Over the last couple of weeks I have been jettisoned back to childhood having been engaged to shoot featurettes for the Second Sight UK releases of the Saturday morning kids TV classic “Here Come The Double Deckers!” and the phenomenal Magic Roundabout feature film Dougal And The Blue Cat.
The late Serge Danot was the mastermind behind the kooky animation of “The Magic Roundabout” but it was arguably Eric Thompson who really ingrained the show in the hearts and minds of the British public through his witty narration, which he would write and record at home, having scrapped the original French tracks without even listening to them. Sadly, Thompson died in 1982 at the age of 53. We at Severin Towers were therefore delighted when Eric’s Oscar-winning actress, writer, producer, daughter Emma agreed to be interviewed about her father’s timeless work. She took time off from the set of the BBC production “The Song Of Lunch” to talk with us. Below is a clip of her addressing the oft-discussed drug references in “The Magic Roundabout”. The clip will not feature in the final piece as the DVD of Dougal & The Blue Cat needs to be suitable for all ages.
Emma then put us in touch with her Mum Phyllida Law who also gave us some great insight into her husband’s work. If that weren’t enough we recorded interviews with top critic Mark Kermode, who considers Dougal & The Blue Cat, “an absolute masterpiece,” and the Blue Queen herself Fenella Fielding (see below for an out-take of Fenella reciting one of her great lines from the film).
There were certain things about “Here Come The Double Deckers!” that are permanently imprinted on my mind: the un-PC abuse that fat kid Donut endured, the stunning if failed achievements in engineering such as the creation of a functioning hovercraft, the fact that Tiger, a stuffed toy, got single card credit at the beginning of every episode, and of course the can’t get it out of your head theme song inviting you to “Get on board!” Two of the gang which all early 70s kids wanted to be a part of reunited some 40 years later to chat with Severin about their experiences on the show. Both Michael Audreson, who played Brains, and Brinsley Forde, who played Spring, had appeared in the Double Deckers precursor “The Magnificent Six And A Half” so go back even further. The old colleagues reminisced about their good fortune being on the shows, some favorite moments, and their subsequent careers, which in Brinsley’s case involved fronting chart-topping British reggae band Aswad.