Recognise these characters?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

No? We’ll give you a couple of clues. They first appeared on BBC Television 50 years ago (Yes, that makes us feel old too!) and accumulated a cult following in the UK. They communicate through a high-pitched whistling sound.

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Yep, you got it, these little cuties are Tiny, Small, and Mother, part of The Clanger family – inquisitive and adventurous creatures who live on a blue planet in space. But did you know The Clangers is not just a blast from the past, they are still going strong on TV today, attracting a new generation of preschool fans.

In fact, Series 3 is premiering on 9 March at 6.15pm. Available on CBeebies (Hong Kong Cable TV: 140 | myTV Super: 103 | now TV: 447). The new series sees The Clangers whistle their way through a new set of adventures. In each charming episode, these inquisitive pink creatures solve a problem, make a discovery, or invent something, as well as having fun with friends including the Soup Dragon, the Iron Chicken and the Froglets.

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We’ve got some special Clanger facts for all you fans, old and new…

  1. 300 cotton wool balls were used to create parts of the Clangers’ set, including the trees.
  2. Three kilometers of wool were used to knit the Clangers Family.
  3. Each of the characters’ tabards have personalised symbols; Small has an ‘S’ formed from question marks, as he is so inquisitive; Tiny has two musical notes to represent her love of music, and a T can be traced round them; Mother has an ‘M’ with a flower on that is also shaped like a heart, to represent her flower garden and her loving nature; Major has ‘C’ for Clangers and it’s a cog to represent invention; and Granny has spun wool shaped like a G.
  4. Six animators produce around 11 seconds of animation every day, which equates to a full episode of animation every 9.2 days – though, in reality, a completed episode takes much longer with the creation of animatic storyboards, recording sounds, filming, editing and post effects.
  5. The flag that the spaceman puts up in the first, original series of The Clangers has details of stars in one corner and a hammer and sickle in the other, as original creators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate say they did not know who would get there first, the Russians or the Americans.
  6. When the spaceman’s craft took off, the flame of the firework that Peter Firmin lit to launch it set fire to the polystyrene in the set and had to be extinguished.
  7. The original Soup Dragon has one of her hands darned. Original creator Oliver Postgate left her overnight with a chocolate penny in her paw and the mice in the barn nibbled it, along with a bit of the Soup Dragon’s hand.
  8. Starlings nested in the roof of the barn where the original Clangers was filmed. So before creator Oliver Postgate could start filming each morning, he’d have to mop their droppings off the planet’s surface.
  9. The whistling sound the Clangers make is arguably a universal language. Oliver Postgate was once told by a German viewer that the Clangers spoke perfect German!

Copyright © Coolabi Productions Ltd, Smallfilms Ltd and Peter Firmin, 2019

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