Gordon Murray, British puppeteer and television producer, Died at 95

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Gordon Murray was born on May 3, 1921, and died on June 30, 2016.

He was a British television producer and puppeteer.

Gordon Murray created and wrote some of the most popular children’s television programmes ever seen in Britain: Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley, collectively known as the Trumptonshire Trilogy, were all made by the company he set up.

He was educated at Emanuel School, Battersea, London.

Gordon Murray was always interested in puppets, as a child, he made puppets and used to give little shows to friends and family at home.

Murray enlisted into the London Scottish Regiment in 1939 and was later commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals.

Gordon Murray saw action at the D-Day landings, landing on Gold Beach.

Following being demobbed at the end of the Second World War, he worked in repertory theatre, where he met ballet dancer Enid Martin, who he later married. They had two daughters.

During 1950, Murray set up his own puppet company, Murray’s Marionettes.

After an invitation to BBC producer Freda Lingstrom to one of his shows he was offered work, operating Spotty Dog in The Woodentops.

He then became a producer in the BBC children’s department, producing Sketch Club and Captain Pugwash.

Following the BBC Children’s Department and Women’s Programmes merged in 1964 he left the BBC to form an independent production company, Gordon Murray Puppets Productions, based in a converted church in Crouch End in North London.

Then, he made arguably his most enduring and loved programmes, The Trumptonshire Trilogy; Camberwick Green which broadcast in 1966 (the first children’s programme in colour on the BBC), Trumpton in 1967 and Chigley in 1969.

Gordon Murray would create the vehicles, puppets and scripts to the studio and Bura and Hardwick would create the animation.

After realising that the string-based marionettes used previously would look old-fashioned, he looked to Eastern Europe for the stop motion animation technique he would use.

Following his retirement from animation, he produced and self-marketed more than thirty-four different limited-edition miniature books under the Silver Thimble Books imprint.

After been bound entirely by hand they contained miniature watercolour paintings, special embroidered covers and bindings, and slip cases.

There is a complete set of these books is held in the Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books in the library of the University of Iowa.

During the 1980s he burnt all the remaining puppets and sets, except for one soldier from Camberwick Green that escaped the fire.

Which was given by his eldest daughter to a friend who kept it in a shoe box.

Then, it was later auctioned by Christie’s in May 2003 but failed to meet the reserve price.

Gordon Murray passed away at 95 yrs old.

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