History Files

ROUND THE TWIST

 

This was an enjoyable, warm-hearted set of tales from Australia, made in 1989. The Twist family move into a lighthouse that is more than a little unusual: there is mysterious music coming from a room at the top, ghosts seem to be regular visitors, and the unexpected is often the norm. The performances were all natural and likeable, even the nasty characters were interesting. The stories were quirky and humorous and could be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Perhaps the best episode of a quality series was The Copy.

Forever endearingly weird in its presentation, the series was first shown on Friday evenings, on Children's BBC, then repeated two years later in the early Saturday morning slot. The original broadcast dates are not listed below.

 


SEASON ONE

REGULAR CAST
Linda Twist Tamsin West   Pete Twist Sam Vandenberg
Bronson Twist Rodney McLennan   Dad (Tony Twist) Richard Moir
Nell Rickards Bunny Brooke   Mr Gribble Frankie J Holden
Matron Gribble Judith McGrath   Gribble Junior Lachlan Jeffrey
Tiger Gleeson Cameron Nugent   Rabbit Stuart Atkin
Fay James Robyn Gibbes   Fiona (Pete's girlfriend) Daisy Cameron
Mr Snapper (Quarrelsome teacher) Esben Storm

 


Writer: Paul Jennings (from his
  Penguin stories)
Executive Producer: Patricia Edgar
Producer: Antonia Barnard
Director/Script Editor: Esben Storm
Music: Andrew Duffield,
  sung by Tamsin West

 


Ghost On The Dunny

The Twist family move into their new home - a lighthouse. But with this one there is a bit of a difference. And when Dad meets Miss James, one of the children’s' new teachers, he finds he likes the place more and more.

Birdsdo

Miss Rickards, whose family were the original inhabitants of the lighthouse, finds herself in serious trouble - she can't afford the mortgage on her cottage. Linda and Pete make a messy discovery that can save her.

A Good Tip For Ghosts

Pete faces a test of nerves at his new school. He is badgered into entering a haunted refuse site at night to collect an animal skull, but the tables are turned on Pete's oppressors.

The Cabbage Patch Fib

Bronson wants to learn the facts of life. But the Cabbage Patch child won't give him a moment's respite.

Spaghetti Pig Outing

Mr Snapper supports the school's spaghetti eating contest, but only because of his son's secret weapon - a VCR remote control with power over living objects, which was stolen from the Twists.

Santa Claws

Dreams cause problems for Pete when he gets to meet Santa Claws No.115,302. He begins to wish he'd never had those wishes.

The Gum-Leaf War

Linda has an accident that results in a rather misshapen nose. She runs away from home in a setting more reminiscent of the last century than this, and discovers a gum-leaf tree that can cause strange things to happen.

Wunder Pants

When Pete dries his underpants in a microwave oven, special powers are conveyed to him, enabling him to run at super-speeds and swim like a gold-medal athlete, but when they suddenly shrink, all they will fit is a pint-sized frog.

Lucky Lips

Pete dreams of winning a kiss from the lovely Fiona, but the gypsy’s gift compels every female in school to kiss him, even his teacher, Miss James!

Know All

The Twists find a trunk full of circus costumes on the shore, but the clown's outfit has a special power of its own, especially when its previous owner thinks he's seen his long-lost love.

The Copy

The children find a matter-duplicator in the abandoned room at the top of the lighthouse, which produces short-lived, reversed copies of dead or living tissue. Linda creates a double of herself - Adnil, not realising the dangers. The story makes for a dramatic and tearful conclusion, with Linda crying for her dead copy.

Without My Pants

The pants of the title were in fact trousers. After finding a supernatural dog on the beach, Pete Twist finds that in conclusion of every thing he says, he is forced to add the words "without my pants", until he helps the dog find the bones of its master, Ben Byron, played by Paul Jennings.

Lighthouse Blues

Mr Gribble tries to get the Twists out of the lighthouse. Dad proposes to Miss James, and the instrument-playing ghosts are revealed as Nell's parents, brother Tom, and little sister Sarah.

    


A second series was made in 1992, but by this time the original cast of kids had grown up, so all the children's parts were re-cast. The stories were on the whole less weird, less interesting and more immature. Only one episode shone out in the early part of this new series, Nails, which had a plot and style very reminiscent of Season One. Two new characters are the ghosts who occupy the lighthouse, never revealing themselves, just looking on and making the occasional comment. Once the reason for the lighthouse's haunted aspect had been revealed at the end of Season One there was little reason for the stories to continue to be centred there, so much of the action now took place elsewhere, usually at school. Also, the outright hostility between the Twists and the Gribbles had been dropped. Now they got along, just about. Pete is more of a casual friend with Gribble Junior and his gang than the opponents they once were. During the end titles of each episode, out-takes and scenes cut for timing reasons were shown, giving the viewer a glimpse of bits of the stories they missed. The highlight of the series is the episode already mentioned, Nails, which evokes the wonderful atmosphere of wonder and creativity of the first series, both in the story and in its presentation. After that, many of the stories seemed to have been paid more attention, and are a considerable improvement on the series' beginnings. Granddad's Gifts is another excellent episode in the style of the first season. The series' first repeat was just a year later, in the usual early morning slot.

 


SEASON TWO

REGULAR CAST
Linda Twist Joelene Crnogorac   Pete Twist Ben Thomas
Bronson Twist Jeffrey Walker   Dad (Tony Twist) Richard Moir
Nell Rickards Bunny Brooke   Mr Gribble Mark Mitchell
Matron Gribble Jan Friedl   Gribble Junior Richard Young
Tiger Gleeson Nick Mitchell   Rabbit Drew Campbell
Fay James Robyn Gibbes   Fiona (Pete's girlfriend) Zeta Briggs
Mr Snapper (Quarrelsome teacher) Esben Storm   Ghost Matthew Andrew Daddo
Ghost Jeremiah Neill Gladwin
Beautiful Girl (School classmate) Marzena Godecki

 


Writer: Paul Jennings (from his
  Penguin stories)
Producer: Antonia Barnard
Director/Script Editor: Esben Storm
Music: Andrew Duffield,
  sung by Tamsin West
BBC Advisor: Jeremy Swan

 


Next Time Around

When Linda learns hypnosis and successfully hypnotises Pete, there is pandemonium when anyone says the word "now" in front of him.

Copy Cat

Bronson finds an ancient Mongolian copycat hat which Linda wears during a 'Birdman' competition. But it doesn't always bring the best of luck.

Little Squirt

The boys at school have a peeing contest and Bronson comes last. Then he meets a water spirit who is in danger of having her river dammed by Gribble.

Water Spirit Teresa Blake

Pink Bow Tie

When an 'Age Rager' is stolen from a government research lab, the thieves find using it can have drawbacks, as their younger versions discover.

Nails

Linda is attracted to a mysterious new boy at school who never removes his gloves. The reason soon becomes apparent once Linda and the boy become close. The scene is set for long shots of a temporarily lonely Linda looking out to the boy's island home from the bay, with accompaniment by angelic choirs.

Andrew (Mer-Boy) Eamonn Kelly
Mr Shelford (Father) Peter Bensley
Mermaid (Mother) Cheryle Street

Sloppy Jalopy

When Pete lands in a pool of polluted sludge from Mr Gribble's waste disposal unit, he cannot wash off the smell.

Smelly Feat

Bronson upsets Miss James by refusing to attend her birthday party. But it has a lot to do with his shoes - he hasn't taken them off for six months. The series' running gag about Bronson's feet culminates here. "Up the Pong" is Bronson's cry as his feet leave people unconscious left right and centre, including Pete's and Linda's entire school class.

Granddad's Gifts

When Linda hears a strange and terrible sound behind the wall in her room, she is convinced there is a connection with the lemon tree outside, which has started sprouting fruit in minutes. Dad has his own problems when Fay is snubbed by Bronson once too often, and she decides that she has no future with the Twist family.

Ice Maiden

Besotted with Dad's sculpture of the Ice Maiden, Bronson resolves to save it from the Gribbles and his seven-year old cousin Terry. But Terry is female, and bears an incredible resemblance to the ice sculpture.

Terry Laura Armstrong

Yuckles

Mr Gribble plans to build a casino on the site of an ancient rainforest, home of the mysterious 'Yuckle' plant. Another eco-story for the Twists.

Quivering Heap

In a bid to prevent Pete from playing Dracula in the school play, Gribble lures him into a disused public toilets and locks him in. Only he's not alone in there. Meanwhile, Dad and Fay are becoming closer again, bit by bit, as they realise when she accidentally calls him "Darling" instead of Tony. She smiles, not minding the mistake, and Tony just stands there, dumbstruck.

Punk Ghost Jasper Bagg

Black Balls

Nell foolishly trusts Bronson to take a valuable opal to the jeweller's and bring A$200 back. Instead he brings back the goat who swallowed the opal.

Seeing The Light

The ghosts are finally reunited with the dead of a wrecked ship they failed to warn away, and Tony announces his re-engagement to Fay

    


A third series cropped up unexpectedly at the start of 2000. After a seven year absence from the screen the cast were totally different, even the adults. Fay and Tony Twist were now living together in the lighthouse, and Nell made occasional (and unrecognisable) appearances in Port Niranda. The stories were no longer adapted by Paul Jennings, and had taken a definite turn for the sillier. A fourth series was already in the pipeline.

 


SEASON THREE

REGULAR CAST
Linda Twist
Ebonnie Masini   Pete Twist Rian McLean
Bronson Twist
Mathew Waters   Tony Twist Andrew S Gilbert
Mr Gribble
Mark Mitchell   Matron Gribble Christine Keogh
Gribble Junior
Brook Rowan   Tiger Gleeson Tom Budge
Rabbit
Samuel Marsland   Fay Twist Trudy Hellier
Fiona
Katie Barnes   Mr Snapper Esben Storm

 


Creators: Paul Jennings and Esben Storm
Executive Producer: Patricia Edgar
ABC Executive Producer: Claire Henderson
Director: Esben Storm
ABC Script Editor: Tammy Burnstock
Music: Andrew Duffield, sung by Tamsin West


The Big Burp

Pete finally meets the girl of his dreams. He can't believe his luck - Jeannie is the most beautiful girl in Port Niranda - even if she is a tree spirit. But when Pete discovers he is pregnant, Linda, Bronson and the Gribble Gang deliver the surprise of their lives.

The Viking Book Of Love

While Tony Twist is still enjoying the honeymoon phase of his recent marriage to Fay, an ancient Viking longboat sails into Port Niranda at the same time as a thick fog cuts the bay off from 21st century life. The Twists realise that the port has been transferred back in time, and unless they can help the Vikings to escape, they too will be trapped there forever.

Sorenson Nikolai Nikolaeff

The Whirling Derfish

Everyone knows that Bronson will eat anything! But when he swallows a rare whirling derfish nobody could have guessed his willy would spin like a propeller and he would become a human outboard motor known as 'The Port Niranda Porpoise'.

IMU, UMI

The carnival has come to town and Pete uses the opportunity to read a short love spell to Fiona from the Viking Book of Love. Then he plays a virtual reality space shoot-em-up against Mr Gribble, and some Gribble junior messing with the power causes their minds to switch bodies.

Nell Marion Heathfield
Anthony Rueben Liversidge
Attendant John Penman
Abusive Passenger Raymond Mow
Pete Driving School Brett Anderson
Kid Elliott Lomas

Truth Hits Everybody

After failing to get the school job of broadcast team, Fiona, Pete and Linda stumble across an old set of camera equipment that carries a magical property: anyone Linda interviews with the microphone has to tell the truth. This could lead to a revealing interview with Mayor Gribble.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge
Nell Marion Heathfield
News Reporter Fiona Harris
Bruno Anthony Anselmo
Milo Tom Wright
Taylor Triplets Melissa O'Hara, Anastasia Keras 
 
and Lucinda Freedman

The Nirandathal Beast

The Twist family razor is a Great War souvenir taken from a German who swore he would not shave until the war was over. It has been passed down through the eldest Twist males but Bronson breaks the chain and takes a shave. The resulting hairy curse results in the manhunt for a mysterious hirsute beast on the prowl.

Nell Marion Heathfield
Anthony Rueben Liversidge
The Beast Matthew Molone
Con The Barber Adriano Cortese

Mali-Boo

Pete is looking forward to the annual surfing competition, but failing a school exam seems a minor point when the only surf board he can afford is older than his father. Then the ghost of the board appears - in mid-surf.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge
Nell Marion Heathfield
Moondoggy Matt Ralph
Photographer Robin Hart

Brainless

In one of the weakest stories ever presented, Anthony runs an experiment using Linda and Pete and guinea pigs. Unfortunately, there is a power overload, and their brains are sucked out of their heads.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge

Toy Love

Fay persuades the Twists to make a large-scale clear-out of all the junk in the lighthouse. When Linda throws out an old doll, it comes back, and even a lovesick Gribbs can't get rid of it for her. Bronson gets all stuck up, when he learns that superglue and nose-picking do not go together.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge

Tears Of Innocence

While the Viking Book of Love continues to cast mischievous spells on anyone who reads it, Pete meets an old rainman and his leprechaun. The former has lost his skill to embarassing effect. Pete makes a bet with Gribbs that will lead to one of them being the other's slave for a day. He shouldn't have.

Derek Charles "Bud" Tingwell
Leprechaun Ross Daniels
Nell Marion Heathfield
Anthony Rueben Liversidge

The Ice Cream Man Cometh

When Gribble's ice cream parlour turns out to be a bug-infested pit with artificial ingredients in the product, a traditional gelati producer sets up his caravan in the park opposite. But when Linda discovers what - or who - is making the gelati, she decides to "rescue" him.

Nell Marion Heathfield
Giorgio Darcy Neave
Paulo George Kapiniaris
Gelati Customer Woody Mills

If The Walls Could Talk

Tony Twist's moping over his "lost love" is driving the kids crazy, but Bronson has his own problems when the furniture starts talking to him. However, once he gets over the shock, he decides to put his new found furniture communications skills to good use - reuniting Dad with Fay.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge
Nell Marion Heathfield

The Big Rock

Viking Helga pops out from Asgaard for the day to rescue the Viking Book of Love from Snapper and woo her own love, Sorensen. But mistaken readings of the few remaining poems lead to disaster and all the adults disappear, apart from Fay, who is turned into a Frog. Still, once the kids solve the problems, Tony Twist is able to as a recovered Fay to marry him.

Helga Rachel Bowen
Anthony Rueben Liversidge
Nell Marion Heathfield
Sorenson Nikolai Nikolaeff

    


Same cast, same slightly silly stories, and a brand new season which turned up a year or so after the last one. The only difference now was that Fay and Tony were married and soon to expect their first child together. The BBC, though, were making it hard to enjoy the series fully, as they insisted on playing the end titles (which usually contained out-takes) in a variety of ways that made them impossible to see on screen, while inane children's presenters waffled on about any old rubbish that came into their tiny minds. Unfortunately, this was an American trend that seemed to be on a massive increase at the beginning of the new century.

 


SEASON FOUR

REGULAR CAST
Linda Twist Ebonnie Masini   Pete Twist Rian McLean
Bronson Twist
Mathew Waters   Tony Twist Andrew S Gilbert
Mr Gribble
Mark Mitchell   Matron Gribble Christine Keogh
Gribble Junior
Brook Sykes   Tiger Gleeson Tom Budge
Rabbit
Samuel Marsland   Fay Twist Susanne Chapman
Fiona Katie Barnes   Nell Marion Heathfield
Emily
Natasha Jacobs   Sacha Aku Bielicki
Ariel
Michala Banas   Pharde Laura Richardson

 


Storylines: Esben Storm
Executive Producer: Patricia Edgar
ABC Executive Producer: Claire Henderson
ABC Script Editor: Tammy Burnstock
Music: Andrew Duffield, sung by Tamsin West


Welcome Back

To celebrate the bicentenary of Port Niranda, the Von Clap family players take one last curtain call, despite being ghosts.

(No cast details)

Monster Under The Bed

While Fay is trying to tell Tony she is pregnant, Bronson comes faces to face with a monster made of household dust.

Lint Monster Paul Newcombe

Linda Godiva

The town stages a horse race based on a local historical event, but between Gribbs and Pete it becomes personal, and for Linda it means revealing a lot more than she'd like.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge

Dog By Night

Pete dumps Fiona so that he can chase the other girls he fancies, but when flea-sized Dracumite bites him, his fancies become more canine.

(No cast details)

Face The Fear

Bronson thinks earning a fortune will be easy when he makes the mistake of listening to advice from Gribbs. He ends up spending the night in a graveyard.

Rat Wayne Hope
Cornelius Crenshaw Alan Hopgood
Policemen Mark Peglar and Chard Young

TV Or Not TV

Gribble plans to drain the nearby swamp and build on the site. Whilst imitating their TV idols as they try and put a halt to the plans, the Twists swap identities with those idols and learn the truth.

(No cast details)

The Princess And The Pete

Now Gribble wants to drain a local spring for his natural spring water business. The frogs protest, and send along an ambassador in human (female) form, and she befriends Peter.

(No cast details)

Hair Brain

Linda gets extra-sensory curls when she has an unusual hair style for the upcoming student elections. She is able to read the thoughts of the voters and promise them what they want to hear.

Anthony Rueben Liversidge

Boy Bird

A huge, mysterious boy-faced bird follows Bronson home to crash land in his bedroom. When Bronson discovers the Boy Bird can sing like a dream, everyone wants a piece of him to make their fortune. The Boy Bird's destiny is suddenly in Bronson's hands.

(No cast details)

The Shadow Player

During a total eclipse, Linda's very own shadow breaks free and tells her the bad news. She's boring! With Linda's shadow now in charge, Linda starts to live the wild life until she come face to face with the Shadow Master.

(No cast details)

Radio DA DA

When Pete fixes an old radio, he and Linda are blasted back in time to 1944, the Second World War! They soon discover they have a chance to change the outcome of the war, their own destinies and the future of Port Niranda.

(No cast details)

Skunk Man

Bronson decides to use his powers of Pong for the good of Mankind. In the course of his exciting adventures he wins the heart of the fair Lois and vents a huge blast of….Australian humour.

(No cast details)

The Isle Of Dreams

All along Pete has been desperate for a girlfriend. He's stunned when he meets Ariel, a most beautiful girl who is the Princess of Atlantis. She invites the Twists to come with her to this perfect world. The only catch is, once they've gone, they can never return….

(No cast details)

    


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