Saturday, 19 October 2013

Hurrah for the Clangers

Those pink knitted, moon dwelling creatures with long snouts - the kind of woollen creations your granny might have knitted when you were a kid - are to grace our television screens after an absence of more than forty years. The BBC has announced that they plan to relaunch 'The Clangers' at a cost of £5 million. But interestingly, in the age of digital technology, the Beeb has stated categorically that the series will be true to the original, which first appeared in 1969. And to this effect, one of its original creators, Peter Firmin, now 84 is to be executive producer, while Daniel Postgate, the son of its original writer, Oliver Postgate, will oversee the scripts. To retain the charm of the original series, stop-frame animation will be employed rather than CGI, and much like their predecessors, these new Clangers will communicate through primitive swanee whistle sound effects. 

It wasn't so long ago that the BBC were investing £15 million in Anne Woods' and speech therapist, Andy Devenport's very peculiar and highly researched 'Teletubbies'. The series was hailed as a huge success (particularly for its creators and the production company 'Ragdoll Productions') having been exported here, there and everywhere. Much was written about Teletubbies at the time; there was a national debate as to whether Tinky Winky was gay; and strangely, the show written originally for two to four-year-olds found a significant audience among university students (who presumably viewed it while smoking marijuana).  

I, for one, am pleased that those adorable whistling pink socks with eyes will be coming back to our television screens. And I don't suppose for one moment that the BBC has any intention of researching the show. 

I wonder if, in forty years from now, someone in the BBC will have the bright idea of reviving Teletubbies? I somehow doubt it, and for the benefit of future generations of kids, I sincerely hope not. 

Alex Pearl is author of Sleeping with the Blackbirds 

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