2019-10-29 15:02:49 UTC
Alison Prince, prolific children’s author and poet who was best known as the scriptwriter of ‘Trumpton’ – obituary
Alison Prince, who has died aged 88, was an award-winning poet, prolific writer of novels for children and adults, and the author of biographies of Kenneth Grahame and Hans Christian Andersen.
She was best known, however, as the scriptwriter of the much-loved BBC children’s stop-motion animated television series Trumpton (1967) and author of the immortal line “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub!”, the roll call for Trumpton’s fire brigade.
The series was created by the puppeteer Gordon Murray, who had been responsible for the success of Camberwick Green. Brian Cant narrated all the characters and sang Freddie Phillips’s songs.
[Sorry, gang. The London Telegraph's paywall cut me of...]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alison Prince (26 March 1931 – 12 October 2019) was a British children's writer, screenwriter and biographer, who settled on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, Her novels for young people won several awards.
Born in Beckenham, Kent (now in Greater London), Prince grew up in South London. She attended a girls' grammar school, where she enjoyed grammar and Latin, but not maths. Her parents were from Scotland and Yorkshire. Her father was a keen pianist, and Prince herself still plays the clarinet. As a child she visited Scottish relatives in Glasgow.
After completing a degree course at the Slade School of Art, where she had won a scholarship, Prince found only casual, low-paid jobs unrelated to art. She later took a postgraduate teaching diploma at Goldsmith's College, then taught art at the Elliott Comprehensive School, in Putney. She married a fellow teacher there, had three children, which interrupted her teaching career, and turned instead to occasional journalism. After the marriage ended, she ran a small farm in Suffolk for eight years.
From television to books
Prince later moved into writing for children's television, gaining notice with her scripts for the Trumpton series for young children, first screened in 1967. Her first book was Joe and a Horse and other stories about Joe from 'Watch with Mother', with Joan Hickson (not the actress), a 1968 spin-off from the BBC pre-school program Watch with Mother. In the late 1970s, she turned to writing books for children, some based on historical characters. They include My Royal Story about Catherine of Aragon, which was re-released in 2010. How's Business (1987), set in World War II, made the shortlist for the Nestle Smarties Book Prize.
The Sherwood Hero (1995) is a modern-day Robin Hood story for young adults, about a girl stealing a credit card from her father's client, drawing £100, attempting to hand it out to the poor in the streets of Glasgow, and then coping with the guilt. For this Prince was a joint winner (with Philip Pullman) of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers. Her thriller Oranges and Murder was the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year in 2002. Translations of her books have been published in several languages, including Danish, German, Japanese, and Welsh.
Mainly for adults, Prince wrote well-received biographies of Kenneth Grahame (1994, reissued 2009) and Hans Christian Andersen (1998), a collection of essays on formative thinking, two booklets of poetry, and two volumes of pieces that had originally appeared in a local Arran newspaper.
In 2005, Prince received an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Leicester for services to children's books.
Forbidden Soldier, a children's book about the second phase of the English Civil War, appeared in 2014, as did The Lost King: Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, a biography of Richard III, whose remains were dug up in 2013 in a Leicester car park.
Alison Prince died on 12 October 2019, aged 88, having been ill for a number of years, including undergoing major heart surgery.
These titles are or have recently been available in the UK, according to the websites of major internet booksellers:
Forbidden Soldier (2014)
The Lost King (2014)
No Ordinary Love Song (2011)
Henry VIII's Wives (2011)
Catherine of Aragon (2010)
Tudor Stories for Girls (2009)
The Sherwood Nightmare (2008)
Princes in the Tower (2008)
Jacoby's Game (2006)
Doodlebug Summer (2006)
Tower-Block Pony (2004)
The Summerhouse (2004)
Anne Boleyn and Me: the diary of Elinor Valjean, London 1525–1536 (2004)*
Three Blind Eyes (2003)
The Whifflet Train (2003)
Oranges and Murder (2002)
Dora Saves the Prince (2002)
The Fortune Teller (2001)
My Tudor Queen (2001)
Bird Boy (2001)
Dear Del (2001)
Second Chance (2000)
Acts of Union (2000)
A Nation Again (2000)
A Biker's Ghost (2000)
The Biggish Ewe (1999)
Dear Del (1999)
Cat Number Three (1999)
Hans Christian Andersen: the fan dancer (1998)
Magic Dad (1997)
Fergus, Fabulous Ferret (1997)
Fatso's Rat (1997)
The Witching Tree (1996)
The Sherwood Hero (1995)
On Arran (1994)
Kenneth Grahame: an innocent in the Wild Wood (1994)
Having Been in the City (1994)
A Dog Called You (1993)
A Book of Arran Poetry (edited with Cicely Gill, 1993)
The Necessary Goat (1992)
Blue Moon and other stories (1988)
A Haunting Refrain (1988)
How's Business? (1987)
The Type One Super Robot (1986)
The Others (1986)
Nick's October (1986)
A Job for Merv (1986)
Rock On, Mill Green (1985)
Night Landings (illustrated by Edward Mortelmans, 1983)
A Spy at Mill Green (1983)
The Sinister Airfield (illus. Edward Mortelmans, 1982)
Mill Green on Stage (1982)
Mill Green on Fire (1982)
Haunted Children (1982)
Who Wants Pets? (1980)
The Turkey's Nest (1979)
The Night I Sold My Boots (1979)
Whosaurus? Dinosaurus, with Joan Hickson (1975)
The Doubting Kind (1975)
Joe and the Nursery School, with Joan Hickson (1972)
Joe Moves House, with Joan Hickson (1972)
The Joe Annual, with Joan Hickson (1971)
The Red Alfa (1971)
The House on the Common (1969)
Joe and a Horse and other stories about Joe from 'Watch with Mother', with Joan Hickson (BBC, 1968)