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Camberwick Green Creator Gordon Murray Dies

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Gordon Murray, one of the great pioneers for British children’s animated television series has passed away aged 95.

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Perhaps best known as the creator of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, Murray’s creations were part of a handful that changed the landscape of children’s television in the 1960’s and set a precedent for years to come.

Born in London in 1922 and trained as a traditional puppeteer, Murray worked on the first series of Captain Pugwash, which was broadcast and “animated” live using magnets and strings to make the paper puppets move. He became head of Children’s television before leaving to form Gordon Murray Puppets Productions where he and fellow animators John Hardwick and Bob Bura began using stop motion animation.

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When Camberwick Green first aired in 1966, it was the first full colour British children’s animated television series. At the time, it’s only contemporaries were the work of Postgate and Firmin’s Small Films which were broadcast in black and white. Between Small Films and the work of Murray British Children’s animated television series established themselves away from the American cinematic formula of the “cartoon”, with it’s heavy emphasis on gags and conflict and towards a more community driven ideal that focussed on the lives of the individuals of varied professions and eccentricities. Without Murray distinguishing these patterns there may not have been a Postman Pat or a Bob the Builder.

In recent years his legacy has been kept alive through nostalgia and parody. the series characters were re made by Factory for Children in Need’s Animated All Stars and TV series Life on Mars began an episode with their characters imagined in the style of Camberwick Green, Quaker employed Windy Miller in their adverts and more recently his style was aped for a Radiohead Music video, though not to the approval of Murray’s family.

Gordon Murray 1921-2016

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