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Round the Twist: 10 memorable moments

It’s been 30 years since the popular and beloved children’s series Round the Twist first hit our screens.

Premiering on 26 August 1990 and spanning over a decade, the popular show followed the Twist family (siblings Pete, Linda and Bronson, and their widowed father Tony) who lived in a haunted lighthouse in the fictional coast town of Port Niranda.

A hit with kids and adults alike, Round the Twist explored universal themes of growing up, family, love and relationships and showcased some classic 90s fashion in all its glory.

Created by author Paul Jennings, the first two seasons were based on some of his beloved short stories featuring his trademark “twist”. It was developed by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), and pushed the boundaries of children’s TV with its humour and wackiness. Interestingly, it first premiered in the UK in April 1990 (four months before Australia) and by the time it made it down under, BBC had already asked for a second season.

From supernatural creatures, haunted outhouses, magic lipstick and time travelling Vikings (just to name a few), we have put together a list of 10 memorable moments from the four seasons to celebrate its 30th anniversary (although with so many to choose from this list is by no means exhaustive!)

1. The Theme Song

And what an iconic theme song it was. The lyrics “Have you ever? Ever felt like this?”, are sure to hit fans with waves of nostalgia. Fun fact: it was also sung by Tamsin West who played Linda Twist in the first series.

2. Wunderpants

When Pete dries his underpants in the microwave, they become infused with superpowers - super speed and super strength. But when a celebratory ocean swim ends up shrinking his undies, all is not lost! Pete rushes nude to the frog race and finds a new use for the “wunderpants”, super strength for his frog Loopy Leaper. Wunderpants is also one of the short stories in Jennings’ book Unreal.

3. Spaghetti Pig Out

In one of the more memorable episodes, a bolt of lightning hits the Twists’ television remote and enables them to pause, repeat, fast forward and rewind people. But what starts out as fun turns disastrous when the remote ends up in the hands of school bully James Gribble. Luckily, it backfires when Gribble’s friend Rabbit is left on fast-forward in a spaghetti eating contest, and in true disgusting Round the Twist fashion, he projectile vomits all over the crowd. Victory for Pete!

4. Cabbage Patch Fib

When Bronson starts asking where babies come from, his dad and Pete tell him they grow in the cabbage patch. And sure enough, Bronson finds a little green baby lying among the cabbages in their garden. But the baby thinks eight-year-old Bronson is his father and he finds himself struggling to juggle parenting and school. When he tries to return the baby to the cabbage patch, its mother angrily snatches it back, leaving Tony Twist to finally have a truthful conversation with Bronson about where babies come from (his answer: the chimney…).

5. Lucky Lips

After Pete’s failed attempt to kiss his crush Fiona, he gets a magic lipstick from Madame Fortune. But after applying the lipstick Pete discovers it works on any female he locks eyes with. He becomes irresistible to women – not just his female classmates, but Ms James, and even his sister Linda. Commentary from schoolmate Tiger, “the girls are going wild!”, and “she’s sucking face with Twist”, makes for a very amusing episode, especially when Pete falls into a pig pen and realises that the lipstick works on female pigs too.

6. Nails

It’s a sweet teen romance when Linda falls for Andrew, the new boy at school with a secret. It’s an episode of firsts for Linda: first kiss, first love and first heartbreak. Their romance is short-lived when it turns out Andrew is a merman and his rapidly growing fingernails are in fact, scales. The episode ends with a sombre but saucy farewell kiss from Andrew as he leaves Linda to live with his mermaid mother in the sea.

7. The Big Burp

In one of the wackier episodes, Pete falls in love with a tree spirit, Jeannie, after relieving himself on the side of a tree. But it doesn’t end there. He ends up falling pregnant and gives birth in the school sick bay, burping out a slimy green baby. Linda, Bronson and Gribble’s gang all band together to assist Pete with this unexpected and bizarre scenario.

8. The Nirandathal Beast

Bronson finds himself in a hairy situation when he breaks tradition and secretly uses his dad’s razor before Pete. Chaos ensues when he becomes cursed with a three-foot beard that won’t stop growing. The town mistakes him for the legendary Nirandathal Beast and starts chasing him down.  Luckily for Bronson, Pete breaks the spell, but it’s poor Faye (Tony’s partner and Bronson’s teacher) that’s in for a shock when she uses the same razor to shave her legs.

9. The Ice Cream Man Cometh

When Linda is fired from Mr Gribble’s ice cream parlour, she picks up work at a new mobile gelataria. The Twists soon find out the mystery behind the gelataria’s delicious “all natural” ice cream - Giorgio, a human ice cream machine, who dispenses the finished product from his nose. Much to Bronson’s delight he can make a choc-top on cue. Drama ensues when the Gribble family inevitably interfere and the Twist kids must save the day. But they soon realise, maybe this is the job Giorgio was born to do.

10. Bird Boy

After crash landing in a large bird’s nest, Bronson is chased home by its owner, a giant human-bird hybrid. Bronson thinks he’s discovered a new species and names it Bronson’s Boy Bird. After hearing it sing such a beautiful song, Bronson sees an opportunity for fame and fortune and Boy Bird becomes the new town attraction. But once Mr Gribble sniffs out a possible business opportunity, everyone wants a piece of Boy Bird. Bronson must decide the fate of his new friend; exploitation and fame, or Boy Bird’s freedom.

You can watch all four seasons of Round the Twist on the Twisted Lunchbox YouTube channel here