May 08


FT7 comments • 2,024 views

13. Urban Hype – Trip To Trumpton

My glow-in-the-dark alarm clock was usually set for 6.45am on Saturday mornings, earlier than on a weekday. Sleep matters not to a seven year old, especially where television is concerned*. I would sneak downstairs without waking up my parents and hover round the telly in the kitchen for several hours, sometimes managing a continuous run up until The Chart Show at lunchtime. I had my favourites (Once Upon A Time…Life, Babar The Elephant, The Herb Garden) and my not-so-favourites (David the sodding Gnome) that I watched anyway. I rarely made any distinction between older repeats and new programmes – they were all new to me.

Such was my first exposure to Camberwick Green, Chigley and of course Trumpton. I found all three inferior to The Herbs, and generally tutted at the frequent schedule swaps in favour of the former. I doubt I was the only child my age with such a devotion to early morning animation, but surprisingly few of my peers recall anything about Trumpton except its use in Urban Hype’s Big Hit Single. Luckily the sample contains enough material to give a general gist of the plot and major characters (though tragically omitting mention of Miss Lovelace’s mischevious dogs).

A broadcast slot of 7am on Saturday will of course appeal to two groups: early risers such as my seven year old self, and frazzled clubbers who haven’t been to bed yet. So it doesn’t take much logic to deduce where Urban Hype and their toytown-techno compatriots got their inspiration from. Indeed, last weekend at a similar ungodly hour in the morning, there I was enthusiastically dancing to a mash-up of Snow’s ‘Informer’ and the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune. Looking at the television schedules for that morning I’m sure that someone out there is remixing the theme tune to The Hoobs as we speak.

If you treat ‘Trip To Trumpton’ merely as chin-stroking irony then the joke gets tiring pretty quickly. But of course ‘Trumpton’ was never designed for listeners with attention spans longer than 5 seconds, let alone critical dissection: a woozy meander down the crowd noise/piano hands amnesia path is pulled up short by Brian Cant’s “Suddenly!” and back we are into bouncy dayglo cartoon land. By the inclusion of this track, Rave ’92 gives an honest glimpse of cheerful rave nostalgia – comparatively, Smart-E’s ‘Sesame’s Treet’ has aged far worse, possibly by over-using the original plodding melody.

Which brings us halfway through this compilation and ready to fast forward through 15 seconds of blank cassette tape. Now for a cleverly apt finishing sentence linking this entry to today’s political events! How about: “There,” says the Mayor, “that’s the end of side 1.”

Watch the video to ‘Trip To Trumpton’ on Youtube

*Christmas Day 1988 saw me downstairs and happily perched in front of Timmy Mallett at a record time of 5.05am. Magic the cockatiel was wearing a piece of tinsel on his quiff.


  1. 1
    SteveM on 3 May 2008 #

    I agree that there’s more to this than just the kids TV theme element – sturdy production in it’s own right and I like where it goes with the piano break.

    A most important detail about the video – filmed at Ruislip Lido!

  2. 2
    Kat but logged out innit on 4 May 2008 #

    Hurray! Good old Ruislip Lido… *wistfully recalls sitting by said lido chugging pre-mixed rum and coke out of an Evian bottle* er yes anyway, although TTT would be kind of bobbins without the sample, it’s not just a straight remix of the Trumpton theme tune and that makes all the difference.

  3. 3
    DJ Punctum on 7 May 2008 #

    “Sesame’s Treet” was much better on TOTP, in the “Go!” era when dance acts had to perform the samples live and they got in some local schoolkids to do the “singing.” Total chaos and one of the best TOTP performances ever, even if I can’t find it on YouTube.

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 7 May 2008 #

    TOTP Watch: Urban Hype performed ‘Trip to Trumpton AND The Smart E’s performed ‘Sesame’s Treet’ on the same edition of the 9th of July 1992, hosted by Femi Oki and Adrian Rose. Also in the studio that week were; Dina Carrol, Joe Cocker, Bryan Adams and Erasure.

  5. 5
    DJ Punctum on 8 May 2008 #

    Guess which ones Dale would play!

  6. 6
    Ashley Pomeroy on 14 Oct 2008 #

    This always reminded me of “Are Friends Electric”, in the sense that it’s basically two different songs mashed together. I assume they came up with the rave piano section first, but decided that it wasn’t distinctive enough to release on its own, so they added the Trumpton element as a hook. I’m not sure of the chronology of toytown techno, as to whether this was the first, or whether it post-dated Charly and that version of the Magic Roundabout etc. It’s a shame that there was never a trip-hop version of The Flumps.

    Which was cooler, out of Trumpton, Camberwick Green, and Chigley? I am tempted to say that Chigley was the superior series, because it is nowadays more obscure – the story arc was a lot darker, the characterisation more intense – but I recall almost nothing about any of them.

  7. 7
    Gareth Parker on 24 Jun 2021 #

    Great track. Feel the Heat indeed!

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page