Mark Wickson, dungeoneer of Knightmare's first winning team in Series 2 (1988).

Mark Wickson (1988)

By Nicholas Lam

Mark Wickson, Knightmare's first winning dungeoneer, describes his filming experience.


History was made in 1988 when Mark, Daniel, Matthew and Jonathan, the fourth team of Series 2, became the first team to win Knightmare.

Within moments of the team's victory being shown on Children's ITV, dungeoneer Mark was on air speaking to presenter Mark Granger by phone:

DownloadHear the call (209.03kB)

In 2004, Mark told us about his Knightmare experience.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Mark, the dungeoneer.

On becoming the first winners

Very weird! It's like nothing you've done before or seen anyone else do. You really can't believe that you'll do it, then when it happens you're too stunned to take it all in. It's only later, when you actually see it and get feedback, that it begins to sink in.

We just thought nobody would ever win, that's just how it was. Winning was an unattainable dream.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Mark collects the final quest piece on the penultimate platform.

From the moment you step into the studio, you realised that something we'd been dreaming about for over a year had finally happened.

We had successfully applied for Series 1, but due to time restraints got 'bumped' into Series 2. Being there and having the chance to do something so special was 'winning' for us.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Mark is stood on an arrow at the end of the dungeon.

There was a quick cola and then back on the train to Oxford... Pretty much what 13-year-olds are able to get away with!

On the Silver Spurs

Yes, they're somewhere in the attic. They aren't the most impressive looking things, but then we didn't do it to win prizes.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. The winners receive a Silver Spurs medal from Anglia Television.

 

Time backstage

Backstage moments consist of sitting around waiting in the green room playing on the Commodore 64. Once the quest was finished we got a guided tour of the studio and behind-the-scenes things like computer effects and wardrobe.

It's also odd to think that when we were having lunch in the studio canteen a few of the actors would be in there too, but since they were out of costume and make-up, we didn't recognise them.

Scariest moment?

The cavernwights. Believe me, they felt a lot scarier than the cuddly wombles that they looked like. And if you look at me when I meet Gumboil, I nearly jump in the air as I was so scared when he first speaks.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Gumboil the guard is grateful for a bribe.

Possibly though it might be trying to climb into the wells. Tim Child had come up with the idea that the dungeoneers should zoom into them.

This meant that a 'well' was constructed at an angle, then placed up high, then the dungeoneer crawled into it at an angle, and went down a slide, which when shown on the TV looks like I'm disappearing down the well.

But having to wear a helmet, a knapsack, and not fall off the precarious ladder was something of a challenge.

 

How long it took

I think we were in Norwich for 9 days, but the quest itself took about 4 days. And that entailed being in the studio for about 7 hours a day, with each room taking over an hour to set up.

We initially stayed in the studio waiting for the previous team to complete their quest, and as no one knew when they would finish it meant a lot of waiting around.

We were put up in the Lord Nelson Hotel. On a recent trip to Norwich I saw it again, which brought back some happy memories.

The Knightmare production team were very generous: not only did they put us up in a very swish hotel (swish to 13-year-olds at least), but they also let us have an unlimited room service tab.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Mark meets the great wizard in his chamber.

Any refilming?

Not really, just one or two rooms where something technical (like sound or graphics) went wrong, but that was literally only once or twice. I don't think it would have worked if there had been any element of rehearsing to it.

We did a 'test' room before we actually started the quest, just to establish the easiest way to do things, and so that we wouldn't make any silly mistakes.

Knightmare Series 2 Team 4. Folly introduces a card game.

The reaction after appearing on TV

Big from the kids, confused from the teachers, but they were happy to announce that Wood Green School pupils won hehe.

The reaction now is more impressive, with cries of "Oh my god you won Knightmare!" from various people in their twenties. It's surprising to think just how well remembered Knightmare is.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in this website, and all of the fans that keep the memory of Knightmare alive. It's a real honour to be remembered and to be part of something so special.

Our thanks to Mark for getting in contact and sharing his experiences.

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