Knightmare Lexicon - A Knightmare Encyclopædia

#  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

[Home] [Login]
1. Celebrate The 80s
 [Related Image] Self-styled bookazine (a one-off publication with the scope of a magazine but the paper quality of a book), published by Dennis Publishing in May 2008. Celebrate The 80s, a glossy full-colour paperback, consists of double-page articles respectfully covering particular films, pop musicians, television series or computer games that distinguished themselves during the 1980s. Pages 96-97 are devoted to Knightmare.

The article's introduction is as follows:

'Prepare to enter the computer-generated world of TV adventure

21 years ago, Children's ITV won the hearts and minds of Dungeons & Dragons fans and computer gamers when Knightmare hit the screens. Real kids, not actors, played this futuristic game set in a computer-generated physical world, with just a bag, shield, an oversized helmet and three friends to guide them'

To readers with an extensive knowledge of Knightmare, a number of omissions and inaccuracies present themselves in the article. Chief among these is that while there is an emphasis on KM's use of the 'computer-generated' (the phrase is used no less than 8 times), there are no mentions of the visual roles of David's Rowe's paintings and of photography. The following quotations demonstrate this.

'Almost the entire on-screen look of the show was created on computers and superimposed around the contestant, known as a 'Dungeoneer'.'

'Only the player, other cast members and a few props such as food, maps and clues would be physical items. Everything else, from doors to rooms to marketplaces and monsters would be created and animated by computers, creating a world plucked straight from a fantasy role-playing game and far more advanced than anything previously seen on children's television on either the BBC or ITV at the time.'

As an unhelpful complement to this somewhat misleading information, the article's main picture is not from Knightmare but Knightmare VR, though this is not explicitly stated. The image, which shows Arthur with the Treguard-head avatar and Despair, can also be seen in Wikipedia's entry on Knightmare (to which Billy Hicks had added the image while expanding the entry), clearly captioned in the Knightmare VR section.

The article's other pictures showed the Life Force face at full health, Chris from Team 7 of Series 6 (which is mentioned within the article) in the Hall of Choice, and Simon from Team 3 of Series 1 in the Great Corridor of the Catacomb.

Other examples of inaccurate and incomplete information can be found in the following extracts:

'For eight series, kids would head to the studios of Anglia Television in Norwich ... to film their 'quest', set in a fantasy world of dragons, wizards, goblins, princesses and the evil Lord Fear.'

'Knightmare borrowed heavily from the world of Dungeons & Dragons, and other fantasy role-playing games of the 70s and 80s, while the execution was similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure book, with each stage requiring a choice by the team on what to do or where to go next that would directly affect the outcome of the story.'

'For what was a children's TV show that went out at 4.45pm on a Friday afternoon, Knightmare was pretty scary stuff.'

'The show featured both good and bad dragons: the friendly ones would often provide transport for a Dungeoneer and other cast members, while the bad ones acted like the end-of-level demon, often providing the big last-gasp challenge before a Dungeoneer either proceeded to victory or was killed off to make way for the next team. All the time, players would be chased through the game by Lord Fear, a grey-skinned evil and shouty wizard intent on world domination and crushing his opposition, killing the Dungeoneer and restoring his evil grip over all the inhabitants of the fantasy world.'

The imperfections in the article even encompass rudimentary typographical errors.

'[One of the Life Force indicators was] the terrifying image of a face as bits of flesh and scull disappeared until everything was gone and the Dungeoneer was dead.'

One of the article's distinctions is to quote from a KM contestant who has never before shared his experiences via the Knightmare Discussion Forum, The Eye Shield or a interview.

'"It was a bit of a surprise taking part in Knightmare," recalled Simon Brett, a contestant in the last two episodes of series six. "I remember the dragon scene very well. We watched all the CGI footage on the screen of the Dungeon [antechamber] as Chris [and Elita] rode it from one area to another, but after we finished we got to see the blue-screen studio and saw that the 'dragon' was little more than a plank of wood suspended between two blocks like a bench.'

Unfortunately, neither Simon nor the article writer mentions that the 'little more' included an intricate puppet, several puppeteers - and, indeed, a name for the dragon.

The article quotes Tim Child from his 2007 Bother's Bar interview (See: losing status), but does not note this as the source.

To the left of the main article is a column headed 'DID YOU KNOW?' containing bullet-pointed facts about: the addition of 'four quest objects' (another inaccuracy) after Series 1; KM's peak viewing figures of 5 million an episode; Knightmare VR; spellcasting procedure and the 'team in series two [that] was consistently frustrated by bad spelling', resembling a sentence in the Wikipedia entry about 'One team (Team 7 of Series 2) [that] was confounded by bad spelling'; the three Life Force clocks.

To the right of the main article is a column headed 'KNIGHTMARE TRIVIA' containing bullet-pointed facts about: the Amiga 1500 computers used in the making of Knightmare; the actual scale of the (Series 6-7) dwarf tunnels; David Learner's role as Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; Mary Whitehouse's early complaint about KM; KM's last transmission date; the background to KM's cancellation. 'The show was axed after eight series for several business reasons, one being that the channel felt that the audience the show once attracted in the 80s were in the 90s more drawn to playing computer games rather than watching a show that mimicked one.'

In spite of the article's flaws, it seeks to point out what made Knightmare special, as the following extract shows:

'In the show itself, Dungeoneers would face dialogue from bad guys that was reminiscent of grown-up fantasy movies rather than the soft and friendly world of children's TV. The show's creator took things seriously, and this was carried across by the cast of experienced actors.'

The only characters named in the feature are Lord Fear, Treguard and Pickle.

The main article ends by acknowledging Knightmare's enduring popularity.

'Today, Knightmare maintains a loyal fan following both online and in the real world. Dozens of fan sites remain active, while reruns of the shows on channels such as Challenge TV have helped capture a new generation of fans as well as rekindle interest among kids that have grown up. Knightmare also spawned a number of role-playing games of its own as a way of continuing the legacy after the show was eventually axed in the 90s.

After all, even for Treguard, the bell must eventually toll...'

[Previous version: 2008-08-18 13:36:29]

Provided By: David, 2017-01-21 14:50:17
Thumbs up    Thumbs down
1 up, 0 down
login to vote