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Donkin's World: Dropping A Clanger

Columnist and author Richard Donkin recalls the worlds of Noggin the Nog and the Clangers.

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Peter Firmin, the surviving half of the team that produced the children's television programmes - Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, The Clangers and Pogles Wood - was speaking in London recently about the origins of some of these series. His former business partner, Oliver Postgate, died in 2008.

Of all of them, my favourite was probably Noggin the Nog http://www.google.co.uk/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1280&bih=634&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Noggin+the+nog&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq= . He said the characters were inspired by the Lewis Chessmen and you can see the resemblance. http://www.nms.ac.uk/highlights/star_objects/lewis_chessmen.aspx

There is a story that the penny whistle noises used to produce conversations between the Clangers were reproducing genuinely scripted words. Some of these words, apparently, were expletives. When one of the heads of children's television saw an offending script he censored it with immediate effect.

It's a good story and Firmin confirmed the truth of it although he said the story was embellished in the telling by Postgate. But that's what happens to stories isn't it? The story tellers make them slightly better than the reality, emphasising absurdities. I liked it anyway and take comfort in the knowledge that embellishment is part of the art of storytelling. It's what Noggin the Nog would have done. So that's all right. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTcStBUW2Ao


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