The Clangers: Reviving the Seventies

Unsure of what a Clanger is? There’s a possibility that this is the case with the last episode of The Clangers airing over forty years ago. It’s understandable that many are now unaware of the excellence of these musical little creatures but this is all about to change.

The Clangers are back on our screens in glorious HD after all these years, revived by Smallfilms and Dan Postgate, the son of original creator Oliver Postgate. Other producers and directors include Peter Firmin, Chris Tichnorne and Mole Hill, and not forgetting Michael Palin and his impressive narration. Overall, we have fifty commissioned episodes heading our way!

Clangers is a BBC1 family sci-fi programme aimed at children but favoured admirably by nostalgic adults who can enjoy its unique aesthetics. With the weird little aliens being made out of fabric and animated with stop motion, a common animation technique used during the 60s and 70s, these revamped episodes have a classic charm.

Each ten minute episode of the Clangers focuses on a family of five Clangers and a plethora of other inhabitants who all live on the moon. Every story focus on the lives of these pink beings, with each episode dealing out positive messages and teachings for its younger viewers; you’d be surprised at how many can even be applied to adults. Well, with the exception of making sure you’re polite to the Soup Dragon…

The Lost NotesUnless you were growing up between the late sixties and early seventies, or were lucky enough to have parents who forced the programme upon you as a child, it’s likely you haven’t experienced the glory and enjoyment of the Clangers. The revival of the programme on Cbeebies allows for a newer generations to enjoy the series with a revamped glossy sheen. After watching the all of the episodes that have currently aired, it’s clear that this revamp pays off.

The advancement in technology allows for a much higher quality aesthetic with the stop motion still being present and partially aided by minimalistic special effects added in post-production. Fabrics and materials are in abundance in the Clangers universe, creating a warm environment that makes you want to snuggle up in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate. Like the previous series, the unique art style now is almost identical. However, one instantly noticeable change comes in the colour, the vibrancy and quality, especially when we’re talking about space. The cosmos have been given a warm baby blue and sapphire gradient that comes across much more inviting than the previous foreboding pitch that the original series hosted. Aided by the special effects and ability to achieve much more exciting camera angles and animations, merely looking at the revived Clangers is an absolute treat.

03With a new musical score written by John Du Prez, life on the moon has been brought back to life and never has it had such fun personality and character. Be transported to a calm and peaceful world through his music that accompanies the playful stories. The first episode of the new series, The Lost Notes, is heavily based around the concept of music, alongside the imaginative ways in which the Clangers can produce music; it makes for a pleasurable experience not just to watch, but to listen to.

Overall, the Clangers are back with a polished look and new adventures; it’s going to be hard to keep your kids away. The third series airs each weekday from the 15th – 26th of June and is an experience one should definitely partake in. Even if the younger ones aren’t interested, the programme is more than enjoyable for adults!

Have you seen any of the new episodes? What’s your take on the revival of the series?

Comment with your thoughts.

Cameron Hutchinson


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