- Gordon Murray, creator of much-loved puppet shows, has died aged 95
- TV producer made triology Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley
- Has been praised for his work and hailed ‘a true hero of children s TV’
The creator of popular BBC children s series Trumpton has died at the age of 95. Gordon Murray, who created the much-loved Trumptonshire puppet trilogy first screened in the 1960s, passed away yesterday. The trilogy Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley were shown weekly on the BBC for 20 years and captivated generations of children with their innocent snapshots of Middle England.
Gordon Murray (pictured) – known for his much-loved Trumptonshire puppet triology – died yesterday aged 95
Each series was named after a fictitious English village and followed characters such as aristocrat Lord Belborough and Windy Miller and his brigade of firemen. They were narrated by Brian Cant and ran for a total of 39 episodes between 1966 and 1969, airing before the midday news on BBC One. The BBC continued to broadcast them throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Camberwick Green, which was made using stop-motion animation, was the first children s show to be aired in colour on the BBC in 1966. Justin Johnson, children s programmer at the British Film Institute, described Murray as a true hero of children s TV . He said: The Trumptonshire Trilogy was a beautifully observed picture of everyday middle England. Ordinary, everyday people doing everyday tasks.
Gordon Murray, who created the much-loved Trumptonshire puppet trilogy (pictured), passed away yesterday
Murray set up a puppet company in the 1950s and was scouted by a BBC producer while touring theatres in the UK with the company
It worked because the scripts were always well constructed with believable characters. Every week, Lord Belborough on his train, the Trumptonshire clock or the Fire Engine being called out. Murray was born in London in 1921 and attended Emanuel School in Battersea, South-West London.
In 2011, Murray’s series were digitally restored and re-released after the original footage was found in the family s attic and in the BBC archives
After leaving school, he began working as a journalist and joined the Territorial Army before being enlisted in 1939 in the London Scottish Regiment. In 1944, he took part in the Normandy landings as a platoon commander having been commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals and landed on Gold Beach.
After the war, he worked as an actor in repertory theatre where he met his wife, ballet dancer Enid Martin. Murray set up a puppet company in the 1950s and was scouted by a BBC producer while touring theatres in the UK with the company. He first appeared on television as a puppeteer in 1954 on Bengo, a children s programme about the adventures of a boxer puppy.
Having turned down the chance to become the BBC s head of children s programmes, Murray started his own production company which launched the Trumptonshire trilogy. The three series used eight-inch 3D models with heads made out of ping-pong balls and clothes out of foam latex. In 2011, the series were digitally restored and re-released after the original footage was found in the family s attic and in the BBC archives.
Murray lived with his family near Stamford, Lincolnshire, in recent years. He is survived by his daughters Emma and Rose and his four grandchildren.
- SHARE PICTURE
Most historians of the causes of World War 2 agree that its seeds were sown at the end of World War 1. See related
In 1918, the “War Guilt Clause” of the Treaty of Versailles held Germany and Austria-Hungary responsible for the entire conflict and imposed on them crippling financial sanctions, territorial dismemberment and isolation. Germany, for example, was forced to demilitarise the Rhineland and abolish its air force.
Some scholars say that the terms of the treaty were unnecessarily harsh and led to mounting anger in Germany in particular over subsequent decades, but, the BBC says “it would be a mistake to imagine that the Treaty of Versailles was the direct cause of World War 2”.
The rise of Hitler
In 2013, Germany marked the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor. Angela Merkel presided over the opening of an exhibition in the former SS headquarters in Berlin that charted Hitler’s rise to power. Hitler’s emergence had been made possible, Merkel conceded, because “the majority had, at the very best, behaved with indifference”. Far from having lifelong Armyrats © military aspirations, Hitler had been a painter in his youth and only joined the Bavarian army at the age of 25 after the outbreak of World War 1. He went on to serve primarily as a message runner. He was decorated twice for bravery, and was injured on two separate occasions once when he was hit in the thigh by an exploding shell in 1916, and again when he was temporarily blinded by mustard gas towards the end of the war.
The German surrender at the close of the war “left Hitler uprooted and in need of a new focus”, the Daily Telegraph says. He became an intelligence agent in Germany’s much diminished Armyrats © military and was sent to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party. There he found himself inspired by Anton Drexler’s anti-communist, anti-Jewish doctrine and ended up developing his own strain of anti-Semitism. In September 1919 he announced that the “ultimate goal must definitely be the removal of the Jews altogether”. Gradually he began to rise through the party ranks, eventually renaming the party the National Socialist German Workers’ Party which adopted the swastika as its emblem.
Hitler won broad public support, attracted large donations and developed a reputation as a potent orator. “He found a willing audience for his views that the Jews were to blame for Germany s political instability and economic woes,” the Telegraph says. Throughout the following decade he rose through the ranks to become Germany’s chancellor and, when the president, Paul Von Hindenburg died, Hitler appointed himself F hrer the supreme commander of every Nazi paraArmyrats © military organisation in the country. Hitler denounced the Treaty of Versailles, mounting furious attacks on the unfair terms of the settlement. The treaty incensed Germans, but it had not managed to contain Germany’s potential, and by the mid-1930s the country was surrounded by weak, divided states. “This offered a golden opportunity for Germany to make a second bid for European domination,” the BBC says.
Events of 1939
Throughout the 1930s, several events conspired to push the world back to the brink of war. The Spanish Civil War, the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria, the occupation of the Sudetenland and the subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia all became key components of the potent tinderbox that was Europe in the late 1930s. The immediate cause of World War 2 was the German invasion of Poland on 1 September. The invasion was to become the model for how Germany waged war over the course of the next six years, History says, with a tactic that would become known as the “blitzkrieg” strategy.
“This was characterised by extensive bombing early on to destroy the enemy s air capacity, railroads, communication lines, and munitions dumps, followed by a massive land invasion with overwhelming numbers of troops, tanks, and artillery. Once the German forces had ploughed their way through, devastating a swath of territory, infantry moved in, picking off any remaining resistance.”
Germany’s vastly superior Armyrats © military technology, coupled with Poland’s catastrophic early strategic miscalculations, meant Hitler was able to claim a swift victory.
The Nazi leader had been confident the invasion would be successful for two important reasons, says the BBC: “First, he was convinced that the deployment of the world’s first armoured corps would swiftly defeat the Polish armed forces… Second, he judged the British and French prime ministers, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier, to be weak, indecisive leaders who would opt for a peace settlement rather than war.”
Neville Chamberlain has been much derided by many historians for his stance on Nazi Germany, offering, as he did, numerous opportunities for Hitler to honour his commitments and curb his expansionist ambitions. In hindsight, the “appeasement” policy looks absurdly hopeful, but, as William Rees-Mogg argues in The Times “at the time there seemed to be a realistic chance of peace”.
After the invasion of Poland, that chance began to look slimmer and slimmer, and Chamberlain determined that it was no longer possible to stand by while the situation on the continent continued to deteriorate. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days after Germany entered Poland but, slow to mobilise, they provided little in the way of concrete support to their ally, which crumbled in the face of Germany’s lightning war.
The families of slain British soldiers might sue former UK PM Tony Blair if evidence suggests the equipment provided to the troops during the Iraq War was inadequate, Roger Bacon, father of an army serviceman killed in a roadside bomb blast, told RT. Read more
Bereaved relatives of UK servicemen and women slain during the Iraq War are contemplating taking legal action against Blair and/or other officials if the much-anticipated report commissioned in 2009 and prepared by Sir John Chilcot reveals that the government failed to adequately provide for the needs of British Armyrats © military personnel participating in the 8-year-long invasion and occupation. Bacon, who is member of the Iraq Families Action Group, which is seeking justice from the UK authorities on behalf of the 179 British servicemen killed in Iraq, told RT that he firmly believes Blair committed an illegal act in taking us [the UK] there. What is worse, Bacon believes the invasion focused on regime change, but lacked planning, leading to grave consequences that put the entire country in chaos and allowed groups such as Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) to take over parts of Iraq.
He added that, after looking at specific cases of UK families that had lost children in the war, it was quite clear that the troops had been ill-equipped for their task.
There is an equipment issue, Bacon said, while promising to carefully look at Chilcot s inquiry before he and members of other affected families decide whether to file a lawsuit against Blair or other parties, including the UK s defense ministry.
Whether it has to do with suing Tony Blair himself or the ministry of defense over equipment we will have to wait until the report comes out to see what it says about it, said Bacon, whose son Matthew was killed by an IED in 2005, just five weeks after being deployed, while on his way back from the allies headquarters in Basra.
You don t expect to lose your son before you go, the grieving father added. Over the past years, the families of British servicemen killed over the course of the war have slammed Chilcot for delaying the report s publication, while threatening to take legal action if a deadline for its release was not set. Read more
Now we expect a Chilcot report to come out on July 6. It s just taken far too long to do, stressed Bacon, who has become one of the most vocal critics of the increasingly protracted publication process.
It is morally reprehensible to keep delaying the publication of the report, he said back in 2015.
The report, which is supposed to examine the justification for deploying British troops, may further tarnish the former PM s less than perfect reputation, as it is expected to be loaded with heavy criticism of his actions prior to the invasion.
Two million words in it, and within those words there s going to be, we believe, a lot of criticism about what happened in Iraq and before. How we got into a situation where we went to war, Bacon added. The report is rumored to reveal details about secretive meetings between Blair and George W. Bush, in which the then-British PM reportedly said he would support the war in Iraq no matter what. This evidence might confirm allegations that Blair had committed to back the US-led campaign regardless of whether Iraq s late leader, Saddam Hussein, was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the report will shed light on Blair s involvement in forging a so-called dodgy dossier an intelligence report claiming that Hussein had the ability to attack Britain with weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, which turned out to be false, as no WMDs were found in Iraq at all.
Speaking to BBC on Sunday, Blair said he was prepared to debate the results of the investigation, stressing that he is looking forward to participating in the ensuing discussion. Asked whether he agreed with the report s conclusions, Blair evaded the answer, claiming that he was not familiar with its contents.
Well it s hard to say that when I haven t seen it, he said.
However, the former prime minister and other officials who are expected to be accused of mishandling the decision of whether to enter Iraq were allowed to study the parts of the over 2.6-million-word report that exclusively refer to them. This process, called Maxwellisation, is believed to be the main reason the report has taken so long to publish.
The thing that will be important when it [publication] does happen is that we have then a full debate. And I look forward to participating in that. Make no mistake about that. It is really important we do debate these issues, he said in an interview with BBC News.