|Round the Twist is an Australian children's television series based on the wacky stories of author Paul Jennings. Its first series was made in 1989.
Three children and their father go to live in a lighthouse and become embroiled in all sorts of magical adventures.
Many external scenes were shot around the region of the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet, Victoria, Australia.
Allegedly the show was a much bigger hit overseas than it ever was in Australia.
The show's distinctive theme song, with the lyrics "have you ever... ever felt like this? ..." was sung by Tamsin West, who played the lead female role of Linda in the first season. It borrowed lines from popular nursery rhymes such as There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Spider, Humpty Dumpty and Rain Rain Go Away.
The show revolves around the four members of the Twist family:
Tony Twist ("Dad") - a widower with a kind heart, interested in the school teacher Faye James (who comes to live with the family from the third series onwards).
Pete Twist - Linda's twin brother. Pete is into girls and occasionally is with * Fiona.
Linda Twist - Pete's twin sister. Linda is sometimes into spirituality and tai chi.
Bronson Twist - Their younger brother. Bronson is obsessed with bad smells and strange drinks.
Harold Gribble - a greedy real-estate agent who often tries to force the Twists to move out of the lighthouse with business schemes.
Matron Gribble - his supportive wife, and a nurse.
James Gribble - his no-good son. A bully at school who often antagonises Pete.
"Rabbit" - one of James Gribble's friends, often downtrodden.
"Tiger" - the other of James Gribble's friends. Tiger is often seen commentating various events in the first and second series'.
Faye James - Bronson's teacher at the school. She is a love interest for Dad and lives with the Twists in the Lighthouse in the third and fourth series'.
Ralph Snapper - Pete and Linda's teacher. He is a harsh man who doesn't respond well to insolence.
Fiona - Linda's friend, and occasionally Pete's girlfriend.
Characters who appear briefly in each episode of a series:
Ghost Matthew and Ghost Jeremiah - Two ghosts whose spirits are trapped in the Lighthouse during series two, after they failed to guide a boat to shore one hundred years earlier.
Ariel - A girl from the Isle of Dreams, who comes seeking to take Pete away in the fourth series.
Round the Twist has had four series made to date. Each series has thirteen episodes. Although each episode has its own separate plot, each episode contains a recurring theme, object or character which appears in every episode for that series. More information is revealed through short glimpses in each episode. The final episode of each series centres around this recurring theme and resolves it.
In series one (1989), the lighthouse is haunted by eerie music coming from upstairs. In the final episode, "Lighthouse Blues", the music is revealed to be played by Nel's deceased ghost family. The ghosts help the Twists to stop Mr. Gribble from destroying the lighthouse.
In series two (1992), the lighthouse is again haunted, this time by the visible ghosts, Matthew and Jeremiah, who fade into view once per episode. They are being punished because they failed to stop the ship bearing Matthew's love, Jane from crashing into the rocks. In the final episode, "Seeing the Light", the ghost ship comes again, and this time all of the characters from the show help to turn on the light and save the family lost at sea, redeeming the ghosts.
Another recurring theme in series two is Bronson's smelly feet. In the episode "Smelly Feet", he reveals that he has been "saving the stink" to stop the Gribbles from killing an endangered turtle. In the end, his feet are washed, and the turtle is saved.
In series three (1999), (in the second episode, "The Viking Book of Love"), Linda is given the Viking Book of Love by a young viking who finds the lighthouse. It plays an important part in the third series, because in most episodes, a character falls in love with another who reads its poetry to them. In the final episode, "The Big Rock", the vikings return and the book's effects are reversed with terrible consequences.
In series four (2000), a masked stranger enters the lighthouse through a magical door in each episode. In the final episode, "The Isle of Dreams", the stranger is revealed to be Ariel, who has come to offer the kids the perfect life on the Isle of Dreams, with Pete as her husband. In the end, they decline, and Ariel disappears to the isle forever.