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   Rubovia & Gublins

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Rubovia & The Gublins

While the Trumptonshire programmes are undoubtedly Gordon Murray's greatest work, he was also involved in other television programmes. In the late 1950s he produced the Rubovia series, which is where he found most of the people who later worked on the Trumptonshire programmes. In the late 1970s Gordon Murray produced The Gublins. Both of these series now seem to have faded into the past - but here is a little information on them.

Long time Trumptonshire Web contributor Tim Worthington has been hard at work digging up the details on both Rubovia and the Gublins. He originally wrote his findings for his Paintbox fanzine but you can check them out here, because Tim's Rubovia article and Tim's Gublins article  are reproduced with his permission.


Many years before his success with the Trumptonshire programmes, Gordon Murray created and produced a programme called Rubovia, while working in the BBC Children’s Department.

Rubovia was a series of original plays and traditional stories performed by the BBC Puppet Theatre, and originally shown in the late 1950s. The music for Rubovia was provided by Freddie Philips who was later to provide all the music for the Trumptonshire series. The theme music from Rubovia is available on a recently released BBC CD Hello Children Everywhere

In Gordon Murray's later series of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, the puppets appear to move, via the illusion of stop-frame animation, but in the earlier Rubovia series the characters were conventional puppets on strings, moving in real time, and controlled via strings from above. The Rubovia puppets were rather ugly looking caricatures and in real life were much larger than the friendly looking folk of Trumptonshire.

None of the mainstream TV trivia books even give a mention of Rubovia. Anna Home’s book "Into the Box of Delights", which describes the development of children’s TV in the UK, gives some useful information, including a couple of black and white photographs, one of Gordon Murray and his team of puppeteers, and the other a close up of two of the puppet characters.

I have no recollection of ever seeing Rubovia on TV, although I do have a "Pippin" annual from 1981 which features three stories from Rubovia. While the Trumptonshire series are still loved by many to this day (and are still being shown), Rubovia seems to have become almost entirely forgotten.

Some of the characters from Rubovia:

King Rufus
Queen Caroline
Lord Chamberlain
Albert Weatherspoon
Farmer Bottle
Pongo - the Queen’s pet dragon
King Boris
Three of the stories were:
Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Emperor’s Nightingale" (1958)
John Ruskin’s "King of the Golden River" (1959)
"Something in the Air" (1960)