Round the Twist

Round the Twist

Infobox Television
show_name = Round the Twist

caption =
format = Children's
Supernatural Comedy
camera =
picture_format = 4:3
runtime = 25 mins
creator = Paul Jennings
developer = Australian Children's Television Foundation
executive_producer = Patricia Edgar
starring = See Cast section below.
narrated =
opentheme = "Round The Twist" lyrics and music by Andrew Duffield
sung by Tamsin West
endtheme = "Round The Twist" lyrics and music by Andrew Duffield
sung by Tamsin West
country = Australia
network = ABC
first_aired = April 4, 1989
last_aired = May 2, 2001
num_episodes = 52
list_episodes = List of Round the Twist episodes
website =
imdb_id = 0103529
tv_com_id = 3332

"Round the Twist" is a Logie Award-winning Australian children's television series about three children and their widowed father who live in a lighthouse and become involved in many magical adventures. The series is based on fantasy stories written by author Paul Jennings. Only four series were made despite the show having an eleven year run. Its first series was made in 1989. A second series, with many roles re-cast, was made in 1992. A third series, again re-cast, was made in 1999, followed by a fourth (with some roles again re-cast) in 2000.

Many external scenes were shot around the region of the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet, Victoria, Australia.

The show's distinctive theme song, with the lyrics "have you ever... ever felt like this?..."was sung by Tamsin West, who played the lead female role of Linda in the first series. It borrowed lines from popular nursery rhymes such as "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly", "Humpty Dumpty" and "Rain Rain Go Away".


Making a show about children which spanned more than a decade meant many changes in actors were required, as the child actors became too old for their parts. Therefore, three sets of children (the Twists, the Gribbles and Fiona) have been used. Also, two Tonys, two Nells, three Fays, two Mr. Gribbles, and three Matron Gribbles have been used:


The show revolves around the four members of the Twist family:
* Tony Twist ("Dad") - a widower with a kind heart, romantically interested in Bronson's schoolteacher;
* Pete TwistLinda's twin brother, into girls and who occasionally goes out with Fiona;
* Linda TwistPete's twin sister, into feminism, environmentalism and judo;
* Bronson Twist — the twins' younger brother, who is obsessed with food and odors.

Other characters:
* Helen "Nell" Rickards — the old woman who lives in a cottage next door, whose brother, Tom, had been the former lighthouse keeper;
* Harold Gribble — a greedy real-estate agent, who often tries to force the Twists to move out of the lighthouse with business schemes;
* "Matron" Cecilia Gribble — his supportive wife, a nurse;
* James Gribble — his no-good son, a bully at school who often antagonises Pete;
* "Rabbit" — one of James Gribble's friends, often downtrodden;
* "Tiger" Gleeson — the other of James Gribble's friends, often seen commentating various events;
* Faye JamesBronson's schoolteacher; a love interest for Dad, she lives with the Twists in their lighthouse during the third and fourth series;
* Ralph SnapperPete and Linda's teacher; with the children he is a harsh disciplinarian who doesn't respond well to insolence, but with adults he is very socially awkward
* FionaLinda's friend, and Pete's sometime girlfriend.
* Anthony — in the third and fourth series only, a well-meaning nerd with a crush on Linda.

Characters who appear briefly in each episode of a series:
*Ghost Matthew and Ghost Jeremiah — two ghosts whose spirits were trapped in the lighthouse during series two after they failed to guide a boat to shore one hundred years earlier.
* Ariel — a girl from the Isle of Dreams, who comes seeking to take Pete away in the fourth series.


Four series of "Round the Twist" have been made, each comprising thirteen episodes. Although each episode has a self-contained plot each series has a recurring theme, usually an object or character which appears briefly in every episode. This gradually develops the theme until the final episode of the series in which it is explained and resolved.

The Twist family also have frequent conflicts with a ruthless local businessman, Harold Gribble and his family, over ownership of the lighthouse and the dangers to the environment posed by Mr. Gribble's many business schemes.

eries 1 (1989)

The lighthouse is haunted by eerie music coming from upstairs. In the final episode, "Lighthouse Blues", the music is revealed to be played by the ghosts of Nell's deceased family. The ghosts help the Twists to stop Mr. Gribble from destroying the lighthouse.

eries 2 (1993)

The lighthouse is again haunted, this time by ghosts visible to the viewers, but not to the characters until the final episode. The two ghosts are Matthew and Jeremiah, who fade into view once in each episode. They are being punished because as lighthouse keepers 100 years previously they failed to stop a ship bearing Matthew's love, Jane, from being wrecked on the rocks. In the final episode, "Seeing the Light", the ghost ship comes again, and this time, all of the characters from the show help to turn on the lighthouse light and save the family who were lost at sea, redeeming the ghosts.

Another recurring theme in Series Two is Bronson's foul-smelling feet. In episode 7, "Smelly Feat", he reveals that he has been 'saving the stink' to stop the Gribbles from killing an endangered turtle. In the end, he helps save the turtle.

eries 3 (1998)

In the second episode Linda is given a book of poetry, The Viking Book of Love by a young Viking who finds the lighthouse. In most of the episodes, a character falls in love with someone who reads poetry from the book to them; each love spell lasts up until the next one is cast. In the final episode, "the Big Rock", the Vikings return and the book's effects are reversed, with terrible consequences.

eries 4 (2000)

In each episode, a knight in armour, whose face is hidden behind their visor, enters the lighthouse through a magical door. In the final episode, "The Isle of Dreams", the stranger is revealed to be a girl, Ariel, who has come to offer the children a perfect life on the Isle of Dreams, if Pete will become her husband. In the end, they decline, and Ariel disappears forever, along with the enchanted isle.

A subplot in this series is Faye's pregnancy to Tony. The baby, named Ariel, is born in the series finale.

Another subplot is Bronson collects various smells throughout the series with his Smellsucker, a vacuum cleaner with a nose built into it for storing the smells. This leads Bronson to becoming a superhero of sorts called Skunkman. He appears randomly throughout the series, but the true identity not revealed. His friend Lois, appearing in only the Skunkman episode is thought to be Skunkman.


The first two series were written by Paul Jennings, with heavy editing by director Esben Storm (who also played Mr. Snapper in series 1-3). Each of these episodes, with the exception of the second series' final episode "Seeing the Light", were based on Jennings' short stories. A "Round the Twist" movie was planned, but due to creative differences, it was never made. After the second series Jennings left the show, taking the rights to his stories with him. Paul Jennings also made some cameo appearances, in particular as the ghost of Ben Byron in series 1's "Without my Pants."

The third and fourth series were written by various writers, and did not draw from Jennings' material. The latter series did not match the popular acclaim of the originals, and because of this, the show was canceled.Fact|date=June 2008 Incidentally, at around the same time as the third series was released, Jennings' stories were being adapted into a different show called "Driven Crazy", which also failed to match the popularity of the early Round the Twists, and of which only one series was produced.

Several locations were used for the filming of the series. The most notable location is the Twist family's lighthouse home, with exterior scenes shot at the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet, Victoria. School and some town scenes were shot in Williamstown, Victoria.


"Round the Twist" is notable for having pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable for children's television, to the extent that the Australian Children's Television Foundation had difficulty finding a distributor for it: according to the ACTF's marketing Manager Jenny Buckland, "the scripts were declared 'too rude', 'not for television' and 'outrageous'". [ [ Australian Television: Round The Twist ] ] Some episodes include scatological references, urination, body odour, underwear, birth, death, nudity, incest or references to genitalia. [ Scatological: Series 1, episode 2 "Birdsdo"; series 2, episode 12 "Little Black Balls"; Urination: Series 2, ep.3 "Little Squirt"; Body odour: Series 2, ep.7 "Smelly Feat"; Underwear: (actual) Series 1, ep.8 "Wunderpants"; (referred to) series 2, ep.5 "Nails"; Birth: Series 1, ep.4 "Cabbage Patch Fib"; series 4, ep.13 "Isle of Dreams"; Death: Series 2, ep.4 "Pink Bowtie", and implicitly most of the ghost stories; Nudity: Series 2, ep.11 "Quivering Heap", Series 4, ep.3 "Linda Godiva"; References to genitalia: Series 3, ep.3 "Whirling Derfish"; Incest: Series 2, ep.9 "Ice Maiden"] However these are all used for comic effect, and the series also engages with significant personal or social issues such as environmental conservation, or relations with the opposite sex. [Environmental: Series 2, episodes 3 "Little Squirt", 6 "Sloppy Jalopy", 7 "Smelly Feat", 8 "Grandad's Gifts", 10 "Yuckles"; Relationships: Series 1, episode 9 "Lucky Lips"; series 2, episodes 5 "Nails", 9 "Ice Maiden"; series 3, episode 2 "Viking Book of Love"] Many episodes revolve around helping restless spirits of dead people or animals find peace. [Series 1, episodes 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 13; series 2, episodes 8, 11, 13.]

In the UK DVD release of "Round The Twist", four DVDs were given a U rating and four a PG rating. [ [ BBFC database entry] ]


It is said that the show was a much bigger hit overseas than in Australia.Fact|date=July 2007 In the UK it was aired on the BBC's CBBC segment several times in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was repeated again in 2007 on Five on Sunday mornings. It also regularly appeared on Network 2 in Ireland. The show was also popular in The Netherlands. In Canada it won the Banff Television Festival award for "Best Children's Programme" in 2000, and in Australia it won the Logie Award for "Outstanding Children's Programme" in 2001 and 2002. It was also nominated for an award at the Australian Film Institute.

See also

* List of Australian television series

References and notes

External links

* [ "Round the Twist" website]
* [ Writing Round the Twist (Paul Jennings)]
* [ Learning resources for "Round the Twist"] from the Australian Children's Television Foundation
* " [ Round The Twist] " at []
* [;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=225570;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10 Round the Twist at the National Film and Sound Archive]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • round the twist — see under ↑twist • • • Main Entry: ↑round round the twist (informal) Crazy, mad • • • Main Entry: ↑twist …   Useful english dictionary

  • round the twist — ► round the twist Brit. informal crazy. Main Entry: ↑twist …   English terms dictionary

  • round the twist — British informal crazy You d think I was round the twist if I told you. drive someone round the twist (= make someone become crazy): He s driving me round the twist with all these questions. go round the twist (= become crazy): I felt as if I was …   English dictionary

  • Round the Twist — Seriendaten Deutscher Titel: Twist Total Eine australische Familie legt los Originaltitel: Round the Twist Produktionsland: Australien Produktionsjahr(e): 1989/1992/1999/2000 Produzent: Patricia Edgar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • round the twist — British & Australian, informal crazy. She s completely round the twist just sits there all day talking to herself. I put the milk in the cupboard and the sugar in the fridge. I think I m going round the twist …   New idioms dictionary

  • round the twist — adj, adv British crazy, deranged. A racier version of the colloquial round the bend , this phrase moved from limited working class usage to general currency in the 1960s …   Contemporary slang

  • round the twist —  Mad. Also clean round the bend Very mad …   A concise dictionary of English slang

  • round the twist — adjective a) Mad. b) Eccentric …   Wiktionary

  • round the twist — Phrs. Insane, crazy. Informal …   English slang and colloquialisms

  • round the twist Brit. — round the twist Brit. informal crazy. → twist …   English new terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”