Round the Bend
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (August 2013)|
|Round the Bend|
|Genre||Satire, children's television series|
|Created by||Patrick Gallagher
|Written by||Patrick Gallagher
|Directed by||John Henderson|
|Voices of||Jon Glover
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Running time||20 mins|
|Production company(s)||Hat Trick Productions
|Original network||Children's ITV|
|Original release||1989– 1991|
Round the Bend was a satirical British children's television series, which ran on Children's ITV for three series from 1989 to 1991. The show was a Hat Trick production for Yorkshire Television. The show was later repeated on Channel 4, The Children's Channel and Nickelodeon UK and was nominated for an RTS Award.
It was created by the team behind the comic Oink! - Patrick Gallagher, Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers. The puppets, animation characters and main set were designed by Gallagher, who was also the show's graphic designer. The puppets were made by the team who made the puppets for Spitting Image. Round the Bend was a satirical parody of Saturday morning magazine shows — with a host providing linking material between cartoons, music videos and news sections - albeit set in a sewer. The anarchic tone of the show and its parody cartoons was similar to that of Viz. The animated segments were done by Aardman Animations (famous for doing Chicken Run, Angry Kid, Rex the Runt, Creature Comforts and Wallace and Gromit) and Catalyst Pictures.
The title of the show is a double meaning. It is a reference to a toilet U-bend, with the opening titles beginning with the camera being flushed down a toilet and ending up in a sewer. It was also a popular saying at the time to describe someone who was insane.
- Doc Croc - The show's host and a temperamental, rude, and overbearing crocodile. He ran the operations of the sewer and took command of the rats who worked (unpaid) for him. Performed by Anthony Asbury and Kevin Bradshaw and voiced by Enn Reitel.
- Jemimah Wellington-Green - The cleverest of the three rats, she was often sarcastic and miserable about the fact that she worked in a sewer with no hope of a boyfriend. She spoke with a posh accent, a parody of Janet Street Porter. Performed by Richard Coombs and voiced by Kate Robbins.
- Vaudeville Vince Vermin - A cockney rat and the resident comic who always tried to see the bright side of every situation. He hosted his own joke segment of the show. The jokes were intentionally bad, which was the reason for them being funny. At the end of each segment Doc Croc would ask an "Opinion poll" (a talking barber's pole) what he thought of them, and the pole would say "Rubbish!". There was at one point a talking piece of furniture, the 'Armchair Critic'. Performed by Nigel Plaskitt and voiced by Jon Glover.
- Luchetti Bruchetti - an Italian rat and the show's resident artist. Not as intelligent as the other rats, and usually the rat that Doc used to take most of his problems out on. Performed by Alistair Fullarton, later Simon Buckley and voiced by Jonathan Kydd.
On occasion, the cast would be plagued by a shade-wearing teddy bear which, despite its diminutive size, would inflict great physical beatings to Doc Croc and the rest of the crew. The cast was also visited by the small teddy's (much larger) father.
- A music video segment featuring: Michael Jackdung, Elton The John, Kylie Manure and Jason Dungovan - parodies (in name only) of Michael Jackson, Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Each was a hand puppet designed to look like a pile of manure, but with a mouth that would sing along to parodied versions of pop songs. In the case of Elton The John, the puppet was a singing toilet.
- The news segment: John Potato's Newsround - a parody of John Craven's Newsround, but presented by a potato. The sports section was presented by David Colemole - a glove-puppet of a mole who wore round glasses and had a voice very similar to David Coleman.
- Vegetables - a parody of Neighbours. All the parts were played by vegetables with Australian accents.
- Wee-man and the Masters of the Looniverse - a cartoon parody of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
- Nursery Crimes - a cartoon parody of Jackanory.
- Cosmic Comprehensive - a cartoon about a school of aliens.
- Fairytales of the Unexpected - a cartoon parody of Tales of the Unexpected mixed with famous fairy tales including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Rapunzel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Little Red Riding Hood.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Toilets - a cartoon parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, using animated toilet characters, lampooning the turtles.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Teddies - another cartoon parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but using teddy bears.
- Old Age Useless Nitwit Tortoises - yet another cartoon parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Their nemesis was Bottom Brain, a parody of Krang.
- Attack of the Atomic Banana - a B movie/serial parody with a 50 ft. banana rampaging through New York City. King Kong made a cameo, and the "banana problem" was solved by a group of teenagers in a style similar to Scooby-Doo. This section was (fictionally) produced by Stubby Broccoli and Samuel J. Greengrocer, a play on the names of Cubby Broccoli and Samuel J. Briskin. These segments were made with stop-motion animation by Dave Alex Riddett (Aardman Animations).
- Thunderpants - a parody of ThunderCats.
- Transformaloids - a parody of Transformers, featuring Octopus Slime the octopus-headed transforming robot, who on at least one occasion went up against his arch enemy, Armadillotron.
- Woolly The Wonder Sheep - a parody of both Champion, the Wonder Horse and heroic dog Rin Tin Tin and was voiced by Enn Reitel, impersonating Dustin Hoffman.
- Botman - a parody of Batman, with the lead character having an abnormally huge bottom.
Other segments included:
- The Son of, The Return of, The Revenge of.... The False Teeth From Beyond The Stars. Another B-movie parody, featuring a character named Roger Prentice, the Apprentice Dentist. A crossover between the Atomic Banana ensued, entitled False Teeth From Beyond the Stars Meet the Atombanana. These segments were made with stop-motion animation by Dave Alex Riddett (Aardman Animations).
- Pzycho the Magnificent - an animated section in which Pzycho would attempt to use magic for his own personal gain, but would get caught by the police every time.
- The Oddbod Family - animated shorts, each week centred on a member of a family who all have abnormal abilities.
- Tommy's Magic Time Trousers - an animation about a boy who can travel through time whenever he drops his trousers. Many trouser puns were used, such as in the time-travel sequence Tommy would say "The fly's the limit!", with the trousers replying "Brace yourself Tommy!!". The segment always ended with the trousers saying "If only he knew Tommy! If only he knew!".
Due to the popularity of the show, a computer game was created for the ZX Spectrum and was later ported to the Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amiga and Acorn Archimedes. A preview of a sequel was also released but the sequel was never finished. In 1990, a one-off magazine special was also published entitled, "Round the Bend! TV Special".
- Thunderpants is the name of a 2002 film, which is unrelated to the Round the Bend animation of the same name.