“I wish I could fly, right up to the sky but I can’t!”
A massive piece of my childhood. Keith Harris and Orville was as much a part of my early years as roller skating and scraping my knees.
Well, rather importantly, I had an Orville the Duck toy hand puppet which was brilliant! I used to try and make the right voice (not that difficult when you are younger because his voice was all high and squeaky). I was never any good at talking without moving my lips, but I was very good at talking! I used to have all sorts of “shows” with my Orville Puppet. I must have been so absolutely annoying (and perhaps periodically cute)!
His costume was hilarious - Orville wore nothing but a nappy with a large safety pin on the front!
Keith Harris and Orville had their own show on BBC TV from 1982 – 1990 “the Keith Harris show” and Orville Appeared with other Keith Harris Puppets like Cuddles the monkey. Though I would have loved to own a “cuddles” puppet, I never had one.
I loved Orville when I was much younger – that cute green duck. But as I grew incrementally older I found Orville more and more annoying, perhaps embarrassed that I used to like such a “childish” thing.
I remember the song they sung in the charts, and it being quite moving – Orville not thinking he could fly, and then finding that he could. Psychologically of course it was a great lesson for kids – if you try and try and also believe in yourself - you can do what you want! In fact that message is in almost every Children's film these days! "Orville's Song", reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1983 and sold over 400,000 copies! He wouldn’t need to fly right up to the sky after that! He could afford his own plane.
Indeed, apparently, the puppet is named after Orville Wright (one of the Wright Brothers, who invented the airplane).
After their show was cancelled on the BBC Keith Harris took up work for Butlins holiday resorts, and then in 2004, Harris used Orville in an advert for Surf washing powder.
Hilariously, recently "Orville's Song" has bee re-released, with Disco and Dance re-mixes.
Orville fact: The Original Orville puppet is insured for £100,000.