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Toonhound presents...






British TV series

  "The Clangers" from SmallFilms

    (1969-1972 + 1974)

producers: Smallfilms for the BBC
    animation: stop-motion animation
      episodes: 26 x 10mins
                        1 x 5mins special

   "Can we imagine the sort of people that might live on a star like this?
    Let us go very close. Let us look and listen very carefully and perhaps
    we shall see... and hear..."

                                                                 - intro to "Flying"
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    It's 1968 and the Space Race is in top gear. The Americans intend to blast off
    for and set foot upon the Moon within the next twelve months. Meanwhile in a
    converted cow-shed in Kent the Smallfilms partnership of Oliver Postgate and
    Peter Firmin have been considering the recent brief from the BBC asking for all
    future series productions to be in colour, and not only that, but colourful with it.

    The duo think a science-fiction series could fit the bill and Oliver recalls a playful
    conversation with his three year old twins, Simon and Stephen. A
ccording to
    the youngsters a giant called Edward lives on the other side of the moon and he
    dines on hot soup. It seems he aquires this soup by lifting the lids off volcanoes
    and sucking it up through a straw. Oliver's own creative soup is beginning to
    simmer. He envisages these Edward-types, or something similar, living in caves
    to avoid all that space debris whizzing about in the atmosphere. And these caves
    would naturally have metal covers that would "clang open" when the creatures
Oliver now remembers a Noggin the Nog book drawn by Peter. "Noggin
    and the Moonmouse" featured a mouselike visitor in a duffelcoat. Now our
    twosome have the makings of an extraterrestrial lifeform, all they need
    is a suitable name...

      The Soup-Dragon   Two Froglets

     Thus were born the adorably popular Clangers, inhabiting their own unique
     encapsulated world in the far reaches of space. Theirs is a simple existence,
     savouring the pleasures of their little star, their green soup and blue string
     pudding, the joys of music, of fireworks, of fishing for useful space debris
     and befriending Soup-Dragons, Froglets, Iron Chickens, Skymoos and Clouds.

     There are five main Clangers at the heart of the series - Major Clanger,
     Mother Clanger, Grandmother Clanger, Small Clanger and Tiny Clanger -
     and, as anyone who's ever sen the show will tell you, they communicate
     via a strange whistle-whoop language which is, in fact, the sound of
     Mr Postgate blowing through a Swanee whistle. The script for each episode
     was written in English and "played", rather than spoken. Oliver's wonderful
     narration was actually an adition requested by the BBC, who were
     concerned as to whether their young viewers could comprehend a
     series without a normal soundtrack. But thank goodness they did,
     because that commentary adds such depth and melancholy to
     the films. The introductions throw light upon the abrasive, intrusive nature
     of humanity's place in the cosmos and the ripple effects of our actions
     around the firmamemt. L
ike the Clangers' own little moon world, this
     series is a unique and utterly precious creation....

     "The Clangers" from SmallFilms

     Some Clang-tastic detail

» The Froglets first appear in the episode entitled Top Hat. When they
         get sick they are roused only by a dollop of a new kind of nourishment
         called Blue & White Pudding Soup - specially collected by the

» In The Visitor the ranting, mayoral, moustached figure on that tv
         screen is actually Oliver Postgate in disguise...

» The Soup-Dragon is female. And she proves it by laying an egg
         (The Egg) which hatches forth Baby Soup-Dragon...

» In the Series One finale Goods, amongst the plastic items the Clangers
         dump into the Froglets' top hat are models of Fred Flintstone and
         Barney Rubble - check it on your DVD if you don't believe us!

» In Tablecloth Man finally touches down on the Clangers' planet. If you
         look at the flag he leaves behind it's a combination of the American and
         Russian flags - keeping both Space Race competitors happy...

» Adult Clangers are approximately 4ft high. We get to see a Clanger/Human
         comparison in Rock Collector when Man makes First Contact with
         the little whistlers...

» Although the tv series finished broadcasting in 1972, a friendly Froglet
         returned to our screens in a Vote For Froglet special during the 1974
         General Election...

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      in the news

      The Hound: December 2001
      SmallFilms licensing and Clangers CD-ROMS...

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      broadcast info

      Series One premiered on BBC1, on 16th November 1969...
      Series Two kicked off on 18th April 1971...
      Vote for Froglet first aired on 10th October 1974...

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      episode titles

      Series one               Series two
      Flying                      Tablecloth            + Vote For Froglet
      The Visitor                Rock Collector         Election Special 1974
      Chicken                    Glow Honey
      Music                      The Teapot
      The Intruder             The Cloud
      Visiting Friends          The Egg (2)
      Fishing                     Noise Machine
      The Top Hat             The Seed
      The Egg                   Pride
      The Hoot                 The Bags
      The Meeting             The Blow Fruit
      Treasure                  The Pipe Organ
      Goods                      Music of the Spheres

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     The Clangers on DVD

     UK DVD
The Clangers - Series 1
                Region 2 / all thirteen eps. / Universal / April 2005

     UK DVD
The Clangers - Series 2
                Region 2 / all thirteen eps. / Universal / November 2005

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       The Clangers by Oliver Postgate
       Film by Smallfilms
       design:       Peter Firmin
       music:        Vernon Elliott
       narration:   Oliver Postgate

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     On the web

      The Clangers
      Unofficiall, but officiaaly recognised by Smallfilms...

      The official official site with info on all things SmallFilms-related...

      They now own the rights to the characters...

      Clive Banks
      An excellent detailed guide. No whistles and bells, just a good solid
      block of information...

      index »    previous »   next »        

© SmallFilms / Oliver Postgate & Peter Firmin / F2009