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Western Animation / The Clangers

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Mind Screw. British Style!
Clangers Alert!
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
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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.

A Remake co-produced by CBeebies and Sprout debuted on the former in in June 2015 and the latter shortly afterward. The U.K. version is narrated by Michael Palin, while William Shatner narrates the U.S. version.

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Examples

  • Art Evolution: While the aesthetics of the modern revival mostly stick true to the original show, there are expectedly some updates. In particular the animation is much more fluid and complex, running at the now standard 25 frames per second. The scenery and props are also altogether more bright and candy coloured, and CGI is used for several visual effects.
  • Baby Planet: The Clangers' home world.
  • British Brevity: Despite running from 1969-1972, only 26 episodes and a special were originally made. On top of that, each episode was only eight minutes long. Subverted as of the revival, which brings the series up to an extra 100+ episodes plus 3 more specials.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The original series occasionally shown other Clangers among the group besides the main family of five. They do not appear in the revival seasons.
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  • Evolving Credits: The opening for the revival series initially used a narration and pan to the Clanger's planet similar to the original series. Later seasons use a much more elaborate opening with a whimsical instrumental theme.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The silver Hoots are hostile when they first appear in "The Meeting", blaring rudely at the Clangers and turning on their bronze Hoot for playing untraditional music. After Tiny Clanger scolds them and removes the music notes from the bronze Hoot so it plays normally, they become more friendly.
  • Heel Realization: In the Election special, the narrator pushes the Soup Dragon to make a policy for her campaign. She quickly makes "No soup for Froglets". When Soup Dragon wins the election, she is rather horrified when the narrator says she has to actually stick to it, and the whole thing quickly dissolves from there.
  • Humans Are Morons: Instead of being happy and content on their beautiful unique planet Earth, humans have made a mess of it, and now sending their expensive rubbish into space in the vain hope of finding another planet out in the vast vast cosmos that resembles theirs. Some of that junk lands on the Clangers planet.
  • Humans Are Special: The Clangers are very grateful to the visitor that brought them a nice new tablecloth.
  • 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.
  • Species Title: About the family that are the only known example of their species. A CBeebies production.
  • Spin-Off: Of a sort, the Clangers were based on the Moon Mouse that appeared in a book based on the earlier Postgate/Firmin series Noggin the Nog.
  • 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.
  • Stinky Flower: In "The Strange-Smelling Flower", Mother Clanger has planted a flower in her garden. Tiny and Small wonder where that stench is coming from, and they find out the new flower is the source of it. The sky moos, however, love the smell.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: The nature of the Clangers dialog allowed for it to be easily subverted like this.

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