Today in Mailbox: Mystery regarding old Czech/British film solved; primary education in Czech Republic; One on One theme tune once again; President Klaus in America; castles in Czech Republic; changes to Mailbox programme. Listeners quoted: Henry Loeser, Tony Prescott, Timothy C. Merkel, Johanna Cumberbirch, Mary Lou Krenek, David Jameson, K. Thiagarajan.

'Nebesti jezdci'
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague's weekly letters programme.

First of all, let's get back to an e-mail we quoted last week from Henry Loeser who wanted to know the title of a Czech/British film he had just seen about Czech pilots in the RAF during WWII and that movie was not "Dark Blue World".

Tony Prescott from Australia has this suggestion:

"The answer to Henry Loeser's question about the mystery film about Czech pilots in the RAF could be 'Nebesti jezdci' made in 1968 and including British actors. We have a copy in our growing library of excellent Czech movies - now, thanks to DVD, often with English subtitles."

Thank you very much for helping us solve the mystery. We thought here at Radio Prague it might be Jindrich Polak's black-and-white classic Nebesti jezdci but we were not sure as Mr Loeser suggested it was probably made in the 1980s or 1990s.

Moving on, Timothy C. Merkel from the United States has this query:

"I read in your 'News' section that 'homeschoolers' were now allowed to educate their children until age 15, which you called the ninth grade. Can you elucidate for me the school grade system in the Czech Republic? Are there twelve of them, like there are here in the United States? If so why would a fifteen-year-old be in the ninth grade?"

The maths is quite simple. Compulsory school education starts at 6 years of age in the Czech Republic. Primary schools have nine grades, so when children leave primary school in grade nine, they are usually fifteen years old.

Our listener Johanna Cumberbirch from Canada would like to know the following:

"Hello, I listen to your show in Canada. I hope you can tell me the title and musicians of the jazzy-type of music you use to end your programs often. I love it and would like to buy the album. Last night there was only a snippet of it but sometimes it plays for quite a few minutes."

Vaclav Klaus  (Foto: CTK)
This is a question we get asked very often but I am happy to repeat it once again. I believe you mean the jingle to our "One on One" interview programme. The music we use is a song by Money Mark from his second album "Push the Button".

Our listener in Texas, Mary Lou Krenek, sent us her observations from President Vaclav Klaus' recent visit to the United States during which he also made a stopover in Texas and met the Czech community there:

"President Vaclav Klaus is a very humble, distinguished looking man and became very Texan looking when our Honorary Czech Consul, Mr. Raymond Snokhaus, gave him a Texas Stetson Hat to wear. I thought to myself, 'Well, he looks like us now!'"

David Jameson from England would like to know how many castles there are in the Czech Republic and which is the oldest castle in the country.

Well, the first question is proving difficult to answer. The number is definitely very large. According to the Foreign Ministry's website, nearly 60 castles, chateaux and castle ruins are currently listed in the Register of National Cultural Monuments; several are listed as UNESCO heritage sites. Nowadays, most Czech castles and chateaux are owned by the state, but many have also been returned to their original owners, who are either aristocratic families or church institutions. As to the oldest castle in the Czech Republic, it is widely believed that the oldest one is Primda castle in the Pilsen Region. It was originally built in the Romanesque style in 1121.

And finally, our regular listener K. Thiagarajan from India has this comment on Radio Prague's Mailbox programme:

"Nowadays I never intend to miss your mailbox programme. I think Mailbox should feature more listener letters and I request you to increase the length. Or otherwise you can present two Mailbox programmes in a week? What do you say?"

Well, I believe two Mailboxes a week would be too much as we also need to broadcast about current affairs and events here in the Czech Republic and it is difficult to fit everything in just half an hour a day. But as a matter of fact, as of the beginning of the summer broadcast schedule you will find some changes to the structure of our broadcasts, including Mailbox.

We are almost out of time now so let me just remind you that you can still send us your answers to our March competition question which is as follows:

This month we want you to tell us the name of a British film actor, who was born in Prague in 1917 but moved to Britain in 1939. He is perhaps best known for his appearances in the famous "Pink Panther" movies with Peter Sellers.

Your answers should reach us by the end of the month at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, the Czech Republic.