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Michael Palin to Narrate New ‘Clangers’ Series

BBC, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and Sprout co-production set to air Spring 2015.

CBeebies, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and Sprout are excited to announce that award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian Michael Palin is confirmed to narrate the much-anticipated new Clangers series. The 52 x 11’ stop-motion animation is expected to launch in the UK in Spring 2015. It is a contemporary version of the iconic British classic television show, which first aired on the BBC in 1969.

Michael Palin is best-known for being one of the members of the comedy legends Monty Python and for his ground-breaking travel documentaries. Of his role in the new Clangers series, he said: “The world of the Clangers is delightful and irresistible. 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 humor, insight and warmth have made him a firm favorite 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, 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 U.K. animation.

“Michael Palin was my first and favourite choice, so of course I'm absolutely delighted,” commented Oliver’s son, Daniel Postgate, who will be executive producing the new series alongside Peter Firmin. “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.”

“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,” Peter Firmin said. “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, and to have Michael Palin involved really is the icing on the cake,” said CBeebies controller Kay Benbow. “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.”

“Michael Palin is a wonderful entertainer and someone who is part of the fabric of British television,” commented Coolabi Group CEO Jeremy Banks. “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 are a family -- pink, long-nosed, inventive and loveable mouse-shaped creatures -- who communicate with distinctive whistles and live on a small blue planet, out in the starry stretches of space, not far from Earth. The narrator comments on the thrilling and often hilarious events which occur in every episode. The cast of characters consists of Major, Mother, Small (a boy), Tiny (a girl) and Granny. Other favorites 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 £5 million production is already underway with stop-motion 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 is also part of the design process and Daniel Postgate is writing storylines and scripts. BBC Worldwide is the international distributor.

Coolabi has already inked licensing deals with Character Options as the master toy partner and Penguin has signed a publishing agreement. Other licensees onboard include; Immediate Media Co (magazine publisher), C&M Licensing (leading apparel supplier), MV Sports & Leisure Limited (wheeled toy specialist), Gemma International Ltd (greeting cards & gift wrap publisher), Trade Mark Collections (children's bag supplier) and Rainbow Productions (costume character creators).

Clangers costume characters, Small and Tiny, will be revealed for the first time at Brand Licensing Europe on October 7th, with previews available of the new product concepts on the Coolabi stand (D060).

Source: Coolabi Group

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.