Wolverhampton Art Gallery is holding its season launch event from 5.30pm on Friday 9 February to celebrate the opening of 2 exciting exhibitions showcasing more than 80 years of children's and family entertainment.

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'Clangers, Bagpuss & Co.' a V&A Museum of Childhood touring exhibition, and 'TV Puppets: Icons from 80 Years of Entertainment' will be running at the Lichfield Street gallery until Sunday 29 April.

Oliver Postgate's voice and Peter Firmin's puppets shaped the childhood memories of millions since they started collaborating in the 1950s. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and the Clangers, the exhibition goes behind the scenes of some of their other creations, including Pogles' Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. Enter the world of Smallfilms to discover original puppets, sets, and filming equipment and see how characters developed over time and learn how Oliver and Peter developed their stop frame animation techniques. You can also have a go yourself using 21st century technology.

Alongside 'Clangers, Bagpuss & Co.' visitors to the gallery will also be able to see 'TV Puppets: Icons from 80 Years of Entertainment' curated in partnership with the National Puppetry Archive.

From the earliest TV puppets such as Soko and Muffin the Mule to familiar characters that have entertained recent generations, this exhibition features a delightful array of original creations. Exhibits range from simple hand puppets such as Iver from The Hoobs to elaborate marionettes such as Lady Penelope and Parker from Thunderbirds. Audience favourites such as Basil Brush and caricatures from ITV's Spitting Image are also on show.

Also joining us for the launch will be Ronnie le Drew who is perhaps best known as the performer of Zippy from the children's TV show Rainbow. From 6.30pm he will be talking about his life and work as a puppeteer including his work on Labyrinth, Muppet Treasure Islandand last year's box office smash Beauty and the Beast.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: 'These family-friendly exhibitions are inter-generational and can bring the whole family together.

"' Clangers, Bagpuss & Co'. and 'TV Puppets: Icons from 80 Years of Entertainment' build on the success of the gallery's 2017 family friendly programme.

"We hope visitors take the opportunity to see these two exhibitions and are inspired to share their memories of these iconic characters and TV shows."

There are specialist talks and events taking place throughout the exhibition that draw on the intricacy of how puppets are made, developed and how they are still a current feature on our TV screens today.

Also launching on 9 February is 'Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton', the gallery's first contemporary art exhibition of 2018, a reconfiguration of The Diaspora Pavilion, which inspired visitors in Venice last year.

  • released: Thursday 25 January, 2018