‘The Clangers’ return to Earth’s TV screens

1970s children take note: the pink wool creatures make their comeback next week

They’re back: after several decades presumably lost in space The Clangers return for a new series by Factory Transmedia. Photograph: BBC/Coolabi/Smallfilms/Pete Firmin

They’re back: after several decades presumably lost in space The Clangers return for a new series by Factory Transmedia. Photograph: BBC/Coolabi/Smallfilms/Pete Firmin

 

In space, no one can hear you whistle... unless you’re a Clanger. After a “teaser” appearance in March to explain the solar eclipse to CBeebies viewers, pre-school cult classic The Clangers is back for a 52-episode run from Monday, 46 years after the original series was first shown on the BBC.

The stop-motion animation series, which features a cave-dwelling family of “inventive and lovable mouse-shaped creatures” exploring a rocky blue planet dotted with metal dustbin lids, will be narrated by Michael Palin in this part of the world, while US children will be lucky enough to get William Shatner.

The series was made from 1969 to 1974 for the BBC by Smallfilms, an animation company set up by Peter Firmin and the late Oliver Postgate. The business of television production having grown more complex since then, the new version has been commissioned by CBeebies and US pre-school network Sprout from Smallfilms and Coolabi, a media rights owner specialising “in the creation, development and brand management of children’s and family intellectual property rights”.

The show is actually being made by stop-motion animation specialists Factory Transmedia, with the puppets created by Mackinnon and Saunders (Fantastic Mr Fox, Corpse Bride, Bob the Builder) and Firmin and Daniel Postgate (son of Oliver) also involved.

At £5 million, the budget is also likely to be astronomical in comparison to the original cost.

Nostalgic adults probably shouldn’t waste their time petitioning broadcasters to bring back their favourites, though, as CBeebies stresses it always thinks “very carefully” about remakes or re-imagining of children’s classics. The Clangers, it claims, has “enduring magic”.

Let this generation’s toddlers be the judge.