The series was made in France in 1964 and first aired in Germany in four 90-minute episodes. The dubbed English-language version was split into 13 half-hour episodes and first aired in the UK in late 1965.
It remained a regular fixture on British kids’ TV, on Saturday mornings and during the school holidays, throughout the 1970s and early 80s, before the BBC’s broadcast rights finally ran out in 1982.
The English language version did not only replace the dialogue on the soundtrack – it also ditched the mediocre music from the French/German versions with a wonderful new theme and score written by Robert Mellin and Gian Pier Reverberi (the latter of whom would later found Rondò Veneziano).
It’s this theme that the series is probably best remembered for and which is etched into the memory of generations of British kids. It is another genuine contender for the title of greatest TV theme tune of all time.
Here is that theme tune from the English-language version as it originally aired on TV (plus the opening six minutes or so of the first episode):
And here is the wonderful suite of music that makes up the full version of the theme tune: