Knightmare was an adventure game show ran on CITV from 1987 to 1994. It used a team of four children, one who had to travel the dungeon, and three acting as their guide through the medieval playing field. The show was well known for it’s use of blue screen and virtual reality, both of which were still fairly new at the time.
1. The shows life force meter, a mix of a clock and progress meter used to track how much energy and time the dungeoneer had left, couldn’t be seen by the player. It was added for viewers, but the Dungeon Master Treguard would often warn them if they were wasting life force by taking too long.
2. The weird skull on legs had a name. It was called the catacombite in the show, but the crew nicknamed it Eric.
3. Knightmare cost £50,000 to make each episode. That was quite a substantial at the time.
4. The cost partly lead to the shows decline. Creator Tim Child felt the show should use the latest high-quality virtual reality technology, but that was too expensive for the series at the time.
5. There are multiple official Knightmare game books, which are a mix of TV characters and new ideas. The third game books include Norse god Thor barbecuing a dinosaur, a vampire slaying nun and a demonic figure who quotes Sympathy for the Devil.
6. Knightmare fans are rich in both nostalgia and cash. Crowdfunding campaigns have fully funded Knightmare Live, David Rowe’s Art of Knightmare book and the Knightmare Convention.
7. Creator Tim Child was sometimes given feedback on the teams by the actors. He said to gameshow website Bothers Bar that: “Level 1 was about making good teams better and identifying bad teams early. I don’t like wasting good adventures on poor teams, and the cast felt the same. ‘Kill them Tim’, they’d say to me in the corridor. ‘This lot are pathetic.’ Usually I’d give them one chance to improve, and then we’d move them into something difficult.”
8. You might be wondering if any teams actually made it to the end. Over eight series 69 teams tried to best the challenge but only eight teams ever won. They got a maid, a talisman, 3 crowns, 2 shields and a sword, but none of them won the cup.
9. There were 14 different ways Knightmare quests could end, and 12 of them were deadly.
10. The show was largely inspired by two ZX Spectrum games. Atic Atac and Dragontorc. The show borrowed the concepts of using wells to change levels, as well as the life force meter. The show itself had a ZX Spectrum game in 1987.
11. The use of a blue screen environment was taken from the technique used in weather forecasts. The realistic backgrounds were created by artist David Rowe.
12. The CG environments were were created by the Travelling Matte Company using a Spaceward SuperNova computer. The company was owned by set designer Robert Harris, who was trained in set design and had worked on the BBC version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The show required real time CGI inserts, which were done using Ultimatte.
13. Two versions of Knightmare were made for other countries. The french Le Chevalier Du Labyrinthe, and the Spanish El Rescate Del Talisman. German and American versions were also considered,
14. In August 2013 YouTube’s Geek Week event had a one-off special edition episode, It was directed and produced by Tim Child, featured three original cast members, and had a team of dungeoneers made of youtube content creators.
15. If you still want more information on the series there’s a Knightmare Wiki, called The Knightmare Lexicon which has over a thousand articles.
These and more facts can be found in ’30 Facts about Knightmare’, hosted by knightmare.com.