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'Magic' roles for Kylie and Robbie

Kylie Minogue will voice the prim Florence in "Magic Roundabout"

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LONDON, England -- Singers Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue are to star in a big screen version of children's favourite "The Magic Roundabout."

Following his recent signing of a massive record deal, Williams will lend his voice to the world-weary shaggy dog Dougal in the computer-animated film, the producers have announced.

Minogue will shed her sexy popstar image to voice the prim Florence.

Williams has animation experience, having narrated "Hooves of Fire," a short Christmas film. His video "Let Love Be Your Energy" also was animated.

The singers are to be joined by "Absolutely Fabulous" actress Joanna Lumley, who will voice Ermintrude the whimsical cow, and British Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, who will play Brian the snail.

"Rocky Horror Show" creator Richard O'Brien will play the bizarre spring-propelled Zebedee, known for his catchphrase "time for bed."

The new movie will introduce two new characters: ZeeBadee, to be voiced by Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor Who; and Soldier Sam, voiced by Ray Winstone.

The movie, which went into production last month, will take around 18 months and should be released in 2004.

Robbie Williams will star as Dougal the world-weary shaggy dog

The cartoon was first aired on French television in 1964, and soon became a cult classic, translated into 29 languages and shown on 98 television stations, Reuters reported.

Actress Emma Thompson's father, Eric Thompson, wrote and narrated the UK versions of the original show.

Francois Ivernel, managing director of the film's distributors, Pathe Pictures, said: "'The Magic Roundabout' is a wonderful property that holds fond memories for many parents and young children.

"It is hugely exciting to introduce Dougal and his friends to a new generation," he told the Press Association.

Pathe was behind "Chicken Run," the highest-grossing British animation of all time, earning 30 million at the UK box office.

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