Western Animation: The Clangers
After watching these episodes you may experience spontaneous bursts of imitation Clanger whistling. Do not panic - these symptoms are completely harmless but may cause slight irritation to family and friends!
—DVD warning label
British Stop Motion
animated children's show about knitted creatures living on a small hollow planet with dustbin lids covering the craters. The Clangers vaguely resemble mice or pink anteaters, speak in high-pitched whistling noises, and eat soup provided by the friendly Soup Dragon. The name "Clanger" comes from the sound made by the dustbin lids.
A small extract from an episode of this appears in the Doctor Who
serial "The Sea Devils
One of several series produced by Smallfilms, comprising Oliver Postgate (writer/animator/narrator) and Peter Firmin (character and set design). Another was Bagpuss
- Baby Planet: The Clangers' home world.
- British Brevity: Despite running from 1969-1972, only 26 episodes and a special were ever made. On top of that, each episode was only eight minutes long.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Because of the Clanger-speak used in every episode, the writers never bothered to censor the scripts because theoretically, nobody would understand them. The BBC still objected to a scene with Major Clanger saying "Sod it, the bloody thing's stuck again!" The scene was unaltered in the final episode. Not only did no one notice, the exact phrase was even used to make talking Clanger toys.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Clangers once attempted to go to Earth in a rocket, but changed their minds when they saw, through a telescope, what a horrible place it was. The episode's opening narration described Earth and humans as a pretty rotten bunch of people as well.
- Small Reference Pools: A Real Life example. "Clangers" managed to come up as a suggestion for a game of Film & Theater Styles on the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, despite host Clive Anderson having no idea what it was. Players Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton successfully managed to mimic the show; Clive still had no idea what they were going on about.
- The Space Race: One episode features an astronaut from Earth landing on the Clangers' planet (and being scared away). Postgate and Firmin hedge their bets as to his nationality, as his flag resembles the American stars and stripes, with the stars replaced by the Soviet hammer and sickle. The astronaut leaves it behind and the Clangers use it as a tablecloth.
- Starfish Language: The show features no dialog aside from a narrator that tries (in vain) to explain to the audience what's happening. The Clangers only speak in their distinctive high-pitched whistles. (Postgate claimed that these were actually an attempt to reproduce the "magnetic resonance" which they actually used to communicate.)
- In the scripts, the dialogue was actually written out, and for the actual episode they would do their best to imitate the structure, tone and rhythm of the dialogue using a slide whistle. Several viewers claimed to be able to make out what was actually being said.
- Subverted Kids Show: The nature of the Clangers dialog allowed for it to be easily subverted like this.