Turns out I’d forgotten pretty much everything about the original Magic Roundabout TV series apart from the characters’ names. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do a great job of re-introducing them. Apart from the cliffhanger opening, the first ten minutes are muddled and uninteresting.
It does get better after that, though. The story is little more than a dressed-up video game (the heroes have to find the three magic diamonds before the villain Zeebad does), but it’s the little character touches, the cinematic in-jokes, and the subtle asides that really bring a smile to your face. Robbie Williams surprised me by being excellent as the voice of Dougal, and everyone (in Britain, at least) will love Tom Baker as Zeebad. Just forget about the TV show, and enjoy it for the silly, simple kids’ film it is.