Cliff Barry and Mark Knight answer questions at the Knightmare Convention, 2014.

Ask the Panel

By Keith McDonald

Over the two days of the Convention, audience members got to ask their burning questions to cast and crew from Knightmare.

Our guests included Tim Child, the creator of Knightmare, and David Rowe, the artist behind the dungeon from Knightmare’s early years.

Dungeon Master Hugo Myatt was joined by Iona Kennedy and Opposition members Mark Knight and Cliff Barry to reminisce about their time on the show.

You can follow some highlights below.

They say never work with children, animals and actors. I've worked with all three, and I'm not sure which is worse

Tim Child

Knightmare creator Tim Child speaks during one of the Q&A sessions at the Knightmare Convention 2014

How do you define Knightmare?

Tim Child was asked how he defined Knightmare as a genre. Tim explained that any element of gameplay attracts the label of 'game show' from people involved in television.

Ultimately, he sees Knightmare as an adventure game, unlike replacement show, Virtually Impossible, which he sees as a game show.

"Once, a child cried"

How difficult was it to switch between characters? Iona Kennedy confessed she found it tough to switch between the dizzy Sidriss and the demanding Greystagg.

She admitted that the scheming sorceress Maldame was hardest because of the character's nasty edge.

"Once, a child cried, and I was really upset", she recounts.

Hugo Myatt had to experience the demise of every losing team.

"It is television, and you want good television as well as gameplay," he said. "But more difficult was the feeling of terror when you knew they were going to collapse and fall, and you couldn't stop them. That really bothered me."

Hugo Myatt speaks during one of the Q&A sessions at the Knightmare Convention 2014

Ah Wok

Mark Knight explained that he based the controversial character of Ah Wok on Arthur Daley from Minder - fast-talking and playful. It was designed to lighten the mood from an otherwise serious adventure.

Rothberry, meanwhile, was based on the voice of Claire Rayner, the agony aunt and broadcaster.

Too pantomime for my taste. It was entirely my fault because I was tempted by the fact that I know Mark could be very funny at this sort of part. I wanted the laughs.

Tim Child

The best work

There were lots of questions around favourite moments and favourite lines.

For Cliff Barry, spyglass scenes as Lissard brought out the camaraderie with long-time friend, Mark Knight.

"I got to shoot some lovely scenes with a great mate," he said, tongue-in-cheek. "Mark, despite being a truly appalling human being, is a fantastic actor and a great performer."

It was a deeply joyful place to work. Summer times in Norwich were the best work you could have.

Cliff Barry

Cliff Barry speaks during one of the Q&A sessions at the Knightmare Convention 2014

Both Cliff and Mark said they enjoyed the roleplaying aspect rather than dreading it, as it showed the enthusiasm of the players.

"It's good fun," says Mark. "Somebody who would get witty was good because you could play along a bit and then deliver the message."

Losing status

Asked about the so-called 'losing status', Tim Child explained that a certain pragmatism was needed to create the show.

If a team had made an error that would end the game but a backup team wasn’t available at that point, it often made sense to extend the adventure by a few more scenes.

"That wasn't cheating the game," he says. "They got their just deserts from it. But they didn't always get it at their convenience. Sometimes, they got it at mine."

Knightmare creator Tim Child shares a joke with Mark Knight and Cliff Barry during one of the Q&A sessions at the Knightmare Convention 2014

A future Knightmare

There were several questions around what a future Knightmare might look like. VR or bluescreen? Children or adults?

Tim was quick to explain that these decisions would be made by broadcasters, but his preference would be 'mixed reality' events that involve real people rather than entire animation.

Mark Knight believes it's a chance to explore new technologies. Online worlds such as Second Life and full-scale VR open many more new avenues beyond a studio in Norfolk, he says.

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