This is just a tiny bit misleading. While Zebedee features, the main focus of this post is the wonderful, surreal and generally fabulous Magic Roundabout. The show has a deserved cult following and brightened the early days of my childhood hugely. It ran for five minutes before the news every evening and was reliably entertaining.
It has a slightly bizarre history, which greatly amuses me. The BBC bought the original children's series from France and somehow the animations arrived but the scripts did not. To compensate for this (and possibly to avoid translation costs), the BBC decided to transmit the episodes with new scripts created by Eric Thompson (father of Emma Thompson). He knew no French.
What you get with The Magic Roundabout is therefore Eric's unique take on what he thought was happening and bears precisely no resemblance to the French version of the stories. He also narrated, doing all the voices from Dougal the acerbic dog to Ermintrude the singing cow via Brian the snail, Dylan the stoner rabbit, Mr Rusty the tricycling gardener, Florence the human girl and Zebedee himself.
The Magic Roundabout was treated to a remake in 2005 which I admit I've not seen. Somehow I just don't want to. I loved the original and don't even dare watch the originals on Youtube in case they disappoint.
|Zebedee. Guardian of the magic garden and its even more magical roundabout.|
It was a joyous series. The plots were random to say the least and mattered hardly at all. The real joy was the characters. Every one was clear as crystal and while they were funny apart, together they were hilarious. Brian's cheery Mary Sunshine attitude invariably drove acerbic Dougal to the brink of insanity. Florence was the voice of sweet reason, and Mr Rusty worried about the magic garden. Ermintrude addressed everyone as "dear heart" and had wild fantasies about being a bus (among other things) while Dylan slumped under a tree in a stupor occasionally twanging his guitar.
At the end of every episode, just as everything was about to spiral out of control, Zebedee would appear and announce that it was time for bed. It was a little bit of heaven at the end of every weekday.
That seems like an appropriate place to leave the A-Z challenge 2012. Thank you for joining me on this alphabetic oddyssey.