Mirek and Peter Lang animation: 2D animation episodes: 25 x 5mins
know idea what, or who, it is.
Or why it makes music..."
What is Ludwig, exactly? - Magpie doesn't
know. Hedgehog doesn't know.
And neither does Owl or the other forest
critters who encounter him.
Even our helpful birdwatching naturalist
All that they, or anyone, knows is that
Ludwig is a many-faceted gemstone
with retractable arms and legs, and
the ability to fly via a helicopter blade
which extends from his head. His cavernous
body hides inumerable useful
objects, including a title card, via
which we know his name - because our
Ludwig doesn't speak. But there is music,
sweet symphonic music.
You see, Ludwig likes to play the violin
and his every action is underscored
by stanzas from his favourite composer, because
Ludwig has evidently
taken his name from that of the masterful
composer Ludwig Van
"Ludwig" is the proverbial curate's
egg. The concept is both bizarre and
unforgettable. An alien egg with a penchant
for Beethoven? - How ridiculous!
How very clever! - The character's origins
are never revealed. He simply
arrives in the woods one day and decides to
stay. Which is a jolly good
thing, too, because he's able to help those
forest folk in so many different
ways. And just in case we get a tad confused
by proceedings, the
ever-present birdwatcher/naturalist is on hand
to explain what's afoot.
"Ludwig" arrived in 1977 coutesy
of father and son team, Mirek and
Peter Lang. Mirek had previously created animated
sequences for the BBC's
"Vision On". And if Peter's name
is particularly familiar, that's because he
went on to become one half of Cut-Out Animation,
whose credits include
the equally-masterful Pigeon
Street. "Ludwig" is animated in that familar
attractive, cut-out style. The series defies definition,
just like another
'seventies tv gem BOD.
And therein is its enduring appeal. "Ludwig"
hails from the days when creative folk could
think freely, and let their
creations take flight as they deemed fit. He was
to be a lunchbox star. He has no eyes, and
no mouth with which to
engage. Yet he remains completely engaging.
What's he all about?
What else is hidden inside his strange person?
Once you've met this perculiar character,
you're unlikely to forget him...
or her... or whatever "he" is...
Listen out for
the high-pitched chatter of Magpie and that birds.
It sounds like it may well be
speeded up dialogue. You certainly get
the hint of a word-or-two
in all that tribbling....
The Arrival Skating
Ludwig on DVD/VHS
Ludwig episodes previously appeared on a stand-alone VHS
release. Plus, "The
Arrival" was also included in a TV Faourites