Knightmare (CITV, 1987-1994)
One of the all-time classic CITV shows, Knightmare was a sort-of cross between a “choose your own adventure” book and a computer game come to life. The show was hosted by the dungeon master Treguard who watched the progress of the contestants as they hoped to complete the challenges that they would face.
Every week one team of four would enter the dungeon. The one who was chosen to play the game would have to wear a helmet, partly because it would obscure the fact they there were just stood in a blue room with all the computer effects added later using the latest technology, and because it tested their three teammates to give them the correct directions and help solve the challenging puzzles to let them progress throughout the game.
As the player progressed through the game, there was a gauge on the screen to tell us how successfully they were doing, which was indicated by a scary head thing with its eyes popping out. Through the various levels the player would meet a very creative range of characters who would help or hinder them on their way with advice. Treguard would also occasionally drop a hint to help the team out and he was very charismatic.
One of the most memorable parts of the show was when the teammates would have to give directions to help the player avoid obstacles or navigate rooms and watching them shout “left, left, left” as the player failed to run quickly enough and everything started to go wrong was always a memorable moment. “Ooh, nasty” was Treguard’s rather understated response when a player met their gruesome end.
However, some very special teams did go all the way to complete the game and receive lots of praise from Treguard and prizes. It was a magnificent achievement, I would definitely say that being a winner on Knightmare was a great honour, can you imagine, I would definitely boast about it.
Lots of people who watched Knightmare do think that is one of the best shows that there has ever been on CITV, and you won’t find any argument from me on that one. It ran for eight very successful series with over 100 episodes being made, earning some of the highest ratings of any CITV show, and it is still very fondly thought of today.
I do remember always being engrossed by the action on Friday afternoons and wondering what the fate of the teams would be, it was definitely a great way to start the weekend. A couple of episodes where shown as part of the CITV Old Skool Weekend a couple of years ago that were very well received, and Knightmare has even been frequently repeated on Challenge recently too. There have also been foreign versions of the show and there was also some merchandise with books and board games being released, and in more recent years there have been many fan conventions which have been attended by some cast members.