I hadn’t seen or heard Radiohead’s new song until Alliterator included it in his Friday the 13th playlist but the video seemed very familiar, full of friendly faces from the past. The inhabitants of Trumpton seem to have taken on the characteristics of the citizens of Summer Isle, what the Telegraph have dubbed Camberwickerman. While they might have stirred in the idea of human sacrifice, Radiohead have even included a cheerful reference to town lush Windy Miller.
Mind you there was a touch of Twin Peaks in the county to begin with. Camberwick Green was the first in a trilogy of stop-animation tv series written and produced for the BBC’s lunchtime Watch With Mother slot by Gordon Murray. Starting in 1966 (thoughtfully made in colour although broadcast were still in black and white) an unidentified clown would turn an autocue with the credits before narrator Brian Cant would announce that the music box on the screen was “all wound-up and ready to play”. One of the residents of Camberwick Green would emerge from the box (didn’t David Lynch’s daughter make a film about a girl in a box?) and have a bit of a chat with the omnipotent Brian before we were treated to a little slice of village life.
The following year brought us Trumpton, this was the big town trading in the music box for a clock tower. Similar tales ensued but the residents were unable to solve any problem without calling for the fire brigade.
The third series in 1969, Chigley (which the opening titles helpfully explained was near Camberwick Green in Trumptonshire) brought a new set of characters, mixed up with a few faces from the previous shows. Chigley residents weren’t content with the help of the firemen. They needed Captain Snort and the soldiers of Pippin Fort to sort them out. Chigley also brought the delights of the six o’clock whistle and the biscuit dance.
The Chigley biscuit workers look like they’ve been at the Kool-Aid, if not Windy’s cider. You can imagine it is a short hop for them to the world of Radiohead’s new village. And you know they need a master carpenter like Chippy Minton to build that wooden effigy. Obviously they were able to get his number.
Burn the Witch indeed!