Go behind the scenes of Bagpuss at an exhibition in Bethnal Green

The original Bagpuss will be part of the exhibition.

The original Bagpuss will be part of the exhibition. - Credit: SmallFilms/V&A

The event at the V&A Museum of Childhood will explore how the programme was made.

The magical worlds of The Clangers and Bagpuss is to be brought to life in a major retrospective at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

While many are familiar with the programmes the exhibition will tell the story of the men who made them, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, and their production company Smallfilms.

“In the late 50s it was completely unlike anything on children’s television,” says curator Alice Gage. “We want to go behind the programme and show how they were made, the stop-start animation and the incredible artistry.”

Visitors will be able to see puppets from the programmes and original scripts from The Clangers. Yes, all those swanee whistles were scripted.

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Other objects on display will include a stop-motion camera built by Postgate.

“He used meccano and ingenuity to adapt it,” says Alice. “He did it Heath Robinson style.”

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The exhibition is embracing new technology and visitors will be able invited to create their own characters on iPads.

Alice believes the programmes and their characters have a timeless quality that will appeal across the generations.

“They (Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin) came up with these worlds, and then told stories about the characters within them.

“In the 1960s the BBC wanted children’s tv not to give straight answers but to encourage children to ask questions. They wanted children to think about being creative and their own solutions.”

For Alice this was one exhibition that was a joy to work on.

“It’s just a highlight of my career,” she said. “My favourite was always Ivor the Engine.

“I loved the way he pootles along and helps everyone out and gets into adventures.”

The retrospective, The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co is open from March, 19 to October, 9. Entrance is free.

To find out more click here to visit the V&A Museum website.

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