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What to do if you meet a Clanger

Now the International Space Station crew is back on earth, astronomers are looking forward to the next big event, the double planet of Venus and Jupiter appearing in the night sky on June 30th. But alongside that, Britain’s space race will be taking another giant leap for mankind with the return of Seventies children’s series The Clangers, narrated by Michael Palin and remaining true to the bewilderingly charming original.

Should you be fortunate enough to meet any of these knitted extra-terrestrials, what do you need to be aware of? Here, as always, is our handy guide:

1. Don’t use a swanee whistle. You may think of it as a friendly gesture and it may sound easy but you’ll have no idea what you’re saying and could easily offend. Also Clanger verb endings are notoriously tricky to master.

2. As the Clangers’ dwelling places within their moon-like planet are sealed with dustbin lids, recycling day is a nightmare. Don’t try to help.

3. Clanger style is idiosyncratic to say the least. They don’t wear anything on their lower portions, but you should. Don’t say “I’m just loving the way you’re working that gold waistcoat, metallic’s just seminal this year, isn’t it?” or you’ll find yourself being clouted with a dustbin lid before you know where you are. The Clangers just enjoy dressing like Fleetwood Mac and no-one knows why.

4. Offering to go to the soup wells to ask the soup dragon for something to eat is a friendly and welcome gesture which will be appreciated. Asparagus is a particular favourite but they’re not keen on cabbage, and you wouldn’t be either if you lived in a confined tunnel.

5. The Clanger family is large. In fact there are more Clangers on that planet than at a FIFA press conference. You’ll have a short window of opportunity to chat with Granny Clanger as she nods off quickly, Major Clanger can be touchy but Small Clanger is the family’s diplomatic envoy and greets everyone warmly, from the Hoots to the Froglets and the Iron Chicken.

6. The Clangers apologise but they will be unable to comment on blue string pudding as they are in discussions with Heston Blumenthal who wants to add it to his range.

7. They are always happy to talk politics. In fact in 1974 there was a Clangers election* in which there was an electoral battle between the Soup Dragon and a Froglet. The Soup Dragon won on a "No Soup for Froglets" ticket, but the Clangers were unhappy. **A solution was reached with a Frog-Soup coalition, but two of the Clanger brothers fell out and one went to live in New York, and Major Clanger became Mayor of London.

**this may not be true

So there we are. Look out for Michael Palin and The Clangers on a TV screen near you, and may your Music Trees never play a bum note.