Who Knitted the Clangers?

Curator's Note

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, British schoolchildren were exposed to a wide array of animated television programs. These shows—despite their laughably primitive visual techniques—elicit powerful feelings of nostalgia among Brits of a certain age. To remember them is to return to the magic hours before teatime when Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, Hector’s House, The Magic Roundabout, and Bagpuss brought a sense of enchanted ordinariness to the bleak routines of the school night. Recently, we revisited The Clangers, a show about life on other planets featuring aliens knitted from yarn. As with many efforts to recover the past, it wasn’t how we remembered it. What dedicated knitter, we found ourselves wondering, gave the Clangers their form? Google confirmed our suspicion—it was Joan Firmin, the animator’s wife. We hereby recover her name, and add it to the long list of women whose largely anonymous labor helped build their husbands’ careers.

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