The Magic Roundabout The Magic Roundabout is a 60’s Children’s TV animated show. It was created by a Frenchman Serge Danot with help from his English friend Ivor Wood and his wife Josiane. In 1964 it made its first appearance on French television (the 1st series was in black and white) and went on to become known a classic. The episodes were filmed in a derelict house in Paris where the fuses kept blowing because of the amount of electricity used by the lighting on the set. Joy Whitby, the producer of Play School secured the rights to The Magic Roundabout for the UK, but knew that it needed more work on it for a UK audience. Eric Thompson, who was at the time working as a presenter of Play School, was asked to do the voices and narration of the programmes. He did not use any of the original character names and he did not work from the translations of the French scripts but made up stories to fit the pictures as he went along. This was attributed to his dislike of the French and that he felt the French version was too noisy. If you compare the two versions you will notice how quiet the English version is. Eric enjoyed making the show and didn’t dumb down the content for children, ensuring he didn’t write anything patronising for them and always used large words. It was full of humour and social commentary. In 1965 the Magic Roundabout was first broadcast to a UK audience. It gained many viewers young and old mainly because it was shown in the five minute slot before the early evening news. It became family viewing and garnered viewing figures of over eight million. The French weren’t happy with the naming of the main character, ‘Dougal’ (from Pollux), as they thought his name was based on Charles De Gaul (De Gaul sounding like Dougal) and they took it as an insult. Eric maintained that this was not the case and instead the name was dreamt up while writing some of the episodes in Scotland, where Dougal was a popular name. Also you might notice that Dougal seems to have been based on the late comic Tony Hancock, as he has similar mannerisms to him. In 1972 a feature film was created by Serge Danot. It upped the quality of the shows, employing a number of techniques not seen in the TV series. Again Eric Thompson provided nearly all the voices and wrote the script from the visuals again (he was credited as the writer / director). But he asked Fenella Fielding to supply the voice of the character ‘The Blue Voice’. She was surprised when she found out that it was only Eric and herself supplying the voices. In 1992, Nigel Planer was asked to do the voices and narration for some overlooked episodes which had never been translated. They were shown on Channel Four. In 2005 there was a reinvention of the Magic Roundabout, when a feature film was created using the latest CGI technology. Robbie Williams voiced Dougal and Kylie Minogue voiced Florence. Soon after the movie release a TV series was produced, using the same CGI characters used for the film.   Story  The Magic Roundabout is a carousel that is owned my Mr Rusty, which the local children used to use. One day a magical being called Zebedee arrives bringing magic to the area and casting a spell, ensuring the children return and play on the Magic Roundabout. Around it lives a host of eccentric characters including Dougal, a shaggy dog who lives on a strict diet of sugar lumps, Zebedee, a bizarre bouncing character, who announces his arrival with a 'boing', a laid back rabbit called Dylan, Ermintrude - the pink cow, Florence a young girl, and Brian the snail.  Once, they had a sinister visitor called Buxton, the blue cat, who wanted to take over the area they lived in and turn everything blue and imprison anyone that wasn’t blue. As you can tell, Dougal wasn’t happy about this and decided to take on the blue cat and stop his dastardly scheme.   The Magic Roundabout Characters   Dougal     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He is a yellow dog who loves to eat sugar. His best friend is Florence, a young girl, who he loves dearly. He even has a picture of her next to his bed and likes to pick flowers for her (awww). He especially loves her to stroke his fur. He is a very sarcastic dog and complains a lot about life and his friends, but he still loves them in his strangle little way. Dougal can also be a jealous dog, which became very obvious when Buxton, the Blue Cat, appeared. He instantly became suspicious of the Blue Cat, which everyone put down to jealousy. But Dougal's initial thoughts were true...that cat was trouble, which was realised when Buxton took over the surrounding area and imprisoned all of Dougal’s friends. Now, Dougal isn’t the bravest dog in the world, but when his friends are threatened his brave streak shines through. He infiltrated the Blue Cat’s lair by dying himself blue and calling himself Blue Peter. He even had to prove he wasn’t Dougal by being imprisoned in the torture chamber, a room full of sugar. Dougal resisted the temptation of eating the sugar and became Buxton’s closest friend and was given the position of Prime Minister. From this power of authority Dougal rescued his friends and defeated Buxton.    Buxton the Blue Cat     (voiced by Eric Thompson) Buxton is the only Blue Cat in the world and everyone in the area came to see such a wondrous thing. He liked the attention he received, so decided to stay indefinitely. But Buxton isn't a nice cat. He has a plan is to become the Blue King (with the help of the Blue Voice and her Blue Army) and ensure that everything in the world is blue. So anything that isn't blue would be destroyed and anyone that isn't blue would be imprisoned. He speaks with a northern accent and likes saying to himself, 'I'm so evil', but he has a talent for playing the piano (a blue one of course) with his feet and tail. Dougal tried to warn everyone about how nasty he was, but Buxton pretended to cry and said he was being rejected for his colour. Everyone felt sorry for him and ignored Dougal's protests. They even said he should stay at Dougal's place, as he had the room. Dougal wasn't happy, especially when Buxton went to sleep in his bed. Buxton became the Blue King after passing the tests of the Blue Voice and she gave him her Blue Army to ensure that everything turned blue. But Buxton became over confident and his downfall was orchestrated by Dougal, who stopped Buxton from taking over the moon, and he freed all the prisoners. The Blue Voice doesn’t like failure and so stripped him of his powers and his reign of terror came to an end. Afterwards Buxton asked Dougal and his friends for forgiveness. He blushed in shame and turned white.      The Blue Voice     (voiced by Fenella Fielding) We never get to see the owner of the Blue Voice, but she says that she is blue. She is very powerful and can move objects around without touching them. Her main aim is to make the whole universe ‘blue’ and in Buxton, she can see a cat that can help her achieve her goal. She offered Buxton the opportunity to be the Blue King and have the powers and privileges that go with the position. But first he would have to pass a test. The test consisted of 7 doors/rooms that Buxton had to progress through. He had to tell the Blue Voice what the door’s colour was, each was a different shade of blue. The Blue Voice told Buxton that she did not tolerate failure and that he would pay the ultimate price if he didn’t answer the questions correctly. Once in each room, Buxton was able to see what things the Blue Voice was making to help him make the world ‘blue’: 1) Making Blue Flowers 2) Dying the clothes of the world blue 3) Blue Nightmares 4) Room of the World (Blue Sky/Sea) 5) Room of thunder and lightening 6) The Guard room, where the Blue Army is made 7) The Throne Room. Luckily for Buxton he got all the answers right and was crowned the Blue King and was given the red carpet treatment and an army of blue soldiers. But Buxton is fickle and he whispered that he would imprison the Blue Voice too! The power hungry cat! Once Buxton had imprisoned most people from the surrounding area, the Blue Voice ordered Buxton to go to the moon and push forward her plans to conquer the universe. He took Blue Peter (Dougal) with him. But Dougal stopped him from claiming the moon and the rocket ship crash landed back on Earth. As mentioned earlier, the Blue Voice doesn’t tolerate failure and stripped him of the title of Blue King. She was so mad that she made lightening bolts rain down around them. The voice kept saying that ‘blue was beautiful’ and the treacle factory collapsed in on itself. That was the last time the ‘Blue Voice’ was heard of again.     Blue Soldiers     (voiced by Eric Thompson) These are the Blue Cat's soldiers and are the instruments that he uses to enforce his reign of blue terror. The are made in the Blue Voice’s treacle factory and use their blue hair to ensnare people, allowing them to imprison them in chains in an underground cave. Buxton doesn’t get his hands dirty and instead watches them take over the area from his throne room, using the periscope built into a pillar. The area turned blue, but there was still one person that they couldn’t find, that was Dougal.      Florence     (voiced by Eric Thompson) She is a very sensible girl, who lives in the local village and loves to sing while cleaning the house. Her best friend is Dougal who she loves dearly and she even has a picture of him in her house. But she also has a soft spot for cats, especially the Blue Cat, Buxton, which upsets Dougal. The influence of Buxton made her think that the colour blue was important to her and she wondered why.     Brian     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He is a snail that likes to take life in the slow lane, but is faster than 'The Train'. He is one of Dougal's closest friends, but is the one that seems to take the brunt of Dougal's bad moods. Still Brian isn't phased by it and just plods on. But if he wants to get away from everything, then he can always pop into his shell. Brian became a hero, when he went back into the collapsing Treacle Factory that the Blue Voice started destroying. He had gone back to get Zebedee’s Magic Moustache, but everyone thought he was dead after it fully collapsed. But a triumphant Brian emerged with the moustache, and Zebedee was understandably overjoyed when it was returned to him.     Zebedee     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He is a strange looking fellow, with a red head and a spring instead of legs. Still, that doesn't stop him from getting around as he has a powerful spring that lets him bounce long distances and he appears with a ‘Boing’ from out of nowhere. Zebedee is a Jack-In-The-Box, that arrived in a box addressed to Mr Rusty. Once opened, Zebedee knew instantly of the issue Mr Rusty had, where no children were visiting his roundabout. You see Zebedee possess magic, or to be precise he has a magic moustache. He promised Mr Rusty that he would use his magic to ensure the children returned and once again use the ‘Magic’ Roundabout. But once Zebedee’s moustache was stolen by Buxton, the blue cat, and as you can guess he was in a right state.     Ermintrude     (voiced by Eric Thompson) Ermintrude loves standing in the way of things, such as the train. She loves watching trains or cows and likes being waved at. She even likes to paint, and she started her 'blue period' of paintings when the blue cat arrived (probably brain washed).   Dylan     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He is the hippy rabbit that always seems to be asleep, he even uses his ears to cover his eyes to help him sleep. In his spare time he likes watching mushrooms grow (and probably likes eating the special variety). Oh, and he doesn’t like to work. He's seems to be on a different planet than everyone else, and others suspect he is taking something. Dylan doesn't go anywhere without his he is a musician and he likes to say 'Hi man'.     The Train     (voiced by Eric Thompson) The Train loves to chuff around the landscape picking up passengers. Dougal even has his own compartment, but is always commenting on how slow she is.     Mr. Rusty     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He is the owner of the Magic Roundabout. He was so sad before Zebedee arrived in the area, as the children no longer came to use his roundabout. He missed the children having fun while he played music on his barrel organ, it had lost its magic. Luckily for Mr Rusty, someone was listening and a packaged arrived for him. Inside he found Zebedee a magical Jack-In-The-Box, who promised that the children would return the next day. True to his word the children returned and brought happiness to Mr Rusty, the children and the animals who lived around the Magic Roundabout.     Mr. Machenry     (voiced by Eric Thompson) He has one of the longest beards that you’ll have ever seen, its down to his ankles. He wears a cowboy hat and zooms around on his little trike. His hobby is growing things in his garden. He’s even made his own perfume in his greenhouse. It seems he has some magic as he made it snow instantly, in the magic garden. Paul     (voiced by Eric Thompson) Paul is a friend of Florence’s and hangs out on the Magic Roundabout with her. Basil     (voiced by Eric Thompson) Basil is a friend of Florence’s and hangs out on the Magic Roundabout with her. Rosalie     (voiced by Eric Thompson) Rosalie is a friend of Florence’s and hangs out on the Magic Roundabout with her.  The Magic Roundabout - Zebedee Appears The Magic Roundabout T-Shirts - NONE The Magic Roundabout DVDs Region 2 (Europe) - Dougal and the Blue Cat Region 1 (USA) - NONE The Magic Roundabout Video Intro The Magic Roundabout
The Magic Roundabout Episodes Series 1 (1965) The first 20 episode names were taken from the Radio Times (supplied by John Archbold). We are unsure if they are the exact names of the episodes     1. Mr Rusty Meets Zebedee  2. Zebedee Starts The Roundabout  3. The Children Try To Win A Surprise  4. Florence Gets A Surprise  5. Florence Goes To Zebedee’s Magic         Garden  6. Florence Gets Another Surprise  7. Florence Meets Some Strange Acrobats  8. Florence Meets Some Unusual Birds  9. Mr Rusty’s Barrel Organ Breaks Down  10. Florence Is Invited To Zebedee's House  11. Florence Gets To Zebedee’s House           And Has A Surprise  12. All The Children Visit Zebedee  13. The Children Go To The Theatre  14. Mr Rusty’s Kitchen  15. The Children Make A Plan  16. The Children Build Their House  17. The Children Decorate Their House  18. A Very Special Ride  19. Dougal Turns Detective  20. Dougal And Florence Meet The           Monster      ??. Bubbles  ??. Piano Moving  ??. Let's Play At Cats  ??. Watch the Birdie  ??. Sculptor  ??. The Orchestra  ??. Pack Of Cards  ??. Toffee River  ??. Oil Wells  ??. Banana Skin  ??. Spaghetti Party  ??. Rain  ??. Baking A Pie  ??. Alarm Clock  ??. Brian and the Train Race  ??. The Chimney Sweep  ??. Road Signs  ??. Dylan Plays the Bagpipes  ??. Dougals Glasses  ??. Hide And Seek  ??. The Lost Boing  ??. Windy  ??. The Scarecrow  ??. Musical Box  ??. The Oyster  ??. The Hairdresser  ??. TV Announcer  ??. Magic Pot  ??. The Picnic  ??. Ermintrude's Folly  ??. The Exhibition  ??. Holidays  ??. Relay Race  ??. Soul of the Violin  ??. The Tombola  ??. Pancakes  ??. Flying Saucer  ??. The Sleepwalker  ??. A Starry Night  ??. Film Director  ??. Dougal Rustlers  ??. Magic Carpet  ??. The Experiment     Movies  Dougal and the Blue Cat (1972) The Magic Roundabout - Brian Arrives The Magic Roundabout - Hello Dougal The Magic Roundabout - Dougal Plants Candy Canes The Magic Roundabout - Ermintrude Eats Candy Canes The Magic Roundabout - Hello Ermintrude The Magic Roundabout - Dylan Relaxes The Magic Roundabout - Wake Up Dylan The Magic Roundabout - Hello Brian The Magic Roundabout - The Train Arrives The Magic Roundabout - Titles The Magic Roundabout Images (click to enlarge) The Magic Roundabout - Hello Florence The Magic Roundabout - Mr Rusty © The Magic Roundabout - DVDs
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