The new children’s television series Clangers airs this summer, but how does it compare to the original show?
I didn’t grow up with the Clangers, but my mother did. She loved to tell me – and eventually show me through the wonder of YouTube – how good the show was. It was about these adorable little mice-like aliens and their friend the Soup Dragon who had adventures on a distant planet. It was this show, and it’s counterpart Bagpuss that was made by the same company,that began my early love for stop-motion. The original show ran from 1969 to 1974 and was narrated by the late Oliver Postgate, creator of the series. Both Postgate and co-creator Peter Firmin are compassionately known as the founding fathers of UK animation. His son, Daniel Postgate, is executive producer of the new series.
The reboot of Clangers is still made by the same company Smallfilms. This company collaborated with puppet-makers Mackinnon and Saunders, who gave us characters for Fantastic Mr Fox and The Corpse Bride. Take a look at an official clip below:
My first joy when I watched the pilot episode was to see that the characters were not remade in CG. They were still animated with stop-motion. I doubt they could do it in any other way, otherwise they’d lose all their cuddly charm. Compared to the original series, the animation is smoother, cleaner and more brightly colored. It’s an update much needed for today’s modern audience. I was incredibly impressed at the animation and if it helps keep puppet-makers and stop-motion artists in business then I’m all for it!
Having looked after younger children myself and having sat through many pre-school programmes I was always frustrated by how loud and obnoxious some of the characters, storylines, and even the animation can be. Clangers is very different; it’s sweet and gentle. Just as a children’s show should be. Above all, I was happy to see that the Clangers were not made to talk. They still communicate with their iconic whistles. They are, without a doubt, the same Clangers that we knew. Or rather, our parents knew.
Michael Palin, who you might remember from the 80s movie A Fish Called Wanda and member of surreal sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, narrates the new series in the UK. His voice is perfect for the show. He’s soft-spoken and seems generally interested in telling the story on screen. I have to say though, I am incredibly envious that William ‘Captain Kirk’ Shatner is to narrate the US version. I can just imagine the fun he’ll have with this childrens show set in space. Check out his promotional video below:
Although I am not the target audience myself, I will definitely check in on this show again to admire the animation and the adorable designs. And you know something else? My mother likes the updated version too! Now that is a compliment for the new series. Clangers is currently playing on pre-school channel CBeebies in the UK and will air on PBS Kids Sprout on June 20, 2015 in the US.
What do you think? Do you like the look of the ‘Clangers’ reboot?
MJ is a writing and film graduate who loves to relax with scented candles and herbal teas. She is a dog-walker by day and a pie-maker by night. She loves movies starring Christopher Reeve and her favorite animated film is Meet the Robinsons. MJ also loves anything that LAIKA and Tim Burton come out with.