Joanne Heywood, who played Stiletta in Series 8 of Knightmare in 1994.

Interview with Joanne Heywood

By JamesA

A 2004 interview with Joanne Heywood (Stiletta in Series 8 of Knightmare), who answered questions from Knightmare Forum members.

Q1. What would be your best memory of your short time on Knightmare?

I don't have one particular memory that I could pick but, as jobs go, there was rather a steep learning curve for me on Knightmare!

I hadn't worked with "blue screen" before so there was a lot to deal with technically and, in many scenes, there weren't any other actors which, bearing in mind that a huge part of acting is "re-acting" was also a little difficult.

When I got the opportunity, I sat in on the editing to try to understand how the scenes were put together and I really learned a lot!

Q2. Who did you generally associate with behind the scenes?

One great aspect of working on Knightmare was that everybody made me very welcome.

The nature of the game meant that there was rather a lot of waiting around to see if things were moving on to the next level - depending upon how the team were going, but whoever you were waiting with in the green room you could expect it to be very friendly.

Q3. Your outfit looks a little uncomfortable to wear... Was it?

No, the costume itself was just like a leotard and skirt so it was very comfortable but the knives and sheaths were tied to my arms and calf with little straps and had to be quite tight or they would slip. They were secured with sticky tape which was a bit of a palaver but otherwise no problem.

Stiletta (Joanne Heywood) poses with a knife in a promotional shot for Series 8 of Knightmare.
Joanne as Stiletta in a promotional photo

Q4. How did you get the part of Stiletta?

I had an audition - which is the usual way programmes are cast - but whether my agent at the time put me up for it or some other kind person suggested me to the production team I cannot remember.

Q5. Did you watch any previous seasons of Knightmare before you became a cast member?

I have to admit I hadn't seen any of the previous series - although the producer showed me a few clips of the early days and the technology had come on leaps and bounds by the time I was involved.

Q6. The Knightmare fan base is closing on 500 members at the moment, on the forums alone. Did you ever expect Knightmare to have this kind of following?

Knightmare was a hugely popular programme in its day, so "no" I'm not surprised to hear this.

Q7. I discovered you appeared in Are You Being Served? Again in the early 1990s. Am I right? Got any memories from working on that?

The programme was actually called "Grace & Favour" and was a spin-off from "Are You Being Served". It had five of the original cast members in it and was set in a country manor house.

I played "Miss Lovelock" who had been Young Mr Grace's "last companion"!. He had used the "Grace Brothers" employee's pension fund to buy the manor house and my character lived in the converted groom's quarters. I was in every episode of the two series that were made.

It was great fun to work on and proved hugely popular in the United States. It was marketed over there as "Are You Being Served Again", just to make sure the Americans realised it was the same team!

Q8. There is a rather famous incident from a scene of yours in Knightmare. (And I hope I am correct in saying this.) A scene was deleted due to a dungeoneer commenting on a 'chest' in the chamber (Saying similar to 'just admiring your chest'...) Do you recall this scene at all? Anything you said in reply to it?

Sorry to disappoint but if this did happen, it either wasn't in my scene or, if it was, I don't remember it?

However, in my very first episode, the dungeoneer was about as old as you can be and still qualify to be in a children's game and rather tall. So, although he had his visor supposedly covering his view, when he stood close enough - bearing in mind the cut of my costume - he probably saw more than he should have!

Q9. How did you hear news of the shows cancellation? Were you contracted to appear in the next season of Knightmare?

As far as I can remember, when we completed the series the question of a further series was already in debate and everyone was sadly advised that there would be no more.

Q10. Have you heard Knightmare is returning? Do you feel it can survive in today's television climate?

No, I hadn't heard anything about Knightmare returning but I'm sure if it did it would be as popular as ever.

There is always a place for competitive, skills based programmes and as it was such a leader in its day I would imagine it would be up there with the best of them when it came to special effects.

Stiletta, the Warrior Thief played by Joanne Heywood in Series 8 of Knightmare.
Stiletta approaches a dungeoneer

Q11. Anything on TV that we could note you in?

I don't have anything waiting to be aired at the moment.

Q12. Do you still work in acting/in the theatre?

Yes, I couldn't contemplate doing anything else!

Q13. If asked to return to Knightmare, would you be interested?

Absolutely, my memories of my time on Knightmare are all favourable so I would certainly be interested.

Q14. Final question. Anything you'd like to say to the masses of Knightmare fans?

It's always good to know that people enjoy your work and the evidence the fans provide of this is extremely appreciated. Thank you - without the fans it wouldn't have been such a successful show.

Thank you to everyone who suggested questions for this interview and thanks to Joanne Heywood for giving me her time to do it.

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