Knightmare Lexicon - A Knightmare Encyclopædia

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1. Challenge
A television channel showing gameshows and gaming based programmes who have been responsible for the majority of repeats of Knightmare since the programme ended, showing it from 2002-2007 and 2013 onwards.
 [Related Image] The origins of the channel go back to the 1st September 1993, when The Family Channel launched on Sky Television. After a few years it was realised that the gameshows were outrating all the other programmes, so the channel was rebranded to Challenge TV on the 3rd February 1997.
 [Related Image] In 1999, with the online Knightmare community blossoming and the Sci-Fi Channel having recently stopped showing the programme, fans began emailing the channel asking about the possibility of repeats. Although things seemed positive at first, the response was that they didn't feel the programme was suitable for the channel, due to it being a childrens show. However, they were the most enthusiastic of all the channels tried, and one Viewer Relations reply even included the sender's memories of the show ("I was also an avid fan (although I thought it was better before they introduced the "Pickles" character, played by David Learner who is also famous for being the bloke in the Marvin the Paranoid Android suit in the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, did you know that?!")). On the whole, though, things didn't look good.
 [Related Image] Until 2002. In August Challenge? (as they were now called) revealed their plans to show cult gameshows at Christmas, and asked the Challenge Forum for ideas on which ones to show. Knightmare was one of them. On the 15th October, official member tash_ba2 asked "We are hoping to acquire this programme and I was wondering if there are any particular episodes that you enjoyed, can you remember what years of Knightmare were the best?". Although responses were varied, one member (Debz G) suggested Series 3 because "its a brilliant example of Tim Child's creativity". On the 21st October it was posted that "the negotiations to get the rights are still in progress, but it's looking likely that we'll be showing it, and not just for Christmas..." It was confirmed on the 19th November, in a month which also saw KMVR announced. Several fans stated at the time that, in regards to Knightmare Knews, it had been the best month in history.

At 2.55pm on the 23rd December, Series 3 Episode 1 was shown, the first Knightmare repeat in four years. Like the other 'Christmas Cult Selection' shows it was prefaced with a specially filmed two-and-a-half-minute documentary, in this case featuring interviews with Tim Child and Hugo Myatt. This was repeated several times in 2002 and 2003, though the full version, featuring other interviewees such as Debz G herself, was never shown. For more information see the dedicated page here.

Over the next two years, the other 7 series were also bought; here's a guide of the first Challenge airdates of each series.

Series 3: 23rd December 2002 - 23rd February 2003
Series 4: 2nd June - 17th June 2003
Series 5: 20th October - 24th November 2003
Series 6: 13th April - 30th April 2004
Series 7: 3rd May - 21st May 2004
Series 8: 24th May - 4th June 2004
Series 1: 7th June - 16th June 2004
Series 2: 17th June - 8th July 2004

Viewing figures on the channel are hard to research due to the massive popularity of Japanese import 'Takeshi's Castle' during this time, which was the most watched programme on the channel and would dominate the majority (if not all) of the weekly top 10 highest rated programmes. Knightmare's first appearance in this top 10 was an episode repeated at 6pm on Wednesday 18th June 2003, ranking #9 with an audience of 80,000 viewers. A few weeks later (12/07/2003) a Saturday repeat at the same time ranked at #8, with the same audience figure. By October 2003 figures were up to 100,000 and a Series 5 episode ranked at #6 on the 22nd of that month. Knightmare's final appearance in a top 10 was in May 2004, when a Series 8 repeat on the 26th sneaks in at #10 with an audience of 60,000. As the British Audience Research Board only publish these top 10 figures, full ratings for all episodes are unknown. It should also be noted that ratings, particularly on a small minority channel such as Challenge, are achieved using a small sample of audience which is then boosted up for an approximate country-wide figure, meaning it's impossible to calculate exactly how many people saw the series.

Episodes were on the whole generally unedited, save the insertion of an advert break midway through each episode as the show was never aired with adbreaks during its CITV run. Fourteen seconds at the end of episode 14 of Series 6 were also removed, to cut out a CITV reference, but the full clip can be seen on The original 'Anglia Production' endcap to the Series 1 episodes was restored, having been replaced by a more modern logo when the Sci-Fi Channel repeated the series. For the 2013 repeats the Anglia logo (by now a company long vanished into the past) was replaced with a modern and somewhat anachronistically jarring endcap for ITV Studios, a company that didn't exist until over twenty years later.

A number of adverts were made to promote the show:

*For Series 4's premiere showing an advert was made featuring a group of office workers re-enacting Knightmare in their workplace, making another colleague with a bucket on his head repeatedly bump into a wall. This can be seen at here, though there was also a longer cut with the workmates re-enacting several other Challenge shows.

*That August, for a repeat run of Series 4, a joint advert promoting both Knightmare and The Crystal Maze was shown, featuring clips from both shows. This referenced the extremely hot summer of that year (2003), starting with a clip of Treguard saying "Looking for adventure, are you? Well you've certainly come to the right place" followed by a Jamaican voiceover saying "You heard the beardy man!", going on to say to avoid the heat by staying in and watching KM and TCM on Challenge, as part of the 'Action & Adventure' block. This can also be viewed at on the same page.

*Another joint advert was made for Series 5's premiere. Arguably the most surreal of the lot, this featured Treguard talking with The GamesMaster, star of the 1990s video game show which was being shown after KM at the time. Animated by manipulating still pictures, both Treguard and The GamesMaster's voices were done by impersonators, and had them discuss each other's shows, ending with Treguard asking The GamesMaster for help on a video game.

*Series 6's premiere in 2004 had an advert featuring clips from that series, with an announcer stating several things that Knightmare pre-dated, such as games consoles and mobile phones (both were incorrect - Atari had been making consoles since the 70s, and the first mobile came out in the UK in 1985).

*Series 1's premiere also had an advert featuring clips, the announcer stating that this is 'where it all began'.

The repeats introduced fans to episodes they haven't seen since their original transmission, or never before, as well as gaining lots of new fans ranging from those aged about 10, to those in their 60s (and beyond, possibly). They also gave people a legal way of owning episodes by taping them off TV, and made the Knightmare Forum a very busy place, with a whole new 'Episode Discussion' sub-forum being created in 2004 due to the many individual episode threads being created. An astonishing 157 threads and 2,805 posts were made during the Series 7-8 repeats in May 2004.

Despite this, there was also criticism. At the time of the initial Challenge repeats, the channel was only available on satellite and cable television. Many fans either still had analogue, five-channel television (which ended in stages across the UK from 2007-2012) or the free digital network Freeview, which had a limited channel selection. Attempts to persuade Flextech to put the show on former channel FTN, a Freeview channel which broadcast a mixture of shows on channels owned by Flextech (including Challenge) proved fruitless. The fact that the episodes became readily available also encouraged people to sell illegal DVD copies for a profit on eBay. There were also complaints about the announcers who talk over the end credits to advertise the next programme; the announcements were often very sarky in tone, talking about Treguard's 'fake tan' and joking that all the actors are now out of work. This ceased in September 2004 after the show moved to an early morning slot, where there were no announcers.

As the rights to the series expired they gradually disappeared from Challenge. Series 3 was the first to go, last shown during the 9th - 30th July 2004 with the rights running out at the end of that year. In March 2006 the show was put on a break for several months, causing concern from fans as the Series 4 rights were soon to expire, and this meant there would be no final opportunity of getting them on tape. Therefore Series 4 was given a final showing from the 2nd - 23rd May, shortly before the rights expired on the 31st. It then returned again for a final showing of Series 5 from 4th - 25th September 2006, and repeats of the remaining five series continued intermittently into the New Year.
 [Related Image] On Saturday, 31st March 2007, Knightmare's original repeat run on Challenge came to an end with a showing of episode 5 of Series 7. By now the programme was being broadcast in a graveyard slot at 3am, and the last line heard on the channel was "However, harm will come to you if you don't step back!". The rights to the rest of the series then expired and they had no plans to renew them, bringing to an end over four years of Knightmare repeats on the channel. Broadcast for longer than the three years of the Sci-Fi Channel's repeat run, it meant that once again, Knightmare was off television.
 [Related Image] Forward five years to 2012 and the televisual and online world is a different place. Challenge, no longer owned by Flextech and instead by BSkyB, finally launched on Freeview in February 2011. A Freesat launch followed in December 2012. With the digital switchover complete, every household in the United Kingdom now has easy access to the channel. Online, Challenge have accounts on the popular social messaging services Facebook and Twitter, and by 2012 were receiving many requests to resume their Knightmare repeats. As with their initial words back in 1999, the reaction was pleasingly optimistic, with said requesters receiving responses that they were "looking into" and then "working on" the matter. Two episodes of Series 7 were repeated on the CITV Channel in January 2013, gaining strong online reaction and strengthening the cause.
 [Related Image] In April 2013, Challenge announced that Series 1 and 2 of Knightmare had been repurchased, and in an astonishing move were being broadcast at 10:30pm on Friday nights, repeated 11:30am on Saturdays (with further repeats of the first four episodes at 7:30pm on Sundays and of the first three episodes at 5:30pm on the following Fridays). In a wonderful double-bill package they would be preceded by the first two series of Fun House, unseen since 1989-90.

Although the publicity for the repeat run had seemed strong in 2002-4, the effort undertook by Challenge in 2013 was immense. Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts were made in the build-up to the repeats, and Hugo Myatt (along with Pat Sharp for Fun House) recorded specially-written continuity announcements for the channel. Two of these involved Hugo spellcasting the name Challenge and inviting the "brave dungeoneer" to join him for the show; others involved "Ooh nasty" and "It's only a game. Isn't it?". Series 1, Episode 1 began the new repeat run on the 10th May, 2013. Knightmare trended as a hot topic on Twitter that evening, many watching the episode for the first time or since the original transmission. The following week's BARB ratings (w/e 19/05/2013) for the timeshare channel Challenge +1 saw Series 1, Episode 2 of Knightmare as the second most-watched programme of the week, Fun House doing similarly well at number 6. This makes it by far the highest-ranked showing of Knightmare in the channel's history, beating the 6th place it received in 2003.

The dungeon had, happily, unfrozen again once more.
 [Related Image] After completing its Late Zone run of Series 1-2 repeats, Challenge briefly froze the dungeon before embarking on another run of S1-2 showings, this time in a teatime slot. These were abandoned partway into Series 2.

Challenge's season of first episodes will include a showing of Knightmare on 29th December. While further repeats of Series 1 and 2 followed in the autumn of 2014 and intermittently during the first half of 2015, it seemed the high hopes among fans of Series 3-8 repeats might not be so easily realised.

That is, until Challenge announced in June 2015 that it had signed a new deal to show Series 3 and 4, and would commence doing so in September (later revised to Sunday 25th October, with weekly double bills planned). A dedicated trailer was created for this.

Following its repeats of Series 3, Challenge confirmed that repeats of Series 4 would commence on Sunday 20th December 2015 in the usual timeslot (10-11am, a double bill).

Then came the Christmas break, with Series 4 resuming on Sunday 10th January 2016.

Series 3 of Knightmare was repeated on Challenge from Sunday 28th August 2016 at 9am.

In August 2019, Dom Wilkins, Challenge's Scheduling Manager from 2011-15, tweeted:

'When I looked after Challenge we talked about bringing it back endlessly but was cost prohibitive for a small channel because of worries about making the computer stuff look good but maybe a simpler approach would work as per stage show [Knightmare Live]'

Challenge's current Knightmare webpage is here.

(Original entry written 2006. Current version includes additions by Lexicon moderator)

Provided By: Billy, 2013-05-28 21:47:15
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2. Challenge

Digital & Satellite currently reshowing Knightmare, as of 2004 they own the rights of all 8 series. For current listings go to the Challenge Website
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Provided By: ringmasterrob, 2004-10-25 17:18:54
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