October 27, 2016

The Burton art gallery in Bideford is opening its doors to an ambush of children’s TV nostalgia on Saturday, November 5.

The Clangers, Bagpuss, Soup Dragon, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog are some of the 1950s TV characters – created by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate – that the V&A Museum of Childhood have let out of their cases to tour the UK.

Having shaped the childhood memories of so many grown-ups, and a new generation of children with the BBC’s renewal of the ever-popular Clangers series, it was obvious to the Burton gallery how loved this exhibition would be, especially for those who could not make it to London to view it.

As only the second gallery in the UK to be exhibiting this collection, the Burton is proud to be showing off original puppets, filming equipment used for stop-motion shooting, character sketches by Peter Firmin, scenery, scripts, rare black-and-white films of Ivor the Engine, storyboards, and Noggin the Nog programme images.

Inside the exhibition will be a special sit-in booth where visitors can watch episodes of the old TV shows, including the Clangers, which their creators devised and filmed in their Kent farmyard pigsty, before upgrading to a nearby barn.

The usually grumpy Major Clanger, who was initially unhappy about being moved to Devon, said: “Ploo-oo, wooo, coo-coo…rooooo!” which shows how excited he now is to come to the Burton.

Exhibitions and collections officer, Warren Collum said: “There was no way we could resist such an amazing collection of 1950s TV memorabilia, especially when so much of it has an intrinsic link to so many people’s childhoods. I, like everyone else, remember growing up watching Bagpuss and thinking it was an amazing, technologically-advanced show where toys came to life.

“But, more than just about animation, those shows were about Oliver Postgate’s slightly haunting storyteller voice-overs – they captured your heart and imagination. Just like we hope this exhibition will for all our visitors.”

The Burton’s gallery shop will have an array of new Clangers and Bagpuss toys and merchandise, such as sew-your-own-Clanger kits, Clangers in a Tin, Ivor the Engine children’s storybooks and Bagpuss purses and shoulder bags that people can happily delve into and enjoy.

The Burton is open 10-4 Mon to Sat and 11-4 on Sundays.


Notes to editors

Clangers Images

High-res official images of all the SmallFilms characters on display – and the Burton Gallery – are available on request. There are also black-and-white images of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin in their studio creating the Clangers.


SmallFilms should be credited with the use of these and we recommend, depending on which images are used, the credits are:

Photo of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate

Courtesy of Smallfilms

Other images

Clanger © Smallfilms, Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bagpuss © Smallfilms, Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Warren Collum, Collections and Exhibitions Officer, is available for interviews.