Thursday, 4 June 2015

Theme Time : Jackie Lee - The White Horses

Back in the day to amuse schoolchildren during the holidays it was a common occurrence to buy children's TV programmes from overseas and dub them into English. The Singing Ringing Tree and The Flashing Blade are classic examples of this type of thing but perhaps one of the most treasured and fondly remembered - thanks to its theme tune if nothing else - was a 1967 thirteen part black and white series co-produced by Yugoslav and German TV known as Pońćitnice v Lipici (in Yugoslavia - now Slovenia) and Ferien in Lipizza (in Germany). A rough translation into English would actually be Holidays in Lipica but we knew it better was The White Horses and it was first aired here in the UK in 1968 and was routinely repeated for many years afterwards.

The story followed the adventures of a teenage girl Julia (Helga Anders) who leaves Belgrade to spend a holiday on a stud farm run by her Uncle Dimitri (Helmuth Schneider), where with the help of head groom Hugo (Franz Muxeneder), white Lipizzaner horses are raised.

For its broadcast here in the UK, a theme song to was written by composer Michael Carr and Ben Nisbet titled White Horses and sung by Jackie Lee under the name Jacky. It became a top 10 hit in the UK charts in the April of 1968 and later back dubbed onto all versions of the programme, so that other countries could enjoy it. 

It became a top 10 hit in the UK charts in April 1968. The book The Penguin Television Companion claimed it to be the best television theme in history.

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