The Magic Roundabout- a kids show, not for kids?


When we were but young ravers the MyCityByNight crew (then consisting of Kreg, Von Lurie, Stroobz & Myself) used to love coming home from a rather strenuous night of cutting shapes in the air and eating all types of things handed to us to switch on cartoon network and wind down proceedings with a little of entertainment from a few rather “interesting” clay-mation animals.

If I remember correctly the 5 minute episodes of The Magic Roundabout used to be broadcast on Cartoon Network from around 3:30am onwards, with each episode ending with the iconic line- “Time for bed”. However, this was not your normal run of the mill cartoon… The Magic Roundabout was known to be rather controversial, rife with undertones of recreational drug use, bribery, corruption, hallucinogenic imagery and a rather large number of sexual innuendos (check the vid below). If you think that Hannah Montana is bad for kid’s moral development then you have noooooo idea!

This children’s classic, created by Serge Danot in 1965, screened by the BBC for 12 years until the ‘powers that be’ decided to ban it- because well, it was freaking nuts. It stayed banned until the early 1990s when it resurfaced on the likes of Channel 4, only to be syndicated world wide after that.

Originally a French children’s show called Le Manege Enchante (I know, it sounds dodge already), it was an animation, telling stories of the adventures of Pollux, Flappy, Ambroise and Margote.

In the English translation Pollux became Dougal, Flappy was to be re-named Dylan, Ambroise was Brian and Margote became Florence. Along with Mr. Rusty, the delightful Ermintrude and last but not least Zebedee, Le Manege Enchante took a literary transformation and was delivered to our screens as the super cooked Magic Roundabout.

Eric Thompson, father of award winning actress Emma Thompson was responsible (although some may say irresponsible) for the goings on of the loveable characters in a garden filled with flowers and some quite unusual happenings.

In the innocent eyes of young kids, Dougal was simply a rather energetic shaggy dog who digged spinning in circles with a rather huge love of sugar cubes. Dylan was a rabbit who liked to play guitar and sleep a lot. Brian was a sensible snail, and Florence a young girl. Ermintrude was a pink cow who loved chewing flowers, and Zebedee was a thing on a spring that said ‘Boing!’ a lot. Mr. Rusty was the owner of the roundabout and was more often than not seen riding around on his trusty little bike (well tricycle to be precise). But we all knew better…

Dougal’s addiction to sugar lumps was a sneaky reference to a speed addict, Dylan the rabbit was obviously grilled out of his mind, Zebedee was a sex addict always keen for a boing, while those flowers Ermintrude digged to chow had a rather close resemblance to poppies.

I think one of my most memorable quots from Dylan when has to be when referring to Dougal’s uncontrollable taste for sugary cubes: “It starts with some sweets … “ he drones knowingly, “and then you’re on two bags a day.” Yes definately talking about sweeties hey.

Whatever the truth behind the series ‘The Magic Roundabout’ – the fact is that it stayed on top of the tea-time viewing figures for two years and when the BBC tried to move it from its 5.55pm time-slot to an hour earlier there was a public outcry from it’s loyal fans and the Corporation had to reconsider.

Check out 2 of my favourite episodes below:


Aaah… Sexual innuendos for the win!! You’ll have to pay me for a ride… hehehehe


Please bring back the Magic Roundabout Cartoon Network!!! My late nights have never been the same since!!!!

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Im a guy with a very particular view of life... im not quite sure what that view is just yet, but when I find out I'll be sure to let you know...


    1. haha pleasure 🙂 Cant believe a seasoned raver such as yourself never checked this show out after a jol! It really is one of my absolute favourite!

    1. Oh NO!!!!! Well at least SABC tv is improving its standard these days… Cant imagine this being approved by the now- almost non-existent SABC board though- far too cooked. Then again look at 7th Heaven- they let that psycho-babble out there 🙂

  1. I think you’re over thinking the aim of the references. I’m half English and spent my young life there…which is why I remember the MR in the first place.

    Honestly, I think sometimes a banana is just a banana…

    thanks for putting this memory up where we can see it.

  2. The Magic Roundabout was never “banned”. The BBC just decided to give it a rest after having shown it so many times for so many years. Claiming that it contained deliberate drug references (it didn’t) was terribly funny if you were a student in the 80s, but not any more.

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