Thank you for your questions: I have enjoyed revisiting our quest, nearly thirty years on from that gilded age of adventures. In these troubled months with the Covid-19 pandemic, it's just a shame the fabled Cup that Heals remains unretrieved to this day ...
>> You mentioned in a previous post, your favourite characters to interact with in order of preference and Gundrada was near the bottom. I'm just wondering why, as I thought she was a great improviser and funny character.
I agree with you, and I honestly can’t think of a poor character, actor or actress from Series IV! Everyone will have different personal favourites; it just so happens that Gundrada wasn’t near the top of my list.
>> Also i am wondering, when you were playing the game, did you notice the same actors playing different characters (like Gundrada and Malice) or were you too immersed in the game to notice?
We didn’t encounter Malice on our quest, and I didn’t notice either that Zoe Loftin played one of the Weeping Doors or that Clifford Norgate played Oakley. In the game, I did wonder whether Gundrada was being played by Miranda Richardson, and Brother Mace by Tim Child!
>> Were you disappointed that none of the rooms or challenges from the previous series (the ones you had watched) were in the game?
I expected some changes and different puzzles, but not the thorough-going changes we encountered; series II and series III had retained many chambers from foregoing series. I think some familiarity with the places and challenges is a good thing when you’re enjoying it at home. Tim’s emphasis was, ‘it’s the people you meet that make an adventure’.
>> Did Treguard and Pickle stay in-character whenever they were around you, when the cameras weren't rolling? Or did they come out of character after each room was completed?
Overall, I would say that both Hugo and David were very professional and also appropriately friendly. Most of our interactions were with Tom Hunt, the floor manager, and occasionally with Tim Child, the producer. Likewise, Hugo and David were taking their directions directly from the production team.
When we first arrived, I was surprised to see Pickle and asked Hugo who he was: ‘This is Pickle – he’s an elf!’, he added. Then, for the initial sound check, we had to count to ten, and then Hugo interjected ‘now do that in Greek!’. After the Level I Weeping Door encounter, we had answered two questions correctly out of three, so I asked Hugo, ‘will it go against us, that didn’t get all three correct?’. His reply seemed somewhat enigmatic: ‘let’s just say it would have gone better for you.’ After his warning, ‘this phase of the dungeon is coming to a close’, I asked him how much longer we had, and he admitted he didn’t know.
>> You look at your hands as you "fade away" when Treguard spellcasts D-I-S-M-I-S-S. Did you improvise this or did a memeber of the production team ask you to do it. Or likewise did you ask them if you could do it? (I love that little touch by the way. I love that you were so "into" the show compared to some other teams who act like they couldn't care less).
It appears magic affects different people differently! Or, perhaps people have different sensitivities to it! No-one asked me to do it, I didn’t ask, but also they didn’t cut it or do a re-take. In an interview the previous year, Tim had said ‘our youngsters don’t role-play, they play themselves in the dungeon.’ I knew there would be a few seconds while Treguard was spellcasting D-I-S-M-I-S-S, and it wasn’t as though it had been done before. I didn’t want to show off or be fake, but on the other hand a bit of imagination - a bit of helping the production team to make a show that would be as interesting as possible for viewers at home - seemed appropriate.
>> After seeing Series 4 on TV and watching the other teams, were there any rooms or challenges or characters from that series that your team didn't get to interact with that you would have liked?
The final encounter with Mogdred. Some have suggested he would have been vanquished with the T-I-N-Y spell – as Malice was by Team VI’s F-I-R-E spell. However, I think it slightly more plausible we would have used it to escape through a small door (following the precedent in quests III and VI).
Also, on Level I I liked the clearing, the two approaches to the Castle of Doom and Ernie, the giant lizard. I would also have liked for us to have gone to the Level II Clue room and adjoining courtyard that most other teams visited.
I would imagine 10 Quests were planned for the series, given that The Crazed Heifer started featuring from Quest VI.
>> I personally think you shouldn't have had the D-I-S-M-I-S-S spellcast at the end, as that is usually associated with death/failure. And you didn't fail. It wasn't your team's choice to end the quest prematurely. I think you should have had something like H-O-M-E. What do you think? I also think you should have been invited back the following year.
I would have preferred H-O-M-E: more in keeping with Merlin’s dialogue, too. At least the next series started with another challenge from Hampshire … Being invited back the following year could have been difficult logistically, with summer holidays etc. Perhaps they could have shown the rest of the quest at the start of the next series, but I imagine that might have been problematic in regard to paying actors and production staff from across two series.
>> Your team got SO close to winning (and you WOULD have won, I don't think there was anything further on that was going to kill you) that it seems so harsh that they had to end your quest because time ran out for the series. Did the producers or any of the cast mention this to you or give you special commiserations and/or sympathy over it? Or like a special consolation prize? Or were you just treated like any other team and swept out the door?
The production team allowed us to complete the Transporter Pad chamber, then Tim said, ‘Your quest ended in that room.’ I asked him how many more rooms there were, and he said there were four. I wish I had asked him what was in those rooms … I think it might have been: completing the Transporter Pad chamber, the Weeping Door for Level III, the Final Encounter, and then retrieving the Cup that Heals. The Christmas ending was a bit different to any other team, but otherwise we were treated like any other team. I think they could have quite easily let us finish off those last four rooms – John Woodnutt would have still been dressed as Mogdred, and I don’t suppose the Weeping Door would have been hard to set up.
Any follow-up comments or questions, feel free!