Gordon Murray's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop


This isn't going to be a 'tribute' to Gordon Murray as such, mainly because I feel that the various lengthy pieces I've written about his work stand up perfectly well as 'tributes' in their own right. If you're interested and haven't seen them, then let's just get them out of the way in a brisk Fire Brigade Roll Call style - first episode of Camberwick Green, last episode of Chigley, middle episode of Trumpton, how Radio Times covered the launch of Camberwick Green, where Jimi Hendrix got the idea for The Wind Cries Mary from, article on forgotten 'fourth' show Rubovia, review of the Camberwick Green LP, in-depth look at the making of all three series, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb. And indeed 'pheep'.

Instead, I'm going to be asking for your help in paying an even bigger and better tribute to Gordon Murray - helping to track down a long-lost bit of his television history...


On 20th October 1979, Gordon Murray was the main studio guest on BBC1's Saturday Morning show Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop. This came about largely as a result of his later puppet comedy shows aimed at an older audience, Skip And Fuffy and The Gublins, having been used as inserts in Swap Shop; a number of viewers had written in asking how they were made, and given that Noel and company were always enthusiastic about the idea of taking the audience 'behind the scenes', it made perfect sense to get him on to talk about them. He also brought along a number of puppets and props from Camberwick Green, Trumpton, Chigley, Rubovia and even some of his earlier productions, and gave away a Gublin as a prize in a write-in competition.

I remember watching this and being absolutely fascinated by the explanations and demonstrations of how stop motion animation worked, how he came up with characters and names, how Brian Cant ended up as the narrator and so forth. I didn't win the Gublin, though. Incidentally that week's show also featured an interview with Tommy Steele as well as a Debbie Harry lookalike contest, and a report on 'Trotting' as a potential new sport. Sadly, Gordon's views on any of the above are not recorded.

Literally not recorded in fact. Sadly, this is amongst the many editions of Swap Shop that were not retained by the BBC, and so far no off-air recording has surfaced. As far as I'm aware, this was the only occasion on which he was interviewed about the shows at this length and in this depth, so it would be nice for everyone to be able to see it again. If by some slim chance you've got a copy, please let me know and I'll make sure that the right people get hold of it. And now, if you'll excuse me, there's the Six O'Clock Whistle...




The Camberwick Green Procrastination Society, which includes features on Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green, is available in paperback here, from the Kindle Store here, or as a full-colour eBook here.