On this day (3rd January)

Peter the Postman, the first episode of Camberwick Green, was originally broadcast on BBC1 in 1966.

The first and arguably the greatest of the Trumptonshire trilogy, this is the series that features the iconic Windy Miller. Whenever I post a clip on Twitter, I like to play Camberwick Green bingo by wondering how long it’ll take before someone mentions Windy’s fondness for cider or posts a screengrab from Life On Mars …

The Bill Poster, the first episode of Trumpton, was originally broadcast on BBC1 in 1967.

Gordon Murray (or maybe the BBC schedulers) were obviously keen on the 3rd of January, as exactly a year after Camberwick Green first aired, along came Trumpton. All together now – Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb ….

Meet the Gang, the first episode of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was originally broadcast in 1974.

Fair to say that this is a series that polarises opinion. Two things – Sergeant Major Williams’ treatment of the platoon (they’re nothing but “a bunch of poofs”) and Michael Bates’ casting as Ranji Ram – remain hotly contested talking points.

Jimmy Perry made it plain that he was drawing on his own experiences and men like Williams did exist, so I personally don’t have a problem with him – plus if he wasn’t there to provide conflict, then the series would have fallen somewhat rather flat.

This wasn’t the first time that Michael Bates had played an Indian character, but Ranji is a far more rounded character than the stereotype Bates portrayed in an episode of The Mind of Mr J.G. Reeder. And there’s something rather bittersweet about Ranji’s unflagging love of Britain, as it becomes clear over time (although this is left unspoken) that if he ever did get to the UK then he’d quickly find out it wasn’t quite the paradise he imagines it to be.

John Thaw, born in 1942.

Rifling through my Thaw collection for something slightly obscure to watch today, I’ve gone for The Absence of War, a Screen Two from 1995 adapted by David Hare from his own play.

5 thoughts on “On this day (3rd January)

  1. Hard to believe John Thaw would be 80 now if he was still around. Even more shocking is the fact next month marks 20 years since he passed away. Where does the time ago.


  2. Camberwick Green was first broadcast on a Monday. Trumpton was first broadcast on a Tuesday. When they rotated the Watch With Mother programmes they never had Camberwick Green and Trumpton on during the same week.

    Chigley must have really disrupted things.

    Jimmy Perry often pointed out that Michael Bates was born in India and could speak Urdu, and in the seventies there weren’t many Indian actors in Britain the right age to play Rangi. I always thought they should have dropped It Ain’t Half Hot Mum after Michael Bates died, despite the fact that the actors who played the concert party actually worked better together in the later series.


    • Croft/Perry( and indeed Croft/Lloyd) were never known for curtailing series after losing key cast members. Bates’ absence was a blow, but the series got over it (unlike, say, the departure of Simon Cadell from Hi-de-Hi!).


  3. Monday January 3rd 1966,BBC-1 Watch With Mother Series,Camberwick Green Originally Made in Monochrome Later in Colour & The Brainchild of Gordon Murray & The Famous Voice of Brian Cant.

    Peter Hazel The Postman,Windy Miller,Mr Crockett The Garage Man,Doctor Mopp,Farmer Jonathan Bell,Captain Snort,Paddy Murphy,Roger Varley The Sweep,P.C McGarry 452,Mr Dagenham,Mr Carraway The Fingmonger,Mickey Murphy The Baker,Mrs Honeyman & Her Baby,Thomas Tripp The Milkman Sgt Major Grout & The Soldier Boys of Pippin Fort,Mrs Dingle & Packet The Puppy & The Clown Are The Great icons.

    Camberwick Green followed by Trumpton in 1967 & Two Years Later With Chigley in 1969.

    The Great Memories of Camberwick Green 1966 on BBC-1.

    Terry Christie,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s