation series of Bill and Ben, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Noddy and Postman Pat can all have comparisons drawn with the Trumptonshire programmes. 

The ideology represented in Trumptonshire is that of a positive environment where people work together for the common good. There is an element of conformity but the overall aim of the societies we observe is to promote democracy and interpersonal harmony. Despite the idealised location and lack of major events the ethic is one of high moral values and basic knowledge of the world in which we live. Trumptonshire may represent a quasi-idealised United Kingdom but it also represents conflicting values and ideologies. It also shows how these different perspectives can have the same motivation and achieve the same desired result. All the episodes aid in the socialisation of the child in society and demonstrate modes of behaviour which are considered to be socially acceptable. The programmes aid in the reinforcement of certain values which are considered to be "universal", for example, assisting other people in achieving their goals. 

They may be seen as unrealistic and inaccurate in their portrayal of life in Britain’s rural communities. However, remembering that under forty episodes were ever made, the last in 1969, and that the shows are still repeated to this day spanning many generations of children, "Camberwick Green", "Trumpton" and "Chigley" have to be regarded as successful. As it states in the Guinness Book of Classic British TV 

"there is a mythical part of Britain that is forever Trumptonshire" (Cornell, Day & Topping; Guinness, 1993)

This dissertation was written by Katy Brier, as part of a BA course in "Theatre, Film, TV and Literature", at the University College of Ripon and York St John, and is reproduced here with her kind permission.