Friday 25 Jul 2014
As the adventures of a new crew of underwater heroes prepare to launch on CBeebies, The Octonauts' dashing and charismatic leader, Barnacles Bear, reveals all to Programme Information.
Barnacles Bear is not your average television adventurer: an extremely strong polar bear, he cuts an imposing figure with his neatly trimmed fur and crisp blue uniform. Known as a strategic thinker, Barnacles is an expert pilot with a gift for deciphering charts and maps.
So how did he come to be in charge of this impressive team of marine rescuers?
"I spent 13 years training with the Polar Bear Scouts," explains Barnacles. "This is where I learned to navigate every submarine known to animal or man and co-invented a periscope that can see through icebergs. It was through the Polar Bear Scouts International Network of Oceanic Exploration and Other Stuff that I met Professor Inkling, who asked me to lead the team of eight undersea explorers that is now known as The Octonauts."
The Octonauts are renowned for their ability to achieve results by working closely together. So what special qualities does it take to lead and inspire the group?
"That's simple," says Barnacles, "knowing the value of teamwork I can get the absolute best performance from each crew member. And being able to prise open a giant clam at 100 metres doesn't hurt either."
What sets The Octonauts apart from other TV superheroes like The Wonder Pets or the Power Rangers?
"Well, we're not exactly superheroes," explains Barnacles carefully. "For starters, none of us wear capes. They'd get in the way of our air tanks. We're more like the Justice League but underwater! We all live and work together aboard the Octopod so there's a real team spirit. Even without super powers, every one of my crew is a highly trained professional, and together we can solve almost any problem under the sea."
So why is the work of The Octonauts so important for Barnacles?
"Our mission is to explore oceans, rescue creatures, and protect their habitats," he says, puffing up with pride. "Explore. Rescue. Protect. These are the three words each crew member has inscribed on their official pyjamas and dive suits. It's a daily reminder of the infinite beauty that's out there and our responsibility to all the creatures that call the ocean their home."
The Octonauts are a diverse team that include a swashbuckling kitten with a mysterious past and a multi-tasking octopus; what does Captain Barnacles feel are the ideal qualities for an Octonaut?
"An intrepid spirit, curiosity and a love of nature," he says sagely, "also a working knowledge of Sardine Burp Variations and a willingness to eat kelp cakes, lots and lots of kelp cakes."
Barnacles then glances at his Octo-Compass (a multi-purpose smartphone strapped to his belt); he's impatient to get back to what he does best – patrolling the high seas.
One final question – is there anything the great leader is scared of?
"Just running out of undersea adventures," laughs Barnacles, "but there's no danger of that – the ocean is endless!"