The Magic Roundabout

The 1960s' cult classic which has entertained kids and adults alike has returned, brighter and bolder than ever.
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The 60s cult classic which has entertained kids and adults alike has returned, brighter and bolder than ever.

The Magic Roundabout, originally created by French author, Serge Danot, with an English version by Eric Thompson, has become renowned for its 'off the wall' characters, brightly coloured animation and trippy theme music.

Broadcasting from 1964 to 1971 in France and from 1965 to 1977 in the UK, the pre-school series attracted a huge eight million viewers at its peak; immersing people into the satirical world of Dougal the shaggy dog, Ermitrude the pink cow, and Dylan the rabbit, a jack-in-the-box called Zebedee and Brian the snail, along with Mr Rusty, the operator of the Magic Roundabout, and a young girl called Florence.

The heritage property has since been rejuvenated with a second feature film released in 2005 followed by the worldwide launch, both on air and online, of the new 3D CGI version last October on Nickelodeon’s Nick Toons and Nick Jr.

There are 52x11-minute episodes in the new series with another 52 about to go into production. Licensing agent, Parthenon Entertainment tells Licensing.biz a new feature film is also in discussion for release in 2009/2010.

The firm’s marketing manager, Samantha Milligan, describes the property simply as “an iconic brand.”

“Parthenon Entertainment Group launched the Magic Roundabout property to trade at the Brand Licensing show at the end of 2007, the same month the TV series launched on Nick Jr,” Milligan comments.

“In less than 12 months a raft of licensees have come on board – most with distribution across Europe.

“The core themes are friendship and acceptance. It is visually strong and colourful with a broad unisex appeal. Its wide range of characters and personalities means there is something for everyone.”

Parthenon is planning to embed the brand’s merchandise with the same 'enchanting' and 'deep seated appeal' that has entertained generations to date, and focus solely on its target audience – pre-schoolers.

As a result, Tomy has already come on board as European master toy licensee, while Abbey Home Media is European DVD partner. Redan is to produce a compilation magazine, while RCD will bring pet products to market. Consumers will also be able to purchase a compilation music CD courtesy of Demon Music Group and multi platform games from Game Life.

“We are focusing on retailers to leverage the product range that Tomy has developed and also bringing licensees together to create a complete retail offering and promotional opportunity,” adds Milligan.

“We are also concentrating on getting a wider range of licensees on board to support the licensees already committed to the brand.

“Be it 1975 or 2008 Zebedee and Dougal have the same charm for pre-school kids.”

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