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Clangers revamped for new TV show

Published 30/05/2015

Michael Palin, Peter Firmin and Dan Postgate attend the launch of the new Clangers series
Michael Palin, Peter Firmin and Dan Postgate attend the launch of the new Clangers series
Michael Palin is the new narrator of the Clangers TV series

The man who co-created the Clangers said it was "exciting" that the lovable creatures will be able to do so much more when they return to TV next month.

Peter Firmin, who dreamed up the original 1969 series with the late Oliver Postage, is an executive producer on the new show which will start on CBeebies on June 15.

He said modern technology has been able to improve the characters.

"Now they can dance, they can fly and they can jump," he said.

"It's exciting they can do so much.

"Before they couldn't do that, they were tied to the floor."

Firmin founded production company Smallfilms with Postgate and the pair created Bagpuss, The Saga of Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss and Pogles' Wood.

"Most of the television was about things that happened around us," he said.

But as the space race to get the first man on the Moon hotted up: "Suddenly the BBC wanted something on space."

He said the Moon Mouse from his Noggin the Nog stories was the inspiration for the Clangers and their home planet.

Michael Palin replaces Postgate - who died in 2008 - as the show's narrator and said it was a "dream job".

"I loved the first series so much. I found it wonderful to watch with my own children. It was calming.

"I loved Oliver's original commentary. It was such an important part of it."

He added: "These are wonderful series in a wonderfully designed set with great music. For a narrator, what's not to like?"

Palin said he liked that the older characters - Major, Mother and Granny - were not always right and sometimes Tiny and Small had to help them out.

"Children will like the fact that the adults seem a bit dull and plodding but the adults get their moments too," he said.

"The Clangers' world is about a family of people connecting and solving problems together."

He said the Clangers' world was "pretty odd, but not alien": "It's pretty comforting."

Monty Python, like the Clangers, was first broadcast on the BBC in 1969 and Palin joked: "That's where we got it all from. It has a similar spirit."

Postgate's son Dan, who is also an executive producer on series three, said music remains an important part of the show. The music trees still grow on the Clangers blue planet and he said: "A lot of the new series has strange visitors turning up and it's often about music."

The Clangers are voiced by Dan Maddicott, series producer for media group Coolabi, using a variety of whistles.

It is filmed initially using a normal script and he then creates the Clangers's voices, using the same intonation for the so-called Clangerese which replaces the spoken words.

He said it was one of the happiest teams he had ever worked with as everyone was so keen to be involved in the show's revival.

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow said it felt right that the Clangers should be returning to "their natural home", the BBC.

"As a family the Clangers are loving and caring and treat friends and strangers with kindness," she said, adding that it was an important message.

Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who is involved in a show which will introduce the Clangers to the CBeebies audience at 5.30pm on June 12, said she had been inspired by the show as a young child, adding: "It's wonderful we are bringing the magic to a whole new generation."

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