The Magic Roundabout (film)

The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté and redubbed in the United States as Doogal) is a 2005 French-British computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the television series The Magic Roundabout.[3]

The Magic Roundabout
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDave Borthwick
Jean Duval
Frank Passingham
Produced byClaude Gorsky
Andy Leighton
Pascal Rodon
Screenplay byPaul B. Davies
Martine Danot
Story byRaolf Sanoussi
Stephane Sanoussi
Based onThe Magic Roundabout by Serge Danot
StarringTom Baker
Jim Broadbent
Joanna Lumley
Ian McKellen
Kylie Minogue
Bill Nighy
Robbie Williams
Ray Winstone
Music byMark Thomas
Edited byMathieu Morfin
Action Synthese
UK Film Council
Pathé Renn Productions
France 2 Cinéma
Les Films Action
SPZ Entertainment
bolexbrothers limited
Distributed byPathé Distribution
Release date
  • 2 February 2005 (2005-02-02) (France)
  • 11 February 2005 (2005-02-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
83 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$26.7 million[2]

The film features the voices of Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, Bill Nighy, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and Lee Evans; only Minogue and McKellen returned for the American edition.


The wizard Zebedee, a red jack-in-the-box-like creature, is having a nightmare about the ice villain named Zeebad. Dougal the well-meaning cheeky, slacker dog places a tack in the road to pop a sweet cart's tyre, hoping to be rewarded with sweets for watching the cart. After the driver goes for help, Dougal accidentally crashes the cart into the magic roundabout at the centre of the village. Zeebad, the evil blue ice jack in the box-like creature, emerges from the top and flies away, followed by a Foot Guard figurine thrown off the roundabout. The roundabout freezes over, trapping repairman Mr. Rusty, Dougal's young owner Florence, and two other children within an icy cell.

The horrified villagers, who are all animals, call upon Zebedee for help. He explains that the roundabout was a mystical prison for Zeebad. With it broken, Zeebad is free to work his magic on the world again as he once did before by starting the Ice Age. The only way to stop Zeebad freezing the world is by collecting three magic diamonds (one of which is supposed to be hidden on the roundabout, while the other two are hidden at separate locations far beyond the village). Slotting the diamonds onto the roundabout will re-imprison Zeebad and undo his magic, but if Zeebad retrieves them first then their power will allow him to freeze the Sun itself. Zebedee sends Dougal, Brian the cynical snail, Ermintrude the opera-singing cow and Dylan the hippie rabbit, to accomplish this mission along with a magic train. Meanwhile, Zeebad crash lands after escaping the roundabout, and animates the Foot Guard figurine, Sam the Soldier, to help him find the enchanted diamonds. Meanwhile, Zebedee's fellowship makes camp in the icy mountains. Dougal wanders off during the night and is captured by Zeebad. Ermintrude breaks him out of his prison. Zebedee then shows up to battle Zeebad but loses the battle with Zeebad freezing him and collapsing the cliff on which he stands.

Mourning for their friend, Dougal and his friends embark to recover the diamonds. This task takes them to a lava-bordered volcano and an ancient temple filled with booby-traps and evil skeleton guards, but Zeebad captures both the diamonds from these respective locations; leaving the only hope of stopping Zeebad by getting back to the roundabout and to the final diamond before Zeebad does. The gang are forced along the way to leave an injured Train behind, leaving them to return to the village on foot through the snowy barren wasteland the world is now freezing into. Zeebad, after having abandoned Sam the Soldier to die wounded in the snow, beats the gang to the now-frozen village, but is unable to find the third diamond anywhere. Sam then arrives on an elk, having realised his true duty is to protect the roundabout against Zeebad, he tries to make a stand but is easily defeated. Having learned Sam was in fact on the roundabout, Zeebad discovers that the third diamond is and always was hidden inside Sam, and removes it from him (ending Sam's life as a result).

Zeebad, with all three diamonds now in his possession, uses them to freeze the world by freezing the Sun. However, the gang finally reach the village, get to the diamonds, and put them into their places on the roundabout until only the third diamond is left. Though Zeebad beats the gang to the diamond and seemingly secures his victory, the timely arrival of a healed Train knocks the diamond out of Zeebad's reach and gives Dougal the chance to place it in the roundabout's final slot. Zeebad is now re-imprisoned, and the world is thawed, Zebedee is restored to his friends, and villagers are freed.

Of those trapped in the roundabout, a comatose Florence is revived by Dougal. As everyone goes for a ride on the roundabout, they discover it does not work because Sam is lifeless. At this point, Sam is restored and then reverted to his inanimate form, and placed back on the roundabout which functions once again. Dougal now realises the true value of his friends and the good qualities of selflessness, courage, and humility.


Character France (original) United Kingdom United States
Pollux/Dougal/Doogal Henri Salvador Robbie Williams Daniel Tay
Margote/Florence Vanessa Paradis Kylie Minogue
Zabadie/Zeebad Michel Galabru Tom Baker Jon Stewart
Ambroise/Brian Dany Boon Jim Broadbent William H. Macy
Train N/A Lee Evans Chevy Chase
Azalée/Ermintrude Valérie Lemercier Joanna Lumley Whoopi Goldberg
Flappy/Dylan Eddy Mitchell Bill Nighy Jimmy Fallon
Soldier Sam Gérard Jugnot Ray Winstone Bill Hader
Zébulon/Zebedee Élie Semoun Ian McKellen
Elk/Moose N/A Kevin Smith
Narrator N/A Judi Dench
Basil N/A Ediz Mahmut Eric Robinson
Coral N/A Daniella Loftus Heidi Brook Myers
Mr. Rusty N/A Jimmy Hibbert Cory Edwards
Mr. Grimsdale N/A John Krasinski
Skeleton Guards N/A Cory Edwards
John Krasinski


On Rotten Tomatoes, the UK version of the film received an aggregate score of 60% based on five reviews (three positive and two negative).[4]

Doogal (United States)

According to William H. Macy, Harvey Weinstein saw the film and decided to do an American version. On 24 February 2006, the film was released in the United States as Doogal, and was produced by The Weinstein Company. In the United States version, where audiences are not as familiar with the series, the majority of the British cast's voice work was dubbed by American celebrities such as Chevy Chase (Train), Jimmy Fallon (Dylan), Whoopi Goldberg (Ermintrude), William H. Macy (Brian), Kevin Smith (Moose) and Jon Stewart (Zeebad). Daniel Tay plays the titular character in the United States dub.

Only two original voices remained those of Kylie Minogue and Ian McKellen, Minogue, however, re-voiced her own lines with an American accent. The United States version also features Daniel Tay (Doogal), Bill Hader (Sam) and Judi Dench (narrator). Writer Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents) rewrote the dialogue in the film to make it more appealing to American audiences, but in the end, most of his rewrites were discarded (he later claimed only 3% of his original rewrites were accepted into the final version), and instead, the final version had numerous references and flatulence jokes, which were not in his initial script. Hartman revealed in a 2017 interview that the film was originally supposed to include a live-action frame story similar to The Princess Bride but it was scrapped due to budget costs and therefore replaced with Judi Dench's narration.[5]

Changes in the US Version

  • Zebedee's nightmare, the opening sequence, Ermintrude's concert, and various other scenes are shortened for time.
  • Narration by Judi Dench is heard throughout the film.
  • "Dougal" is spelt as "Doogal" in this version, possibly to prevent any mispronunciation with the voice actors.
  • Much of the original dialogue is changed, with the main addition of pop culture references.
  • Wacky cartoon sound effects are added into some scenes.
  • Zeebad, Soldier Sam, and Ermintrude's personalities are heavily changed from their original versions.
  • Some pieces of the original music are changed or removed, as well as some of the sound effects. Additional music by James L. Venable is also added in.
  • Many British words are changed to more American words, such as "roundabout" being changed to "carousel" or "merry-go-round".
  • Additional dialogue and various one-liners are added into scenes that were originally silent.
  • The narration implies that Zebedee's reason for not joining with Dougal/Doogal and the others on their quest was because he went to search for Zeebad; in the original, it was because he had to stay behind to guard the roundabout.
  • Characters such as the Moose and the Skeletons are given dialogue despite being silent in the original.
  • Fart noises are added in for the Moose as a running gag of him constantly breaking wind.
  • The Train is given much less dialogue than in the original version, likely as a side effect of Judi Dench's narration and time constraints.
  • Every shot of Zeebad's ice palace is cut; glimpses of the palace can be seen in the background in a few shots, but is not shown in full view.
  • During the scene of Zeebad trying to interrogate Dougal/Doogal, a brief flashback depicting Florence trapped in the icy carousel is shown.
  • An additional song entitled Simply Wonderful by Andrea Remanda and Goldust is added in.
  • A sequence that featured Dougal dreaming about being home with Florence and having fun with his friends was moved to the very end of the film, serving it as the ending to the movie; this sequence features the song Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra.
  • The gang find out the third diamond is hidden in the carousel through hieroglyphics at the temple; in the original version, Zebedee already informed them that it was there before they set off on their journey.
  • An entire scene in which Dougal/Doogal has a nightmare about Florence is cut.
  • Instead of Brian, it is Dougal/Doogal who finds the village.
  • A scene where Dougal/Doogal and the others are wandering through the frozen village before encountering Zeebad is removed.
  • The scene where Zebedee is revealed to be alive is shown after Florence questions where he is; in the original, it was shown right after Zeebad was defeated.
  • A scene where, the characters try to celebrate their victory by riding on the roundabout only to see it will not work due to Sam not being part of it, is removed.
  • A post-credit scene of Zeebad in his prison is completely removed.
  • Behind the scenes footage of the American actors recording for the film is added into the end credits.
  • A second post-credit scene of Zebedee saying to the audience "Time for bed" is moved to the end of the credits instead of midway.


On Rotten Tomatoes, it received an aggregate score of 8% based on 49 reviews (4 "fresh" and 45 "rotten"). The consensus reads: "Overloaded with pop culture references, but lacking in compelling characters and plot, Doogal is too simple-minded even for the kiddies".[6][7] It has a score of 23 out of 100 ("generally unfavorable") on Metacritic, and an F rating from Entertainment Weekly writing that "very young children should be angry... where is it written that 4-year-olds don't deserve a good story, decent characters, and a modicum of coherence?". It was placed number five on Ebert & Roeper's Worst of 2006. Michael Phillip of the Chicago Tribune described the film as "Eighty-five minutes you'll never get back."

Randy Miller of DVD Talk says that: "Doogal is, after all, one of the worst excuses for a children's film during this or any year---and if you're really looking for an in-depth analysis of why it's so awful, you don't have to look hard. Filled to the brim with pop culture references and other such gags that'll be even less funny a few years from now, it's like Shrek without the occasional bit of charm and surprise".[8]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote "The key frame animation, based on three-dimensional models, is rudimentary, with none of the characters proving visually arresting."

Ned Martel of The New York Times wrote "In Doogal setting the world right again involves a badly paced quest for three diamonds, assorted jokes that don't land, and a daringly incoherent climactic confrontation".[9]

In 2017, writer Butch Hartman eventually apologized for Doogal where he revealed that most of his script was actually rewritten without his consent by The Weinstein Company, with a screenplay by Hoodwinked! co-director Cory Edwards and claimed that only 3% of his original script made it into the final film.[5]

Home media

The Magic Roundabout was released to DVD in the UK on 18 July 2005. The film was later re-released on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD with special features that includes an inside look at the film's Production History, 2 Making of featurettes, Classic English and French TV Episodes, Design Gallery, Cast and Crew Biographies, Theatrical Trailer and a TV Spot.

The American version of the film, Doogal, was released on DVD on 16 May 2006. This version is also available on most US streaming platforms in HD.

In 2011, The Magic Roundabout was released on Blu-ray in France. Despite being a French dubbed version with localized texts and credits, it is based on the original UK version and features the UK English language track as an option. The only change between the UK and French versions is a second post-credit scene of Zebedee saying "Time for bed" to the audience that only appeared in the former version. On most dubbed versions, this is a localized text screen as the French Blu-Ray is, although the line is retained in the English audio track.


  1. "Doogal (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  2. "Doogal". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  3. "Sprung! The Magic Roundabout", Film Review, Issues 652–657, Page 35, 2005
  4. "The Magic Roundabout (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  5. "let's talk about DOOGAL". YouTube. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  6. "Doogal (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  7. "Rotten Tomatoes Worst of the Worst (2000-2009)".
  8. "Doogal". DVD Talk.
  9. "Movie Reviews". Retrieved 9 September 2017.
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