Gordon Murray, producer and puppeteer – obituary


Initially his shows were broadcast live, but Murray became frustrated with the vagaries of live transmission and he developed his own film studio to record his films. In 1958, he created The Rubovian Legends, a first collaboration with Bura and Hardwick.

Murray devised new puppetry techniques for television (introducing stop-motion filming imported from Eastern Europe), wrote scripts, built puppets, and trained a team of puppeteers to use rod puppets and gloves as well as string-operated puppets. He worked with John Ryan on the popular Captain Pugwash series and also produced the Sketch Club series with artist Adrian Hill. In 1964 he left the BBC to set up his own independent company based in a converted church in Crouch End, north London.

In 1975 Murray produced a stop-motion remake of The Rubovian Legends called simply Rubovia, and three years later he directed Skip and Fluffy, which was screened as part of BBC Television’s Multicolor Swap Shop. . His last series The Gublins aired in 1979.

With the Trumptonshire puppets and sets gone, Murray turned to producing miniature books under the Silver Thimble imprint, working from home, binding them by hand, inscribing them with calligraphy and illustrating them with his own watercolors. The books are now considered collector’s items in Britain and America.

In 1988 Murray recreated some of his Trumptonshire characters for a bread advertising campaign. Rank Hovis McDougall reportedly paid him £20,000 a year for copyright alone.

Gordon Murray’s wife, Enid, a former ballet dancer he met during his acting years, predeceased him. He is survived by their two daughters.

Gordon Murray, born May 3, 1921, died June 30, 2016


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