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30 years after Round The Twist, Tamsin West looks back on seagull poo and kissing her “brother”.

It’s one of the unforgettable scenes from Round The Twist. Pete Twist uses a lipstick that makes him irresistible to all females. As he sits in his classroom at school, girl after girl kisses him passionately – including his twin sister, Linda.

Awkward? For Tamsin West, who played Linda, yes, very.

“Kissing on screen is 10 shades of embarrassing because there are always other people around,” West tells Mamamia. “In that scene, there was a classroom full of people too. And it didn’t help also that I had a big crush on my brother.”

Yep, that’s right. West had a crush on Sam Vandenberg, who played her twin, Pete. But they didn’t date at the time.

“I never even told him. So this is probably the first he’s going to hear about it!”

West was 15 years old back in 1989 when she was cast in Round The Twist, one of the most bizarre kids’ shows that Australia – and the world – has ever seen. She and Sam played 13-year-old twins who lived with their younger brother and widowed dad in a haunted lighthouse.

“I got to spend six months doing the most fun, silly enjoyable stuff,” she says.

Nowadays, when people talk to West about the show, they usually want to talk about the “gross” scenes. There’s the one involving a flock of seagulls pooing on Linda and Pete. The white gunk pours down on the two kids as they stand helplessly below the birds.

“That was my first day of filming,” West remembers. “We got absolutely covered, head to toe, in the seagull poo.”

Whatever substance was used for the poo went “as hard as a rock” once it dried.

Round the twist
Linda and Pete after getting attacked by seagulls. Image: ABC
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“So at the end of the day, Esben [Storm] the director was saying to us, ‘Look more surprised,’ and I’m like, ‘I can’t move my face, Esben.’

“I had seven showers that night to get it out of my hair. I was black as well because we climbed out of the chimney and got covered in soot. But what a great first day!”

The other “gross” scene people most often want to talk about is the one at the spaghetti pig-out. Linda and the other characters end up getting covered in regurgitated spaghetti.

“That was so much grosser than the bird poo,” West says. “It was real tinned spaghetti. That tomato sauce smell... I smelled like tinned spaghetti for days. But fortunately, we all did, so that was okay.”

As true fans of Round The Twist will know, West sang the show’s theme song. She was asked to do it after she’d shot her episodes.

“You’re 15 years old, you just constantly walk around singing pop songs – and also, they knew that I’d been in musical theatre,” she explains. “They were very generous and flexible with those sorts of things. That’s why I got to sing ‘Danny Boy’ in the last episode, because they knew I could sing. That’s why Pete played guitar, because Sam was playing guitar – and he’s now an amazing musician, FYI.

“Once I’d sung ‘Danny Boy’ and I wasn’t terrible, then they asked me to do the theme tune.”

West says she and Sam were “gutted” that they were too old to play Linda and Pete by the time the second season of Round The Twist came along.

“By this stage we’re 17 and it’s not going to fly, no matter how much we Beverly Hills 90210 it. So devastated that we didn’t get to do it again.”

But she understood how important it was to give author Paul Jennings time to write the scripts for the second season.

“He’s such a magician with his words and with the way he connects with children.”

West took on a few more roles after Round The Twist, including Emma Gordon in Neighbours. But her focus was on her studies and then a career in speech therapy. She’s worked in the UK and Australia, mostly in neurosurgery units, helping people who’ve had brain tumours or brain haemorrhages and have been left unable to speak.

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“They need help to retrain their brains, allowing them to speak again. It’s pretty great.”

West is now living in Melbourne, where she still sings at jazz venues.

“That’s how I met my husband – we were in a band.”

She’s sung the Round The Twist theme song at “a few gigs”, and also performed it on a breakfast TV show in the UK. She loves that the song lives on, nearly two decades after the final season of the show aired.

Video via Robbie McHugh

“It’s so cool that bands cover it.”

West, who started out in TV ads at the age of four, says she misses acting.

“Every time I see a really good role in a really good movie I go, ‘Ohhh...’” she admits.

“I have two young girls, and my focus is them right now. They didn’t sign up for Mummy to be an actor and to be gone. But definitely never say never. In a few more years I might be looking to dip my toe back.”

Looking back on Round The Twist, after 30 years, West is proud of the show and, especially, her character Linda.

“She didn’t take any nonsense, she knew aikido, she wasn’t afraid to be who she was, and then the one time that she deviated from that path, when she was trying to impress the boy, she came around and went, ‘You know what? Nuh.’

“Linda was an awesome character. If she was around now she’d be wearing a ‘fight like a girl’ t-shirt. She was that kind of girl, and hopefully allowed other girls to be that kind of girl too.”

What was your favourite episode from Round The Twist? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: IMDb and Supplied.

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