The programme was produced by father and son team, Mirek and Peter Lang. Peter went on to animate Pigeon Street. Mirek and Peter wrote the stories with Jane Tann and Susan Kodicek. The scripts were edited by Michael Cole. Peter did the artwork. The music was arranged and played by Paul Reade. Jon Glover provided the voice of the birdwatcher. Mirek and Peter shared the animation, with Mirek doing about 80%.
Peter writes:
"In the late seventies I made the series, Ludwig, for the BBC with my father, Mirek Lang. It was shown in the highly prized afternoon pre-news slot a number of times and those who still remember it seem to recall it with a befuddled fondness. It also did quite well abroad. I wrote and illustrated the "Ludwig 1979 Annual", SBN 7235 0476 8 and designed 4 x jigsaw puzzles for Ravensburger. An excellent soundtrack album, played and arranged by Paul Reade and friends was released."
"The series was shot on 16mm film, on a wind up Bolex camera in a spare bedroom in our flat in Buckland Crescent, Swiss Cottage, London NW3."
"The quality of the prints was never very satisfactory but recently, I came across a company, Westpoint TV, who restore film at a relatively reasonable cost and had the series digitised. I felt I owed it to my late father, Mirek died 16/12/2005, to keep it from deteriorating even further. I don't think I've watched the programmes since making them, but while I was archiving them I did, and was surprised at how fresh, funny and watchable they are."
"Before coming to England in 1968 my father worked in Newsreel and then in Czech Television, writing and directing current affairs programmes. What is interesting about Ludwig is that it is just that - an animated "fly on the wall" documentary."
"Ludwig, a mysterious mischievous being with a love of classical music contrives situations for the animal inhabitants of the wood, sees how they handle them and ultimately sorts out the mess he caused."
"I am now toying with the idea of a sequel."
The character's name came from Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music he played in the background of each episode. The series consisted of 25 five-minute episodes, in each of which something would happen to the animals of the forest and Ludwig would come to the rescue. His "body" facets would open up and out would pop arms, legs, gadgets or even a helicopter rotor blade when he needed to get somewhere fast. He was constantly watched by a human birdwatcher (voiced by Jon Glover) who had a deerstalker and large binoculars. This character was both the viewer's point of view and narrator, as no other character talked. At the end of every episode Ludwig played the final movement of Beethoven's first symphony through the credits.
In the USA, Ludwig was one of the cartoons featured in Captain Kangaroo.
List of episodes
- Arrival – Ludwig’s here to stay
- Investigation - Research
- Home Sweet Home – Architect
- High Jump
- TV - Western.
Thirteen Ludwig episodes have been released on a stand-alone VHS video. All 25 episodes are now available to buy via download at iludwig.co.uk - they are remastered for quality.