Independent media group and rights owner Coolabi Group is celebrating 50 years since the first transmission of Clangers in 1969, with the launch of a new third series of the BAFTA-winning show. The company is running a run of special anniversary events to mark the anniversary – and a special limited edition print of the Clangers planet, the work of the series original co-creator, Peter Firmin, has also been released.
The Clangers were born in 1969, the year of mankind’s first steps on the moon. Made in a barn in Kent, the pink woollen creatures were brought to life by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin – and first broadcast on the BBC on 16th November 1969.
A huge hit, the characters even cameo in a scene with the villainous Master, played by Roger Delgado, in the Doctor Who story, The Sea Devils.
The series was revived in 2015, to the delight of fans old and new.
The new series launches on CBeebies on Saturday 20th July 2019, with the special commemorative episode, “The Visitor“, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing that inspired the Clangers.
Narrated once again by Sir Michael Palin, series three follows the Clangers on a host of new adventures, and sees the return of the Eggbots, the Wols setting up their own radio station, a supernova above the Clangers’ planet and a happy event in the life of the Skymoos.
“The Visitor” features an astronaut, inspired by renowned space scientist and life-long friend of the Clangers, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, who lands on the Clangers’ Little Blue Planet, in a storyline that pays homage to the original moon landings episode, first broadcast in 1971, “The Tablecloth”.
(In “The Tablecloth” as man touches down on the Clangers’ planet, look out for the flag he leaves behind – it’s a combination of the American and Russian flags, keeping both Space Race competitors happy…)
The special episode will also feature in a series of screening events on 20th July. The Bluedot Festival, at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, will feature a panel discussion hosted by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who will be joined by Clangers executive producer Dan Postgate, the son of original Clangers co-creator Oliver Postgate, series producer Dan Maddicott from Coolabi Group, and series co-directors Jo Chalkley and Chris Tichborne from animation studio Factory.
The discussion, which will cover the history of Clangers, first broadcast on the BBC in November 1969, the new series and the making of both Moon landing episodes, will be live streamed via the Clangers official YouTube channel.
The bluedot panel event will be followed by a Clangers themed dance party featuring a special, one-of-a-kind DJ set of cosmic proportions and will be hosted by family rave specialists, Big Fish Little Fish.
As part of its :”Summer of Space” program, London’s Science Museum in London will also be celebrating the landmark anniversary with a screening of both Moon landings episodes, introduced by series narrator Sir Michael Palin. Sue Horne from the UK Space Agency will also showcase some exciting scientific experiments for families.
Sir Michael Palin also introduces a curated YouTube Kids Space playlist, launching on Thursday 18th July on the YouTube Kids app, which includes a 10 minute Clangers space compilation clip alongside a mix of space themed songs, learning, animation and pre-school content.
The Clangers’ 50th anniversary celebrations continue with the exclusive release of a limited-edition print, “Once in a Blue Moon [Maybe Twice]“, which is an illustration of the Little Blue Planet by the late Clangers co-creator, Peter Firmin. The 50 numbered prints are available to purchase now from the Clangers online shop, price £125.
Peter Firmin created an intricate sketch of the Clangers home – the Little Blue Planet to assist the production of the new series when it launched back in 2015. The sketch explores the layers of the Little Blue Planet through the unique perspective of the characters’ co-creator.
The Clangers will also be part of a special CBeebies Prom at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 21st July, as CBeebies and BBC Radio 3 take audiences on a musical journey to the moon with live orchestral music from Chineke! – Europe’s first majority Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra.
Join favourite CBeebies presenters – including YolanDa Brown, Maddie Moate and Justin Fletcher – as well as juniors and the first CBeebies Prom Choir made up of 400 voices for a family Prom designed to fire youthful imaginations and demonstrate the power of dreaming big.
Young musical astronauts can follow in the footsteps of the Apollo 11 mission, experiencing new adventures along the way – including a meeting with the Clangers.
The concert also features a new BBC Ten Pieces Trailblazers commission by film music’s living legend Hans Zimmer, which imagines how our Earth appears as seen from the Moon.
Clangers will be hosting the chill out zone at the BBC Summer Social 2019 at Croxteth Country Park in Liverpool on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4th August. Families will have the opportunity to watch Clangers episodes, make a wish on the Clangers’ kindness tree, help water the plants, plus complete the maze to find the secret Clangers garden.
“Clangers is an iconic and growing pre-school property that is just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago,” says Jeremy Banks, chief executive at Coolabi Group. “The show has an enduring magic and charm and we are absolutely over the moon to be marking this fiftieth anniversary with so many exciting events, a new third series and the limited-edition release of Peter Firmin’s beautiful illustration.
“We have an exciting year ahead and we shall look forward to more celebrations to come later in the year when the brand officially turns 50 on 16th November.”
There will be more celebrations to come for the Clangers birthday on November 16, which will be announced very soon.
• The first episode of the new Clangers series, “The Visitor” will air on Saturday, July 20 at 6.10pm on CBeebies