Watched By A Generation...

Originally a French children's TV programme known as Le Manege Enchante, the British version was narrated by Eric Thompson, actress Emma Thompson's dad. It's got a sort of dry humour that still appeals to me as an adult and as a kid had me hooked.

In the original French version of the series, Dougal the Skye Terrier, was known as Pollux and spoke broken French with an English accent. His sweet tooth, shown through his fondness for sugar lumps was based on a French belief that one of the characteristics of the English is a liking for sweets. Zebedee, the bouncing man with a spring attached to him, was called Zebulon in the French version, Brian the snail was Ambroise, Ermintrude the cow was Azalee, Florence was known as Margote and Dylan the hippy-like, guitar playing rabbit in the British version was, in the French series, a Spanish bunny known as Flappy.

I'm not sure what inspired the show's creators, but these are two theories I've heard of:

-The characters represented French politicians of the time (1965-1977) and that Dougal represented De Gaulle.... (I'm sceptical about this one)

-Each character was addicted to a different kind of psychotropic drug, most notably the very laid back rabbit, Dylan, named after Bob Dylan, but also because of the psychedelic appearance of the show and the fact that many of the characters chewed on flowers and sugar cubes.

Whatever the inspiration was, the series was hugely popular, with an audience measuring 8 million at it's peak, and achieved cult status in the UK


mistygrey mistygrey
41-45, F
5 Responses Feb 15, 2010

Hee hee!...Admit it, that wasn't Zebedee going *boing!*, it was your bed springs....Nice avatar, btw :)

Time for bed said Zeberdee, boing!

Thanks for commenting, waterfawn, I'm glad your son enjoyed watching 'Doogal' :) I've seen parts of the film and you're right, it's good, but apart from using the names of the original characters it's nothing like the original 'Magic Roundabout'...Maybe I'm biased because I grew up watching the original TV series, but to me the film just seems too "Hollywood" in comparison.

That was a funny story, Cherpee, thanks for recalling the experience for this group :)...Interesting to hear about a Magic Roundabout film from the early Seventies, sounds like it's a film that should be unearthed and aired on TV...

Hi Mistygrey, Well researched and very entertaining.<br />
Will post soon a tale from my past, whereby 40plus coppers got ejected from a cinema, having overstayed their welcome and watched a Magic Roundabout film.<br />
All will be revealed, and I trust amusing and pertinent to this thread.