Friday, July 07, 2006


The Magic Roundabout: filthy Communist propaganda

I wanted to post this as long ago as 1976 but the technology back then wasn’t up to the task. Nonetheless, in the wake of last year’s film of The Magic Roundabout (released, stupidly, as Doogal [sic] in the US), I feel I cannot keep silent any longer. What follows might just save you or at least your children from the hell of totalitarian enslavement.

The Magic Roundabout (henceforth TMR) was a stop-motion animated children’s series on BBC television that ran from 1965 to 1977, with a brief resurrection in the 1990s. I was a devoted fan in the early seventies, and it’s a miracle I wasn’t taken in by its foul ethos. For I can, indeed must, now reveal that it was part of an insidious KGB operation to brainwash British children; and its continuing popularity, as evidenced by its frequent re-runs and the 2005 cinema offering, indicates that the spirit of Bolshevism is still alive in these supposed post-Cold War days, and is if anything even more dangerous for its subtlety.

The programme was originally French, but was adapted – rewritten and narrated in English – by one Eric Thompson, now deceased (or is he?). A cursory glance at Thompson’s life is enough to sow the seeds of unease in any right-thinking brain. He trained as an actor (in other words, a shifty dissembler), and was father to Emma Thompson, star of stage and screen and a noted supporter of the left-wing Labour Party.

TMR's characters represent a veritable Who’s Who of Communist archetypes and icons. Dougal the dog, long-haired and grumbling, is the slovenly Lennonist working-class hero dissatisfied with his lot and clearly longing for a goateed leader to urge him on to insurrection. Brian the snail, in ever-present Russian steel-worker cloth cap, is the stolid, truculent working man so beloved of latter-day leftists like John Prescott. Ermintrude the cow blatantly symbolises the Stakhanovite ideal of the Soviet man/woman who surpasses what was hitherto thought to be humanly (in her case bovinely) possible in the pursuit of the building of a Socialist society. (In her case, the tremendous feat is the consumption of enormous quantities of grass.) The weird spring-like creature Zebedee is red in colour – no subtlety there, methinks! – and, tellingly, in the first ever episode shown on French TV he is seen bursting free from a box in a nakedly revolutionary act. Dylan the guitar-strumming rabbit, invariably portrayed with a suspicious-looking cigarette between his fingers, is an obvious homage to Matt Dillon, the hero of the American Wild West TV series Gunsmoke, and admittedly does not fit into my thesis so well.

The human characters include the little girl Florence, a.k.a. The Gentle Soviet Mother Figure; the roundabout operator Mr Rusty, whose resemblance to Karl Marx is astounding; and Mr McHenry, who drives a tractor just like one of those kulaks Stalin professed to represent yet slaughtered in their millions. Mr McHenry closely resembles Friedrich Engels, for good measure.

The TMR plots are without fail ultimately about co-operation between the various characters, leading to a happy resolution for all concerned. There is never a hint of war or bloodshed. Such Utopian storytelling is, I submit, the most horrendous, corrupting drivel that could ever be inflicted upon an impressionable mind. The world is just not like that.

My friends, the Communist threat, far from having been defeated, is only just beginning, and can be found in your child’s video collection and on your television screen courtesy of the taxpayer-funded BBC (or should that be BBCCCP?!). Join me in resisting the vile Leninist menace! Sign my petition by clicking here:

It is still thursday, you great big snarf you.
Also I lved Dougal. He reminded me of Rolf from The Muppet Show, who I also loved a great deal.
It might be Thursday in Ireland, but here in England it's been so hot the earth has moved more quickly than usual.

I like Dougal too, until I realised he was nothing but a God damned Communist.

Apropos of nothing, I've just seen a fox cub curled up in the birdbath in my back garden.
Ahhhhh, so cute. When I was younger, I and a huge pack of hounds used to chase foxes all across the countryside in the name of sport. Now I don't, go figure.
Propoganda is right.... every time I hear a "boiiing" I get a Pavlov's dog reaction and go to bed. What a way to impose a curfew!
I don't know Dougal or the Magic Roundabout, but I was subjected to the Smufs.
Nothing as communist as the damn smurfs.
1 - They have no concept of money
2 - They all live in houses the exact same size and shape
3 - Their primary antagonist is a filthy capitalist swine that wants to turn them all into gold (if that's not a metaphor for the exploitation of the proletariat, I don't know what is!)
4 - In every episode I've ever seen any Smurf that stands out from the crowd must learn the error of his ways by the end of the episode. (Brainy, Vanity, Hefty, etc..)
5 - Their strong, father-like "poppa" Smurf leader wears red, has nice big fluffy white beard.
6 - Their only industries involve the public good (they farm and work on a dam and gather smurfberries)

There's probably more. But yet another example of French socialism masquerading as pop culture.
I've been reading this blog for months waiting and waiting to come across an interesting point.

Still waiting.
Binty: I'll need to try that on my kids when I have them.

SafeT: good points, all, except that the Smurfs are Belgian.

Jagd Kunst: an interesting point? Here? I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
Och, theres nothing wrong wi a wee bit of socialism here and there.
I thought Peyo was French?!?
Belgian Socialists aren't any better, surely.
The Magic Roundabout was a few years before my time. I was 3 when it went off the air in '77, so if i watched at all I have forgotten. I suspect I did though because my dad has enormous affection for it. He has never in his life voted for the Communist Party to my knowledge, but he does have a beard and looks like a cross between Engels and Oliver Reed (which is nearly Oliver Red). 'Ere, you might be onto something there Footie. Isn't there someone we could write to to investigate this Red Stop-Motion Animated Menace? The government's not doing much at the moment...

I always admired the work ethic of the Wombles though. And they kept themselves to themselves.
Sam, it was repeated many a time after '77 so you have no excuse!
Me was a little old for TMR when it come out. Let's see... in early to mid 70's me was more into "The Goodies." But me must admit that after big long all night bash it was good to come home and unwind to kiddy stuff like TMR. We do it with shows like Teletubbies nowdays, but we been using children's TV to mellow out to since Muffin the Mule, Blue Peater, Captain Pugwash, Billy Bean and His Funny Machine, Crackerjack, and Watch with Mother (The Flowerpot Men, Andy Pandy, The Woodentops, Rag Tag and Bobtail )

Me not sure, but me pretty sure "The Flowerpot Men" was all about smoking dope.
Try this for size, Footsie!
Yeah, Monstee... they enjoyed a little weed....
Ill Man: a wee bit tends to spread like weeds. Hope you get better soon, by the way.

SafeT: they're even worse.

Sam: hmmm, I hadn't considered the Wombles. I'll have to broaden the net of my witch hunt.

Binty: that Blunt Cogs cartoon is great.

Monstee: why am I not surprised that you liked Blue Peter?
Monstee - are you a British beastie then?

The acme of subversive children's programme characters was indubitably Sweep from "Sooty and Friends". It was always with bitterness and a rebellious heart that I watched Matthew chastise Sweep each week for his valiant attempts to bring the system down from within the household.

And that Sue was just a nauseation goody two-paws. Blee.
What about the mice in Bagpuss? Surely representative of the workers... "We will fix it...". And Professor Yaffle had a look of Lenin about him...
Monstee, you should have been prey to HR Puffinstuff
Sam, pcb - No, me am Monstee. Me hold with no real nationality. Me cave has openings all over world. Me am international monster of mystery.

SafeT - HR Puffinstuff was pretty good, but me always think that Jimmy the flute was the biggest pussy that ever passed wind on the planet! Early Sid & Marty Krofft was brilliant programming. Bugaloos, Lidsville... although Land of the Lost was always me favorite. The 70s show, not that remake bullshit! Me seem to recall that later in 70s S&M K have big show with many shorts. If memory serves there was Bigfoot & wildboy, Wonder Bug, DR. Shrinker, and Electro Woman & Dyna Girl. Most of it pretty good crap as me recall, but me believe that Electro Woman & Dyna Girl did more for promoting 'spring/summer' lesbian relations and removing the stigma of adult toys than anything else.
What about The Clangers? They were mouse-like beings who lived on the moon and spoke in whistles. Something very sinister about them, I always thought, even as a three-year-old.
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