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The Magic Roundabout (Le Manège enchanté) is a French children's television series created in 1963 by Serge Danot, with the help of English animator Ivor Wood and his wife Josiane. The series was originally broadcast from 1964 to 1971 on ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française).

An English adaptation was produced by the BBC, first airing from 1965 to 1977. A further 52 episodes were adapted in 1991.

Synopsis

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.

Dubbing History

When the series was first offered to the BBC, it was rejected as "charming... but difficult to dub into English". Subsequently, for whatever reason, the BBC's Head of Children's Programming gave the project a second look. It was passed on to Joy Whitby, producer of Play School. British actor Eric Thompson, who was at the time working as a presenter of Play School, was asked to do the adapt the scripts. Rather than adapt the original scripts, Thompson wrote the scripts based solely on the visuals, injecting much irony, wit, humor, social commentary and melancholy into his scripts. As a result, the English adaptation bore little relation to the original.

While the original French version used a separate voice cast to voice the characters, the English version used a single narrator who voiced all the characters, as done in many British Children's series. The Magic Roundabout, broadcast in 389 five-minute-long episodes from 18 October 1965 to 25 January 1977, was a great success and attained cult status. Part of the show's attraction was that it appealed to adults, who enjoyed the world-weary Tony Hancock-style comments made by Dougal, as well as to children. The audience measured eight million at its peak, and when in 1967 it was moved from the slot just before the evening news to an earlier children's viewing time, adult viewers complained to the BBC.

52 additional episodes, not previously broadcast, were shown in the United Kingdom during 1991 on Channel 4's News Daily. Eric Thompson had died by this time, and the job of adapting and narrating them in a pastiche of Thompson's style went to actor Nigel Planer. However, there were also some episodes that were previously adapted by Thompson, which were re-narrated by Planer.

During the 1980's, a dub was made for airing in America, which would air on the children's television show Pinwheel. This version, titled The Magic Carousel, seemed to have been based more off the French version, having lacked narration and the characters had separate voices. The actors for this dub are currently unknown, they are likely to be actors from Pinwheel, with only Dougal's voice actor, Pinwheel writer Michael Karp, being identified. Dylan and Mr. MacHenry have their original French names (Flappy and Mr. Young, respectively), with Mr. Rusty having Mr. MacHenry's name.

Then, for reasons unknown the episodes had a third redubbing several years later, this time by Jimmy Hibbert, who added a great sense of energy and zaniness to the series. Hibbert's narration would air on Cartoon Network.

Cast

Image Character Original Voice English Voice
(1965-1977)
English Voice
(1991)
Redub
(2000's)
France England
Narrator Eric Thompson Nigel Planer Jimmy Hibbert
Pollux Dougal Jacques Bodoin
Bernard Haller
Christian Riehl
Margote Florence Patricia Danot
Nadine Legrand
Zébulon Zebedee Jacques Bodoin
Bernard Haller
Christian Riehl
Ambroise Brian Jacques Bodoin
Jean Anneron
Serge Danot
Azalée Ermintrude Micheline Dax
Pascaline Priou
Flappy Dylan Jacques Bodoin
Paul Bisciglia
Bernard Haller
Christian Riehl

United States Pinwheel Dub

Trivia

  • When the British version was first shown to the French film-makers, they thought that the British name Dougal for their character Pollux was intended to poke fun at French president Charles de Gaulle, mishearing Douglas as "De Gaulle".
  • In the Pinwheel dub of the series, the magic garden is referred to as "Beautywood" instead.

Transmission

Date(s) Channel Country
1965-1977 BBC United Kingdom United Kingdom
1980s Pinwheel United States United States
1991 Channel 4 United Kingdom United Kingdom
1990s-2000s Cartoon Network
2007-current Nick Jr.

Video Releases

Distributor Year Format Contents Region Country
BBC Enterprises 1989-1999 VHS.jpg Various Episodes PAL United Kingdom United Kingdom

See Also

External Links

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