Camberwick Green was created in 1966, but was being aired as a regularly part of the BBC’s daytime childrens programming until the mid 1980’s. The show followed the daily lives of the inhabitants of Camberwick Green, Trumptonshire, a quaint village, and represents a way of life in Britain that sadly seems to be in decline. The show was created by Gordon Murray, and each episode was narrated and voiced by Brian Cant.
Each episode of Camberwick Green was centred around a different character from the village, and began with that character emerging from a intricately designed wind up musical box. As a child the suspense of waiting for the character to emerge was almost too much to bare, and you sat there rooting for your favourite to appear, which for many people was Windy Miller, the mill owner and cider drinker. After the character appeared Brian Cant would ask it various questions, which were answered with a nod or shake of the characters head to indicate yes or no.
The animation has a timeless quality to it, with the various inhabitants of Camberwick Green wandering around with a strange long legged gait, that puts me in mind of John Cleese in the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks sketch. Some of the characters had wonderfully modelled vehicles to drive around in, which was a chance to throw in a song whilst the character drove from one place to another.
The most memorable piece of animation for me was when Windy Miller entered or exited his windmill. The windmill had a design flaw in that the blades spun directly in front of the windmills entrance. Windy would charge through the door at any time, always managing to deftly avoid the blades without so much as a pause. I can only assume Windy was so brave due to being out of his head on his home brew, as he was often seen with a big clay cider jug.
Camberwick Green village consisted of a small parade of shops, including a bakery, a fish shop, post office and doctors surgery (also home to the village physician Dr. Mopp, who wore a top hat and drove around in an old fashioned jalopy of a car with a winding handle on the front, if memory serves me correctly). Other venues were the previously mentioned windmill of Windy Miller, Crockett’s Garage, Tripp’s Dairy and of course Pippin Fort, a military academy run by Captain Snort, where all the soldier boys (as they were called) were dressed in splendid red uniforms. The soldier boys were often called on to solve problems around the village such as constructing a temporary bridge.
Finally, at the end of every episode the chosen character would disappear back into the music box, and the credits would run, providing by a clown turning a handle that moved a conveyor belt with all the credits on. The clown would stop and pause at each credit, often turning his head to look at the credit itself, which was a nice touch.
For more information on Camberwick Green check out the loving created Trumptonshire Trilogy website, which features everything you could possibly ever want to know about Camberwick Green and it’s sister shows Trumpton and Chigley.