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Magic Roundabout

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    11 Reviews
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      05.06.2010 12:04
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      Overall, a pretty good and entertaining cartoon

      I used to watch The Magic Roundabout when I was a child and was one of those programmes I would watch regularly as enjoyed it and each episode was short enough so you didn't get bored at all.

      The Magic Roundabout was originally written by a French author and was first shown in France in 1963. This children's telivision programme then ran between 1965 and 1977 and there were nearly 450 episodes created each of which were around five minutes long. The show became a great success in the UK when aired in those years and repeats are still shown today. The English version was narrated by Eric Thompson who is the father of actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson. It became actually a bit of a cult classic and was watched by adults as well as kids over the years. The show from what I remember always had a very dry sense of humour and from what I remember was quite strange at times.

      The main character in the show was Dougal who was a Terrier type dog with drop ears. However, perhaps one of the more familar characters that people associate with this TV programme was Zebedee who was a jack-in-the-box. There was Brian who was a snail, Ermintrude the cow and Dylan a Rabbit amongst others.

      One of the things I always enjoyed and remember about the show with fondness was it's use of bright colours and it's unique visual style. The whole show would be set in a theme park setting containing the famous roundabout which was a fairground carousel. I always found it to be great fun and equally strange but somewhat compelling to watch in those days.

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      08.05.2009 11:53
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      Ever lasting

      What can you hope to get from this children's TV show.

      Well adults of a certain age from a certain era will probably find this programme a fascinating analogy of the drug culture of the 1960s. Others might find it a fascinating insight into the mind of a creator who was just trying to get into the minds of the child audience this was intended for.

      I am clearly no longer a child, but do remember this programme.

      The programme was set in a land that seemed to consist of a carousel and wacky paper flowers. The characters were Zebedee - resembling a strawberry on a spring, Brian - a snail, Dougal - a long haired blonde dog, Ermintrude - a sugar lump eating cow, Florence - a young girl and Dylan - a hippy rabbit. There was also Mr Rusty the Roundabout operator.

      Essentially the show revolved around the adventures of these characters and there was usual some moral thrown in there, along with loads of dry humour, probably more in line with more mature thinking.

      As a child I don't recall 'getting' the dry humour, and there was no way I saw any drug references. I just found it bizarelly amusing, not in a roll-on-the-floor-laughing sort of way, but just bizarre. It was not one of those programmes I mustn't miss, just one of those ones I had to watch.

      I think perhaps the opening music was probably a little hypnotic, and maybe drew me in. The opening music has that slightly odd, and a little scarey, fairground feel to it, and is unmistakeable.

      I can't finish this review without a special mention to Zebedee. I just don't get this character he looks like a strawberry on a spring. I don't recall him doing anything useful other than appearing and disppearing with a resounding "BOING" - wierd!

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      16.11.2008 01:09
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      fun childrens tv

      The magic round about was originally written by a french auther in 1965 he wrote over 500 episodes each at around 5 minutes long, these were first aired in france then translated into english for viewers here, they used to be aired at tea time in the uk back in the late 60,s but were axed after a few years.

      It was originally a bbc series but channel 4 brought the rights to air the last set made of these episodes after the deah of the auther.

      The charecters in the magic round about were
      Brian the snail
      Dougal the dog
      Dylan the rabbit
      Ermintrude the cow
      florence the girl
      Mr mchenry the gardener
      Zebedee the jumping animal

      I am too young to remember the original series of the magic round about first being aired but saw a lot of these when i was a child on vhs and had the characters toys too, this is a lovely series full of imagination that captures the attention of young children, there have been a rerelease of a lot of the episodes over the last few years and there are a lot of the toys back on sale, my daughters love this show.

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        16.11.2008 00:53
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        Entertaining but controversial 1960s and 1970s cartoon

        The Magic Roundabout was a kids' TV series that aired from 1965 for 12 years. The show was very popular at the time, although it is rumoured that the show served merely to promote unethical behaviour including drug use amongst kids.

        While it has never been proved that this was actually the intention, and reruns of the show happen every now and then, watching the cartoon will show you exactly why this inference was taken. The characters are the main reason, from Dougal the shaggy dog who loved sugar cubes to the hyperacive Zebedee who bounced around on a spring, and Ermintrude the pink cow who loved chewing flowers amongst other things.

        The show is criticised for the portrayal of its characters showing the effects of excessive and illegal drugs use. However, to innocent and naive eyes, it merely shows a vivid imagination and is actually quite entertaining. I have ben lucky enough to watch some of the episodes, and have seen the feature length film made more recently, and while I see the drugs inferences, they seem no more prevalent in The Magic Roundabout than in, say, Mr Benn, another older cartoon, or for something more modern, The Teletubbies or In The Night Garden. Both of these modern kids' TV programmes are surreal beyond belief, and I would not be surprised if drugs came into it somewhere here as well. It has certainly been suggested.

        I guess the bottom line is that it entertained children at the time and has remained a famous and well known programme. As for recommendations? Perhaps not the most fervent of recommendations, but it's worth a watch, although this I'll have to leave up to the responsible adults as to whether the kids are allowed to watch it. In this day and age, political correctness is likely to get in the way of what is actually quite entertaining for kids. It just depends on where your personal opinion stands.

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          22.05.2002 14:25
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          Is it? You may well ask yourself. Having spent the odd hour of every day watching CBeebies, Cartoon Network and assorted Barney videos I found myself dreading the TV being turned on and wishing I were in bed! Boring? Does not even describe the drivel that children are watching. Informative? At best I would say the Tweenies. At worst? Begins with T and ends in S and there the similarity ends. Teletubbies. Oh, they make my blood run cold. In 15 months, 3 videos and constant showing on BBC2 and Sky, the only word my son has learned is Eh-oh. Well I came downstairs at 4.00am this morning, I couldn't sleep, hot milk beckoned. Switched on tv and satellite (which was still on men and motors from night before and instead of boring cars it was playing..porn...at 4.00am, I mean, do people watch pron at this hour, worse still, do IT?) and hit the favourite channel button (the blue one on your Sky Remote dear). I could hardly believe my red ringed puffy eyes. The MaGic RoUndABout! I hit select and settled back to be re-born. It was fab. I had intended to read, but I could not tear my eyes away from the screen. Being 3o years of age you may think that I would have forgotten my younger years, what with the onset of memory loss etc, but it was like a blink - I could have been 5 again. I quickly selected a blank video, and taped over 1 hour of red white and blue, innuendo coloured fun. When my son woke at 5.45am he come down the hall rubbing his eyes pitifully crying "mooooore" (which means Milk), I scooped him up and plonked him in front of the TV and set the video in motion. Did he watch it? He devoured it. He giggled and pointed, recognised ermintrude as being a cow and Dougal a dog. He was undecided at Zebs but did try to feed Dillon his dummy. He got more out 15 minutes with the magic roundabout than any time spent with Barney, Bear and Busy Buses. There were recognisable obje
          cts such as trains, butterflys, err mushrooms, snails, flowers, cars, bikes, did I mention the mushrooms? All good stuff. I am not an authority on the history of the magic roundabout, I know it's not all it seems, but it was nice to watch, with no violence, and I would rather my son watch this than Tom and Jerry any day. And on the subject of old programmes, I wish we could have Trumpton back - with the gold box on the cushion that used to turn round and the clock tower with the people that used to come out on the hour...sigh I shouldn't have bothered writing this OP - we all know how good the MagIc RouNDabOut is anyway. Ho Hum. It MUST be time for Bed...

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            04.08.2001 01:12
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            Controversial, rife with undertones of drug taking, and a number of sexual innuendos. Hallucinogenic imagery, bribery and corruption, the list goes on. If you think Eminem is the biggest threat you’re likely to encounter with regard to your child’s moral safety and well being, think again... A children’s TV classic, created by Serge Danot in 1965, screened by the BBC for 12 years until the ‘powers that be’ decided to ban it. Well debatable point as to whether it was actually banned, but it seemingly ‘disappeared’ from our screens in the late 70s until the early 1990s when it resurfaced on Channel 4. Originally a French children's programme and called Le Manege Enchante, it was an animation, telling stories of the adventures of Pollux, Flappy, Ambroise and Margote. If these names don’t sound familiar, it’s simply because the scripts were completely rewritten for the British audience. Pollux became Dougal, Flappy was to be re-named Dylan, Ambroise was Brian and Margote became Florence. Along with Mr. Rusty, the delightful Ermintrude and last but not least Zebedee, Le Manege Enchante took a literary transformation and was delivered to our screens as The Magic Roundabout. Eric Thompson, father of award winning actress Emma Thompson was responsible (although some may say irresponsible) for the goings on of the loveable characters in a garden filled with flowers and some quite unusual happenings. The only similarity of Serge Danot’s Le Manege Enchante with Eric Thompson’s The magic Roundabout was the visual side of things. In the innocent eyes of children, Dougal was simply a rather energetic shaggy dog with a love of sugar cubes. Dylan was a rabbit who liked to play guitar and sleep a lot. Brian was a sensible snail, and Florence a young girl. Ermintrude was a pink cow who loved chewing flowers, and Zebedee was a thing on a spring that said ‘Boing!&#
            8217; a lot. Mr. Rusty was the owner of the roundabout and was more often than not seen riding around on his trusty little bike (well tricycle to be precise). Each episode of The Magic Roundabout was just 5 minutes long, but had a little storyline of it’s own. Taken at face value, the themed episodes such as one of my favourites when the gang competed in a garden olympics seemed harmless enough. So, how did Serge Danot’s clean cut characters end up representing 60s drug culture and corrupting children by the hundred? In truth, they didn’t. Eric Thompson wrote witty and creative scripts that could be taken on face value by children, but interpreted in many different ways by the adult viewers. Dougal’s addiction to sugar lumps to the children was simply a liking for sugar. His sarcastic humour would have travelled straight over their heads too. But for the adults, Dougal could be seen as a speed addict. Dylan, the guitar playing rabbit with a tendency for napping under trees was simply a lazy rabbit. In the adult mind, he was more likely a dope smoking hippy. Ermintrude, a pink, flower chewing cow, was simply that in the eyes of children, although the adult mind boggled on what it could signify, as it did over Zebedee. Eric Thompson sadly died in the early 80s and took with him the real story of The Magic Roundabout. When the series came back to TV on Channel 4 just over 10 years ago it was narrated by Nigel Planner of The Young Ones fame. His renowned character, Neil the hippy, did nothing to dispel the adult theme The magic Roundabout had become famed for. ....so there you have it. Harmless fun or a drug induced world of the surreal and senseless? A little of both maybe, I‘m not entirely sure, but it makes delightful viewing for adults and children alike.

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              06.10.2000 20:46
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              About 2 years ago i was plonked on my sofa with a strong cup of coffee after a nights heavy drinking i turned on the t.v to hear the familiar opening music to the magic roundabout, which i hadn't seen since i was about 6. I was quite amused to find Dylan off his face, no doubt on cannabis, a very confused Brian the snail and zebedee jumping out of the sky and then saying "Now were is the secret of the universe, i know i left it round here somewere" DRUGS!!! that's what i said. Anyway it turns out that the guy who wrote The Magic Roundabout was actually rather fond of acid, which explains a lot. Thankfully i suppose this is aimed at the 18 months to 10 year olds bracket, thankfully because kids that age don't pay much attention to what they actually say on t.v anyway. How many kids have you seen pretending to be Dylan?you could imagine them in primary school, "hey man,like pass the sugar cubes, there really cool, and make me like happy" Despite the obvious fact that all the characters bar one are based on 60's acid casualties, Magic Roundabout is very clever, like the simpsons it is aimed at younger viewers and yet it's also for older viewers as well, in it's very cleverly disguised adult puns. Any of you that know any 60's casulties then make them watch this, and then you'll see them lose the plot. Magic Roundabout is strange, confusing at times but yet entertaining, people of all ages can enjoy it ,and it's entire duration is 5 minutes, so give it a try, you won't be disapointed, at the very last you'll have a good laugh.

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                28.09.2000 23:04
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                The Magic Roundabout started with surreal beginnings, being, if I remember correctly, originally a French piece of animation, which was bought by the BBC and intended to be voiced over. Which it was, but the chap who did it turned it into a far more adult show than was intended and far far more entertaining. Later versions with Nigel Planer doing the voices have not worked half as well as the original. The actual quality of the original animation shines through all the strange storylines and the quirk characters. It is simply heavenly to watch. Why don't they make kids programmes like this naymore? Or perhaps they do, but I'm too old to notice!

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                  27.09.2000 19:36
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                  Yep it can't really be called a children's programme when watched by adults who know the undertones, but its a good show for innocent young children. Not really a cartoon, an animated programme, centering around Ermintrude-cow, Dougall-dog, Florence-girl, Zebedee-a thing on a spring and Dillan the drug crazed rabbit. Fun to watch and the odd serious bit to it, other than that its very plain, simple story lines and not much scenery, good for a laugh and I like the music. The magic roundabout is the centre of the picture and doesn't really do magic, so I dont know why its called the Magic Roundabout.

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                    16.08.2000 01:23
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                    Why did they ever have to change the magic roundabout, nowadays magic roundabout is just not the same, they have changed all the voices and it just doesn’t go. Magic roundabout was just an imaginary children’s programme, as a child I could not see a thing wrong with it. I think there is a lot of kids programmes on nowadays, that are violent with foul language. They just teaching youth of today to run wild and have no respect for their elders.

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                      14.07.2000 09:03
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                      It could only have been created in the 'sixties: a weird, multi-coloured, psychedelic landscape; characters including a semi-pyschic man-on-a-spring called 'Zebedee', and a hippy rabbit called 'Dylan'; stories that managed to be both nursery-level simplistic yet also somehow deeply profound. It is because of old kids classics like THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT that people frown at THE TWEENIES and get all nostalgic about their childhood. Here was a programme unconcerned that children might not "get it", let alone learn some valuable lesson or moral code. Here was a programme unafraid to bring counter-culture into the lives of vulnerable youngsters. If nothing else THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT serves as an important document of the once liberal attitudes of both programme-makers and broadcasters regarding drugs. Despite the satisfactory but watered-down "new" episodes that were made ten or so years ago, it is hard to conceive of the CBBC showing such a series in the hysterically anti-drug climate of today, and the repeats are now tucked away in the twilight schedules of Channel Four. The references, unlike the supposed ones in TELETUBBIES, are blatant. Dylan looks and sounds like a big-time acid casualty, waking only occasionally from his semi-stoned stupor to strum his guitar and talk like a hippy. Dougal, the belligerent dog who liked going round in circles, has a fondness for sugar cubes, which were once commonly impregnated with LSD as a means of going for a "trip". There was even one entire episode devoted to a magic mushroom! Only the little girl, Florence, seems to abstain, coming across very much as the member of the group saddled with looking after the others while they all get high. Yet even without the drug subtext THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT was great. The by-play between the characters was nearly always hilarious. "You mad bovine fool!" Dougal would say to pink spotted cow Ermintrude
                      , whilst the meek and mild Brian the Snail would argue for a while and then admit to being "confused". The stories, for what they're worth, were trite and almost meaningless, but that was seemingly the point. I could talk about this for ages but like all the best things in life, it is far better to experience it than have it decribed to you. Besides it is, as Zebedee would always say to end the episode, "Time for bed!"

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