A real cracker of a theme tune for you this week, one which is regularly tops greatest TV theme polls.
It’s White Horses, the theme song from kids TV drama The White Horses. It is sung by Jacky, aka Irish singer Jackie Lee who, you will remember, also provided the vocals for the wonderful Rupert The Bear theme song (click here for my post on that classic).
The series was a Yugoslavian/German co-production called Počitnice v Lipici in Slovenian and Ferien in Lipizza in German. These translate literally as Holidays In Lipica but when it was dubbed into English and broadcast on the BBC, it was renamed The White Horses, after the distictive Lipizzaner horses bred at the stables where the story takes place.
The plot centres on Julia (Helga Anders), a teenager from Belgrade who leaves the city to spend the summer on her uncle’s stud farm.
The series consisted of 13 half-hour, black-and-white episodes. It was made in 1966 and first aired on the BBC in 1968.
The memorable song White Horses was written especially for the English-language version by Michael Carr and Ben Nisbet but proved so popular (it was released as a single and reached No.10 in the UK charts in April 1968) that it was later dubbed onto the original Slovenian and German versions of the show, replacing the theme originally used overseas.
Like many classic kids’ shows from that era, it continued to air regularly in the UK throughout the 70s before finally being put out to pasture in 1978. It has not been seen on UK TV since and, in fact, the English dubbed soundtracks from all but one episode have been lost.
Here are the original TV opening titles plus about 10 minutes of the sole surviving English-language episode (unfortunately embedding is annoyingly disabled, so you’ll have to click the link below to go to YouTube to watch this one):
And here is the full version of the theme song, uploaded to YouTube by Jackie Lee herself (this one plays fine):