The Clangers ride again, on the back of a saggy old cloth cat

British television's favourite aliens are ready to invade toy shops across the countryin time for Christmas, as retailers capitalise on a wave of thirtysomething nostalgia.

British television's favourite aliens are ready to invade toy shops across the countryin time for Christmas, as retailers capitalise on a wave of thirtysomething nostalgia.

The Clangers, pink mouse-lings from outer space, are being reincarnated as soft toys by Golden Bear Products, which has already successfully resurrected another children's television favourite, the "saggy old cloth cat" Bagpuss.

The mice, who live inside a small, blue-cratered planet, appeared on terrestrial television from 1969 until the 1980s. They have since become something of a cult.

They were created by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, who were also responsible for Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog.

The new range includes the Clangers Major, Mother, Small and Tiny, who all utter the distinctive Clanger whistle when their tummies are pressed. However, they are unlikely tobe made of the same materials as the originals, which had wooden skeletons and knitted woollen skins stuffed withchopped foam.

Although most of today's children will never have heard of the Clangers - having been born after they left terrestrial television screens - Golden Bear Products is confident the toys will be a hit with adults, if sales of Bagpuss are anything to go by.

The pink and white animated cat, who dates from 1974, made an impressive comeback last year as a "yawning" soft toy. He was voted the BBC Top Children's Character of all time, echoing a recent poll of television production staff, which suggested the most highly regarded programmes dated from the Sixties and Seventies.

Lisa Kelly, buyer manager for the company, said she was astounded by the success of Bagpuss: "We sold thousands in the first week. Sales are exceeding our wildest expectations."

Other "nostalgia" toys making a comeback include Scalextric electric racing cars, the Weebles (who wobbled but didn't fall down) and the Thunderbirds, which have apparently done well at Christmas for the past three years.

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