Still Scared: Talking Children's Horror

Still Scared: Talking Children's Horror

Round The Twist

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In this episode we discussed the children's TV show Round the Twist, that ran from 1989-2001.

The Round the Twist official Youtube channel has the complete series uploaded to watch.

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Ren: Welcome to Still Scared: Talking Children’s Horror, a podcast about creepy, spooky and disturbing children’s books, films and TV. I’m Ren Wednesday, my co-host is Adam Whybray and today we’re talking about the Australian children’s TV programme, Round the Twist.

Ren: Good morning, Adam! Have you ever, ever felt like this?

Adam: What? Slightly sleepy and beleaguered? Loads of times, Ren. Most mornings.

Ren: Okay, well, we’re talking about Round the Twist today, which is an Australian children’s fantasy TV show, that has four series that were aired between 1989 and 2001.

Adam: With quite a big gap between season 2 and season 3.

Ren: Yeah, and it felt like it was on CBBC for most of my childhood, which is probably not true, but it feels like it was around a lot.

Adam: Yeah, I certainly remember re-watching - like the spaghetti episode I feel like I watched countless times. I don’t know about you but I had quite a complex relationship with Round the Twist because I was fascinated by it, and did like it, but being a kid with OCD, it has a lot of gross-out humour. There’s a surprising number of plots focussed around wee.

Ren: Yeah, my friend Jim came into the room last night and I said ‘I’m watching Round the Twist’ and he said ‘Oh, have you got to the episode with the weeing?’ and I said ‘…which one?’.

Adam: And presumably they meant the weeing over the wall, in which young Bronson enters in a competition to wee the highest, and ends up with some kind of superpower that allows him to wee all the way over a wall.

Ren: Yes, he did mean that one but there is also the episode where Pete wees on a tree and becomes impregnated by a tree spirit.

Adam: There’s the one where the little fish jumps all the way up… into Bronson’s penis, which thus acts as a propellor giving him amazing swimming powers.

Ren: That is a genuine plot, yes. That happened. You think you hallucinated it but no, it happened on Round the Twist.

Adam: Many things happen on Round the Twist.

Ren: So the plot follows the Twist family, which is teenage twins Pete and Linda and their seven year-old brother Bronson, and their dad Tony. In the first episode they move to the fictional town of Port Niranda to live in a lighthouse. And it’s known for having a really good theme tune, and also, as we mentioned, pushing the boundaries of acceptability for a children’s TV show.

Adam: So this first episode, Skeleton on the Dunny, is pretty scatological from the go-get.

As the title implies, this lighthouse only has an outhouse for a toilet, so they have to go across in the middle of the night if they want to use the bog, and it turns out that it’s a haunted dunny, thus giving rise to much scatological humour.

The worst and most contrived of which is that Pete has a false tooth, which he has to wear when he goes to the toilet, apparently, I don’t quite understand the connection there. But anyway he goes to the toilet and his false tooth somehow falls out into the toilet, which then causes the kids to go on a trip to the sewage rendering plant, whereupon a tray is brought out of… shit. And Pete retrieves his shitty tooth which he then boils in some water and pops back into his mouth.

Ren: How lovely.

Adam: And as my sister pointed out, why did it have to be a tooth?! It could have been a ring! It could have been all manner of small object, but no, it had…

Ren:… to be the one adjacent to his mouth.

Adam: Another good Phoebe observation was that in the car at the start they’re singing Twist and Shake by the Beatles?

Ren: Twist and Shout?

Adam: Good Shout. And she pointed out, are they singing this because it’s called Round the Twist?

Ren: …it’s because it’s their name.

Adam: Oh. Yeah. But what family sings songs based around their own name? I don’t sing songs with the name ‘Whybray’ in them.

Ren: Those many songs.

Adam: Yeah, all the songs about the questioning horses.

Ren: So I think we have Paul Jennings to thank for these strange and scatological plots, at least for the first two series.

Adam: Did you read any of the Paul Jennings books when you were young?

Ren: I didn’t, really. I think I read one, because I remember reading the story about the boy whose hands are covered in nails. Scales of nails. Which I think is also a Round the Twist episode. But I think I was put off by the covers.

Adam: Oh yeah, do you mean the double covers?

Ren: I think so!

Adam: So the way the covers worked when we were young, I don’t know if they were published by scholastic, but I remember a lot of these books in the library, or the library van, or at book fairs at school.

The covers were doubled so the front cover would look like just a teenage kid, possibly with something a bit odd going on, like looking down in surprise at the nail on their hand, and then the front cover had holes for the eyes, so the eyes were looking through from the cover beneath it which was creepy enough, and you’d lift the front cover and beneath there’d be a horrific transformation like the boy covered with nails.

The first episode we’re going to talk about is Santa Claws, and I definitely read that one as a kid. And for that one the front cover is a boy, and then you lift it up and his mouth is shrunken and tiny underneath.

Ren: Yeah, I couldn’t quite remember what I found disturbing about the covers but I think it was that double thing.

Adam: Yeah, I think the Santa Claws episode captures moments of the griminess of the original stories. That’s one thing that sticks in my mind about reading Jennings when I was young. They had this suburban grotiness, a lot of the locations seemed quite run-down and it often seemed like these young teenage protagonists would meet these slightly disreputable or outcast figures and the Santa Claws of Santa Claws is one such figure.

Ren: Yeah, he’s memorably grimy and dishevelled.

Adam: And you know it’s a weird episode of Round the Twist when the whole thing is positioned as being a dream.

Ren: Yeah, this is too outlandish, even for Round the Twist. It has this slightly confusing structure where Pete falls asleep in front of the fire on Christmas Eve and then he dreams that he’s telling the story to Linda and her friend in the playground and he’s had his mouth shrunk to a tiny hole and he’s telling the story of how this happened to him.

Adam: In his now high-pitched voice, which I don’t think… if I purse my lips together my voice doesn’t suddenly go high-pitched. It might be a slightly whistling voice, maybe, but I don’t quite understand why having a small mouth suddenly makes your voice really high. But anyway, that’s probably not the most ludicrous aspect of the story.

So I guess the story is all based around Pete’s cynical teenage lack of belief in Santa.

Ren: Yes, because Bronson’s really excited to go to the school fete to see Santa Claus, and Pete’s like (sneering teenage boy voice) ‘Uhh you still believe in that?’ and Linda’s telling him not to be a dick. They go to the fete and Pete goes outside and he sees a procession of toys falling off the roof. I really like that sequence. They just tumble down into his arms and he catches them.

Adam: It has the kind of phantasmagoric pop surrealism of Paper House which we talked about a few months back.

Ren: Very creepily atmospheric. He catches them and a man claiming to be one of the real Santas comes down. He’s Santa number 1058, or something. He’s very dirty and dishevelled and has these long pointed fingernails and he says he’s a Santa Claws.

Adam: He looks like, have you seen Mulholland Drive?

Ren: Not in a long time.

Adam: There’s a part where there’s a particularly dishevelled homeless person who’s possibly a creature, round the back of the diner.

Ren: And he implies that Santas Claws’ are a species. Because they’ve evolved claws from scrabbling up chimneys. He tells Pete that he has to give him and all his family two wishes, because he helped a registered Santa Claws. And Pete’s like ‘ehh, whatever’. So he follows Pete around, and ends up having an altercation with the Santa at the fete who is Nell.

Ahhh! I love Nell so much.

Adam: I should have guessed you’d love Nell actually.

Ren: Slight digression about how much I love Nell. Nell is the neighbour who lives in the nearby cottage, played by Bunny Brooke and she has this great slightly grizzled older butch aesthetic including a permanent lighthouse keeper’s hat? Which is such a strong look, I love it.

Her brother was the last lighthouse keeper, and her parents and sister died in a shipwreck and she turns up to give advice and warnings, and magic and lighthouse lore.

Adam: Generally filling them in on the lore and folkstories of the surrounding area of Port Niranda.

Ren: Yes. So she’s Santa Claus.

Adam: Yes, and as Santa Claws calls her, she’s a ‘pillow belly’! Which I thought was a great name for fake Santas.

Ren: So they have a scrap on stage, in which I’m pretty sure she headbutts him in the bollocks, but the real Santa gets expelled from the building —

Adam: — after performing a beautiful operatic….

Ren: Oh yeah!

Adam: Quite bizarrely, because it’s a fairly long sequence.

Ren: Yeah. He sings the whole first verse of Silent Night.

Adam: Very beautifully. Which is dubbed over the actor’s real voice.

Ren: He follows Pete home to the lighthouse so he can give out these wishes, which he eventually manages to do. Tony takes him up on it first, and asks to be whisked away by a beautiful someone, and his girlfriend Faye turns up, and then his second wish is something naughty whispered in the ear.

Adam: Yeah, I’ve written ‘ominous sex wish’ in my notes.

Ren: ‘Ominous sex wish’, yes.

Adam: Just because the Santa raises his eyebrows and goes ‘Eh you old dog’. A bit unwholesome.

Ren: Quite. So their Dad leaves them to their wishes. Bronson wishes to be bigger than Pete, and then becomes very big. And in traditional wish progression has to use his second wish to be his normal size again.

Adam: He didn’t think it through!

Ren: He didn’t think it through. Pete wishes he could see this pop star that he has a crush on in person. So she’s whisked out of the TV into their living room, where she seems quite confused and frightened.

Adam: Yes, well it’s quite odd because she’s whisked out of a music video, seemingly, instead of a live performance. So is this her in the past? Whisked into the future? Has this replicated her? I’ve probably over-thought this but I found it quite confusing! I was really thinking about those metaphysical implications.

I’ve clearly been working too much on my academic book. Sorry.

Ren: And then Linda wishes for Santa Claws to go away, which he does, but she forgets that she still has a second wish, and then Pete blurts out to Bronson that the Santa Claus at the fete was actually Nell, and then Linda says ‘I wish you didn’t have such a big mouth!’. And then Pete’s mouth shrinks.

Adam: So the whole episode is basically one long shaggy dog story to get to the bad joke at the end!

One detail that the episode doesn’t have that I remember from the original story was that the main character of the story, or Pete in the episode, now has to subsist on peas alone, because that’s the only thing he can fit through his mouth at a time.

Ren: One detail that I liked is that when Pete’s going into school he’s trying to hide from the bullies as he wears a bandana over his tiny mouth, but Linda and Bronson distract the bullies with a lovely fluffy bunny!

So they were all distracted by stroking this cute bunny.

Adam: So this is followed up with possibly an even stranger episode, which is Know All. Although this is episode 10, so by this point all the characters seem to be quite accepting of the strangeness of the lighthouse. Considering this is an episode where they’re possessed by old Victorian clothes from a circus, they just seem to get on with it, really.

Ren: Yeah, so they drag this barnacled old chest ashore, find that it’s filled with old circus costumes, Nell turns up as the voice of reason and says ‘Oh, they were all drowned in a shipwreck, you probably shouldn’t mess around with those’.

Adam: And they’re like, ‘Nah, we love wearing dead people’s clothes, mate! We’re the Twists, we’re wacky’.

Ren: Yeah, they waste no time, straight on with dressing up in haunted circus clothes. And they also for good measure dress up the scarecrow, as a clown.

Adam: So this is probably the only episode of a children’s TV show, or anything, to create the hellish combo of Scarecrow Clown! I mean Worzel Gummidge came close.

Ren: They’re really going for the double here, with a violent clown and an animated scarecrow, in one.

Adam: Two childhood traumas for the price of one! It’s pretty damn awful, I’m not going to lie. I genuinely found this one quite scary as an adult.

Ren: Yeah, he has this piercing maniacal laugh.

Adam: (Adam laughs maniacally backed up by booming background laughter)

Ren: Which is… unsettling. And he has this big bristly straw moustache. He’s still part straw but with a human face, but with clown makeup. Oh my God.

Adam: It’s pretty awful. So he pursues Linda, Linda’s dressed up in the clothes of a woman who was a clown. So this is the lost love of the clown, and so he’s pursuing her, and it’s filmed like a slasher film or something!

One of the good things about the lighthouse is it does allow some claustrophobic cinematography. But there’s a bit where he jumps through the door window, the scarecrow just leaps straight through it! I swore out loud.

Ren: He’s not carrying a knife, but you just kind of feel like he is.

Adam: There’s a bit where he smashes a bit of broken door, which it turns out is just to give him a skateboard, Lord of the Rings style, to surf down the stairs. But when he did that I thought ‘Oh my God, he’s making a stake to stab Linda with’.

Ren: It also anticipates the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who in this scene where Linda thinks she sees him moving, and she turns away and he’s moved a bit more.

Adam: There’s some great creepy synthesised fairground music, very ‘80s Residents style, which I really enjoyed. I might just download the episode as an mp3 and edit together all of the music so I can listen to it.

I found this the scariest episode, easily, of the ones that we’ve watched.

Ren: I agree. It’s resolved because Tony has taken on the role of the fortune teller, as ‘Madame Dad’ as Bronson introduces him, and he forsees a solution. He’s a kind of sculptor, or a found items artist, and he’s made an artwork called ‘Chained to Chores’ which is a mannequin with handcuffs and she’s lent that to his girlfriend.

Adam: There’s a nice little discussion with Linda about whether it’s feminist or misogynist, which I thought was quite decent.

Ren: Linda’s very much a Lisa Simpson character, in the early episodes at least.

Adam: Well, a kind of troubled Lisa Simpson, a Lisa Simpson that the rest of the family are quite worried about.

Ren: I think that’s also Lisa Simpson.

Adam: Oh yeah, true, true.

Ren:But she’s feminist and environmentalist and it’s played quite broadly as tended to happen in the ‘80s. But Tony has to go and get this mannequin back, and he ends up dressing the mannequin in the lady clown’s outfit, that Linda was wearing — are you there Adam?*

Adam: Oh yes, yes, I was just listening! Oh no, you’re like ‘Adam hasn’t piped up to interrupt me with some kind of bad joke or digression, he must be gone’.

Ren: Sorry. And the mannequin fades into life and they put them both in the back of a truck —

Adam: — and cart them off to the circus.

Ren: Oh yes, they take them to a circus.

Adam: Where they live for however long re-animated skeleton clowns live for!

So in terms of shabby reanimated dead things, there’s a very shabby reanimated dead fox, from Grandpa’s Gifts in Season 2.

Ren: Yeah! This is a really interesting episode. I like it because it had a lot of Nell in it. So they start talking about this tree in the yard of the lighthouse, and Nell says ‘Oh, my grandfather shot a fox and buried its innards under that tree’. A classic Nell interjection.

And then Linda has a dream about it, that the tree’s growing lemons, it is a lemon tree, but it’s never really borne many lemons. She dreams about it and in the morning there’s lemons on the tree.

And the fox pelt that the grandad shot the fox to make this pelt for his wife, but she never liked it, but that turns up in a secret cupboard in Linda’s room. So there’s this connection between the lemons on the tree, and the fox pelt.

Adam: And the fox starts making theses mewling guinea-pig like noises, it doesn’t sound much like a fox to me. You’ve probably got more fox experience.

Ren: Well, it’s probably good it doesn’t sound like a fox, because foxes sound like they’re being murdered in the night. They sound like children being murdered in the night, more specifically, so it’s probably good they didn’t go there.

Adam: So the fox wants lemons for its eyes.

Ren: Yeah, these fox-gut lemons.

Adam: Lemons for the fox god!

Ren: So she brings it offerings of lemons, and the lemons contain the essence of the fox and that brings it back to life.

Adam: There’s some proper associative magical thinking in this episode.

Ren: Yeah, it’s great! But the fox’s eyes had been replaced by beads or glass eyes, and before she can get the last lemons that contain the spirit of its eyes, the Gribble boys, who are the bullies, rip up the lemon tree claiming that they’re pruning, and destroy the lemons and the fox’s eyes with them.

Adam: We haven’t really talked about the Gribbles.

Ren: No, so Mr Gribble is a local business tycoon?

Adam: That sounds about right.

Ren: And he wants to buy the lighthouse from Tony, to make something terrible with it, probably.

Adam: Which is kind of the through-line of all four seasons really.

Ren: Yeah, they have to protect the lighthouse from Mr Gribble. And his son and his son’s cronies are the antagonists for the kids.

Adam: And they’re crass bullies, basically. Slightly doltish, dunderheaded bullies.

Ren:And we haven’t actually mentioned, but because there were such big gaps between the series’ there’s a lot of cast changeover in this show. So the first series was 1989, the second was 1992, and the third and fourth weren’t until the early 2000s. So most of the kids are recast between series 1 and 2, and then again for series 3, and lots of the adults are re-cast for series 3 as well. So going through and watching different episodes from different series is a little surreal.

Adam: Yeah, I’m amazed I didn’t notice as a child!

Ren: Yeah, me neither! I’d completely forgotten, if I ever noticed.

Adam: Particularly as all the Bronson’s, in particular, look quite different. I was trying to rank which performances were the best in each season, but when you’re dealing with child actors it started feeling a bit mean.

Ren: I think the third Pete is the one I remember the most. But the third and fourth series are not the best.

Adam: Well, the first two series are based on Jenning’s books or stories, whereas the third and fourth aren’t. For me, the third season started feeling a bit more self-consciously weird and gross-out, and the episode of the fourth season I watched started to feel like self-parody.

But Grandad’s Gifts, before we move on, is resolved by… they find Nell’s grandad’s eyes?

Ren: Yeah, so Nell is comforting Linda, who’s distraught, and says ‘there’s another lemon tree, this small one over here, why don’t you try the lemons from that tree?’ and Linda’s like ‘Oh it won’t work, it won’t work’.

Adam: Well, the lemons look rubbish compared to the first ones. They’re all pockmarked and shrivelled.

Ren: Yeah, they’re not very promising lemons. But Nell’s like ‘come on, do it for me’, and then it works. She doesn’t think it’s worked but then the fox creeps out of the lighthouse and it has these bright blue eyes, and it turns out that these are Nell’s grandad’s eyes!

Adam: So Linda’s trapped grandad’s eyes in a fox for all eternity. Which I guess is what you get for shooting foxes.

Ren: That’s a pretty Goosebumps-esque twist there.

Adam: I felt like this episode was the closest we’d get to Ozzy folk horror, basically.

Ren: It’s quite fascinating, such a weird concept, lemons containing the essence of fox.

Adam: It sounds like something you’d get at a fancy bistro ‘Lemons with fox essence. With shavings of Grandad’s eyes’.

That could be the Texture of the Week!

Shall we do Texture of the Week?

Ren: Okay! Should we try and sing the Round the Twist theme tune to Texture of the Week?

Ren: Adam: (haltingly) Have you ever…. ? ever…. textured like this…..? strange textures happen, when it’s texture of the week!

Yeah! (banging noises)

Ren: Sorry, that was extremely awkward.

Adam: You have to keep it on brand.

Ren: I wanted to pay homage…

Adam: Don’t worry, if I add like some kind of synthy 90s keyboard it’ll sound exactly like the original, I think.

Ren: Do you want to go first?

Adam: …. No. Because I’m still thinking.

Ren: So I know I always go for horrible ones, but —

Adam: Because you’re ‘orrible!

Ren: But the real eyeballs emerging from the scarecrow’s straw face were quite a texture. That was quite a thing.

Adam: The jelly of the eyes, and the bristle of the straw.

Ren: The bristle of the straw. Yes.

Adam: I have got one actually, it’s the texture of Bird Boy, which is otherwise a not very good season 4 episode about a bird boy who has a nice singing voice, but the costume of the bird boy just looks like it’s festering.

It’s the least majestic bird boy I can possibly imagine. It’s got the colours of the Macaw parrot but it looks kind of scabby, basically? Or like it’s got mushroom spores on it, almost. But I just thought the costume looked really rank.

But season 4 is not very good. The characters definitely start to feel like caricatures of themselves.

Ren: Yeah, like Pete is just only talking about how much he likes girls.

Adam: At any given opportunity. Like, ‘do you want some breakfast Pete?’ ‘No! But what I’d really like is a girl!’. To the point where it starts being a bit weird. So that’s the only season 4 episode we really bothered with. But season 3 starts with a bang, with The Big Burp.

Ren: Uh huh! One of the most memorable episodes.

Adam: Yep, it literally made me gag!

Ren: Yes, it’s quite horrible. I’m sorry! We don’t need to go too much into it.

Adam: Well, Pete wees on a tree and then gets impregnated by the tree, and spends the rest of the episode belching grotesquely.

Ren: Because he’s been made pregnant by the tree, and has to give birth through his mouth.

Adam: And then he gives birth through his mouth, and there’s a horrible Little Otik style tree baby, with Pete’s face superimposed onto it.

And then! Did you notice the horrifying twist at the end?

Ren: What, where Bronson goes to pee on a tree?

Adam: Yeah, and it’s the same tree! It’s the tree of the tree baby, so literally at the end Bronson’s about to impregnate his brother’s child through weeing on it.

Ren: Twisted.

Adam: That’s genuinely twisted. I mean, my sister’s take-away from the episode was that you can wee on whoever you want to wee on, and wee is magical.

Ren: He did wee on the tree for a very long time.

Adam: Oh yeah, it was a majestic wee. I like also that he spews out this stuff after the pregnancy and one of the characters says ‘just a bit of an after-burp!’

Ren: Urggh, that was horrible. It looked like snot, like he was vomiting out snot.

I did like how supportive everyone was of his pregnancy.

Adam: That’s true.

Ren: And I liked the gender oddness around when the tree spirit, who’s a girl, is the father, and reporters becomes interested and they’re asking Pete who’s the father, and he goes ‘she’s a tree!’ and the reporter says, ‘the father’s a she?’

Adam: And then the tree spirit plays the part of the uncaring father, who isn’t sure if they want to be present at the birth.

Ren: Eventually comes through.

Adam: There’s a nice, I guess Australian, saying, about to get someone pregnant you drop a tadpole in her beer.

Ren: Yeah, I loved that! Nell explaining pregnancy to Bronson, ‘You know, if someone drops a tadpole in her beer’

Adam: From which arises quite a lot of awkward humour about Bronson saying he’s going to get Faye pregnant.

Ren: Yes. Ha ha errrrr. Very awkward all round.

Adam: It was a very awkward episode. I also should have been more like you and actually kept a tally, but I was trying to count up how many times characters say (shaking fist voice) Bronson! or (shaking head voice) Bronson… It’s kind of the catchphrase of the show really.

Ren: Yeah, he’s always doing something gross. Although it’s not entirely limited to Bronson.

Adam: No, no, they live within a gross world.

So was the last episode you want to talk about Toy Love?

Ren: Yes…

Adam: Season 3, episode 9.

Ren: Going in again on the classic horror tropes with a creepy doll.

Adam: And again a Linda-centric episode. We watched a few Linda ones. Which is good because she’s probably the most interesting character out of the three kids.

Ren: Yeah, she’s the one who most has a character. Pete’s a fairly generic teenage boy, and Bronson likes gross things.

Adam: So it starts with the family Twist disposing themselves of lots of clutter from around the house.

Ren:Under Faye’s instruction, because she’s moving in, or has just moved in to the lighthouse. They eventually end up moving almost everything they’ve decided to chuck out back to the house, except for Linda’s old doll, Veronique, which has a pull-string that says (creepy doll voice) ‘Cuddle me!’ when you pull it.

So Linda rescues her Michael Jackson doll and takes that to bed with her, but Veronique is slighted by this, and turns up in Linda’s bedroom in the night, sort of scuttling around at the end of her bed.

Adam: Hiding about.

Ren: With her little catchphrase. We don’t see it, but apparently she crawls towards Linda saying ‘Cuddle Me’, which is quite a horrifying image.

Adam: And Linda starts out being understandably quite upset by this, but becomes increasingly badass, until at the end she’s delivering Arnold Schwarzenegger style catchphrases.

Ren: Yeah?

Adam: Yeah! Near the end she’s kicking down her bedroom door and the doll goes ‘Cuddle me!’ and she says ‘Cuddle my stick!’.

Ren: And it ends up being resolved quite similarly to Know All, in that she finds another inanimate companion for Veronique, in her Michael Jackson doll. And they are satisfied to cuddle each other.

Adam: Which I think is an ending that the real Michal Jackson would have appreciated. I think if Michal Jackson watched this episode he would have enjoyed it.

Ren: Did you watch this with Phoebe? Because I somehow feel like this is an episode that Phoebe would have things to say about.

Adam: Well, we certainly discussed whether we were going to watch it with Baby Sophie.

Ren: Oh, yes. This is a Baby Sophie thing isn’t it.

Adam: We decided not. I advised Phoebe to say some kind words before bed to Baby Sophie, who is Phoebe’s creepy maniacal doll when she was little, who she gave quite an odd personality to. Baby Sophie had lots of belief in her own magical abilities, and claimed that she could control the weather.

She’s now comfortably in a basket in Phoebe’s room, along with Imber the seal, who was my favourite cuddly toy as a kid.

Ren: Good. Because we’ve seen what happens if you don’t pay enough attention to them.

Adam: And I think it gets across its point in a more succinct way than Toy Story did.

So, are there any other episodes you wanted to mention?

Ren: That was all the ones I rewatched on this little outing. I think we’ve mentioned some of the more outlandish ones, at least in passing.

Adam: I’m sure everyone who watched this as a kid will have their own particular episode that sticks in their mind. The one that always sticks with me is the one with the backwards remote control, which could control time. And there’s a spaghetti-eating contest that hilariously is put in reverse, to seriously grotesque effect.

Ren: I think that was all I had to say, except to put out an appeal in case anyone wants to make a YouTube combination of just the Nell bits of Round the Twist, because I would watch that.

Adam: And base your aesthetic of it.

Ren: I think maybe when I’m old, I’ll wear a lighthouse cap and give dark warnings about various haunted and magic things to small children.

Do you have a sign-off?

Adam: Mmm!

Sleep well, creepy kids, without my pants!*

Ren: Ahahahaha!

See you later creepy kids, without my pants!

Adam: It’s funny every time!

(Outro music plays)

  • We’re having ongoing connectivity issues, so I was worried that the call had dropped out again here.

  • A reference to another first season episode in which Pete is bewitched to add ‘without my pants’ to the end of every sentence.


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About this podcast

A podcast in which one film lecturer and one scaredy-cat discuss creepy, spooky and disturbing children's books, films and tv.

by Ren Wednesday, Adam Whybray


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