What a year 2013 has been for Knightmare! Starting with...
CITV celebrates its 30th birthday with the Old Skool Weekend, in which many of its classic programmes were repeated. This included Knightmare Series 7's last two episodes on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th, giving legendary dungeoneer Barry Thorne and his winning team renewed renown. These episodes then become temporarily available on ITV Player: the first time it's ever been possible to legally watch Knightmare episodes on the internet.
The Guardian's 'How we made...' series of articles takes on Knightmare. Hugo Myatt (Treguard) and Tim Child (creator) are interviewed. The interviewer is Ben Child, Tim's son.
Challenge TV announce that they will be showing Series 1 and Series 2 of Knightmare: the channel's first Knightmare repeats since 2007 and since it joined Freeview.
On Friday 10th, Knightmare is once again on British TV screens, courtesy of Challenge. It is paired with episodes of Fun House, making 10pm-11pm a nostalgic treat for working-week-worn watchers. As added bonuses, Hugo Myatt and Pat Sharp are heard introducing their respective shows via specially recorded continuity announcements.
As the showings of Series 1 and 2 continue through the year, surges of activity are seen on the Knightmare.com Forum and on social media - particularly Twitter, where #Knightmare trends on numerous occasions.
In another family interview, Tom Hunt, floor manager and supplier of ideas for Knightmare's first four series, shares behind-the-scenes insights with Knightmare fans via his son Charlie.
Other Knightmare cast and crew with whom contact is made this year include Stephanie Hesp (Elita/Pixel/Heggatty, Series 5-6) and Jules Bryant (Aesandre/Gwendoline, Series 5), both of whom have kindly agreed to be interviewed about their time on Knightmare.
Kickstarter campaign is launched to fund something called Knightmare Live. The target of £6000 is exceeded. Wheels (and blades) are set in motion...
Knightmare Live, a stage version of Knightmare, begins with two preview shows in London. Though unofficial, it has the support of Tim Child. In each show, a member of the public becomes a dungeoneer and is guided by two advisor comedians, navigating classic obstacles, new threats and the enduring rivalry between Treguard and Lord Fear, played here by Paul Flannery and Tom Bell respectively. The shows are a great success, particularly for their humour, and a run at the Edinburgh Festival gets underway at the end of the month.
And yet that wasn't the biggest Knightmare news this month. On July 24th-25th, something happened that hadn't happened since the summer of 1994: a new episode of Knightmare was filmed. (Just to write that sentence 5 months on makes me want to go into a quiet room, scream with delight and punch the air so hard that it launches a professional boxing career.) Once again in Norwich; once again with creator Tim Child at the helm, so to speak; once again with Hugo Myatt as Dungeon Master Treguard, Mark Knight as Lord Fear and Cliff Barry as Lissard. The episode had been commissioned for YouTube's forthcoming Geek Week. Knightmare.com's very own Alan Boyd (a.k.a. Mystara) got to step through the spyglass and was able to send back updates and interviews from the filming, including some with the adult contestants: YouTube celebrities Emma Blackery, Danisnotonfire, AmazingPhil and dungeoneer Stuart Ashen. Knightmare's return was reported in the mainstream media too, including the Daily Mail, London Evening Standard and Metro.
Possibly the best month Knightmare has had since its CITV days. Knightmare Live was going down a storm in Edinburgh; classic Knightmare was going down a treat on Challenge; a big, bright meetup of Knightmare fans took place in Blackpool; and on Monday 5th, the new episode of Knightmare was released on YouTube. To say that it received a warm welcome is surely an understatement. Appreciation was broad and deep. You can read a sample of the reactions. And to reiterate: Isy Suttie's character didn't swear, unless you regard "heck" as a swear word.
Also during Geek Week, a new trailer is realised for AegisQuest, a project being worked on by fans of Knightmare.
Knightmare's 26th anniversary; another Knightmare Live show in London, this one attended by Hugo Myatt and Tim Child; Series 2 showings continue on Challenge. And a surprise on Saturday 14th when the Knightmare theme was heard on BBC One's I Love My Country.
Knightmare Live's last shows of 2013, in Brighton on the Sunday 13th and London on Thursday 17th. More shows are promised for 2014.
Challenge reaches the end of its run of Series 1-2 episodes. The channel begins repeating them again but stops part of the way into Series 2 when ratings don't meet expectations. Further repeats of Series 1 and 2 in 2014 are entirely possible. Demand is strong for Challenge to show Series 3-8 as well but this dream may take longer to realise.
Knightmare Illustrator David Rowe opens an online shop to sell merchandise bearing his original Knightmare artwork. Later in the month, David launches an Indiegogo campaign, backed by Hugo Myatt, to help finance work on his book about the Art of Knightmare. The campaign is open until 19th January: even a small donation would be a fantastic way to say thank you for everything that the world of Knightmare has achieved and to help guarantee that memories of that world are preserved in a unique way. There is also a caption competition you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book. It will count as two clue objects but will be worth it.
Ever been curious about Knightmare's early '90s sister show The Satellite Game? Search online and you may now find footage. David Learner (Pickle) provides the voice of the droid LARI.
On Sunday 8th, Tim Child speaks about Knightmare at AdventureX 2013. Footage of this half-hour talk is later made available online by James Aukett.
The Knightmare Roleplay Forum celebrates its 10th anniversary. Off the beaten path as far as Knightmare online is concerned, it has showcased collaborative storytelling (much of it high quality) in the Knightmare realm, including portrayals of Knightmare characters both original and new. Other fan projects, including the Knightmare Audio Series and the Dunshelm Players, have continued to deliver this year.
As of Friday 27th, Mary Miller, who played Lillith and Mildread in Series 1-2, is 80 years old. This may well make her the oldest surviving Knightmare cast member. With thanks to Ms. Miller for her fabulous work in the dungeon, here's hoping that Knightmare itself will be as enduring.
On Sunday 29th, Challenge repeats Knightmare's first episode as part of its season of First Ever Episodes. The promo features Hugo Myatt in a spoof flashback to 7th September 1987 when the episode was originally broadcast. The episode is preceded by interviews with Tim Child and Hugo, who also provided new continuity announcements for the First Ever Episodes season.
How best to sum up? At the beginning of 2013, the Powers That Be looked at Knightmare and spellcast EPIC. It feels as if the magic has yet to wear off. And there are a host of reasons to approach 2014 as a year that will keep Knightmare fans firmly on the winning team. From all of us at Knightmare.com, thank you for your input and enthusiasm, Happy New Year and always read the label.