I’m truly delighted to be writing this post. A certain children’s TV programme that I’ve always had an affinity with is back. What’s more, I was lucky enough to be invited to the premiere at the weekend.
I remember watching Clangers for the first time when I was a little boy and being utterly enchanted by these strange, whistling mouse-like creatures living on a planet with bin lids for doors. They clearly made a long-lasting impression on me as, years later, I had a Clangers poster on my bedroom wall at university!
Having seen a couple of episodes, I’m pleased to report that the new series is completely true to the original. The characters are still knitted puppets, it’s still stop motion and, above all, the warmth and charm are still there in abundance.
It’s great to see that the original model maker, Peter Firmin, and Daniel Postgate, the son of the show’s creator, Oliver, are on board. Both play major parts in the production. Indeed, Daniel Postgate has written some of the episodes.
And that’s not all. The narrator is none other than the legendary Michael Palin. He’s travelled just about everywhere on earth, so space is the natural place to explore next. It’s somewhat fitting that Clangers and Monty Python’s Flying Circus were both first broadcasted in the same year.
Without giving away too much – I hate spoilers – the two episodes we were shown see the loveable moon dwellers doing what they do best. They welcome unusual guests to their home and show off their creative sides with problem solving, teamwork and Major Clanger’s inventions.
The humour is still very much as it was, and the occasional subdued moments when members of the family feel left out are just right too. The Clangers reflect the demeanour of young children. All of the kids in the room clearly related to them and loved them instantly.
The event before and after the screening was a treat for all concerned too. Dylan and Xander enjoyed making plasticine Clangers – and showing them to Small and Tiny, who made an appearance – as well as making flowers to stick on a picture of Mother Clanger’s garden.
I got to speak to Michael Palin and there was a live performance of the new theme tune. Not to mention a Q&A session with Daniel Postgate, Peter Firmin and Michael Palin hosted by The Sky at Night presenter, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who credited the Clangers with sparking her interest in space!
And what Clangers event would be complete without inquisitive whistling noises? Every seat in the cinema had a goody bag containing, among other things, slide whistles.
Before everyone had taken their seats, all that could be heard were children – okay, okay, and a few adults – heartily impersonating our heroes. We even had a ‘Clangerese’ tutorial after the second episode. Oh yes!
Clangers is back on our screens on 15 June on CBeebies. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter if you don’t have kids. If you enjoyed it when you were little, you’ll love it now too, so set it to record!