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MASTERFUL FIVE-MINUTER, often trundled out in the hallowed pre-NATIONWIDE slot, featuring an ovoid eggy jewel thing out of which “things” came, like a helicopter rotor, arms, legs, wings, gadgets etc. It lived in the forest, and every episode some upset would occur to the loveable dumb animal occupants which would require Ludwig to come to the rescue by opening up a limb and extending a gadget. Then at the end of every episode, triumphant, it would extend a baton and conduct one of Mozart’s Horn Concertos which played for the duration of the credits. Perenially spied on by faceless deerstalker-clad birdwatcher with huge binoculars.



  1. Arlo Barlow

    October 26, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I hate to be pedantic, but it was the hallowed five minutes before the 5.45 PM BBC news, THEN Nationwide.
    I’m pretty sure it was an intentional way of getting kids to watch the news, and I certainly grew up watching the BBC news in that post carton time slot.

    Ludwig itself was trying to appeal to…well presumably posher kids than me that already had classical music in their lives. Maybe kids like myself were the target – kids whose parents aspired to be middle class, encouraged their kids to learn and read and aspire to better things. But I was ten years old and was already well into pop music.

    The thick kids were all watching ITV exclusively and wouldn’t watch BBC because it was ‘for snobs’. So clearly Ludwig wasn’t aimed at them.

    Was it any good? Well I think ‘utterly superb’ is somewhat hyperbolic. It was five minutes of naff animation so it kept us quiet before the news (followed by Nationwide) came on.

  2. Joanne Gray

    February 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Also apparently called “Orlov”, according to Charlie Brooker. Not sure which name the cartoon was first shown under, but I’ve always known it as ” Ludwig”.

    • David Smith

      February 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      I’m pretty sure Brooker’s “Orlov” thing was a spoof.

  3. Richardpd

    September 17, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    The Wide Awake Club repeated it in the mid-late 1980s as an insert.

  4. Palimpsest

    September 18, 2023 at 12:15 am

    I always thought this was a West German import. The sparseness of the animation, with its engineering overtones, gave the impression of a divided country’s austerity. This sparseness seemed to contribute to its oddity.

    What’s this?
    My Immortal Beloved !

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