Round the Twist

Round the Twist is an Australian children's fantasy television program about three children and their widowed father who live in a lighthouse in the fictional coastal town of Port Niranda and become involved in many bizarre magical adventures.

Round the Twist
Created byPaul Jennings
Developed byAustralian Children's Television Foundation
Directed byEsben Storm
Steve Jodrell
Mark Lewis
Pino Amenta
Ray Boseley
David Swann
Arnie Custo
StarringRichard Moir (Series 1-2)
Sam Vandenberg (Series 1)
Tamsin West (Series 1)
Rodney McLennan (Series 1)
Robyn Gibbes (Series 1-2)
Bunney Brooke (Series 1-2)
Frankie J. Holden (Series 1)
Judith McGrath (Series 1)
Lachlan Jeffrey (Series 1)
Cameron Nugent (Series 1)
Stuart Atkin (Series 1)
Daisy Cameron (Series 1)
Esben Storm (Series 1-3)
Ben Thomas (Series 2)
Joelene Crnogorac (Series 2)
Jeffrey Walker (Series 2)
Mark Mitchell (Series 2-4)
Jan Friedl (Series 2)
Richard E. Young (Series 2)
Nick Mitchell (Series 2)
Drew Campbell (Series 2)
Zeta Briggs (Series 2)
Andrew Gilbert (Series 3-4)
Rian McLean (Series 3-4)
Ebonnie Masini (Series 3-4)
Mathew Waters (Series 3-4)
Trudy Hellier (Series 3)
Marion Heathfield (Series 3-4)
Christine Keogh (Series 3-4)
Brook Sykes (Series 3-4)
Tom Budge (Series 3-4)
Samuel Marsland (Series 3-4)
Katie Barnes (Series 3-4)
Susanne Chapman (Series 4)
Ernie Gray (Series 4)
Opening themeRound The Twist lyrics and music by Andrew Duffield
sung by Tamsin West
Ending themeRound The Twist lyrics and music by Andrew Duffield
sung by Tamsin West
Country of originAustralia
No. of series4
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Patricia Edgar
Running time25 mins
Production company(s)Australian Children's Television Foundation
Original networkSeven Network (1990)[1]
ABC (1992-2001)
Picture format4:3
Original releaseAugust 1990[2] 
May 2, 2001
External links


Four series were made during the show's 11-year run. The first two series were based on fantasy stories written by author Paul Jennings; the latter two were based on a variety of authors' work. Its first series was made in 1989 and first aired in 1990. A second series, with many roles re-cast, was made in 1992. A third series, again re-cast, was made in 2000, followed by a fourth (with some roles again re-cast) in 2001.

The show's 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 Twist in the first series. It borrowed lines from nursery rhymes such as "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly", "Humpty Dumpty" and "Rain Rain Go Away". The song was used in a series of Halloween television adverts by United Kingdom supermarket chain Sainsbury's in 2018.[3]


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. Overall, three sets of children (the Twists, the Gribbles and Fiona) were cast. Additionally, most of the major adult roles were recast at least once: overall, there were two Tonys, two Nells, three Fays, two Mr Snappers, two Harold Gribbles, and three Matron Gribbles across the series' run.

Character Series 1 (1990) Series 2 (1992) Series 3 (2000) Series 4 (2001)
Tony "Dad" TwistRichard MoirAndrew Gilbert
Pete TwistSam VandenbergBen ThomasRian McLean
Linda TwistTamsin WestJoelene CrnogoracEbonnie Masini
Bronson TwistRodney McLennanJeffrey WalkerMathew Waters
Fay JamesRobyn GibbesTrudy HellierSusanne Chapman
Helen "Nell" RichardsBunney Brooke[Cast Note 1]Marion Heathfield
Mr. Harold GribbleFrankie J. HoldenMark Mitchell
Matron GribbleJudith McGrathJan FriedlChristine Keogh
James GribbleLachlan Jeffrey[Cast Note 2]Richard E. Young[Cast Note 3]Brook Sykes[Cast Note 4]
Tiger GleesonCameron NugentNick MitchellTom Budge
RabbitStuart AtkinDrew CampbellSamuel Marsland
Fiona RichmondDaisy CameronZeta BriggsKatie Barnes
Mr. Ralph SnapperEsben StormErnie Gray
  1. Except Series 1 episode The Gum Leaf War, Bunney Brooke appears as character "Aunt Tuneless".
  2. Except Series 1 episode The Gum Leaf War, in which Lachlan Jeffrey appears only as Foxy Jr.
  3. Richard E. Young later appeared in the Series 4 episode, Face the Fear where he plays one of the policemen.
  4. Credited as Brook Rowan in Series 3.


The show revolves around the four members of the Twist family:

  • Tony Twist ("Dad") — a widower with a kind heart, romantically interested in youngest son Bronson's schoolteacher, Ms. James, he regularly embarrasses the Twist children.
  • Pete Twist — Linda's twin brother, he occasionally goes out with fellow school student Fiona. With Linda, he enjoys ganging up on his younger brother Bronson.
  • Linda Twist — Pete's twin sister, into feminism, environmentalism and judo. She enjoys picking on her younger brother, and the audience is exposed to the inner workings of the teenage mind as she struggles with her own individuality.
  • Bronson Twist — the twins' younger brother, who is obsessed with food and odors as well as having a tendency to use malapropisms, such as rendering widower as windower. He often feels left out of what his older siblings are doing, so tags along despite the possibility of danger or ridicule. On a handful of occasions, he is treated as much older than his tender years, including in Series 1, where he is expected to take full responsibility for a green baby he located in the cabbage patch.

Other characters

  • Helen "Nell" Rickards — the old woman who lives in a cottage next door, whose brother, Tom, had been the former lighthouse keeper. Her father (also a lighthouse keeper), her mother and her sister all died when the ship they were on sunk, their spirits, as well as Tom's, haunted the lighthouse.
  • Harold Gribble — a greedy real-estate agent and one-time senate candidate, who often tries to force the Twists to move out of the lighthouse with business schemes.
  • "Matron" Cecilia Gribble — Harold's supportive wife, a nurse. Cecilia wears a lot of make-up which she tries to force on Linda in Series 1, but she is revealed to the audience as equally scheming as her husband.
  • James Gribble — Harold's no-good son, a bully at school who often antagonizes Pete.
  • "Rabbit" — one of James Gribble's friends.
  • "Tiger" Gleeson — the other of James Gribble's friends.
  • Ms Faye James — Bronson's schoolteacher; Faye James is a love interest for Dad, and she lives with the Twists in their lighthouse during the third and fourth series.
  • Mr Ralph Snapper — Pete and Linda's teacher; with the children he is a harsh disciplinarian who does not respond well to insolence, but with adults he is very socially awkward.
  • Fiona Richmond — Linda's friend, and Pete's sometime girlfriend.
  • Hugh Townsend — Linda's love crush in the first series only.
  • Anthony — in the third and fourth series only, a well-meaning nerd with a crush on Linda.
  • Phadre, Sacha and Emily — Three girls Pete tries to win over, in the fourth series only.

Characters who appear briefly in each episode of a series include:

  • Ghost Matthew and Ghost Jeremiah — two ghosts whose spirits were trapped in the lighthouse during Series 2 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.
  • Mr Nic Papadelioises - a local small deli owner who gave Bronson his first job.


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 each 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. Typically, Gribble seeks to remove the Twists from the lighthouse in order to more profitably use it as a tourist attraction for Port Niranda. This is a continuous feature of the first series, and a recurring feature of the third and fourth series.

Series 1 (1990)

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 one of Mr. Gribble's business associates from destroying the lighthouse.

In a subplot, Tony falls in love with Fay, and spends the series developing a relationship with her, culminating in a marriage proposal at the finale. The answer to the proposal is left open-ended.

Series 2 (1992)

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 the second series 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.

Tony and Fay become officially engaged, but Fay becomes increasingly concerned that Bronson does not want her to marry Tony, eventually leading to the engagement being broken off. They are re-engaged at the end of the series.

For the only time in the show's run, Mr Gribble's primary concern is not with removing the Twists from the lighthouse. Rather, he spends the series campaigning for a senate seat with the fictional Progressive Conservative Party. Disagreeing with his policies, Nell runs against him in a party similar to the Australian Greens and ultimately wins in a landslide.

Series 3 (2000)

In the second episode Linda is given a book of poetry, The Viking Book of Love by a young Viking named Snorrison 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.

Series 4 (2001)

In each episode, a knight in armour enters the lighthouse through a magical door. At the beginning of the series the knight's face is hidden behind a visor, in the second half the visor is raised. In the final episode, 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 Fay's pregnancy to Tony. The baby, named Ariel, is born in the series finale.

Another subplot is Bronson collecting 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 his true identity is not revealed. His friend Lois, appearing only in the episode of the same name, is made out to be Skunkman to Gribble's gang, but in reality, it is Bronson's alter-ego.


The first two series were written by Paul Jennings, with heavy editing by director Esben Storm (who also played Mr. Snapper in the first three series). Each of these episodes, with the exception of the second series's final episode "Seeing The Light", were based on Jennings' short stories. A movie of Round the Twist 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".

A lot of season one's scripts/plots had to be changed either due to budget, or just not being funny enough. Nell was supposed to die in "Lighthouse Blues", but episode's director Esben Storm told Paul Jennings, "it's too depressing after thirteen weeks. We can't finish the series by killing off a well-loved character."[4]

The seventh episode of series one was supposed to be "Frozen Stiff", but that had to be changed as well since it was too expensive to freeze a house and thirty other animals inside large ice blocks.[4]

The third and fourth series were written by various writers and re-used the same characters, but did not draw from Jennings' material. The latter series did not match the popular acclaim of the originals, and because of this, the series was cancelled. Incidentally, just two years before the third series was aired, Jennings' stories were being adapted into a different show called Driven Crazy, which also failed to match the popularity of the early Round the Twist and of which only one series was produced.

Several locations were used for the filming of the series. Exterior scenes of the Twist family's lighthouse home were shot at the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet, Victoria. The school and some town scenes were shot in Williamstown, Point Lonsdale, and Queenscliff—all of these places being locations in the Australian state of Victoria.


Round the Twist pushed the boundaries of acceptability 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'".[5]

Some episodes include references to flatulence, defecation, urination, vomiting, body odor, underwear, birth (one involving a male), death, nudity, incest, genitalia, homosexuality, bestiality and coprophagia, ie:

  • References to flatulence: Series 1, ep.1 Skeleton on the Dunny;
  • References to defecation: Series 1, ep.1 Skeleton on the Dunny; Series 1, ep.2 Birdsdo; (referred to) Series 1, ep.5, Spaghetti Pig Out; Series 2, ep.12 Little Black Balls; Series 4, ep.3 Linda Godiva;
  • References to urination: Series 2, ep.3 Little Squirt; Series 3, ep. 1 The Big Burp;
  • References to vomiting: Series 1, ep.5 Spaghetti Pig Out; Series 3, ep.1 The Big Burp; Series 3, ep.11 The Ice Cream Man Cometh;
  • References to body odor: Series 2, ep.7 Smelly Feat;
  • References to underwear: (actual) Series 1, ep.8 Wunderpants; (referred to) series 2, ep.5 Nails;
  • References to birth: Series 1, ep.4 Cabbage Patch Fib; series 3, ep.1 The Big Burp; series 4, ep.13 Isle of Dreams;
  • References to death: Series 2, ep.4 Pink Bowtie, and implicitly most of the ghost stories;
  • References to nudity: Series 2, ep.11 Quivering Heap, Series 4, ep.3 Linda Godiva;
  • References to incest: Series 1, ep.9 Lucky Lips; Series 2, ep.9 Ice Maiden;
  • References to genitalia: Series 3, ep.3 Whirling Derfish;
  • References to homosexuality: Series 2, ep.5 Nails; Series 3, ep.8 Brainless;
  • References to bestiality: Series 4, ep.4 Dog By Night; and
  • References to coprophagia: Series 2, ep.2 Copy Cat.

The series also engages with significant personal or social issues such as environmental conservation, or romantic relationships.[6] Many episodes revolve around helping restless spirits of dead people or animals find peace.[7]


In the United Kingdom, Round the Twist was aired on BBC One during the channel's CBBC program several times in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was repeated again in 2007 on Channel 5 on Sunday mornings. It also regularly appeared on Network 2 in Ireland. The show was also popular in Germany and the Netherlands. It Was shown on Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation in Sri Lanka. In Canada it won the Banff Television Festival award for "Best Children's Program" in 2000, and in Australia it won the Logie Award for "Outstanding Children's Program" in 2001 (tied with Hi-5) and 2002. It was also nominated for an award at the Australian Film Institute. The show is currently seen in Australia on ABC3.

The YouTube channel Twisted Lunchbox, managed officially by the ACTF, has uploaded all episodes of Round the Twist in standard definition.[8] The ACTF website sells digital standard definition copies of all four Round the Twist seasons.[9][10][11] The fourth series is also available in HD.[12]

The series was also imported to the United States and debuted on Fox Kids in 1997.

DVD releases

In Australia, the series was released on DVD through Magna Pacific originally in 2000/2001 consisting of 7 volumes.

In the UK Round The Twist was released on DVD, the first three DVDs were given a U rating and the fourth DVD was given a PG rating.[13]

Volume 1: Series 1: Episodes 1-9 (2 Disc Set)

Volume 2: Series 1 & 2: Episodes 10-18 (2 Disc Set)

Volume 3: Series 2: Episodes 19-26 (2 Disc Set)

Volume 4: Series 3: Episodes 27-32

Volume 5: Series 3: Episodes 33-39

Volume 6: Series 4: Episodes 40-45

Volume 7: Series 4: Episodes 46-52

In 2005 these same 7 volumes were then placed in a box and given the "Box Set" name and sold as a complete series and in 2009 the series was re-packed and re-issued.

On 2 February 2010, Magna re-released the whole series in a new packaged box set as 'Completely Twisted Collection'.[14] Series 1,[15] Series 2,[16] Series 3[17] and Series 4[18] were released as individual series sets on 1 July 2010 through Magna.

See also

References and notes

  1. Ricketson, Matthew (18 March 1993). "Kids To Go `Round The Twist' Again On Saturday". The Age. p. 16. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  3. Halloween Pumpkin Song | Sainsbury's Ad | Autumn 2018, retrieved 6 August 2019
  4. "Writing Round the Twist - Paul Jennings Official Website and Book Shop". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. Australian Television: Round The Twist
    • Environmental: Series 2, episodes 3 Little Squirt, 6 Sloppy Jalopy, 7 Smelly Feat, 8 Grandad's Gifts, 10 Yuckles; Series 3, ep.6 The Nirandathal Beast; series 4, ep.8 The Princess and the Pete
    • Relationships: Series 1, episode 9 Lucky Lips; Series 2, episodes 5 Nails, 9 Ice Maiden; Series 3, episode 2 Viking Book of Love
  6. Series 1, episodes 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 13; Series 2, episodes 8, 11, 13.
  7. "Twisted Lunchbox". YouTube. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  8. "Round The Twist - Series 1 - Digital Download (SD)". The Australian Children's Television Foundation. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  9. "Round The Twist - Series 2 - Digital Download (SD)". The Australian Children's Television Foundation. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  10. "Round The Twist - Series 3 - Digital Download (SD)". The Australian Children's Television Foundation. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  11. "Round The Twist - Series 4 - Digital Download (HD)*". The Australian Children's Television Foundation. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  12. BBFC database entry
  13. Round The Twist - Completely Twisted Collection (10 Disc Box Set), archived from the original on 5 November 2012
  14. Round the Twist - The Complete Series 1 (3 Disc Set) (DVD), archived from the original on 2 April 2016
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.