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The Singing Ringing Tree: related programmes

1. DEFA films

Films made by the DEFA company in East Germany, best remembered of which is probably, apart from The Singing Ringing Tree, The Tinder-Box. These are traditional fairy-tales except for The Singing Ringing Tree. There were three other DEFA films shown on the BBC in the 60s under the heading 'Tales From Europe'. They were Snow White, The Golden Goose and Rumpelstiltskin.

2. other 'Tales From Europe' programmes

These came from many parts of Europe, many from behind the iron curtain, including Russia. There was also a Mongolian story, although I don't think it was made in Mongolia. The best remembered is probably Heidi from Switzerland. In 1964 when 'Tales From Europe' started there were four stories. The Tinder Box, Heidi, The Singing, Ringing Tree and The Boy and the Pelican. The last of these was a story from Russia.

Perhaps the best remembered of the Russian stories was the Snow Queen.

To see details of all of the 'Tales From Europe' stories in chronological order go here and to see details is alphabetical order of the countries of origin go here.

3. other European programmes

These were The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1965), Belle and Sebastien (1967) and The Flashing Blade (1969) from France and The White Horses (1968) from Yugoslavia. They were not transmitted under the title 'Tales From Europe'.

The theme tunes of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and The White Horses may be remembered for their haunting beauty. To find out more about The White Horses go here.

There was a sequel to Belle and Sebastien called Belle, Sebastien and the Horses which came out in 1968.

In 1969 both The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and The White Horses were repeated. You could have seen The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe on a Monday and The White Horses on Thursday in the same week.

According to the 'Encyclopedia of Cult Children's TV'by Richard Lewis there was a Hungarian series called 'Danger on the Danube Delta'.

4. Dr Who

The first episode of The Singing Ringing Tree was transmitted two days before the first episode of the new Dr Who story 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'. These are the two scariest children's TV programmes ever. The daleks were always regarded as the scariest opponents of the Doctor, and 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' was noted for the number of stabbed and drowned bodies. The Singing Ringing Tree must have been especially scary because it was shown in three parts one week between each, and so children would have gone at least a whole week before seeing the happy ending.

A mother wrote a letter to Verity Lambert claiming that 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' was too scary for her children to watch. In her reply she mentioned the Brothers Grimm, stating that there is a long tradition of scary stories for children. The Singing Ringing Tree was inspired by the Brothers Grimm stories. It seems they have a lot to answer for!

To find out more about Dr Who go here.

4. links

There are many links I could have given, these are some of the ones I like best. Try Google for more. Also try YouTube for clips.

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