A tribute to Trumpton creator Gordan Murray

The Ivor Wood blog is breaking with tradition for today, but for very good reason as we regrettably inform you all of the death of another important stop motion animation pioneer, Gordan Murray.

Gordan Murray and Trumoton puppets

Gordan Murray with his most famous Trumpton characters (2006)

Gordan Murray was the man behind the much loved characters and worlds of Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigleywere. Born in London on 3rd May 1922, Gordan led a military life in his early years fighting in the Second World War on the beaches of Normandy. It wasn’t until after the war that he set his heart on the world of children’s entertainment, setting up his own touring puppet company in the 1950s.

This soon led to bigger and better things and he was soon creating content for the BBC. As he progressed he was given the opportunity to become Head of BBC Children’s, of which he turned down to set up his own production company. This was certainly the right avenue to go down as it was from this studio that Gordan and his team created the loveable array of characters that we’ve all grown to love. Who doesn’t remember “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub”, and all the merry villagers of Trumpton and Camberwick Green. The first of Gordans creations, Trumpton was shown from 1966 on the BBC before the midweek news and ran for only 13 episodes.

The Trumpton Fire Brigade

Trumpton Fire Brigade – “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub.”

Much like Ivor, Gordan seemed to have a natural flair when it came to creating memorable characters out of simple materials. All the puppets were made from a ping pong balls for a heads and foam latex for the bodies and it was these perfectly spherical heads that we’ve all come to remember.

As Gordan Murray was creating his most famous works Ivor was just finishing up on his, The Magic Roundabout. Ivor was still in France in 1966 but was verging on a move to England under the banner of FilmFair. We’ve spoken in the past about the real surge in stop motion in Children’s Television at the time. Programmes like The Magic Roundabout and Trumpton were hugely influential in this movement and paved the way for Ivor’s further career and all the much loved shows he created.

Gordan Murray has died aged 95 but long may he live in his celebrated and cherished creations that countless generations have grown and continue to love.


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