Award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian Michael Palin is to narrate the new Clangers series.
The stop animation series is set to launch in the UK in spring 2015, and will be a contemporary version of the iconic British classic television show, which first aired on the BBC in 1969.
“The world of the Clangers is delightful and irresistible," said Palin.
"It’s a real pleasure and a great privilege to be a part of its return to television.”
Palin takes up the mantle of Clangers narrater from the late Oliver Postgate, creator and narrator of the original series.
Oliver’s son, Daniel Postgate, who will be executive producing the new series alongside Peter Firmin, added: “Michael Palin was my first and favourite choice, so of course I’m absolutely delighted.
"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."
Peter Firmin said: "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. 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."
The £5 million production is already underway with stop-motion specialists Factory Transmedia and award-winning puppet makers, Mackinnon and Saunders. Peter Firmin is also part of the design process and Daniel Postgate is writing storylines and scripts. BBC Worldwide is the international distributor.
“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 Kay Benbow, controller of CBeebies.
"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."
Jeremy Banks, CEO, Coolabi Group, added: “Michael Palin is a wonderful entertainer and someone who is part of the fabric of British television.
"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.”
Coolabi has already signed licensing deals with Character Options as the master toy partner and Penguin has signed a publishing agreement. Other licensees 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 BLE on 7th October, with previews available of the new product concepts on the Coolabi stand D060.