Episode Guide

Gordon Murray's Non-Rubovian Puppet Plays & Series
by  BBC Television Puppet Theatre, later renamed the BBC Puppet Theatre,

Source Production Information Status
Sources: RT;
Puppet Master


1st tx: 2nd June, 1955
Will O' The Gris
Runtime: 15 minutes

A play based on an old legend by Rhoda Power, and 'Abercadapple' by Miles Tomalin.
 

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Gordon Murray, Woolf Goldberg, Joan Garrick.
Voices: Kenneth Connor, Pamela Russel, Redvers Kyle.
Puppets by Laurence Primmer
Designer, Claude Whatham
Producer, Ursula Eason 
 
Source: bfi

1st tx: 9th Sept., 1955

The Woodentops, BBC 1955

“The Woodentops”
Runtime: 15 minutes

A series of 26 stories about a family of wooden dolls who live on a farm with their oversized dog (“...the very biggest spotty dog you ever did see.”) Part of the BBC's ‘Watch With Mother’ line-up. Marionette puppets. B&W.
 

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Gordon Murray.
Voices: Peter Hawkins, Eileen Browne, Josefina Ray.
Writer: Maria Bird
Music: Maria Bird

Points of Interest: Filmed in the same ‘tin shed’ at Lime Grove, as later used by Gordon Murray for his “Rubovian Legends” television series. Gordon Murray was the puppeteer for Spotty Dog for the first several episodes. The first ‘Watch With Mother’ series to give the puppets their own voices. Narration was minimal, with the action driven by inter-character dialogue, in complete contrast to the mute Andy Pandy where the narrator spoke directly to the young viewers, and the gibberish-talking Bill and Ben where the narrator merely told the story.

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 4th Oct., 1955
The Wonderful Horse
Runtime: 20 minutes? (1 of 3 programmes in a one-hour slot)

A puppet play with music.

Written and composed by John Hunter-Blair
Voices: The Queen of Livonia - Joyce Blackham; Prince Florizel of Livonia - Richard Dawson; an Indian - Forbea Robinson; Princess Almira of Lorraine - Myra Lowdon; the Sultan of Turkey - Oliver Burt; the waiting woman - Penelope Bartley.
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Joan Garrick, Elizabeth Donaldson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Gordon Murray.
Designer: Claude Whatham
Directed by Shaun Sutton.
Joyce Blackham courtesy of Sadler's Well's Trust.
Richard Dawson courtesy of Royal Opera House, Covent Gardens.

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 12th July, 1956
The Bird of Truth
Runtime: 30 minutes? 

Written by Joy Martin
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Violet Lamb, Peter Hawkins, Dorothy Gordon, Noel Coleman.
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Music arranged by Tom McCall, and played by Winifred Taylor.
Puppets and settings by Andrew Brownfoot. 

 
Source: ???

1st tx: 21st Sept., 1956
Portrait of the Mayor
Runtime: 20 minutes

Larry the Lamb and Danny the Dog agree to sell some of Mr. Artist's paintings in the streets of Toytown. Mr. Mayor is most impressed with the paintings that Larry has, and asks him to come to the town hall and paint his portrait. Larry does not tell Mr. Mayor that he did not paint the pictures, which puts Larry, Danny, and Mr. Artist in a tricky situation.

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 5th Oct., 1956
Telerecorded
The Great Toytown Mystery
Runtime: 20 minutes

A detective story that tries to discover who painted the Mayor's statue with green paint. Larry the Lamb and Dennis the dog who had been splashing about in the Arkville town fountain are prime suspects, until a trail of green paint footprints implicates Mr. Growser who is painting his shop in the same colour of green. However, Mr. Growser suggests speaking to the seller of the paint. 

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 19th Oct., 1956
Dreadful Doings in Ark Street
Runtime: 20 minutes

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 2nd Nov., 1956
How the Wireless Came to Toytown
Runtime: 20 minutes

Radio comes to Toytown in a big way.

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 16th Nov., 1956
The Great Toytown War
Runtime: 20 minutes

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: RT; 
BBC Infax


1st tx: 30th Nov., 1956
The Enchanted Ark
Runtime: 20 minutes

A puppet play featuring Larry the Lamb.

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Madi Hedd, Peter Hawkins, Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick, Hendrik Baker.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 



BBC Programme
No. LCH5454F
Source: RT

1st tx: 7th March, 1957
The Tale of the Magician
Runtime: 17 minutes

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Peter Hawkins, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 

 
Source: BBC Infax

1st tx: 27th June, 1957
Frightfulness at the Theatre Royal
Runtime: 20 minutes

Children's puppet play featuring Larry the Lamb, Dennis the Dachshund and the other inhabitants of Toytown.

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Produced by Gordon Murray
Voices: Margaret Ward, Noel Coleman, Peter Hawkins, Ivan Owen 
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Settings by Andrew Brownfoot, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 
Puppets by Gordon Murray, from illustrations by S.G. Hulme Beaman. 



BBC Programme
No. LCH7155E
Sources: RT;
DoP;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 16th July, 1957.
A BBC Telerecording.
Also filmed in colour.
The Emperor’s Nightingale
Runtime:

Adapted by Gordon Murray from the story by Hans Christian Anderson.
Voices: Peter Hawkins & Derek Nimmo.
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Elizabeth Thorndike, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Music composed and conducted by Reginald Redman.
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: In his Memories of Rubovia  (see excerpt from Prehistory of Trumptonshire in the Production section), Andrew Brownfoot recalled that when telerecording and colour TV was being developed, The Emperor's Nightingale was selected by the BBC's Head of Design as an example of the glories of colour. Andrew believes that somewhere in the BBC archives there may still exist this one full-colour example of the BBC Puppet Theatre's work, complete with specially composed orchestral music performed live in the TV studio.

 
Source: DoP

tx live 1957
Beauty and the Beast
Runtime:

Produced by Gordon Murray.

 

Source: DoP;
BBC Infax


1st tx from TR: 27th April,  1958


Photo L to R: John Hardwick, unknown, Roy Skelton, Bob Bura, James Beattie, Gordon Murray.

The Emperor's New Clothes
Runtime: 25 minutes

The fairytale classic in which a vain Emperor spends all his money on clothes.

Marionette play.
Written and produced by Gordon Murray.
With Bob Bura, John Hardwick, Roy Skelton, John Cronin, David Sutton, James Beattie, Stanley Platts, Fanny Carby.
Settings and costumes by Andrew Brownfoot.
Puppets by Gordon Murray.
A BBC Telerecording.

From Hans Christian Andersen's story. 

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 11th Sept., 1958
The Cruise of the Toytown Belle
Runtime: 20 minutes

A Toytown play by S.G. Hulme Beaman.
Produced by Gordon Murray

 
Source: RT (+photo & article);
BBC Infax


TR'd 25th Nov 1958
1st tx from TR: 16th Dec., 1958


The Winkleburg Armourer,
hammer in hand, at his anvil.

The Winkleburg Armourer
Runtime: 25 minutes

Set in an imaginary village somewhere in Europe, this play tells the story of a famous armourer, who is renowned for his magnificent workmanship, but whose great energy and skill is due to a steady consumption of doughnuts. When the armourer gets a big contract from the Emperor, his supply of doughnuts happens to get cut off, with unfortunate results.  

Written & produced by Gordon Murray
Puppet Players: Audrey Atterbury, Pamela Binns, Violet Lamb, Noel Coleman, Derek Nimmo, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, David Sutton, Peter Sutton.
Music by Josef Strauss, played by Patrick Harvey.
Settings & costumes by Andrew Brownfoot.
Puppets by Gordon Murray.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7253S

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 5th May, 1959
The Petrified Princess
Runtime: 30 minutes

A marionette operetta for television by composer Richard Arnell

Words by Bryan Guiness
Singers & Puppet Players: Dorothy Dorow, Trevor Anthony, Raimund Herinex, Howard Davies, Barbara Howitt, Roy Skelton, Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura, James Beattie
Music played by The Victorian Ensemble
Conducted by the composer
Piano, Tom McCall
Flute, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, celesta, violin, cello
Settings & costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Musical Advisor: John Hunter-Blair
Puppets & production by Gordon Murray, for BBC Children's TV

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 27th Oct., 1959
The King of the Golden River
Runtime: 30 minutes
16 mm B&W film

The valley home of three brothers turns to desert and they turn to a magical king for help. A play based on the book by John Ruskin.

Adapted by Gordon Murray
Puppet Players:  Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura, Violet Lamb, Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Noel Coleman
Music by Tom McCall
Settings & costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets, and direction by Gordon Murray

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 5th Jan., 1960
The Crumpot Candles
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Puppet Players:  Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura, Dorothy Gordon, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Noel Coleman
Music by Tom McCall
Clarinet, Frederick Lowe
Settings & costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets, production, and direction by Gordon Murray

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 6th Dec, 1960
rpt: 24th Dec., 1963
The Magic Tree
—A Persian Fantasy

Runtime: 25 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Puppeteers:  Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Noel Coleman
Music composed by Richard Arnell
Costumes by Andrew and Margaret Brownfoot
Settings by Hazel Martingell
Puppets, production, and direction by Gordon Murray

 
Source: RT

1st tx: 22nd May, 1962

The Dancing Princess
Runtime: 25 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Puppeteers:  Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura
Voices: Pamela Binns, Violet Lamb, Eric Shilling, Hamilton Dyce, Roy Skelton, Noel Coleman
Music composed by Freddie Phillips
Costumes and settings by Hazel Martingell
Puppets, production, and direction by Gordon Murray