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Audio Book Review


Magic Roundabout


Narrator: Eric Thompson
BBC Audiobooks
RRP: £5.99
ISBN: 978 1 408 42742 2
Available 04 February 2010

In another land Florence and her friends share their lives with a collection of very strange animals...

Magic Roundabout was originally a French children’s show. Created by Serge Danot, Le Manège Enchanté, the show found success in the UK when they were re-voiced by Eric Thompson. I suppose that it is difficult to convey, to the young, the importance of these five minute shows to anyone over thirty-five - certainly the animated film failed to capture much of the magic, which was provided by Thompson.

When the show came to the BBC Thompson created whole new stories, based on the visuals, full of dry humour and a couple of dodgy drug references. The main characters were Dougal (a dog), Brian (a snail), Ermintrude (a cow), Dylan (a rabbit, who sounded permanently stoned). The whole place was watched over by Zebedee, a jack-in-the-box, and its main human characters were Mr Rusty, who owned the carousel, and Florence.

Before the advent of the VHS recorder, the audience’s only way to repeat the experience of the show was either through the written form, or repeats, that is until the BBC decided to put some of the shows on vinyl. Time has marched on and the records are hard to find, so in comes the beeb with CD versions of the records, something a whole new generation of children can enjoy.

Out of about five hundred episodes the CD holds only ten - Dougal’s Experiment, A Starry Night, The Moody Concerto, Dougal’s Adventure, The Stiff Necked Helliotropes, The Bird School, The Piano Carrier, Banana Skin, The Musical Box and The Announcer - though as a plus the eleventh track is an interview with the great man, Eric Thompson.

To add to the experience the CD has been pressed to look like the original record, even the sleeve looks to be a reproduction of the original record cover.

Like I said previously, for people of a certain age this harkens back to a golden age of children’s television. Because Thompson narrated all the characters the show still works pretty well as an audio. The only thing I would have liked to see were more pictures of the characters so that children, who have never seen the show, would know what Eric was talking about.

It is still as enchanting after all these years and should appeal to both young and old alike.


Charles Packer

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