Round The Twist

Volume 1

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Details At A Glance

Category Family (for lack of a better word) Main Menu Audio
Rating g.gif (1187 bytes)
Year Released 1989
Running Time
100:34 Minutes
(Not 96 Minutes as per packaging)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Steve Jodrell
Mark Lewis
Esben Storm
Australian Film Finance Corporation
Magna Pacific
Starring Andrew S. Gilbert
Rian McLean
Ebonnie Masini
Mathew Waters
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Andrew Duffield
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a song and montage during closing credits

Plot Synopsis

    Since my opinion of this television show and the feelings viewing it gives me after all these years are both unprintable, I will just recite the following summation of the plot.

    Round The Twist features the adventures of the Twist family: father Tony (Andrew S. Gilbert), his thirteen year old twins Pete (Rian McLean) and Linda (Ebonnie Masini), and nine year old son Bronson (Mathew Waters). Ignore the IMDB user comment that this contains "everything else that is good about kiddies tv" (multiple sics), because there are simply too many superior examples out there. Instead, try to approach this show as being something to watch while stoned out of your gourd, because even when I viewed the repeats as a thirteen-year-old, it was much more enjoyable in an altered state of consciousness. Preferably the sort of altered state where you're only watching the television because you're simply incapable of getting up and turning the television off. Before you begin thinking that I really hate this show, however, bear in mind that the show itself is infinitely more watchable than the books are readable.

    This volume contains four episodes on a single-sided, single-layer DVD. In spite of being labelled as "Volume One", they are all taken from the third series. In spite of the fact that this series has been off the air for at least five years, the cover art features a prominent declaration that this is a "new series". In the order of the listing contained on the packaging, these episodes are:

  1. The Big Burp (24:43): Pete meets the girl of his dreams, who turns out to be the most beautiful girl in Port Niranda and a tree spirit. He also learns that he is pregnant, which puts this episode on the same level as a certain abysmal failure of a flick called Junior.
  2. The Viking Book Of Love (25:29): I wonder if the person responsible for this story or script knows a solitary thing about Vikings. A crew of Vikings emerge from a fog in Port Niranda, led by a Chief and his son, whom Linda falls in love with after he reads to her from the Viking Book Of Love.
  3. The Whirling Derfish (25:02): Bronson swallows a rare item known as the whirling derfish, causing (and this is a direct quote from the packaging) "his willy to spin like a propeller, turning him into a human outboard motor known as 'the Port Niranda Porpoise'". Believe me, it's a lot less amusing than this plot description suggests.
  4. Imu-Umi (25:20): A video game causes Pete's mind to wind up in Gribble's body and vice versa. While Pete is spending a night with Matron Gribble, Gribble is trying to convince Tony to sell the lighthouse.
    Regardless of what I might think of the plot of this series, I believe that the transfer is far more important in the case of programming such as this, which does not seem to be intended to be viewed by the person who is actually paying for them. If you're a parent with a DVD player, I strongly urge you to bypass this example of why I weep for the twenty-somethings of the next decade and go with Doctor Who or Jurassic Park instead.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is reflective of the source material, in that it looks like a television broadcast of film that was produced with the same production values as an episode of Neighbours.

    The transfer is presented Full Frame, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. The sharpness of this transfer is reasonable, although most of the medium to long shots are lacking in clarity. Close-ups are quite clear, with plenty of detail to behold in these shots. Shadow detail is average, but since we are talking about a children's television show where night-time is almost a foreign concept, it won't be missed. Low-level noise didn't seem to be a major problem in the transfer, but there are moments when the picture takes on a grainy look that is somewhat irritating.

    The colour saturation is bright and vivid, far too much so considering the location in which all of these episodes were shot. It's as if some idiot at the Australian Children's Television Foundation or whatever they call themselves in the opening credits decided that all kids must like bright, shiny colours and therefore all kids will love it if they raise the blue and green levels in the broadcasts to unnatural levels. Sorry, guys, but this kid found it extremely annoying in 1989, and nothing has changed between now and then, even if the DVD is only reflective of how the show was presented.

    MPEG artefacts were not noted in the transfer, although the loss of detail that is relative to distance from the camera is quite dramatic in many shots. Much of the transfer has been allocated a high bitrate, but RSDL formatting might have been preferable, if only to give the feature a little more space to breathe. This is compounded by the fact that there is the occasional dose of motion blur, such as at 18:47, when Pete is trying to break down a door. Shots with high amounts of haze and smog, as well as special effects shots, seem to be placing too much stress upon the transfer for its own good. Film-to-video artefacts were not especially prevalent, with many opportunities for aliasing going begging, and the telecine being remarkably stable. One noticeable example of aliasing, however, is at 18:43 in the third episode, where a plank of wood (of all things) shimmers as the camera moves. Film artefacts consisted of the occasional black mark on the image, but this was not a real problem either.


    The audio transfer is functional, in that it does what it is meant to do: tell a remarkably stupid story. There is only the one soundtrack on this disc, the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, at a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. The dialogue, such as it is, is always clear and easy to understand, leaving the actors in an immortal state of embarrassment for as long as this DVD continues to be playable. Much of the dialogue in this television show is so classically stupid that it will leave you wishing for major distortion or muffling to make it more of a challenge to think of something witty and clever to say about the inherent idiocy. There were no audio sync problems to enhance the feeling of watching the show drunk or stoned, either.

    The music in this series is credited to Andrew Duffield, whom I've yet to hear of working in Australian productions before or since. Most of the music in the actual episodes sounds like it was composed using a single Casio keyboard, with hollow and poorly simulated sounds being the order of the day. The music used in the opening and closing credits is the typical patronizing rubbish that seems to be the order of the day with most children's television, but considering that the only other elements of the soundtrack are some rather twee sound effects and the inane dialogue, it seems quite appropriate.

    There is no surround activity at all on this DVD, with the only soundtrack being straight stereo. The television series itself was recorded in stereo, but broadcast in a time when monaural television sets were still quite prevalent. There is very little in the soundtrack that would benefit from greater channel separation, with the two channels that are encoded into the soundtrack receiving minimal use to begin with. The subwoofer was not called upon frequently, and only had to support the occasional bass-heavy sound such as the music in the credits. The infrequency of the subwoofer's use made it quite conspicuous in spite of the fact that it wasn't especially powerful or overbearing.



    The menu is static and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. It contains some nicely presented audio, and is little more than an episode and chapter selection menu.

R4 vs R1

    Luckily for the children of America and Canada, this title is not available in Region 1. Canada in particular would turn their nose up at this programme, since that is where You Can't Do That On Television was originally produced.


    Round The Twist-Volume 1 is typically small-minded programming aimed at a level much lower than the children of the time were at. It is presented on an average DVD, even if its flaws are simply carried over from the way the series was photographed and presented.

    The video quality is as good as the source material allows, although RSDL formatting would have helped.

    The audio quality is functional, reflecting the simplistic and ordinary nature of the original programming.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
November 3, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer