Now this is another interesting one. In the mid-80s, it seems that somebody thought there was a gap in the children’s TV market for a cartoon about the adventures of a talking blue duck-billed platypus. And guess what, they were right! Ovide (this is how I remember it was listed in TV magazines, but it seems that its actual title was Ovide And The Gang) was a cartoon of Canadian origin.
The show was set on a small island somewhere in the Pacific (I presume it’s not the same one that Charlie Chalk was stranded on) and starred Ovide, along with a group of other animals, including Groaner, Polo, and Saphron. The Radio Times description often said “between the mad marshes and the Venetian jetty, the virgin forest and the mysterious caverns, there’s no shortage of adventures for Ovide”.
They were all good friends, well, most of them were. The enemies in the show were Cy the python and Bobo the toucan. They were always up to something nasty so they could gain control of the island, but Ovide and his friends always thought of a plan to save the day. That odd “boing” sound effect that I always like to hear in cartoons was rather overused in this one too.
Another notable thing about the show was that the characters liked to watch television. As well as the parodies of TV shows and adverts, there would also be an in-vision continuity announcer who often appeared (and on one occasion apologised for technical difficulties) who also gave us news and weather updates. I didn’t expect this type of show to reference such a thing. But she was rather good, maybe she should apply for a job at TSW.
But the thing that I really remember striking me about Ovide was the opening and closing sequence. The theme music (which concluded with “the gang’s all here/let’s get on with the show“) was very catchy, and the credits (with an instrumental version of the theme) seemed to go on for about two minutes, which when every episode is about ten minutes long is rather a big proportion of the running time. I thought it was never going to end. Just how many people worked on this thing?
Another thing that I remember about Ovide is that it was usually shown during CBBC’s various Saturday Morning strands along with the main afternoon strand from the late-80s to the early-90s. There were 65 episodes made, and some of them were released on VHS (which is rather appropriate as Ovide is an anagram of “Video”, as was referenced in the opening theme). It was also shown around the world and translated into several languages.