Tuesday, December 09, 2008

OP RIP


Hands up everyone who remembers The Clangers. That used to be one of my favourite television programmes when I was a youngster.

The programme featured a number of small creatures living in peace and harmony on - and inside - a small, hollow planet, far far away, nourished by Blue String Pudding, and Green Soup harvested from the planet's volcanic soup wells by the Soup Dragon. The Clangers looked similar to mice, anteaters and, from their pink colour, pigs. They wore clothes reminiscent of Roman armour and spoke in whistles.

I felt very sad today when I read that their creater - Oliver Postgate - had died. Some other gems he was responsible for were Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and also the wonderful Bagpuss. He died in Broadstairs, Kent (a beautiful English county) yesterday and it says he died peacefully, which is all one can really wish for. I'm now off to buy this.

I suppose programmes like that just wouldn't appeal to children of today, kids reared on those aggressive cartoons featuring lippy kids talking back to anyone in authority. Postgate's animations didn't have lots of noise and gimmicks - well, I suppose The Clangers had gimmicks, but they were good ones. They were clever and funny and from the mind of a true creative genius.

Oh and by the way that's Major Clanger in the photo above. He was the largest, the oldest and the most important Clanger in the family.

35 comments:

Carol and Chris said...

I adored the clangers and Noggin the Nog (my favourite was always Nogbad the bad) when I was growing up!! Kids cartoons today have no finesse!!

C x

jenny smith said...

Oh no, i know, i have happy memories of seein his name on the credits . Its the end of an era. What with him and Woolworths, its like a part of me has gone missing.

xxxx

jenny smith said...

Oh no, i know, i have happy memories of seein his name on the credits . Its the end of an era. What with him and Woolworths, its like a part of me has gone missing.

xxxx

Dumdad said...

I enjoyed The Clangers but I don't suppose my kids would appreciate them.

Brother Tobias said...

A great man. I didn't know he lived in Kent. Gerry Anderson, of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet fame, came from Bearsted. (All trying to get away in their own fashion?)

French Fancy said...

Carol - I used to really admire Postgate and also Tony Hart that did Morph. Simple sweet things for children from a different age. You can tell that if I'd ever had children I would have been a right little dictator - You Will Watch This Or Else.

Jenny - I so agree. The Big Sleep and The Big Liquidation is getting ever nearer.

Dumdad - I sometimes watch the French cartoons in the morning and see nothing to compare with these gems from my childhood. Although I do like the Littlest Princess on UK channel 5 - voiced by Julian Clary and Jane Horrocks

BroTob - It's the 'garden of England' - I wonder why it is called that. I mean it is a beautiful country but no lovelier than, say, parts of Devon.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Got all videos of Clangers and Noggin' the Nog. I'm trying to introduce my children to all the oldies and so far, touch wood, they love them. I even got the soundtrack music to the Clangers and a soft toy. Shows that I am pretty soft really...

Lulu LaBonne said...

I loved the Clangers it was one of the few shows the whole family enjoyed - your post brings back a flood of memories of all those other programmes from that era.

Frankofile said...

Why didn't I pay more attention at the time? But I can still 'hear' the Clangers.

French Fancy said...

Hadriana - I'm so glad your children are enjoying them. I can remember my mum, dad and I sitting around watching them and I had this little Clangers whistle which I insisted on playing. Jeez, I was a brat.

Lulu - hello. Have you finished your tv programme yet? You must be a real celebrity in your corner of France. You're doing a good job for Anglo'French relations. (it looks like sarcastic typing but it's sincere in intent)

Frankie - yes, that whistle. A stroke of genius. Aw, I feel all nostalgic again.

Lynne said...

Ooooh you have gone all pink haven't you. Nice of you to pop on over to mine. Yes you should try a visit to Stockholm, lovely city.
My daughter was/is a big Bagpuss fan. Shame about Mr Postgate. All his programmes were of an era that has sadly gone now.
Lynne

Henry the Dog said...

My mum used to LOVE the clangers. Her brother and she used to talk 'clanger' language by blowing over bicycle pumps to make the sound (a bit like playing a flute mum says). It used to irritate her mum and dad to death. ALSO she loved Bagpuss too, but had no idea he was a creation of the same guy. Very sad he's dead. Not seen it in the news.

willow said...

The Clangers looks like it was really cute. Not part of my memories, though.

cheshire wife said...

Sadly I do not remember The Clangers but I can see why they would appeal to young children.

French Fancy said...

Hello Lynne - we often talk about going to Stockholm for a short trip. It's meant to be one of the loveliest cities in the world. I'm really enjoying my revamped blog - I like this colour much more.

Henry, the more I hear about your mum the more I see myself in her. Is that good? I dunno :)

willow - I think it was a true taste of old England - in fact I wonder what Americans would have made of it

Cheshire Wife - the Clangers became quite a cultish iconic thing to like actually, amongst older people, I mean. It was very 'cool' (I do hate that word) to be a fan. Remember the group the Soup Dragons?

justme said...

I went through a long phase in my life where I barely watched television so though I have heard of these, I don't really 'remember' them.
I do live in kent tho!

Mama said...

oh that's sad, I used to like his voice and of course the whistle talk, I was nearly a 'teen' by then (oh dear!)so probably never admitted it at the time :).
Fat Tulip with Tony Robinson became another fave (after the kids arrived), because I liked his voice too.

Mama said...

oh and hope you are feeling better soon, bad colds suck!!.

Blu said...

I have a pink Clanger!!!..my friend bought for me..and I have a Soup Dragon too. Dont ask how old I am!!! hee hee

Noggin The NOG.......aww wonderful.

Moannie said...

What a wonderful life; he must have been a happy man too, don't you think?

Elizabeth said...

Oh no!
Bagpuss - memories of my son's distant childhood in England.
Broadstairs.......where my brother went to school as a small boy.
Reading your blog takes me back to the England of my youth.

lady jicky said...

I do not know the Clangers ( I wonder if Lee does?) but I do agree with the cartoons of today - nasty and too many smart mouthed kids in them - and they wonder whats wrong with the kids today!

Lane said...

The Clangers were wonderful, as was Bagpuss. And going back even further, I was a big fan of Camberwick Green and Tales of the Riverbank. They were all so gentle and understated.
Ah nostalgia! Gotta love it:-)

lady jicky said...

Lane - was "tales of the riverbank" a wind in the willow thing with real live rats and hamsters? I loved that !

Henry the Dog said...

Lane & Lady Jicky - yes mum remembers 'tales of the riverbank' too and she's sure it was the one with real animals.

FF - there are bits of you that are similar to mum and in my view that's not such a bad thing;)

French Fancy said...

justme - Not watching television can only be considered a Good Thing. I hardly watch it at all these days but I did use to love the Clangers. It was quite subversive in its own way.

Mama - yes, I can hear his voice now saying something like 'so they all went home and had some soup'. Thanks re my cold, I had a bout of pneumonia in my late teens and ever since then any cold results in a hacking cough. (I've never heard of Fat Tulip - off to research it)

Blu - aw, I'd never have guessed that you know. I've got an Eeyore that Mr FF gave me years ago - probably to do with the fact that I moan so much :)

Which brings me nicely to...

Moanie - I reckon he was a man who enjoyed what he did totally. His wife knitted the Clangers apparently and we mustn't forget good old Peter Firmin - his partner (and I bet he hardly gets a mention when he goes - sorry Pete)

Elizabeth - nostalgia is much more poignant when one is in a different country, isn't it? I mean you're much further away than I am (to anyone who doesn't know E has a fantastic photo blog of NY).

Lady J - Don't get me started on the Youth Of Today. I'd stop most kids watching television if it were down to me. Although the French kids in our corner of the world are very polite and when they see me walking the bichons the groups of kids we pass cross the road to come and make a fuss of them - and these are 15/16yr olds I'm talking about. Boys as well!!

Lane - do you know that I've heard of Tales of the Riverbank but I don't think I ever saw any. I wonder why. I was never a fan of Grange Hill type stuff - I think I was too old by then.

Henry - because there are not many kindred spirits where I live, it is very great for me to find bloggers like your mum and almost all those that pop in to me and that I pop into (bad grammar again - it's getting more and more frequent)

Larry M. Brow said...

It's funny how people mark their lives by particular TV shows. It's almost a new definition of 'generation.' Here in the States we have those growing up with Fraggle Rock, or Sesame Street, as their own group lying in between those too old to have seen the shows and those too young to have seen the shows. It reminds me of the movie, "The Commitments," and the enduring line, "Who are your influences?"

French Fancy said...

Hiya Larry - I remember Sesame Street - big bird.

My man is much younger than me so our cultural influences are totally different, but strangely enough he knows about all the shows that I used to watch as a child.

david mcmahon said...

I'd never heard of the programme - but I;m off to find out more about it.

East Anglian Troy said...

You can roughly tell the age of a person by which of these programmes they watched as a child. I remember Noggin the Nog but until the last couple of days I hadn't seen it at all since the sixties. Mrs Troy, who is ten years my junior loved the Clangers.
What I didn't realise until he died was that Oliver Postgate made them all. What an absolute genius he was!

French Fancy said...

David -I wonder what someone who has never seen it or heard of it before will make of it. It might seem rather childish

Hiya Troy - the man was a genius and happy living the simple life from what I have read lately.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I don't remember watching the Clangers but I used to love Bagpuss. Now my 3 and 8 year old also enjoy the occasional spot of Bagpuss at granny's. What an amazing line up to leave behind.

French Fancy said...

Hello Jo- I bet it makes their trips to grandma's very special indeed.

Sarah said...

Have you read his autobiography 'Seeing Things'? it's really good. I was sad when I heard he had died. I showed the children in my class (3 and 4 yr olds) the Clangers a while ago when we had a space topic going on. They quite liked it but couldn't concentrate all the way through.

French Fancy said...

Hello Sarah - no, I've not read it. It sounds like it's one I must add to my ever-growing wish list on Amazon and which Mr FF surprises me with from time to time.

I know it is meant to be for youngsters but I always remember it as being 'deeper' than that.A bit more abstract and thoughtful. Mind you, never mind your little ones not concentrating through something - I have that trouble myself.