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1. Bhal-Shebah
From TES issue 48 (November 2007)

Series 8. Level 1/2/3.
BHAL-SHEBAH

Bhal-Shebah was a red dragon with Multiple Personality Disorder; the voices of both Bhal and Shebah were provided by Bill Cashmore, whose main job in this series was to stick a sock on his hand and play Snapper-Jack. Lord Fear apparently thought it would be a good idea to recruit another red dragon to the Opposition, just as the production team obviously thought it would be a good idea to find another use for their lovely Smirkenorff puppet, after the advent of Red Death two years previously. Unfortunately, this particular red dragon suffered from an extreme case of schizophrenia, and was consequently not much use as a guard: ”He’s not only Bhal-Shebah; he’s Bhal and Shebah in one skin, and they don’t even like each other!” – Lord Fear.

Bhal’s and Shebah’s hatred of each other promised the potential scene of a dungeoneer pitting the two halves of the dragon’s personality against one another, in order to outwit the monster and save their own skin. Indeed, the prelude for this situation was set up during Daniel’s quest, as Lissard had apparently tasked Bhal-Shebah with guarding the Sword, and Lord Fear was quick to point out that Daniel would be able to get past by inciting the dragon to argue with itself. This could have been a fun scene, but of course, it never actually took place.

Yes, I’m afraid that, like many characters in series 8, Bhal-Shebah was not given the development and screen-time he deserved. He only had two speaking appearances in the end, and neither one involved interacting with a dungeoneer. Bhal-Shebah’s first (and undoubtedly better) scene took place towards the end of the first episode of series 8, when Richard was trapped on a rune-locked trapdoor. Bhal-Shebah stuck his head into the room, commented on how tasty Richard looked, and ruthlessly burned him alive. Brilliant stuff!

Sadly, Bhal-Shebah was never to repeat this excellent, show-stealing performance. His only other speaking appearance took place during a spyglass sequence in episode 5, as part of Nathan’s quest, when Bhal and Shebah had a brief argument in front of Lord Fear. This scene is fairly amusing as it stands, but it’s a poor substitute for Daniel’s promised encounter with the dragon, which it was undoubtedly meant to replace. Bhal-Shebah was never heard to speak again, despite the fact that he was often to be heard (and, occasionally, seen as well) chasing dungeoneers throughout levels one, two and three, dragging his tail along the ground in his wake: ”That’s the sound a very large lizard makes when its tail scrapes along the ground behind it!” – Treguard.

In the penultimate episode of the series, Lord Fear announced that he had brainwashed Bhal-Shebah, eliminating his two personalities and reforming him into the fire-breathing death machine Firestorm of Marblehead, who was about to take off for Linghorm in order to destroy it. Nothing was ever really made of this – it was just one of the many disjointed plot elements that helped Dunstan cheat his way to victory. (Perhaps cheat is too strong a word here – coast, perhaps, would be better.) Anyway, that was the last we heard of Bhal-Shebah. He could have been an interesting and memorable character, but he wasn’t – he was just another drop in the murky ocean of series 8.

Fear Factor: 7 Large, angry and ruthless, though easy to flummox.
Killer Instinct: 8 One solid victim – much better than most!
Humour Rating: 6 Showed a dry sense of humour when eating Richard.
Oscar Standard: 7 Two distinct voices and personalities, but no real opportunity for Bill Cashmore to show off his skills.

Provided By: Eyeshield, 2008-01-14 12:51:53
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