Oscar's Orchestra

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Oscar's Orchestra
Genre Children's
Created by Jan Younghusband
Collingwood O'Hare
Written by Tony Collingwood
Roger Stennett
Dennis O'Flaherty
Doug Molitor
Jimmy Hibbert
Chris Trengove
Directed by Tony Collingwood
Voices of Dudley Moore (Oscar) (Seasons 1-2)
David Holt (Oscar) (Season 3)
Colin McFarlane (Thadius Vent/Tank)
Elly Fairman (Rebecca)
Michael Kilgarriff (Mr Crotchet)
Murray Melvin (Lucius)
David de Keyser (narrator)
Rik Mayall (Young William Tell)
Theme music composer Jan Younghusband
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39
Producer(s) Christopher O'Hare
Running time 30 minutes
Original network BBC (UK)
Warner Music
France 3 (France)
ARD (Germany)
ABC (Australia)
Yle TV2 (Finland)
RTÉ2 (Ireland)
Original release 4 January 1994 (1994-01-04) – 25 March 1996 (1996-03-25)

Oscar's Orchestra is a British children's animated TV series that ran from 1994 to 1996 comprising a total of three seasons and 39 episodes as a BBC Competitor to ITV's Budgie the Little Helicopter. The series was produced by the popular British animation studio Collingwood O'Hare Entertainment (which is also famous for producing other such animated TV series and films as Dennis the Menace, Captain Zed and the Zee Zone, The Secret Show and Rarg) in association with Warner Music Vision and Europe Images and was originally shown on the BBC as part of their children's block CBBC. It also aired on the British children's cable networks The Children's Channel (TCC) and Nickleodeon and has broadcast in over more than 100 different countries worldwide such as ARD in Germany, France 2 in France and ABC in Australia.

It is set in the distant future, in the year 2743 (735,022,381,604 Tuesdays from the show (The 2743 was calculated with year 735, month 22, week 381 and day 604, as well as from the year the show was released, 1994)) in a city called New Vienna, and was about a talking piano called Oscar, who rebels against the evil dictator of the world, Thaddius Vent, who has banned music. Oscar and his fellow musical instruments plot against Vent and his henchmen, Lucius and Tank, and his soothsayer, Goodtooth, spouting his catchphrase 'You screamed, master!'. The voice of Oscar was provided by Dudley Moore.[1]

Other members of the orchestra included Monty the violin, Trevor the tuba, Sylvia the flute and Eric the triangle. Based on an idea by Jan Younghusband, Oscar's Orchestra was designed to inspire children with the delights of classical music and incorporates famous orchestrated works from the great composers in each episode such as George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Frédéric Chopin. The episode titles will always continue the theme. For example 'Oscar Cracks A Nut' and 'Bach To The Future'.


Thaddius Vent

Thaddius Vent is a dictator. He has banned music, and is helped by his hapless henchmen, Goodtooth, Lucius and Tank. Vent is a small, middle-aged man, who wears a Georgian-style wig. He also talks to his teddy bear, who is called 'Teddy.' Vent's evil schemes are always foiled by Oscar, and his orchestra.


Oscar is a blue talking piano, who is a so-called 'illegal instrument.' He is constantly trying to avoid Thaddius Vent's traps, while still doing the thing he loves, which is playing music. Oscar has a brave, strong personality, and was voiced by Dudley Moore and later by David Holt in season 3.

Rebecca and Mr. Crotchet

Rebecca (aged 10) and her grandfather, Mr. Crotchet, are the only good humans in this story, and they hide Oscar and his Orchestra in their house. They are constantly having to think of new ideas to avoid Thaddius Vent. They used to run a diner before Oscar and his orchestra came into their lives.


Lucius is the deputy of Thaddius Vent. He is a small man with green skin, greasy hair and a moustache. Lucius always thinks of new ideas, and patrols the streets of New Vienna to find illegal instruments. His pet is Tank, a savage.


Tank is a savage. He is Lucius' pet, and has pink skin. Tank always helps Lucius with his schemes, but often ruins them because of his non-existent intelligence. Tank sleeps in Lucius' bedroom in Vent's palace, chained to the end of Lucius' bed.


Goodtooth is Thaddius Vent's soothsayer. He always introduces himself as 'I, Goodtooth, bringer of potions and portents!' Whenever Goodtooth arrives, he frightens Vent, who screams. Then, Goodtooth replies to Vent by saying 'You screamed, master!' Goodtooth is named that because of the fact he only has one, rotten tooth.


Other characters in Oscar's Orchestra are the instruments that are part of Oscar's orchestra, who include Monty the Violin, Eric the Triangle, Ken the Keyboard (created by Tim Wall the winner of a Blue Peter competition, to design a new character), Trevor the Tuba, Sylvia the Flute, Louis the Oboe and two cymbals Crash and Stan.

Episode list[edit]

Series 1[edit]

  • The Battle Begins
  • Bach to the Future
  • The Flight of the Bumble-Bees
  • Star Tours
  • Battle on Ice
  • The Four Seasons
  • Oscar Cracks the Nut
  • 1812
  • Star Crossed
  • My Kingdom for a Tank
  • Viva Espana
  • Once Upon a Ragtime
  • The Ring

Series 2[edit]

  • Queen Sheba
  • Radio Oscar
  • Forty Thieves
  • Back to Bach
  • Carnival of the Animals
  • Black Keys
  • Hall of the Mountain King
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • A Fight at the Opera
  • Fangs But No Fangs
  • A Tale of Two Tales
  • Four of our Notes
  • World Tour

Series 3[edit]

  • The Lost Chords
  • Out of Tune
  • Knight in Shining Armour
  • Musical Exercise
  • Raiders of the Lost Park
  • Soothsayer’s Convention
  • Water Music
  • Return of Scheherazade
  • Maestro Thadius
  • Inside Job
  • Lieder of the Pack
  • Greensleeves
  • The Toy Symphony

VHS / DVD / Music album releases[edit]

Series 1 & 2 were released on DVD in 2010:

  • Oscar's Orchestra Vol. 1 (2-disc set) : Episodes 1 to 13 (292 min)
  • Oscar's Orchestra Vol. 2 (2-disc set) : Episodes 14 to 26 (299 min)

Oscar's Orchestra 3rd Series (Episodes 27 to 39) : No record to date of these being released on DVD.

Voice talent cast[edit]


External links[edit]