Monday, 24 November 2014
18 Watch With Mother : Chigley
First watched : 6 October 1969
As I said at the start I'm pretty sure I can remember Chigley starting as a new series.
Chigley was the final and by far the least regarded instalment of the Gordon Murray trinity. There's not much of it on youtube and it rarely crops up in nostalgia discussions. I'm not quite sure why that's so. One possible reason is that it's the most politically dated. The character of Lord Belborough summoning the workers to his park for a concert and zooming around on his private railway is redolent of the Pym and Prior school of patriarchal Toryism soon to be hit into the long grass by Margaret Hilda.
Another possible reason is that some of the storylines relied on guest appearances by the likes of Camberwick Green's Windy Miller or the Trumpton fire brigade which gave Chigley a bottom of the barrel reputation. Murray ( who's still alive at the time of writing ) did some other stuff in the seventies but none of the titles ring any bells and he moved into producing miniature books.
Looking at the scanty clips now what strikes me is how much the animation had progressed in the two years since Trumpton . The fire brigade in the latter series never attended a fire because it was too difficult to realise but here's the Chigley train puffing out smoke. The puppets have a much greater range of movement; there's nothing like the six o clock exodus of the biscuit workers in either of the prior series.
I liked Chigley best because of the prominence of the train. Through the encouragement of my dad, railways were my first "special interest" and it's not entirely evaporated even now.