BBC News

Clangers to make TV return

image captionThe Clangers ran for two series in the 1960s and '70s

Beloved children's show, the Clangers is being resurrected, with a new series in production for CBeebies in 2015.

Debuting in 1969, the show told the tale of a race of knitted aliens eking out a threadbare existence on a cold blue planet, not far from Earth.

The pink, mouse-like creatures lived in craters covered by dustbin lids - whose noisy "clang" gave the show its name.

Co-creator Peter Firmin said the new series would involve "great storytelling with lots of heart".

The puppet-maker, whose other credits include Ivor The Engine and Bagpuss, promised the new series would be markedly different from the crude, jerky animation of the original.

"When you watch the original Clangers you have to make allowances for the limitations of the animation techniques when it was made," he said in a statement.

"It was magical for its time, but this is a new Clangers for a new age!"

Moon landing

Firmin dreamt up the Clangers with puppeteer and writer Oliver Postgate, who also narrated the series.

It was first shown on BBC1 in November 1969, just four months after Nasa's moon landing, and one episode even showed the Clangers making inventive use of a flag left behind by some astronauts.

image captionThe series will also feature memorable characters such as the Soup Dragon and the Iron Chicken

The characters even appeared in Doctor Who - watched by the Doctor's arch-nemesis The Master in the 1972 story, The Sea Devils.

Although the creatures communicated in a spooky, swooping whistle, Postgate later revealed that their "dialogue" was written out in full, in English, and often included swear words.

On receiving the scripts, the BBC objected, telling him, "Darling, you can't say that on children's television," he told Clive Banks' science fiction website.

"I said, 'It's not going to be said, it's going to be whistled,' but [the BBC] just said, 'But people will know!'"

Eventually, Postgate won - and the Clangers apparently swear like troopers, for those who can translate.

Postgate's son Daniel is writing the scripts for the show's 21st Century incarnation, which he described as a "labour of love".

"I've always loved Clangers," he said. "I was about five years old when it was made - just the right age.

"The new Clangers is not something we've rushed into. It has been carefully considered."

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow added: "Nostalgia is a funny thing, and we always think very carefully about remakes or re-imaginings of classic children's programmes.

"The Clangers is a programme that has an enduring magic. The new proposition has been built firmly upon the joyful foundations of the original, and will be produced by a team of exceptional talent which includes the extraordinary Peter Firmin."

The £5m production is already under way, and is being co-produced by US pre-school TV channel Sprout, which will broadcast the programme in North America.

More on this story

  • Bagpuss and Ivor creator dies

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.