Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Soupdragon is no more

Oliver Postgate died yesterday. And with him goes another little piece of childhood, for Oliver, along with his sidekick Peter Firmin, created such televisual gems as The Clangers (left), Bagpuss (below right), Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Pogles Wood, and probably more besides. Not only did I love Bagpuss and especially The Clangers as a kid, I am probably sadder than most at this news because Postgate and Firmin created all this amazing stuff in a little shed less than five miles from where I grew up. Anyway, the BBC offer a fine obituary of Mr Postgate here.

To make matters worse, I've just read that some company called Coolbai has bought the rights to Bagpuss and lots of the other Firmin/Postgate characters, with a view to introducing them to a new generation (their words, not mine). For this, read "update and ruin" these characters - for God's sake, just repeat the original series! Don't computer generate The Clangers! Don't CGI Bagpuss! Am I the only one who is worried that the mice on the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ may have heaved their last?!

Before Postgate's work gets forgotten, and his legacy ruined by its new owners, take a trip to the Museum of Canterbury if you're in the area - there you can see the original Bagpuss, Professor Yaffle, Madeleine the rag doll, Gabriel, some Mouse Organ mice and even a couple of Clangers. Go on - go now!

Footnote: the Soupdragon was a character in The Clangers. As the name suggests, it was a dragon that made soup. The Soupdragons, plural, were a 90s band who played around with different genres before jumping on the Madchester bandwagon and having a baggy-trousered hit with a cover of The Rolling Stones' "I'm Free" that was surprisingly good, especially the 12" version listened to in surround sound. But since I can't find that in mp3 form for you, you can at least check out the (hilariously dated) video on YouTube...


  1. Lovely tribute to someone whose work meant so much to me too. Very glad I got to see the Clangers et al in the flesh (in the wool?) when I did at the Museum of Childhood when they took a little trip to London from their Canterbury home.

    1. I need to check on their home - last I heard, the Museum of Canterbury was under threat of closure :(