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Brian Cant obituary

Children’s television presenter and actor who spent 21 years on Play School and whose baritone voice graced Camberwick Green, Chigley and Trumpton

“Here’S a house. Here’s a door. Windows – one, two, three, four ... Ready to play? What’s the day? It’s Tuesday.” For those of us who were British, small and watching television between the mid 1960s and the mid 80s, those words, spoken by the much-loved children’s TV presenter Brian Cant, who has died aged 83, in his soothing, gently laconic baritone, are liable to provoke a Proustian rush.

For two decades from 1964 there was scarcely a BBC show aimed at little children that didn’t come with Cant’s distinctive tones. It was his voice that weekly introduced us in the late 60s to the townsfolk of Camberwick Green (1966), the puppet show created by Gordon Murray. “Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Gordon Murray obituary: creator of Trumpton

Puppeteer, TV producer and creator of the popular children’s favourites Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley

Each week, the 1960s children’s television puppet show Camberwick Green began with the narrator Brian Cant’s announcement: “Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?” As it rotated and ticked before its pint-sized audience, triangular segments on the top would slide apart and the puppet character destined to be the focus of the episode’s adventures would rise up on some hidden clockwork mechanism.

That captivating musical box and those entrancing eight-inch-tall puppets, with heads made from ping-pong balls and clothes from foam latex, were the creation of Gordon Murray, who has died aged 95. And the adventures of those characters – including the milkman Thomas Tripp, postmistress Mrs Dingle, scrumpy-quaffing rustic Windy Miller,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Radiohead video breaching copyright, say Trumpton creator's family

Son-in-law of Trumpton mastermind Gordon Murray says the band’s Burn the Witch ‘tarnished the brand’ of the beloved 1960s TV show

Radiohead have been accused of “tarnishing the brand” of the Trumptonshire trilogy in their video for the single Burn the Witch.

William Mollett, the son-in-law of Gordon Murray – who created the children’s TV series Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green – told the Mail on Sunday: “Radiohead should have sought our consent as we consider this a tarnishing of the brand. It is not something we would have authorised. We consider that there is a breach of copyright and we are deciding what to do next.”

Related: How we made: Alison Prince and Brian Cant on Trumpton

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

John Thomson’s favourite TV: ‘I want Bungle to die!’

The Fast Show and Cold Feet star on his love of Hannibal and magic and his childhood hatred of a certain speaking bear

It has to be kids’ shows – Andy Pandy, The Clangers, Camberwick Green, Trumpton. I loved Bagpuss because it started in sepia and changed into colour; I thought the telly was magic. I remember one day saying: “Mum, mum, the telly’s turned colour!” That was a genuinely memorable moment for me. And then there was Rainbow. Apparently, I was watching it once with a face like thunder, and when mum asked me what was the matter, I said: “I want Bungle to die!” I don’t think I was the only child who expressed that opinion.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Bagpuss, Mr Benn, Paddington Bear to appear on special stamps

Bagpuss and Mr Benn are among the classic children's TV characters that appear on a new stamp set.

Characters from 12 shows feature in the new series, including Postman Pat, Paddington Bear and Bob the Builder.

The stamps are part of the Royal Mail's celebration of 60 years of children's television, and have been released today (January 7).

Old favourites such as Dougal from the The Magic Roundabout and Andy Pandy also appear, along with current stars Peppa Pig and Shaun the Sheep.

The lineup is completed by Ivor the Engine, Great Uncle Bulgaria from The Wombles, and Windy Miller from Camberwick Green.

"For over 60 years, Britain's children's TV characters have brought cheer to generations of viewers," said Royal Mail Stamps' Andrew Hammond.

"It feels appropriate to celebrate all of these unforgettable characters on a set of very special stamps."

The Magic Roundabout celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, while Bagpuss turns 40.

Postman Pat
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Notes and queries: How can people tell when I'm looking at them?

Plus: More favourite last lines from novels; who could join Worzel Gummidge in the movies?

Why is it that when I am looking at someone across the street they often turn their heads to look at me?

Have you ever seen The Truman Show?


All animals, including birds and even insects are extremely sensitive to being watched. Stare at your pet cat and it averts its gaze; to the cat this is a potential threat and you are too big for it to consider taking on. Stare at a big dog and you might just provoke it into attacking you.

We can, and often do, communicate by eye contact alone: if you look at the bone you have thrown for your dog, it can find it by following where you are looking. The subconscious part of our brain is working all the time. We see, but don't have to
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

How we made: Alison Prince and Brian Cant on Trumpton

'We couldn't do flames with stop-motion animation. So the fire brigade never went near a fire'

Alison Prince, scriptwriter

I'd written a children's series called Joe, so I was already kicking around the BBC. At some point, Monica Sims, head of children's broadcasting, said: "Oh, you wouldn't like to write some stories for a puppet series, would you?" She was a very offhand woman; she'd been a naval officer.

I didn't have a TV, but I had three kids to feed, so I said yes. I always said yes to anything. So I was dispatched to a bitterly cold converted church in the East End of London, where Trumpton's creator Gordon Murray was filming a test sequence using stop-motion animation. It dawned on me how quaint the remit was. You can't depict flames using stop-motion, nor can you do smoke and water. So I realised I would have to
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

New, new Barney McGrew: Trumpton and Camberwick Green cleaned up

BBC digitally restores 1960s children's trilogy after animation creator Gordon Murray digs out original film in attic

The BBC's first colour animated TV series for children has been digitally restored following discovery of reels of the 50-year-old footage buried deep among the belongings in its creator's attic.

The reels of the hugely popular classics Camberwick Green, Trumpton, and Chigley, were thought to have been lost.

But 90-year-old Gordon Murray had a clear-out of his attic in Southwick, Northamptonshire, with his son-in-law, William Mollett, and found some boxes of the original film.

"We had no great expectations when we started out the process," said Mollett. "Even if we did manage to find the original footage, we weren't holding out much hope for the state it would be in after nearly 50 years."

The pair approached the BBC to see if any more of the original reels could be tracked down, and eventually
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The voice of Camberwick Green to get Bafta award for services to children's TV

Brian Cant wins a lifetime award for his work on shows such as Play School and Trumpton

'I was surprised when the envelope came with 'Bafta'," says that oh-so-familiar voice, older now, but still unmistakable. "I thought they were wanting me to do something, and then it turned out to be all about me!"

Brian Cant, the honey-voiced and marmalade-haired colossus who bestrode the television screens from the mid-60s to the late-80s, presenting such beloved cornerstones of childhood as Play School, Playaway and Bric-a-Brac and voicing Trumpton and Camberwick Green, is being given a special award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in recognition of his lifetime contribution to children's TV.

It began when he was working on a schools' programme for BBC1. "I was a Roman on a vase. It revolved and then half a dozen of us stepped off and did our acting.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Floella Benjamin ascends to the Lords – but who should be next?

Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham could open the floodgates for scores of favourite TV faces to be clad in ermine

Floella Benjamin has ditched her Polo mint earrings and ascended to the House of Lords this week, in recognition of her campaigning charity work. She becomes Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, which appropriately sounds like a character from a kids' TV show. Oh look, here comes Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham on her blue bicycle!

It's obvious why she's been honoured now, after all these years. The people in government are in their late 30s and 40s and therefore the right age to reminisce about the reassuring personalities from their childhoods. Floella could open the floodgates for scores of old TV faces to be clad in ermine and propped up among the decaying reactionaries already gathering dust there.

You can just see Cameron and Clegg sat in front of a laptop, looking up
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Dominators Confirmed for DVD

The BBFC have cleared extras for the DVD release of the Second Doctor story The Dominators.

This 1968 five-part story has been expected ever since an official promo for the story was leaked to YouTube at the end of last year. The story stars Patrick Troughton as the Doctor along with Frazer Hines as Jamie and Wendy Padbury as Zoe.

The story is set on the planet Dulkis, under threat from two alien Dominators, Rago and his subordinate Toba, who have landed in a spaceship. It features the robot Quarks.

Guest stars include Ronald Allen, who was well known at the time for his starring role in the soap opera Compact and later for his role in Crossroads and Brian Cant who was a staple of Children's television in the sixties and seventies, well known for his work on Play School and Play Away and for his narration on the popular Trumpton,
See full article at The Doctor Who News Page »

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