It’s a crossover no Star Trek – or indeed no Clangers fan – expected. While Michael Palin will provide the narration for the upcoming Clangers show in the UK, actor, TV producer and writer William Shatner – best known for his role as Captain Kirk – has been chosen to narrate the US version, which will air on the digital cable and satellite television network Sprout, owned by the NBCUniversal Cable.
“When we began working on Clangers, we knew that we needed to find a narrator for the show who could connect with multiple generations of parents and kids,” said Sprout President Sandy Wax. “William Shatner has a voice that is comfortable in outer space and captures the distinct charm of the show while bringing his own unique sensibility to the role.”
The Clangers, which will use original creator Oliver Postgate’s technique of stop-frame animation by specialists Factory Transmedia and be overseen by the BBC along with original producers Smallfilms, will debut in the UK on the BBC’s CBeebies in Spring 2015. It will air the US on Sprout from 20th June 2015 at 11.00am on the net’s Sunny Side Up, and also run nightly at 8.00pm with The Good Night Show.
The new 52 episode x 11 minute series is being co-produced by CBeebies, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and Sprout. Coolabi, who are handling licensing of the new show, announced last March that Penguin had acquired the rights to release a series of new books based on the pre-school property, including story books, board books, novelty books, sticker and activity books.
Immediate Media will launch Clangers in compilation titles in 2015, followed by a stand alone Clangers magazine in spring 2016. Among other licensees, Character Options are to produce toys based on the property in the UK.
The Clangers originally launched on the BBC in 1969 and are pink, long-nosed, inventive and loveable mouse-shaped creatures who live on a small blue planet, out in the starry stretches of space, not far from Earth. Its surface is peppered with holes topped with metal dustbin lids, which flip open with a ‘Clang!’ to reveal steps down to their home beneath the surface of the planet – containing a series of interconnecting tunnels and caves. Kind and generous creatures, they communicate with distinctive whistles and a narrator comments on the thrilling and often hilarious events which occur in every episode.
The show featured briefly in an episode of Doctor Who: The Sea Devils where an imprisoned Master was seen trying to make sense of the creatures, apparently unaware they were puppets.
The cast of characters consists of Major, Mother, Small (a boy), Tiny (a girl) and Granny. Other favourites returning to the new version are the Soup Dragon, The Iron Chicken, the Sky Moos, the Glow Buzzers and the mischievous Froglets. These and many other peculiar creatures, create a warm and harmonious world of fun, imagination, exploration and invention.
William Shatner recently received NASA’s distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award NASA can give a non-government employee, for his outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring a new generation of explorers. He gained worldwide fame for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the starship USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series and seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films. He also memorably starred as Danny Crane in the television dramas The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. In addition to his work on screen, Shatner has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and a series of science fiction novels called TekWar, which was adapted for television (and was a comic book drawn by Britain’s Lee Sullivan).
• Official web site: http://clangers.com