Knightmare urban myths

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Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:09 pm

I've noticed that when people haven't seen Knightmare for many years, their memories of the show are often very mixed up or just completely wrong. It was the same for me when I rediscovered it a couple of years ago - my brain had apparently filed lots of similar incidents together so I mistakenly thought they were all part of the same quest, and things I believed to be regular occurrences turned out to be one-offs. Last night I heard a podcast about Knightmare that was full of half-truths and outright falsehoods, as usual. People seem to think "This must have happened" or "This should have happened" or "Someone told me this happened", and they eventually come to believe it DID happen.

Can we compile a list of popular misconceptions about Knightmare? It might be a good subject for an article, if there are enough of them, and if it hasn't been done already.

Here are some I remember hearing:

MYTH: Spellcasting was frequently hilarious because half the contestants couldn't spell.
TRUTH: I think there was only ever one occasion where a team had trouble with this (the team in Series 2 that struggled to dispel SHROUD because they kept missing out the 'O'). Nobody else had any problems with spelling stuff. The only similar incident was the same team forgetting what a spell was called (SHOVEL as opposed to SPADE).

MYTH: Nobody ever survived the Corridor of Blades.
TRUTH: It was scary as hell and did claim four victims (plus a few close shaves), but several dungeoneers made it through alive. Also, both of the Series 5 deaths appeared to be rigged as the teams were already in losing status, so they don't really count.

MYTH: On one occasion there were vertical blades in the CoB floor.
TRUTH: Never happened (except, I think, in a fanfic I read once). This sounds like a fiendish twist someone dreamt up as a child, and then remembered it as actually happening.

MYTH: A dungeoneer misread POISON as POTION, drank it and died.
TRUTH: Someone did die as a result of mixing up the two words, but that's not how it happened. They misread POTION as POISON, decided to leave it behind, and later found they needed it. (There was also a separate incident where a dungeoneer drank poison after magically transforming it into an energy drink, which might be the source of the confusion.)

MYTH: Only one team ever won Knightmare.
TRUTH: Victories were certainly rare, but there were no less than eight champions in total!

MYTH: One team died in the very first room, or the second room.
TRUTH: The production team wouldn't have let anyone die that quickly. (One dungeoneer apparently did fall off the Spindizzy in the Place of Choice, but they were allowed to refilm it.) The shortest quest lasted about five rooms, I think?

MYTH: Someone died falling off Smirkenorff's back.
TRUTH: Never happened, although dungeoneers occasionally looked like they might step off the edge.

MYTH: One team failed to react while a bad guy slowly cast a spell that was obviously going to kill them. The advisors sat there writing notes instead of telling their dungeoneer to run away.
TRUTH: I'm not sure what incident they were thinking of here? Possibly the first team of Series 4, who were killed by Mogdred's floating sword, but they weren't sat there doing nothing at the time; they were trying to cast a spell against him, but had chosen one that took too long to spell out. There was also Martin in Series 3 who got zapped by Morghanna, but he was killed off because of an earlier mistake, so I hardly think he would have been allowed to survive by simply running away.

MYTH: Someone died because they didn't put a spyglass down in time.
TRUTH: Never happened, though I lived in fear of it when I was 8, so perhaps it was a bad dream somebody once had! (Lord Fear did succeed in freezing Sidriss when she used a spyglass on him, though.)

MYTH: The graphics and/or acting were completely terrible.
TRUTH: I guess that's a matter of opinion, but on the whole I think it still looks pretty good today (especially the original hand-drawn rooms) - I wasn't at all disappointed when I saw it again as an adult. And most of the cast were very talented in my opinion!

What else do people say that isn't entirely true?

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by shadow6162 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 pm

I used to think that Richard's team from season 5 lost their quest because Skarkill STOLE the goblin horn off them. But obviously he didn't ;D
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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Gizensha » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:56 am

...Wouldn't vertical blades, provided they were placed fairly (i.e. in a position the advisors could see coming up the the dungeoneer) have been easier to dodge than horizontal ones on the CoB? Depending on where they were, they'd either be dodgable by going further into the left or right than the blade was, or wouldn't need to get as far to the left or right to clear.

Not quite myths, but things I remember about the show from my childhood that simply aren't the case:

I have distinct memories of a Level 4 as a child, my memories of the transition to which matches up with the Series 4 transition to Level 3 (Which was... Actually quite subtle, on rewatching, especially compared to basically every other level transition in the show) And no amount of knowing that that can't have been right is quite able to shift this memory of a team advancing to level 4. The memory is a funny old thing.

Again not really a myth, but I really didn't notice how different S4 and S5 were from each other as a child, and upon recent reviewings have learnt that I'd sort of merged S4-7 into a single entity in my memory with a variety of floor puzzles (Causeways that weren't simply solved essentially with good navigation and a password, with Level 1's being clear of Fright Knight 'hurry up' - ala S5 causeways, Level 2 having the slow ones, and Level 3 having the speedy Fright Knights, Trial By Spikes, Play Your Cards Right and the teleportation pads) Oakley, the door monsters, Lord Fear, spyglasses and scrolls, the room of choice from S6 and Pickle. And, of course, the Corridoor of Blades. I must say, this combination is somewhat stronger than any of S4-7 seems to actually be on rewatch [Although I haven't gotten to 7 yet... But the loss of Pickle, even if it brings a variety of floor puzzles that all causeway's all the time simply doesn't provide, doesn't have much hope of being superior to my memory's version of the hypothetical mega season].

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:51 pm

Haha, yes, I had similar memories in which things from different seasons were all lumped together in my head. I thought I remembered a Series 7-style dwarf tunnel immediately followed by a wellway room, which obviously couldn't have happened as the wellways disappeared from S5 onward, and I was sure that bomb rooms and Ariadne's forest lair were still around in later years. My mental image of the Corridor of Blades entrance was a cross between the one from Series 4 (when it first appeared) and the one from Series 8 (with the spinning saw above the archway). And I had a fairly strong memory of a winning quest, but it turned out to be a combination of several different victories, with Play Your Cards Right from Series 7, the final room from Series 4, and Hordriss escorting the dungeoneer back in Series 8! Various pooka encounters were mixed up in my head as well.
Canadanne wrote:MYTH: Spellcasting was frequently hilarious because half the contestants couldn't spell.
Related to this, another MYTH is that dispelling had to be done by spelling the word backwards (which is perhaps why people think there was so much misspelling on the show). TRUTH: The ritual for dispelling (as stated in the programme and in printed guidelines) was simply "the right letters but in the wrong order". Some advisors found it easiest to just reverse the letters, but as far as I know it was never a rule - it only had to be an anagram.
Canadanne wrote:MYTH: One team failed to react while a bad guy slowly cast a spell that was obviously going to kill them. The advisors sat there writing notes instead of telling their dungeoneer to run away.
I wonder, actually, if they meant the scene where Mogdred spellcasts SHROUD? Of course, there was no need to run away on that occasion... though Treguard couldn't exactly have stopped them if they did. ;)

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by phillwin » Wed May 22, 2013 8:27 pm

i use to think that hugo myatt and Clifford Nortgate was the same person :question:

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Billy » Sat May 25, 2013 12:41 am

MYTH: The show was full of dungeoneers called Simon sidestepping left and dying :p (obviously this happened just the once, but it's become such a popular clip it's almost overshadowed the rest of the series)

MYTH: Knightmare ended because of rapidly falling ratings (from Everything2's decent but terribly flawed article on the show. To all accounts the show was getting big ratings right up to the end - Series 6 was the most popular non-animated shos on CITV, only I think Tiny Toon Adventures regularly beating it. Series 8 outrated Virtually Impossible, its short-lived replacement)

MYTH: Everything from Series 4 onwards was crap. (it's not. Lots of fans love the Pickle and Majida eras, it's the one I became a fan in for one. Many of those who think the show got worse over the course of time simply got older and outgrew it)

MYTH: The best bit of the show was that scary Dark Knight who'd say "Move" as the contestants walked over a checkerboard pattern. (still see this, someone posted it on Digitalspy tonight - they're thinking of CBBC's 'Incredible Games' from the mid-90s, although 'Dark Knight' and 'Knightmare' can inevitably get confused. Even I wondered if it was the same show briefly!)

MYTH: Mary Miller (Lillith) died in 1998. (this was briefly on her IMDb page in about 2005, to the point where I posted the 'sad news' on this forum - luckily (but incredibly embarrassing for me) she's alive and well, and the death date actually belonged to a Mary 'Millar'. Thankfully long-since corrected)

MYTH: Knightmare was exclusively on in the 1980s. (Challenge TV kept making this mistake around 2002-4, billing it as an 80s programme even if they were playing an early 90s series at the time. After some annoyed posts on the Challenge forum they started getting it right)

MYTH: Oh yeah, Knightmare! Gronda Gronda! Celebrity contestants! The Vortex! Keith Chegwin! (that's 'The Adventure Game', an early 80s BBC programme. People in their 30s keep thinking this was Knightmare and people in their 20s think it was Incredible Games, it seems)

MYTH: The video board game 'Atmosfear' was related to Knightmare (I've genuinely seem people claim this! No known relation, especially as it comes from Australia - where its called 'Nightmare', presumably where the confusion lies)

The 'team dying in the first room' and 'falling off Smirkenoff's back' myths come from old Knightmare websites, Johnny Burkhart's old (now gone) one especially. Particularly in the early days of the internet, these things would spread to the point of people stating them as fact - harder now with the likes of youtube and Challenge repeats instantly proving said myths wrong.

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Drassil » Sat May 25, 2013 1:31 pm

Billy wrote:MYTH: The show was full of dungeoneers called Simon sidestepping left and dying :p
Yet it is a fact that half of Knightmare's series had a dungeoneer named Simon, three quarters of whom fell off something.
Billy wrote:MYTH: Knightmare was exclusively on in the 1980s.
Ironic then that Children's TV on Trial included Knightmare in its 1980s episode but showed clips of it only from the 1990s. This was the programme that also, grievously, referred in its narration to "Hugo Wyatt".

It's always good to pinpoint the sources of the various myths. It lends more weight to their debunking if we can point out where they are/were found. :)

Jim Waterman (Ironlord) lists some "mistaken memories" in his article in The Eye Shield issue 51.

Challenge's Knightmare page goes so well until, in the final paragraph, it states: 'If he comes in contact with a moving saw, sometimes it would appear that the dungeoneer got split into two pieces. These animations were made in post-production.' I don't believe that either sentence is accurate.

Some more:

Myth: Fatilla was played by Erin Geraghty.
Origin: Knightmare.com. Corrected in 2002/2003 with help from Debz_G.
Reality: Although the Series 4 credits do leave room for conjecture, Debz's interview with Michael Cule provided confirmation that Fatilla was he. Yet the Erin erring continued...

Myth: The ogres in Series 3 and Series 4 were played by a bloke called Erin Geraghty.
Origin: Knightmare.com (corrected in 2010) and forum posts.
Reality: Mr. Grimwold in Series 3 was uncredited, but I later secured confirmation from Bryan McNerney that he played Grimwold. Erin Geraghty was a name among the the 'Players' in Series 4's end credits and was eventually confirmed by Billy as the actress who played Mistress Goody. The unnamed Series 4 ogre, who does not resemble Grimwold, remains shrouded in mystery and untamed facial hair. Billy has speculated that he was Treguard's evil brother, Fireguard. This is why we need to see more of him round here. :)

Myth: The Knightmare theme tune was written by Tony Hatch.
Origin: Uncertain. It has been mentioned in forum posts, perpetuated by one of Jobe's Knightmare Trivia questions, and is referred to in a Knightmare Lexicon entry.
Reality: Tony Hatch composed many TV themes, some for ITV, but I can find nothing linking him to Knightmare. He was certainly never named in Knightmare's credits. Ed Welch is, and he is normally credited with composing the Knightmare theme: something that I believe has been confirmed by Mr. Welch via Knightmaredave. I wonder if he gave the music a name. (The Blockbusters theme, which he also wrote, is named Quiz Wizard.)

Myth: Knightmare was entirely CGI.
Origin: Possibly the 2008 publication {Celebrate The 80s}, which makes no mention of David Rowe and presents a Knightmare VR graphic as Knightmare.
Reality: It might be more accurate to say that until its eighth and final series, the Knightmare Dungeon was computer-aided rather than computer-generated.

Myth: Knightmare began in 1986.
Origin: Many sources are out by a year or so when it comes to Knightmare's first and final years. In this case it was, I regret to say, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe.
Reality: There was a Knightmare pilot filmed in 1986, but Series 1 was 1987. Otherwise, James' documentary is off by a year, and I refuse to accept that. :D

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Sat May 25, 2013 3:10 pm

Billy wrote:MYTH: The best bit of the show was that scary Dark Knight who'd say "Move" as the contestants walked over a checkerboard pattern. (still see this, someone posted it on Digitalspy tonight - they're thinking of CBBC's 'Incredible Games' from the mid-90s, although 'Dark Knight' and 'Knightmare' can inevitably get confused. Even I wondered if it was the same show briefly!)
Yes, I was slightly confused by this too - I thought there was a scary chess game in Knightmare, but I also thought there had been one in Incredible Games, and wasn't sure if I was correct about both shows! When I rewatched Series 2 and saw Combat Chess again, it was reassuring that my memory hadn't totally deceived me. :)
Drassil wrote:Challenge's Knightmare page goes so well until, in the final paragraph, it states: 'If he comes in contact with a moving saw, sometimes it would appear that the dungeoneer got split into two pieces. These animations were made in post-production.'
Oh yes, I saw that and went "What??" as well! Until that point it was so detailed and accurate I assumed it had been written by one of us.

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by wombstar » Sat May 25, 2013 5:19 pm

I loved that Dark knight game.. use to play it in the playground with friends at school.. but obviously the 'knight' could see in our version (in the show he could only see were they had been)

Another Myth is the life force in final year is a CAKE... in reality it's meant to be a PIE.
It's always the cracked ones that let the light in

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Sat May 25, 2013 5:39 pm

wombstar wrote:Another Myth is the life force in final year is a CAKE... in reality it's meant to be a PIE.
Ah yes, how could I forget about that one? ;D

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by wombstar » Sat May 25, 2013 7:18 pm

Most idiotic and pointless life force symbol.. I didn't mind the walking knight but nothing beats the original. I don't think anyone died due to the life force naturally running out, only in early series when they were 'locked' in a room or something (like the recent episode)

I think most of the myths have been covered.
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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Mon May 27, 2013 10:28 pm

Canadanne wrote:MYTH: Someone died because they didn't put a spyglass down in time.
TRUTH: Never happened, though I lived in fear of it when I was 8, so perhaps it was a bad dream somebody once had! (Lord Fear did succeed in freezing Sidriss when she used a spyglass on him, though.)
Of course, the first dungeoneer of Series 6 was also frozen by Lord Fear via a spyglass. It wasn't fatal (his team had the spell needed to unfreeze him), but the Dreadnort was supposedly on the way to kill him, so perhaps that's the incident that people are half-remembering.

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Insider » Tue May 28, 2013 12:29 pm

Slightly off topic but all this talk of the Dark Knight game has reminded me of a similar more recent show called The Eliminator. I wonder how much Knightmare had influenced the creators of this show:

http://www.ukgameshows.com/ukgs/Eliminator

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Canadanne » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:41 pm

I've seen several Knightmare actors mistaken for more well-known celebrities on Twitter and other online comment sections, e.g. Hordriss being thought to be Stephen Fry, and Brother Mace thought to be Christopher Biggins - there may have been others I've forgotten. A lot of people seem genuinely convinced that Cedric was played by Wolf out of Gladiators (whose real name is Michael van Wijk, not Lawrence Werber!)

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Re: Knightmare urban myths

Post by Pooka » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:46 pm

Billy wrote:The 'team dying in the first room' and 'falling off Smirkenoff's back' myths come from old Knightmare websites, Johnny Burkhart's old (now gone) one especially. Particularly in the early days of the internet, these things would spread to the point of people stating them as fact - harder now with the likes of youtube and Challenge repeats instantly proving said myths wrong.
The page you're referring to was written by someone allegedly named "Phil" and contains the following myths (in addition to the ones already stated):

MYTH: One team lasted 13 seconds because they sidestepped left rather than right in the first chamber (which would have been the Place of Choice).
TRUTH: No, they didn't. This has been alleged before - in the early days of the community, many people took this as gospel - and it had to be debunked by Tim Child!

MYTH: One team were killed my Mogdred in Level 2 because they had stolen "his" Eye Shield without asking.
TRUTH: No, they weren't. The Eye Shield was always the result of a bargain with Hordriss, Malice or Merlin, and I can't recall Mogdred ever mentioning it.

MYTH: Helen's team dies because Mogdred used a drainer on them.
TRUTH: It was an enchanted sword which delivered an instant kill.

MYTH: Dickon's team's food was poisoned by Malice, which they fixed with a CHANGE spell.
TRUTH: Right in essence, but wrong cause and solution. They were carrying poison, not food, and the spell was called OPPOSITE.

MYTH: In Series 5, Level 3 became known as "Winteria".
TRUTH: Winteria was certainly part of Level 3 in Series 5, but it was still known as "Level 3". The Winteria which Ben entered merely appeared to be part of Level 3 as we know it.

MYTH: Practically all rhe Dungeoneers in Series 5 and 6 died on the Causeways.
TRUTH: No, they didn't. The Causeways killed a new, but not "most", Dungeoneers.

MYTH: Series 6 saw a complete cast change, with the exception of Hordriss.
TRUTH: Apart from Treguard and Pickle, Motley and Scaramonger also appeared in Series 6, after being carried over from Series 3 and 5 respectively.

MYTH: One team got to the very last chamber, but were denied victory because they missed a riddle earlier.
TRUTH: This is clearly meant to be Sophia's team, but they died on the final floor puzzle, not in the final chamber. The page also seems to think this is a different team: "A tram (sic) got to Level 3 but were so badly organized that when they reached the Causeway, none of them could take control and the poor dungeoneer just waited to die." Surely this is also Sophia's team?
In any case, the final chamber was only ever reached by Ben.

MYTH: Ben stepped on a spyglass in the first room.
TRUTH: No, he didn't. Anyway, the first room was the Place of Choice and wouldn't have a spyglass in it.

MYTH: The Brollachan was a version of Granitas that could blink.
TRUTH: No, he wasn't even a wall monster - the interaction with him was different, the questions could be confidently guessed without a correct answer, and the technology used for him was totally different. The Brollachan, an actual monster from Celtic mythology, can travel through solid surfaces, such as walls, floors, rocks, etc., and wasn't fixed to one wall, like Granitas (or any other wall monster) was.

MYTH: The production team saved some Dungeoneers from dying by viewing a spyglass for too long.
TRUTH: I very much doubt the spyglasses were going to kill anybody.

MYTH: Everyone involved in the show knew Series 8 would be the last series.
TRUTH: Not so. It was a possibility, but Knightmare wasn't cancelled until after the Series aired.

MYTH: The Short Cut was invented at the last minute and pushed the last few teams through to Level 3.
TRUTH: I recall hearing somewhere that all teams in Series 8 were told of a potential shortcut (although that may be a urban myth too - clarify, Alan?) before play. In any case, it wasn't "the last few teams" - only Dunstan and Oliver actually used it, and they were both forced.

For all this and more hilarious mistakes, the page can be viewed here, although it's somewhat unfair to suggest that this page is either stupidity or a parody, since Phil may be recalling everything he says from his memory. I doubt he is, though; it's too detailed to be just that.
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