Knightmare Lexicon - A Knightmare Encyclopædia

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1. Christmas
The annual December 25th celebration of Jesus Christ's birth, and the holiday period surrounding that day. For many, the religious significance of Christmastime is less important than its value as a time for relaxation, traditional celebration and family togetherness. You probably knew that already, but I felt a general introduction was worthwhile.

For information on Christmas pantomimes which featured Knightmare actors, please see the Lexicon entry on pantomime.

One of the many enduring Christmas customs is the sending of greetings cards, and Broadsword Television, the company behind Knightmare, was no exception. In the 1980s, David Rowe designed a card featuring Knightmare creator Tim Child as Father Christmas on a sleigh filled with presents. Below is the design Broadsword used in the mid-1990s.

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 [Related Image] The design appears to be based on a comic strip by the same cartoonist, Arlo Worts, from Volume 3 Issue 1 of The Quest magazine, pictured here.
 [Related Image] Volume 2 Issue 1 of The Quest carried the image a Christmas card sent in by KAC member Sebastian Murphy. In 2004, Tim Child shared an online Televirtual Christmas card with the discussion forum.
The most obvious connection between Knightmare and Christmas is what happened at the end of Episode 16 of Series 4 (originally shown on 22/12/90), the last in that series, after Treguard had reunited Team 8 of Series 4, their quest curtailed by the end-of-series phase shift, and Merlin had arrived.
 [Related Image] MERLIN: Only one thing approaches, and anyone but a half-witted elf-wit would know what it is. Do you want a hint?

[PICKLE nods.]

MERLIN: Very well.

[He conjures up Christmas decorations in the antechamber. The opening of 'Deck The Halls' plays.]

There. It is Christmas that approaches. In fact, it is almost upon us. You do want to be home for Christmas, don't you, boys?

[THE TEAM nods.]

MERLIN: Yes, I thought so.

[THE TEAM is then dismissed by Treguard.]

TREGUARD: ... Have a safe journey home, and a very Merry Christmas to you.

This has proved a highly controversial scene among Knightmare fans, with many (but not all) expressing a dislike of it, partly because it compounded disappointment over the team apparently not having quite enough time to complete their quest. Here are some of the comments shared on the Forum:

'I'd much prefer to have seen the dungeon collapsing as we had in previous years.' - Grimaldine Grimwold

'the ending itself was poor.. but i guess a kids show at Xmas what u want?' - Mephistopheles

'The Xmas side of things from Merlin was a nice touch to the end of the season! lol' - Leggy1210

'I think the end to Series 4 is sickening, with my main focus for scorn being that dreadful Christmas scene, which I just can't watch.' - Grimaldine Grimwold

'[An] ending that's pretty much universally despised by everyone.' - Billy, formerly BillyH

'the end of season 4 would have been much better if merlin made mince pies as well as decorations' - Rachelesque

'For so many fans [it] was really not in keeping with the spirit of Knightmare ... Christmas on TV tends to be about cosiness, sentimentality and happy endings - and most of the time, Knightmare never pretended to be about that. What made it worse for fans was that the Christmas scene turned out to be John Woodnutt/Merlin's final one in Knightmare, and putting up decorations was not exactly a majestic way for such a fine actor and powerful character to be rounded off after four years.' - Drassil

'anything was better than that Series 4 Christmas scene with Merlin!' - Grimaldine Grimwold

'the best ending of any series. No contest. Oh. Sorry. Wait a second...Lie Mode cancel...ahem ... the less said about the chrimbo ending, the better.' - Dark Descender

Even more noteworthy are the comments shared on the forum by some of the team members themselves:

'We hated that, it was really childish and made us feel really uncomfortable. It was filmed in mid august too.' - Giles (dungeoneer)

'The "you do want to be home for Christmas, don't you boys?" does seem a bit redolent of a public school of a bygone era. Maybe we should have said "Surely, Santa Claus - sorry, Merlin, we're not going to miss Christmas if we stay here another fifteen minutes or so to complete our quest, are we?!".' - Brett (advisor and team captain)

In 2014, the blog Curious British Telly commented: 'At the time we were absolutely overjoyed. School had finished a few hours earlier and we were getting more and more excited by the minute. The icing on the cake was this short, magical segment which left us with a huge smile on our face. Giles and his team weren't exactly singing "Joy to the World" what with their quest being cut short though...'

In the quest of Team 6 of Series 5, Pickle declared Elita losing her voice to be "the best thing that's happened under the horizon since Christmas."

When Motley is released from stasis by Team 1 of Series 8, he finishes off a joke, whose punchline seems to centre around a Chinaman pronouncing Christmas as "Chlistmas".

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This photo shows that in 2000, Anglia Television had a Christmas tree positioned near their awards cabinet - which Knightmare had helped to fill.
 [Related Image] The run-up to Christmas 2002 was a time of particular rejoicing in the Knightmare fan community, with the news that TV channel Challenge? would be showing Knightmare from that Christmas onward. After repeating KM Series 3 as part of its 'Christmas Cult Selection', Challenge? went on to purchase and transmit the other seven series of Knightmare as well.

Knightmare and Christmas have together inspired fanfiction. The first was Christmas at Knightmare Castle, published in Volume 2 Issue 1 of The Quest. Not one but two fanfics exist with the title Lord Fear's Christmas Carol. The first was by Rosey Collins, sister of Jake Collins, and was published in the December 1996 issue of The Eye Shield. The second, 7 years later, was by Martin Odoni. The Forum's Interactive Story #4 took on a Christmas theme, with Treguard and others embarking on a quest to rescue Christmas from Merlin's crazed clutches. Drassil's fanfic The Three of Hearts is set around Christmastime. The Knightmare Audio Series has had Christmas Specials in 2011 and 2012, containing Yuletide elements.

Knightmare/Christmas filks have been written too, with Christmas songs being reworked into Knightmare-themed parodies. December 2002 gave rise to the first of these, with 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' spontaneously becoming a Knightmare filk, courtesy of a collaborative effort by Forum members. A year later, a parody 'We Three Kings' was composed via the same method. Other examples include:

Wham's Last Christmas reworked by Drassil, and later once more by Billy & Darren & Mashibinbin;

White Christmas becoming Quest Victory through Ringmasterrob's efforts;

'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', parodied by Becxsmagic;

Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? rewritten as Do They Know It's Quest Mess? by Drassil.

The latter was recorded in 2005 as a mock charity single by a group of Knightmare fans, Wall Aid 11. At the end of the song, Merlin is heard saying, "You do want to be home for Christmas, don't you, boys?" followed by several members of Wall Aid 11 exclaiming, "No!" That same audio clip formed the opening of the follow-up recording of Christmas 2007: All I Want Is Knightmare To View by Sing Back Knightmare.

In December 2014, a tweet from Susan Child (@susanEMChild) referred to a young grandson who 'rumbled his grandfather dressed up as Father Christmas!' This could be taken to suggest that Tim Child has been known to 'cosplay' in the most Christmassy of outfits.

[Earlier versions: 2008-07-25 15:30:45, 2015-08-24 17:47:44]

Provided By: David, 2024-05-06 16:21:34
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