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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A trip down memory lane

Today's Telegraph reports that the BBC are to bring the Clangers back to our screens after 45 years in the wilderness. The paper also provides its list of the top 20 shows for children, all but a handful of which I remember watching as a child. Now I feel really old.

The paper says that the the cult classic was made by the fabled founding fathers of UK animation, Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, whose company Smallfilms also produced Bagpuss, Ivor The Engine and Noggin The Nog:

In 1969, Firmin and Postgate were asked by the Beeb to make a series for new-fangled colour television. They decided to set it in space because lunar exploration was all the rage that year.

Hence the Clangers: a family of pink mouse-like creatures, living on a blue Moon-like planet. Their homes were in craters topped by dustbin lids which closed with a “clang” (hence their name). They spoke in distinctive hooted whistles (created by slide whistles), wore armour made from scrap metal, and ate blue string pudding and green broth supplied by the friendly Soup Dragon, who lived in the depths of the planet.

The original 26 episodes aired between 1969 and 1972, before getting endlessly repeated and later becoming a regular fixture on retro list shows. So era-defining are the Clangers that their mere mention can make grown adults stare off into the middle distance, recalling an innocent youth of Spangles, spacehoppers and Clackers.

The ultimate cult status was earned for the programme however after its appearance in an episode of Dr. Who. In the 1972 episode “The Sea Devils”, the Master was shown watching and chuckling at the programme.
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