Timeshift (2002– )

The Magic Roundabout Story 


Merryn Threadgold (as Merryn Threadgould)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Celia Imrie ... Herself - Narrator (voice)
Ivor Wood Ivor Wood ... Himself - Animator
Josiane Wood Josiane Wood ... Herself
Jean-Michel Biard Jean-Michel Biard ... Himself - Merchandising Executive
Joy Whitby Joy Whitby ... Herself - BBC Family Programmes 1962-1967
Eric Thompson Eric Thompson ... Himself - Narrator of The Magic Roundabout (archive footage)
Phyllida Law ... Herself - Wife of Eric Thompson
Sophie Thompson ... Herself - Daughter of Eric Thompson
Brian Sibley ... Himself - Author, 'Cracking Animation'
Fenella Fielding ... Herself - Friend of Eric Thompson
Joan Bakewell Joan Bakewell ... Herself - TV Presenter (archive footage)
Serge Danot Serge Danot ... Himself - Creator of Le Manège Enchanté (archive footage)
Dave Borthwick Dave Borthwick ... Himself - Animator
Sacha Distel ... Himself (archive footage)
Selena Scott Selena Scott ... Herself - TV Presenter (archive footage)


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English | French

Release Date:

16 March 2003 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Bristol See more »
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Features Postman Pat (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Affectionate documentary that is interesting and enjoyable
12 July 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I'm of course too young to remember the impact that the Magic Roundabout had when it was first created but by the time I was of the age to watch it, I was already informed that the Magic Roundabout was "cool". Later I learned for myself that it is quite amusing in a very British way and, as a student I was reliably informed that it was "trippy", often by people who had never seen it more than once or twice! I'm not quite smitten by it in the way that some claim to be, but I do always enjoy it when I occasionally happen across it (normally at the end of something else I have taped) and thought this documentary worth a look.

The film spends a short amount of time early on looking at the French creation and where the ideas and concept came from, but it gets into the important issue after about 15 minutes, the important issue being the adaptation of the noisy children's show to suit English sensibilities. Thus we have the creative influence of Eric Thompson and the film does note that despite the images being entirely French, you would never really notice it due to the success of the conversion in tone, character, style. The film allows us time to relive the calm narration that brings bedtime stories to mind but is also amusing in a very English way.

The film then goes on to show the popularity of the show, including the adult audience of the time, the merchandising and the influence it had on other children's television productions. It touches on the modern film version as well but (as it wasn't yet released at the time this doc was made) it has little to say on the subject other than people wishing it the best or doubting it (as it turned out, there is really very little to say on the subject of the new film anyway).

Overall then, an effective documentary that is tinged with nostalgia and will be best served to the casual fan of the series. Perhaps not enough detail and passion to appeal to fans who know it all, but as it is I found it enjoyable and interesting.

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