Award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian Michael Palin has been confirmed as narrator for the much-anticipated new Clangers series, a contemporary version of the British classic animated television show being co-produced by CBeebies, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and Sprout, which will air in the UK in Spring 2015.
“The world of the Clangers is delightful and irresistible,” said Pailn, best known for being one of the members of the comedy legends Monty Python and for his ground-breaking travel documentaries, who is clearly delighted to be part of the show’s comeback. “It’s a real pleasure and a great privilege to be a part of its return to television.”
The Clangers marks the multi-award winning entertainer’s first foray into children’s animation, having previously authored a collection of children’s books. His humour, insight and warmth have made him a firm favourite both in the UK and abroad and he is now turning his talents to yet another sphere, observing and commenting on the charming, surprising and wonderful activities of the Clangers.
Palin takes up the mantle from the late Oliver Postgate, the world-famous creator and narrator of the original series, who is often cited alongside original Clangers co-creator, Peter Firmin, as one of the founding fathers of UK animation.
Oliver’s son, Daniel Postgate, who will be executive producing the new series alongside Peter Firmin, commented: “Michael Palin was my first and favourite choice, so of course I’m absolutely delighted. Among other things, he’s been a warm and charming guide for us all in his extensive travels around this world, so it seems wonderfully appropriate that he should pack his bags once more, go off across the starry expanse of space and do the same for the world of the Clangers.”
Peter Firmin said: “As an old stick-in-the-mud I don’t often change my mind and from the very beginning I wished and hoped that Michael Palin would agree to be our narrator. Once in a blue moon wishes come true. This is once in a blue moon. I hope Michael enjoys his voyage to our little Blue Planet.”
“It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing the Clangers back onto the screen for our young audience to enjoy,” added Kay Benbow, Controller of CBeebies, “and to have Michael Palin involved really is the icing on the cake. He’s such an iconic entertainer and will bring a wonderful warmth to the Clangers stories as he takes CBeebies viewers on out-of-this-world adventures. We’re really excited that he’s agreed to be involved.”
Jeremy Banks, CEO, Coolabi Group, also commented: “Michael Palin is a wonderful entertainer and someone who is part of the fabric of British television. The narrator is such a crucial element of the show and we know he will be an engaging and insightful observer of the Clangers – the perfect companion to audiences watching from Earth.”
The Clangers – who famously featured in Doctor Who, watched by The Master in The Sea Devils -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 Clangers are a family. 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.
The new series is produced in stop-motion animation by specialists Factory Transmedia (Strange Hill High, Raa Raa The Noisy Lion), and award-winning puppet makers, Mackinnon and Saunders (Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Mars Attacks). Peter Firmin and Daniel Postgate are actively involved in the new series as executive producers. Firmin is also part of the design process and Postgate is writing storylines and scripts.
See also: The Smallfilms Treasury