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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Cult show tops TV themes
Picture from Belgrade/Munich Television
The White Horses was first shown in the late 1960s
The theme song to 1960s children's TV show The White Horses has been named the greatest in television history.

The tune to the cult series, recorded by Irish singer Jacky, heads a list of songs in latest edition of The Penguin Television Companion.

The White Horses, a Yugoslav-German co-production about a teenage girl's equine adventures, was dubbed into English and screened on BBC One.

The theme, written by Michael Carr and Ben Nisbet, reached the top 10 in 1968.

Other songs in the Penguin guide's top 20 include the themes to Fireball XL5, Red Dwarf, Rupert the Bear and Harry's Game.

Top five theme tunes
1. The White Horses (White Horses - Jacky)
2. Fireball XL5 (Fireball - Don Spencer)
3. Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? (Whatever Happened To You - Hugh Likely)
4. Red Dwarf (Red Dwarf - Jenna Russell)
The Protectors (Avenues and Alleyways - Tony Christie)

Moonlighting, Cheers and Dad's Army are also included in the list drawn up by Jeff Evans, author of the guide which was published on Thursday.

The White Horses theme song came about when a dubbing company asked Carr and Nisbet to write a theme for a popular East European series, The Times reported.

The programme, shot in black and white in Slovenia in 1965, followed the adventures of 15-year-old Julia who leaves Belgrade to spend a holiday with her uncle on his stud farm.

The 12 hour-long adventures were repeated by the BBC in the 1970s, but the corporation later wiped its tapes.

The programme has since developed a cult reputation among fans, with devotees buying complete foreign-language videos and swapping music files on the internet.


BBC News Online users suggested their favourite children's TV theme tunes.

Among others, you can't go wrong with nearly anything by Mike Post, with or without the late Pete Carpenter (from The Rockford Files in the 1970s to Law & Order and its spinoffs today), Patrick Williams' The Streets of San Francisco, or anything by Danny Elfman (The Simpsons, Sledge Hammer, The Flash).
Victor Field, London, England

Tough choice - Hong Kong Phooey, Scooby Doo, or Mr Ben! Recent children's TV doesn't come close to 60s - 80s except Teletubbies.
Rob, UK

Easy - has to be The Old Grey Whistle Test. Bring back whispering Bob!!
Brian, England

I think the best TV theme is the one from the old Robinson Crusoe series.
Sonia, UK

Three little words: Hong Kong Phooey.
Chris Kent, UK

Whilst I am a big fan of Red Dwarf and love the theme music, I have to say that 80s TV Airwolf and Knight Rider have to be two of the best TV themes.

Airwolf is performed by a big orchestra and could almost be considered a classical piece. Knight Rider on the other hand is all "electro-pop" and synthesised. The fact that the Knight Rider theme has been sampled by a number of different artists in recent years supports what a popular TV theme it is after 21 years.
Andrew, England

What about Sleepy Shores? It was an instrumental, played during the opening credits for a 1979/1980 TV detective/doctor series. Or The Sweeny theme music? Or Robin Hood from the early 1960s?
Matt Stewart, UK

D'oh! Where's The Simpsons?
Jon Hillier, England

The He-Man theme tune was the best, no contest!!
Kevin K, UK

What about Belle and Sebastian, and Robinson Crusoe - both hauntingly melodic themes that still rattle around in my 'hum' repertoire.
Julia, UK

White Horses and Ski Sunday.
Ellen Woolston, UK

I can't believe that they left out Captain Scarlet - still the best TV theme ever!
Janet Gladstone, UK

Spurred on by the suggestion of the White Horses (did they only make 12 episodes...then how come it lasted all summer holidays? Or did it just seem to?) I propose The Flashing Blade! You've got to fight for what you want, etc. Corking!
Mac, UK

I've been whistling that Steptoe and Son tune for months, it may not be my favourite but i can't get it out of my mind. Help!
Greg B, England

Champion the Wonder Horse - one of the best!
Susan, UK

Two words. Pugwall's Summer.
Peter Unwin George Wall, UK

The best theme of all time? There can only be one, and that is the A-Team. Craig Tetley says so, so it must be true. A-Team rocks!!!
The Face Man , UK

Come White Horses, Snowy Horses, Let Me Ride Away. If I remember correctly! I was born in 1965 and remember this song with happy nostalgia. Innocent days when you looked forward to Jackanory and hid behind the sofa when the Daleks came on Doctor Who.
Penni, Hants, UK

Tomorrow's World had some fab ones back in the eighties and early nineties. Don't ask me what they're called though!
Richard, UK

No questions, it has to be The Littlest Hobo. Great song, ultimate catchiness and a fine little series to boot.
Phil Colvin, UK

I agree that White Horses has a great theme tune, but my own favourites are Black Beauty, Van der Valk and Hawaii 5-0.
David, UK

The love that I share with my husband increased 100 fold when we both found out we were "White Horses" fans. Nobody else had ever heard of the show! We will have to join the cult following now.
Nicola Morely, Switzerland

My favourite has to be Jamie and the Magic Torch. Rocktastic!!
Andy, UK

Mystrious Cities of Gold had the best theme tune ever, that and Dogtanian and the 3 Muskahounds!
Judith Clements, England

Three stand out for me, and all three are from the 60s. Danger Man and The Prisoner, which both starred Patrick McGoohan and Joe 90, from Gerry Anderson. Other worthy mentions are the Eurovision theme (from the start of every Eurovision Song Contest) and the jingle of the ATV ident!!
Damien Cahill, Ireland

The original theme music to Grange Hill does it for me everytime. Pure genius.
Fergus, UK

Edge Of Darkness followed by Spender, The Professionals, The Avengers, Man In A Suitecase, The Prisoner.
AL, UK

I don't know the White Horses but some of my favourite theme tunes are Snooker, Grange Hill, Quiller, The Liver Birds, The Two Ronnies, The Hanged Man, Monkey, Darts, The New Avengers, Porridge, CHiPS, Hill Street Blues, Man About The House, Taxi, Robin's Nest, Stop Look and Listen, Seeing and Doing.
Max, UK

It's got to be either Roobarb or Dangermouse - no other themes come close to those classics!
Paul C, UK (in US)

What about Eye Level the theme from Van der Valk by the Simon Park Orchestra? It was actually top of the charts for what seemed like years in the seventies.
Ian, UK

It has to be Dr Who.
Phil, UK




WATCH AND LISTEN
Listen to a clip
of the TV theme to The White Horses



VOTE RESULTS
Which is your favourite of the top five TV themes?
White Horses
 41.00% 
Fireball XL5
 10.79% 
Likely Lads
 8.48% 
Red Dwarf
 31.20% 
The Protectors
 8.53% 
6580 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

SEE ALSO:
TV habit 'hits young children'
03 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Homer tops TV favourites poll
12 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Johnny Ball 'slates' children's TV
29 May 03  |  Entertainment


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