'Knightmare' - the Kids' TV Show Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

'Knightmare' - the Kids' TV Show

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Nostalgia is dead - or at least, that's what they used to say, back in the good old days...
- Simon Munnery aka The League Against Tedium

It is said that one of the first signs of old age is the yearning for days past - indeed, when there are plans (at the time of writing) for Andy Pandy to return to kids' TV in the UK, the I Love 19** series proving to be very popular to the viewers of the 20-40 age category, and of course the recent success of School Disco; one must wonder, is our view of childhood, and in particular, childhood televisual delights, just a little rose-tinted?

Perhaps; but there was one programme which had children literally rushing home from school to see.

The Machinations Behind the Magic

In the 1980s...

It could be said that the BBC and the ITV have some kind of bitterly fought out rivalry, and this stretches as far as the seemingly innocent realms of children's programming.

Even in the 1980s, the Children's BBC and the Children's ITV were fighting it out programme-wise. The BBC, unsurprisingly seemed to have the upper hand in children's programming, with ITV merely following in its very large wake.

That was until a journalist and development producer for Anglia Television had an idea which would challenge the programming might of Auntie Beeb herself, and make CITV a programming force to be reckoned with.

Spring 1985

Tim Child, in his role as a journalist, had a weekly review of the plantlet computer industry. The 8-bit was king, and was kick-starting the small flakes which were to eventually form the snowballing dot-com revolution. He was well situated to report on this - after all, Sinclair and Acorn were in nearby Cambridgeshire.

His elder sister was working in middle management for the aforementioned Sinclair - the company that was to produce the first affordable home computer1. These were good for office activities, and also more importantly for Tim, namely because of the games. To be more specific, adventure games of the fantasy role-playing type.

This pricked an idea. If something as basic as an 8-bit computer with virtually no processing power could produce a highly addictive game, then how about getting around the leap of imagination required in playing those early computer games with the visual power of television?

The idea was there - but how to make it work? Computer-generated imagery was not at all good, so that option was out. The simplistic graphics painted in lurid colours from the games were not that convincing either. What were needed were the fantasy illustrations on the boxes of those games - airbrushed wonders of a convincing quality. David Rowe was the artist of choice. His rendering of gothically dank and dark stonework impressed Tim, and they worked together in creating the rooms within the three levels of increasing difficulty which would form the Dungeon.

Now the problem was getting in to the airbrushed fantasy.

Blue for You...

Chromakey, or more commonly called blue-screen technology2, was, and continues to be, used for weather forecasts. The forecaster stands in front of a bright blue screen, and then the blue is 'deselected'. The screen is then replaced with the weather map.

The answer was simple. Make a room which is completely blue, and have each illustration conform to its dimensions. Although every room would be a similar size and shape, the aspects of decoration such as windows, styles, and doors would be different.

Then there was a further problem. There would be only a limited number of rooms, and a requirement for a few fantasy baddies. So how did they get around this?

Again, the computer came back to save them - or more specifically, Robert Harris and The Travelling Matte Company3. Although the technology wasn't powerful enough to create a convincing looking room, it could alter its lighting, colour, and hue to give a different atmosphere. Monsters, the 'life force' sequence, and falling sequences were all in the memory and edited together on the computer.

A Dungeonmaster was also required, and the character of Treguard Dunshelm was born

There was also a final problem. The televisuals were great, but if you were to walk into the studio, you would be met by disappointment. So how was the young Dungeoneer going to walk around the fabulous set if all they were going to see was blue? The answer was again simple. Cover their eyes with the 'Helmet of Justice' (in truth, just a helmet with horns) making sure they only see what's immediately below their noses. That way, the mystery and illusion would not be shattered. Have them guided via an audio link by a team of, say, three friends back in Treguard's antechamber - and there you have it: Dungeon Doom!

That was the original working title. Tim had the sense to change it after the successful pilot to what we know it as today: Knightmare.

Main Objective of the Game

A team of four would enter the fantasy world of Knightmare via Treguard's antechamber in Dunshelm Castle (in later series, Knightmare Castle). Their task was to retrieve an item from an assortment of items as proof of their chivalry. Later on, this item was vital to 'The Powers That Be' - those characters who struggled against the might of the oppressive and nefarious 'Opposition' who would stop at nothing to see the gruesome end of the plucky young challengers.

One member of the team would be chosen as the helmeted Dungeoneer, and be guided around the many rooms of the Dungeon by the rest of the team watching through the magic mirror back in the safe confines of Treguard's antechamber.

They had to complete all three levels of increasing difficulty (shortcuts notwithstanding), make successful alliances with characters in the Dungeonworld and overcome many perilous and brain-wrangling challenges along the way. Excellent teamwork, good communication skills, a fine sense of logic, and in some cases blind luck, were essential to completing the Dungeon.

The Dungeon Opens, 1987-1990

Even with all the illustrations, Chromakey, and the occasional ad-libbing thespian, there was a definite lack of movement in the game. After all, the Dungeoneer would walk into a room, stand about a bit, then walk awkwardly towards the exit on the sometimes-poor directions of the team of watchers. Virtual reality castle rooms were mooted, and then quickly brushed aside as an option. Like the 8-bit computer games which spawned the programme's concept, the graphics then were very poor. The solution was again simple.

Britain is chock-full of old castles containing grandiose rooms and many dark and dank dungeons. So why not go around the country, film them all a bit, and use them? This is what they did and the result is instant fantasy Dungeon! This also opened up another fantasy idea: flying sequences with a dragonride. The procedure of attaching a camera to a mini-helicopter and having it fly over hill and dale was already in use in many natural history programs to imitate the flight of birds. Using this footage (courtesy of Helifilms, the company that provided the heli-camera), and with Chromakey putting a large mechanical dragon in there, it all gave the illusion of flight - and thus Smirkenorff the Dragon was born.

There was a downside to all this, and that was the game was to become much more linear. Whereas in Rowe's airbrushed world, there was a greater sense of interactivity with the Dungeon's many paths, now the destination seemed fixed with only one path to the only end available.

Tim4 then came up with a little change.

The Mid-Point, 1991

With the loss of exploration came a need for a stronger sub-plot, and the character of Lord Fear was created - although he, along with other characters, will be described in the second part to this entry, Characters from 'Knightmare' - the Kids' TV Show.

There was now a definite menace in 'The Opposition' with 'The Powers that Be' exercising their might in the constant battle of good versus evil. Interaction with the set was sacrificed for greater interaction with a stronger cast, and it was the information you gleaned from others which could be vital to completing the task.

The 'Spyglass', a magnifying glass-type object was introduced, and this could give you a view into Lord Fear's secret discussions of his next thoroughly evil plan. In addition, the audience dividing 'Eyeshield'5 was introduced as a standard item rather than being found on a table or given to the Dungeoneer by a character in a previous series. This enabled the watchers from the antechamber to view the path of the Dungeoneer as they walked outside.

By this time Knightmare had built up quite a strong following of 4-5 million viewers. Children were rushing home to watch the game's genuinely tense moments. Would they survive the perplexing 'Play Your Cards Right'6 causeway? Or the now notorious computer animated 'Corridor of Blades', which was the sticky bisection of many a Dungeoneer?

In fact, it was the 'death' of Dungeoneers which nearly caused those of the so-called moral right to furrow their brows in disgust. Mary Whitehouse, spokesperson for the self-appointed Viewers and Listeners Association, described the show as 'terrible' despite having never seen it. It later emerged that the tabloid press, in their zealousness, had accosted her just as she was coming back from the shops and said 'There's this new television show coming out and they're killing children on it. What do you say to that?'

To her credit Whitehouse later apologised and, after watching the show, gave it her approval. The moral right followed and instead focused on Grange Hill, which was by this time tackling much more difficult issues, and fast turning into the EastEnders of Children's BBC.

On saying that, you may have assumed with the linearity of this game, that the show was a walkover. This was certainly not the case. Communication and teamwork were key to avoiding a messy end, as was demonstrated in what was probably one of the shortest quests.


It's Level Two, and the Dungeoneer enters the room. Just when you don't need it, two minions of the Opposition - miremen, approach.

On asking Treguard whether she can come back, he replied curtly:

No, you must remember the first rule of the Dungeon - the only way is onward - turn back you'll walk into greater peril.

On some panicky consideration, her guides ask the Dungeoneer to take a small step back. For some reason, whether it was a communications breakdown or just plain force of habit, she takes a giant step forward... straight into a mireman. Instant death in a green flash.

Treguard, as always, had the last word:

Well you didn't have much of a chance there girls, at least not without a weapon of defence. A fireball might have done the trick but then you didn't pick up any, did you?

They lasted all of 11 minutes, which probably was best, as escape was not really an option available to them.

End-Game, 1992-1994

ITV now had the upper hand in the battle for children's television supremacy. Knightmare had now been running for seven years and had proved that from its quirky beginnings it was a winner. But the very nature of its slow gameplay was to further frustrate television executives. It was still a game where you went into a room and stood around for a bit, but now you stood around for a bit talking to someone, then walked off in the same awkward manner as before. David Rowe's airbrushed illustrations had been brought back in to try to bring back some of the set interactivity that was lost with the real life castles.

In early 1992 Knightmare, alongside some easily forgettable children's programmes, was nominated for the Royal Television Society's Award for Best Children's Programme. ITV had not won this award for quite some time, and rightly so considering the only other children's programme on ITV which had the same lifespan was the mediocre Fun House7. Knightmare had changed all that, pulling in a sizeable chunk of the post-schooltime audience to ITV.

Somehow, politics were to prevail, and although the vote was close, the award was given as it usually had been, to the BBC. This caused the Sunday Times newspaper to declare this a 'travesty'.

Children were growing up, and the audience was changing to a younger age range of pre-teens. Despite this, viewing figures held admirably. Several changes in management within children's programming at ITV only added to the confusion. Final attempts to add spice to the show were with the addition of the 'Reach' wand to enable the Dungeoneer to touch objects, which caused many to criticise as they had done with the introduction of the 'Eyeshield'. The final nail in the coffin for many was the 'short cut', which would bypass Level Two. This appeared to many like a false attempt to get more teams to win. Despite this only one team did successfully complete the Series Eight Dungeon.

In 1994 under some management pressure, Tim let the series go. The swift changing management meant that he had to restate the case for the game repeatedly. The demographics were changing, as was the technology. Broadsword was working on a new game called Virtually Impossible, which made use of the much improved virtual reality technology and would try to target a younger audience. Hence, from the management an ultimatum was issued; go with either Knightmare or Virtually Impossible, but not both. Tim knew that Knightmare had to move with the technology, and that too, was virtual. Putting it on ice for a bit until the price of high-quality virtual reality came down was the realistic choice.

In the greater game both shows failed to re-emerge with a new series. A brief glimmer of hope came when rivals Children's BBC declared an interest in 1995, but with copyright concerns, that too was extinguished.

However, it is important to stress that Knightmare's death was complex and certainly not wholly the fault of the continuing rivalry between the BBC and ITV, or indeed either corporation's management politics.

Anyway, enough of the concept, technical bits and bureaucracy - what about the game proper? Well, 'enter, stranger', and let's introduce the greater game...

The Greater Game of Knightmare

The Audition

To get on to Knightmare, there was an audition to check to see if you were suitable. The physical side of this required a group of four and they had to be aged 15 or under. An application form would be filled in asking the usual: name, age, sex, 'Why do you want to compete on Knightmare' etc.

After a successful application, the group would be invited to meet Tim Child and someone else from the production crew. After getting to know you generally, the main audition would begin.

The audition involved logic, curiosity, imagination, and decision-making. A typical Knightmare-ish scenario would be told to the group, such as this from a real audition:

It is the deep night and you are stood at the top of a hill, down to the east is a great river, whose opposite bank is lost in the dark mists of the night. On this side of the river is a small but empty jetty. To your north, down the side of the hill there is a cave...

Here, the point is to get to the other side of the river. Obviously, the first thing to do would be to go into the cave - curiosity.

Inside the cave would be a table such as in a Clue Room, with five objects on it8. With a lot of thinking - logic and imagination, and discussion with your team - and decision-making, an item would be selected that would hopefully get them across the water.

The Knightmare crew would be looking for people who had the spirit of the game inside them, worked well, and had potential to complete the Dungeon.

However, not all the people in the team worked well, and this tended to lead to their downfall.


Without traps and pitfalls scattered about the Dungeon, it wouldn't give the team-members' brains something to think about. These were either already set into the Dungeon or installed by Lord Fear and Lissard. Usually to surprise Treguard and the Dungeoneers.

There were several of these, usually before a majorly important room, such as Smirkenorff the Dragon's room, or the room containing the quest item. Sometimes they were really long and drawn out, and normally found when the Dungeoneer was trying to get back to Treguard's antechamber.

  • The Causeway - This was a kind of stepping-stone trap. The Dungeoneer had to cross the Causeway to get to the other side of the room and the exit. Unfortunately, the gap between the Dungeoneer and the exit was filled with pathways of hexagonal stones suspended over a large bottomless pit. There was only one way across the Causeway. Any wrong move meant virtual death; by that, all the wrong stones would collapse into the pit. There was always a logical way across, though.

    An addition to the Causeway itself, in the later series, the Causeway had to be completed in a certain amount of time. If the Dungeoneer did not complete it in time, all the stones would collapse.

  • The Room of Spikes - This was similar to the Causeway, except the floor did not collapse underneath the Dungeoneer. The Dungeoneer had to make their way as quickly as they could to the opposite side of the room, without being impaled on spikes that shot out of the flagstones. There was only one flagstone that was safe, and the Dungeoneer could stay there without getting impaled. However, if they lingered for too long, many of the scenarios explained later in the Clue Rooms section would occur.

  • Play Your Cards Right - This was generally the room before Smirkenorff's room. The Dungeoneer had to cross a large gap to reach the exit by stepping on blocks. However the blocks could only slide out of the wall by the Dungeoneer pressing a playing card. There were two playing cards; one black, and one red. Pressing one card would make the next block slide out of the wall and pressing the other would make the block the Dungeoneer was standing on slide into the wall. Again there was always a logical solution, as the first two blocks were done for you.

  • The Bomb Room - Basically, the Dungeoneer entered a room with a bomb in it. He or she had ten seconds to get out or be blown to pieces. A nasty variation on this was:

  • The Room With The Boom - You'd exit from one bomb room to face another. This time the bomb has a shorter fuse of about five seconds. This had truly pant-filling effects on the team-mates as they would scream to the Dungeoneer to run as fast as they could toward the exit.

  • The Corridor of Blades - This was commonly used when the Dungeoneer was legging it back to Treguard as fast as he/she could. The Dungeoneer would be on a conveyor belt which gradually got faster as time ticked away. Circular saws would come out of the wall and come towards the Dungeoneer, at which the other team-members would shout to run to the safe wall. As the time ticked away and the conveyor belt sped up the saws would be harder to dodge. If a Dungeoneer got hit by a saw they suffered death by removal of torso from legs.

    Sometimes a character would ride along with the Dungeoneer through the Corridor of Blades, but never when the Dungeoneer was on their way back to Treguard. Hordriss and Sidriss tended to do this and there were fewer saws in their cases.

Clue Rooms

Several rooms contained one solitary medium-sized oak table usually positioned towards the bottom-right of the room. As there were no traps or characters in these rooms they were considered to be relatively safe.

On the table would be various objects, usually three to four. One object would be either a scroll or a spyglass, to give clues to what the Dungeoneer should take from the table. Only two items could be removed from the table, and that included food. Scrolls and spyglasses could not be removed.

If the Dungeoneer hung around a clue room for too long, one of the three following scenarios would occur:

  • A giant menacing fireball of magical flame would slowly descend out of nowhere on to the hapless Dungeoneer.

  • A large menacing shadow would increase in size revealing an evil dragon looking for its next meal.

  • A Skeletron/Mireman/Goblin/Frightknight would appear and advance menacingly on to the Dungeoneer.

The Scroll

These were rolled-up pieces of parchment with a cryptic sentence written on it. The sentence was a prompt to help the team to choose what items they should take from the table. The scroll was the first thing each team would ask the Dungeoneer to look at. Sometimes it would have the aforementioned cryptic scribblings and at other times equally cryptic spells.

The Spyglass

Introduced in Series Five with the arrival of Lord Fear, this allowed Dungeoneers to spy upon him and eavesdrop on his plans as he discussed them with Skarkill or Lissard. A valuable source of information, it let Dungeoneers warn other characters of Lord Fear's plans and get them on their side. However, Lord Fear could detect when somebody spied on him and would send a giant menacing fireball through the spyglass. At this point the other team-members would scream 'Put it down! Put it down!' to the Dungeoneer, who would drop the spyglass accordingly.

Spyglasses were never in a clue room at the same time as scrolls, and vice-versa. The Dungeoneers couldn't have too many clues after all.

Spells and their Casting

No respectable fantasy game would be remotely complete without magical spells to aid the team in their quest. Quite often they would be written on scrolls and they could also be obtained from characters within the Dungeon if you gave them something valuable or important.

They would be a word which would give some clue as to what the effect would be. For instance, the 'fire' spell would set loose a fireball, the 'freeze' spell would set the opponent in a block of ice for a short time.

Casting the spell was done by the watching team-mates from the antechamber. In order to cast it they would literally spell out the word. For instance, to cast the 'float' spell, essential for using trapdoors, you would first have to say in a loud and clear voice:


Then spell out the word clearly...


... and watch the spell work. Strategy was required, especially if you have a choice of spells and one very nasty character of The Opposition ready to blow you from one fantasy world to the next. Your choice could literally spell a grand success or an equally grisly end.


The main purpose of the game was to collect a treasure from Level Three of the Dungeon, usually a crown, sword, shield or chalice; a little like the more recent computer game Tomb Raider. There were also many items in the game that could help or hinder the Dungeoneers in their quest. They could be found in the clue rooms, given to them by characters or bought by some object of value. There was a wide range of these items, such as; weapons, magical charms or objects, a former Dungeoneer's humerus, and even a jar of pigeon droppings which in one quest was used to unfreeze Motley the Jester.

However, the most important items were the equipment given to you by Treguard at the beginning and without it, navigation of the Dungeon would be almost impossible.

  • The Knapsack - This was a grey mock-leather satchel rather than a massive bag carried on the back. It was where all the food collected would go, powering the Dungeoneer's 'life force'. Originally the Knapsack could only hold food, but in the final series objects could be carried in it to leave the hands free to do other actions.

  • The Helmet of Justice - This had the same effect as sticking a black binliner over one's head except the wearer could breathe and speak quite easily. Although their vision was impaired and they could only see the floor beneath them. The Helmet of Justice had no real purpose except to 'protect the wearer from the illusions of the Dungeon'. This meant that the wearer would not realise that they were really in a room that was blue.

  • The Eyeshield - This was originally an item given to the Dungeoneer by Hordriss the Confuser to allow the other team-members to see what was going on in the outdoor scenes. However, it was made a compulsory item. It was basically a small shield unable to protect the whole body, with a stylised eye on the front, hence the name, the Eyeshield.

  • The Reach Wand - Introduced in the final series, the Reach Wand allowed the Dungeoneer to touch, push, and strangely enough, 'reach' things. As they used computer-generated puzzles in this series the Reach Wand was very effective. When the Wand was required a crosshair would appear and could be positioned wherever the Dungeoneer wanted it to go. Doors could be opened from the other side of the room if need be. However, many people thought that it was a cop-out and the Reach Wand did not get a good reception.

The Life Force Sequence

As the Dungeoneer made slow progress through the Dungeon as in the computer games which inspired the game, their 'life force' would decrease bit by bit and be restored by putting food in the knapsack. Unlike the computer games, there was no obvious 'health' bar. Instead, in the beginning a more attention grabbing sequence was devised.

You were made aware of a computer animated helmeted head on a green background which would occasionally pop up on-screen. As the Dungeoneer's life force ebbed away to the sound of a heart, firstly, parts of the helmet would fly away. Then as the life force decreased further the background turned a sallow amber, and the skin was dissected away revealing the skull beneath. If you hadn't eaten for ages then this would progress to a more urgent red background, with bits of the skull flying off, leaving only the eyes. Graphic death would occur as the sequence filled the screen and the final eye falling out of sight was accompanied by the dreaded tolling of the bell to sound the unfortunate Dungeoneer's death.

Pretty hardcore stuff you may think. Indeed, for one reason or another, in Series Six and 7 a slightly softer version was used.

The new sequence was that of an armoured walking person. As the Dungeoneer's life force decreased, bits of armour fell off revealing a skeleton beneath. Further depletion of life would be represented as the skeletal figure slowly crumpling up into a heap on the floor. Death occurred when the skeleton was just a pile of bones accompanied by the same tolling of the bell, but the sequence itself was not used to illustrate the death.

In Series Eight the softening of the sequence reached its climax, with the allusions to skulls, bits falling off or the macabre nature of previous sequences being phased out completely. Instead, the relationship betwixt food and life force was reaffirmed. It was now a pretty pork pie. As life force was depleted slices of pie would disappear accordingly. Death via starvation occurred when there was no pie left. The bells would still toll to mark the Dungeoneer's sticky end.


To find out all about the characters of the show, check out the second part of this entry, Characters from 'Knightmare' - the Kids' TV Show.

The Prizes

What would any self-respecting game show be without prizes?

There were prizes, but not the gaudy computers which would need an upgrade as soon as you stepped out of the studio. These were prizes which would mark the occasion.

In Series Two, winning teams were awarded the 'Silver Spurs of Squiredom', which were a large side-plate sized medallion. Come Series Four, these had turned to medals for each member of the team.

The symbol of Lord Fear's power; the Frightknight. But also the sign of a true adventurer!
- Treguard, on the trophy awarded to successful teams in Series Five onwards

In series Five, with the change in the Dungeon came another change in the trophy - a Frightknight. It was awarded to the Dungeoneer to share with the rest of the team.

In Series Seven through to Series Nine, the prize was again a Frightknight trophy, but one for each team member.

For those who didn't quite make it, they didn't go away empty-handed. They were instead given a scroll; perhaps some kind of certificate of participation.

You may cry - but a computer is worth so much more! Why not that if other game shows for kids were doing just that?

The answer for that would be that the Dungeon was so buttock-clenchingly hard. The satisfaction in successfully completing a very hard trap such as The Causeway was reward enough, and the viewers understood this. With so few winning quests after several series9, it was evident that teams were in it for the cameraderie rather than the prizes.

The Present

So what of Knightmare now? Well, it's been kept on ice with no plans to revive it now or in the future.

Tim Child is, at the time of writing, the Managing Director of Televirtual, previously a division of, but now incorporates Broadsword as a sister company. Televirtual is now one of the most successful entertainment-technology companies in the UK and the company which produces virtual actors for all the major channels and other places besides.

David Rowe, illustrator of Knightmare, is currently joint Managing Director of Broadsword, which has now moved away from its television beginnings to the cut-and-thrust world of computer gaming software for the Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, and PC and Mac.

The Future?

Nearly a decade after Knightmare was axed, there are those who seek its return to our screens - indeed an online petition called Bring Back Knightmare has been set up for that very reason. But should it even return? There are two schools of thought on this.

School One: Yes

With all the hype surrounding the film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter it seems that everyone loves fantasy. A game based on such fantasy adventuring would not only be popular, but a rip-roaring success combined with the computer generated wizardry of today. Such an original and magnificant idea as the concept for Knightmare shouldn't be left to just the faded memories of the children of the Eighties and its intelligent programming should have a wider audience. Children today are fed so much trite rubbish from uninspired writing and concepts that they really deserve better, and it appears that TV executives are starting to see sense by re-running or remaking some of the televisual greats of our childhoods. It shouldn't be only marketed as a children's show. In fact, it could potentially have an audience with an older age group. SM:TV has shown that it could not only appeal to the early morning children's slot, but also the massively hungover students waking up on the Saturday morn after the night that was. There is no reason why Knightmare can't do the same. Educational, imaginative, entertaining, and visually stunning; that's what the new Knightmare could be.

School Two: No

Oh it was good, yes, and very good at that. However, the recent spat of TV remakes of old children's programmes is purely there to satisfy our own lost childhoods and the rose-tinted lenses of hindsight just go to show how we can be blinded to the realities of the children of today. Computer games have moved on to the extent that they can think for themselves10, and the graphics for those are screen-lickingly beautiful. What on earth would make any sane person think that this 'real' interactivity could possibly be replaced with watching it on TV? There is a clear difference in the voyeurism of watching to the thrills of actually doing. The only reason that the TV execs are re-running/making old ideas is because they have run out of new ones. In fact, they have a better chance of destroying the concept, shattering your overemotional nostalgia trip. Leave it in the past, so that all can admire it for the brilliance, and not remember it for the shockingly poor remake - the beautiful idea's heart torn to pitying shreds by a flock of scavenging middle-management drones with no original ideas to call their own.


So from unconventional beginnings to quiet expiration, this was the story of probably one of the most memorable children's television shows in the past twenty years. So memorable that in fact, in mid-2001 it reached number 16 in a poll of the 100 Greatest Kids' TV Shows on Channel 4, beating the likes of Thunderbirds (24), Andy Pandy (62) and Button Moon (86).

But ask yourself the question again - was that just rose-tinted and fuzzy focus nostalgia? Who can really tell? Who really cares, or dares to dream?

Let's leave the last words with Treguard...

...The comforting thing is, that whenever the loud challenge rings out... wherever the bully hurls his abuse, there are always a few quiet folk prepared to simply stoop, and pick up the gauntlet.
And it will be thrown down again, you can count on that.

- Treguard, outro of Series Six


  • 'Oooh, nasty...', Treguard's most famous remark to a Dungeoneer's particularly gruesome end, was not in fact a scripted line. Instead, Hugo Myatt ad-libbed it.

  • If you looked closely enough you could see that many of the actors played several different roles giving the impression of a Dungeon full of people. There was in fact a cast of only about 10, including Mark Knight as Lord Fear, and Clifford Barry as Lissard and Brother Strange, the proverb-seeking monk.

  • Although the view from the Eyeshield would give the impression that the Dungeoneer is having a pleasant stroll outside, as is often the case, the Dungeoneer was never outside. Instead, it was a cameraman using a hand-held; walking with the camera at waist-height around a castle in some previously recorded footage. This was then cut in and coloured a primary hue to give the impression of walking around outside.

  • Such was the success of the game, that it was exported to the continent. Le Chevalier du Labyrinthe (literally The Knight of the Labyrinth) was the French version, and the prize was a very un-period SEGA Megadrive. The Spanish version was called El Rescate du Talisman.

1Although Apple had produced the first home computer in the late 70s, it was horrendously expensive.2Called CSO, or Colour Separation Overlay in Britain, the process involves recording action against a primary-coloured screen - usually blue, though green and yellow can also be used - and then replacing the coloured screen in the image with a suitable background. Chromakey is commercial television's name for the technique.3It was him, alongside much-loved director of the TV series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Alan Bell, who pioneered the 'perfectly-aligned matte painting' technique described in the book Don't Panic... by Neil Gaiman, for the pier-end at Southend sequence. This is not the only Hitchhiker's... link, as shall be revealed later.4By Series Two, Tim had left Anglia TV to form Broadsword, the production company which continued with the production of the game.5Divided, as some felt that enabling the Dungeoneer's watchers to 'see' a lot more made the Dungeon a lot easier.6Play Your Cards Right was a TV gameshow in which contestants competed for prizes by trying to predict whether a playing card would, when turned over, be of a higher or lower value than the previous card.7Gunge, prizes, a raucous audience and presenter Pat 'dodgy haircut' Sharpe.8Note that this is all verbal.970 teams entered over the eight series. Only Eight teams were successful.10Albeit on a limited scale

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