What thoughts do you put into words when you think of this Summer school holiday program - "absolute perfection" spring to mind. My all time favourite. Originally produced in Yugoslavia, this wonderful little series soon became the essential diet for every school holiday from late 1960s right through to the late 1970s. The show soon became so pouplar it was given a slot on BBC1 straight after Blue Peter starting at 17:15 and finishing at 17:40 (Radiotime Monday 24th September 1973). I remember watching this at the end of the Summer in 1977 since it was my last year at Bowker Vale Primary School in Manchester and meant I had to move to a new secondary school. This show means a lot to a huge number of people and not just the horsey brigade fans. The theme music sung by Jackie Lee was recently voted the best children's theme music of all time and no wonder. Click here to download the mp3. Even hearing this reminds me of lazy Summer days, when the six week holiday appeared to last for years. "Robinson Crusoe", "Belle and Sebastien", "Flash Gordon", "Once upon a time... Man" all had a turn around these days.
The show was originally made in 1965 and was a thirteen part serial although a bit like Mr. Benn there always appeared to be more episodes than there actually were. Julia was played by the late Helga Anders of whom I am very sad to say died in 1984 from a heart problem (she was only 38 years old - imdb.com).
Julia is a young teenager who goes to visit her Uncle Dimitri who lives in the country. She decides to stay there and help with the horses he owns. Uncle Dimitri is a kind man but could often be quite stern especially when things do not turn out the way he expected. For example, in the final episode (House Arrest for Othello), Uncle Dimitri is quite nasty to Othello as he tries to gain mastery of the horse. He is even seen to cuff the horse around the ears. Othello quite rightly sends him crashing out of the saddle. Hugo and the other stable hands are all nice and friendly and call Uncle Dimitri "Chief."
Sadly this show has not even made it to VHS never mind DVD and for years I have scoured Ebay looking for it. Finally thanks to Patricia, I have received some material to work with. I'm afraid I only have one episode to add to Little Gems and I do not really believe I will get anymore to host.
White Horses - Characters
Julia played by Helga Anders
Uncle Dimitri played by Helmut Schneider
Hugo played by Franz Muxender
Doctor played by Laci Cigoj
Episode 13 - House Arrest for Othello
Although Uncle Dimitri keeps famous White Horses which he breeds on his land, he also has some other horses. One of these horses is Othello. Othello has a sweet tooth which Uncle Dimitri does not know about and the same time every day the horse makes a bolt to seek out a man who does surveying. This man gives Othello sugary treats and hence Othello loves the man. Uncle Dimitri decides that as a horse competition is approaching, he would like to train Othello to take part.
Uncle Dimitri goes off in search of Othello but the horse has realised the time and headed off to find his friend. Uncle Dimitri decides the horse needs to be taught who is boss - Dimitr's first and last big mistake with the quadruped. Meanwhile right on time Othello arrives where the surveyor is currently working and gets his sugar.
Uncle Dimitri is furious with Othello for vanishing whenever he feels like it and so decides to show him once and for all who is boss. Uncle Dimitri mounts Othello and starts to take him through the paces. Uncle Dimitri starts to get impatient with the horse and then gets a little angry and starts to slap the horse around its ears. Othello has had enough of this and quite rightly sends Uncle Dimitri crashing to the ground. Uncle Dimitri cannot move and his men arrive to help. Uncle Dimitri has seriously hurt himself and has to be taken to the local hospital
Julia rushes to be with her Uncle not knowing how seriously hurt he really is.
Julia and Uncle Dimitri hear the bad news that he has hurt his back and cannot move or attempt to ride for quite some time. Uncle Dimitri is not convinced but appears to be immobile. Uncle Dimitri is convinced that riding will help him heal and that it is the only way to improve his condition.
A few days later, Uncle Dimitri leaves the hospital but only after he signs a letter stating that he is discharging himself against the advice of his Doctor.
Back at the farm, Othello is still escaping and heading off looking for sweets from the surveying man. Again he has to be brought back. Uncle Dimitri decides he must make peace with the horse and is not really thinking about the competition until he sees one of his competitors who reminds him that he will not be taking part.
Uncle Dimitri and Julia go into the stables to see the horses. Uncle Dimitri is up to something and thinking about the competition. When Julia goes outside, he tries to mount Boris the white horse but cannot because of the plaster cast. He speaks to Hugo and gets him to help. Uncle Dimitri has Hugo cut holes in the plaster cast to allow him more freedom and flexibility.
Later that night Julia is awoken by strange sounds coming from outside. She looks at the clock and realises it is approaching midnight. She looks out of her window and sees Hugo and Uncle Dimitri outside. Uncle Dimitri is on a horse and riding. Uncle Dimitri continues training and practising and eventually is able to gallop at full speed. Julia is amazed but does not let on to her Uncle that she knows. Hugo speaks to her though.
Uncle Dimitri enters the competition to the amazement of everybody and goes onto to produce a sparkling performance. His doctor cannot believe his eyes at how Uncle Dimitri has recovered from such a serious accident.
The judges all agree that Uncle Dimitri is the best and so wins the cup. The doctor offers his congratulations
Julia rushes up to see Boris her favourite white horse. Boris behaved perfectly for Uncle Dimitri.
And so sadly ended the last episode of "White Horses." These simple storylines, lovely filming & acting hooked a generation of children in a way that no CGI or well paid actor could do so today. There has long been a rumour that we would see this program on DVD but alas nothing has appeared. Not sure if this will change but it would be an absolute must to purchase if it ever did come out. Thoughts, corrections additions etc. to the usual address.
Directed by Hanns Wiedmann