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With hubby out for the day I was left to my own devices and decided to have a trip down memory lane and put on "Round the Twist" series 2.
---Introduction to Round The Twist---
Round The Twist was an Australian children's TV programme, with the first series being made in 1989. I have many happy memories of watching the first series with my older brother, and although I was 8 and he was 19 we both enjoyed it. For a children's TV programme the humour is pretty dark at times, and that's why it appeals to all ages - you've got to love the Aussies!
Round the Twist follows the lives of the Twist family - Mr Twist (Tony), a widower and his three children 13 year old twins Pete and Linda, and younger son Bronson (aged 8). In series 1 the family moved to Port Niranda to live in a lighthouse, little did they know that a whole load of ghosts came with the lighthouse, which led to some interesting happenings. Each episode has a different story (so can be viewed as stand-alone episodes) with a bit of a twist at the end, but there are also running themes throughout (for instance in series 2 the theme of Bronson's smelly feet). Round the Twist covers timeless issues such as growing up, family life (such as a new step-parent), love, the environment and conservation, and conflict. It is also a tool for teaching children to be careful what they wish for, and to treat others with respect - good always triumphs in the end in Round the Twist and the bad people get punished.
As the first series was made in 1989, when the second series was made 3 years later, the children were too old to play their parts as the characters do not age, so they were recast (along with all of the other characters apart from Tony, Fay and Nell). Two more series (3 and 4) were made in 1999 and 2000 with another set of cast, almost entirely different. I haven't seen series 3 and 4 as they were after my childhood, but I intend to at some point, as although the writers and cast were different (the first two series were based on short stories written by Paul Jennings) the idea remained successful.
Series 2 (which is also called 'Shipwrecked Ghosts' which all becomes clear in the final episode) was made in 1992 and shown in 1993. I enjoyed watching this at the time, although perhaps not as much as the first series. I found it hard to come to terms with the children being played by different actors especially Bronson who has red hair (sorry, strawberry blond) rather than brown. Perhaps also I was getting to the age where some of the more silly jokes didn't appeal to me so much. However, that said, some of the episodes I remember the best are those from series 2, and the sea sickness from episode 4 often pops into my mind.
Watching series 2 again as an adult, I find I can't really make a choice between the two series, and think that this one certainly lives up to the original.
---The Theme Tune---
Each episode of course begins with the fantastic theme tune made up of various well known children's rhymes (sung by the original Linda - Tamsin West) which I could never tire of.
" Have you ever, ever felt like this
How strange things happen, are you going round the twist."
In fact I suggest you watch the opening to series 2 on YouTube - www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjp7D0SW-9k
Tony Twist (Richard Moir - as in series 1) - the father of family, and an artist.
Fay James/Twist (Robyn Gibbes - as in series 1) - Bronson's school teacher and Tony's girlfriend/wife.
Pete (Ben Thomas) - Oldest child (13), and Linda's twin.
Linda (Joelene Crnogorac) - Pete's twin sister.
Bronson (Jeffrey Walker) - the youngest child (8). He's not happy about his dad's relationship with Fay, and he never washes his feet.
Fiona (Zeta Briggs) - Linda's best friend and sometimes dates Pete.
Harold Gribble (Mark Mitchell) - Local councillor, standing for election as senate. Doesn't like the Twists and wants the land the lighthouse is on.
Matron Gribble (Jan Friedl) - Harold's wife, also a nurse.
James Gribble (Richard Young) - son of Harold, and ringleader in any bullying.
Rabbit (Drew Campbell) - Gribble's friend
Tiger (Nick Mitchell) - Gribble's friend
Nell (Bunney Brooke - as in series 1) - used to own the lighthouse, now lives next door. Has a young nephew called Tom (in episode 1).
Mr Snapper (Esben Storm) - the principal of the school. You might be interested to know that the actor is also a writer and director of Round the Twist.
This is a 2 DVD set, with all 13 episodes on it. Each episode lasts just under 25 minutes. Disk 1 contains 6 episodes and some extras (which I discuss at the end) and disk 2 contains the other 7 episodes.
Episode 1 - Next Time Around -Tony Twist has a new rooster called Russell, Linda's trying to teach herself hypnosis. Having successfully hypnotised Russell, Pete dares Linda to try it on him.
As a result whenever someone says "Now", Pete thinks he's a chicken for 10 seconds, with hilarious consequences at school!
Episode 2 - Copy Cat - The annual birdman (or woman) competition is coming up, and the Twists and the Gribbles are determined that they will win. Whilst on the beach Bronson comes across a Mongolian cat hat which seems to copy the things it sees, again with hilarious consequences!
Episode 3 - Little Squirt - At school the boys are in the toilets competing to see how high up the wall they can urinate and James Gribble is the champion. Bronson's (nicknames Little Squirt after his efforts in the competition) not having a good day, and everywhere he goes he seems to get wet. Mr Gribble is planning to build a water park, and it seems that a water spirit is not happy and thinks Bronson is to blame - can the Twist children stop Gribble's plans? Of course they can!
Episode 4 - Pink Bow Tie - There is a perfectly logical explanation for why Pete and the other boys turn up at school sticking up hair as they try to tell the principal Mr. Snapper. Whilst coming back from the inter-school sports day Pete comes across 2 criminals who are also aboard with an age-ranger machine which can make people younger or older, oh the fun that is had!
Episode 5 - Nails - A strange new boy (Andrew) turns up at school, but he never removes his gloves. Linda takes a bit of a shine to him, but will she uncover the secret under the gloves?! I have to say I don't particularly like what's under the gloves, but I won't give it away!
Episode 6 - Sloppy Jalopy - Mr Gribble has been upsetting the residents with his waste disposal depot, and Pete ends up covered in sludge. He can't remove the smell, and worse still all kinds of rubbish seems to be attracted to him! Where has James Gribble disappeared to, and who's the old tramp?
Episode 7 - Smelly Feat - A recurring theme throughout the series is Bronson's smelly feet - he is proud to have not removed his shoes for 6 months! It's Fay's birthday, and Bronson says he can't go to her party....what is it he's got to do on 4th September at 5pm with his feet and a turtle?!
Episode 8 - Grandad's Gifts - Linda can hear a scary sound behind the walls in her room, but what is it, and what have the lemons that have grown on the tree overnight got to do with it? Nell seems to know what's going on. Meanwhile Tony's relationship with Fay is not going well.
Episode 9 - Ice Maiden - Tony has started making ice sculptures, and Bronson takes a shine to the Ice Maiden. Bronson's cousin Terry is coming to stay, but to Bronson's dismay Terry is a girl. Also not happy is Tony who finds his ice sculptures are supporting Gribble's election campaign. Bronson shares a kiss with the ice maiden, and they are destined to spend the rest of their lives together, or are they?
Episode 10 - Yuckles - Gribble is trying to build a casino in the rainforest. Apparently it's for progress and to create jobs, and there will be plastic trees and plastic animals put in place of the real wildlife. Of course the Twists are not happy about this! The forest is also the only place that the legendary Yuckle (which no one has ever seen) grows, and Nell is campaigning to save the Yuckle. Will the forest be saved, and will the existence of the Yuckle actually be proved?!
Episode 11 - Quivering Heap - Pete is meant to be playing Dracula in the school play, but Gribble junior is not happy about and tricks Pete into a disused toilet block where he is locked in with a ghost who has been there for 15 years, and who isn't in the slightest bit scary....but perhaps Pete and the ghost can help each other out, and what will happen in the school play?!
Episode 12 - Little Black Balls - Tony is planning to propose to Fay again. Meanwhile Nell needs more money so she can compete with Gribble's election campaign, and plans to sell an opal which is a family heirloom worth $200. However, it is eaten by a goat, and Bronson has to go through all the droppings, but will he find the opal?
Episode 13 - Seeing the Light - The final episode, and election night has arrived, and there's a party at the lighthouse. The two Scottish ghosts (recurring characters throughout the series) finally appear to the Twists, and want to borrow Pete's body as a ghost ship is arriving with the storm. Will the ghosts 'live' happily ever after?
The humour is childish, as it's a children's programme, but it is hilarious and even as an adult it does make me laugh out loud!
Although 15 years old it doesn't really seem that dated - I mean there are issues such as the teenaged boys getting their ears pierced (very early 1990s!) and some of the clothes Linda wears are somewhat dubious! Special effects probably would be better if it was done today, but I don't think that detracts from it in the slightest. I would imagine that children watching this today would derive the same pleasure from it as I did, and this is illustrated by the fact that reruns were shown in 2007.
Where are they now - This is a bit strange really as the "Where are they now?" is a bit of blurb about where the main characters from season 1 are. I suppose it's interesting having seen season one.
Episode Synopsis - Exactly what it says, not that you'll need it having read my review!
Bronson's Twists - A photo gallery focusing on Bronson.
Round the Twist Theme Tune - with words to sing along!
Nostalgia - Some random news from what happened in 1993 (when it was shown on TV) and info about films, music, fashion etc
Also available from Revelation Films - Dogtanian, Willy Fog and the Show People - a picture of the DVDs, and if you click on them you can hear the theme tunes if you so desire.
Rated - PG - Disk 1 is rated PG (I'm not sure why), but Disk 2 (like series 1) is a U.
£5.97 on Amazon
If my review hasn't told you enough, or if you want to find out even more about this series and the others, then visit: