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File:Knightmare treguard.jpg


"Ooh, naaaaaasty."
—Treguard, all the freaking time.

A revolutionary kids' TV show that was first broadcast on ITV that is a blend of a TV show, an RPG and an Adventure Game. The basic premise is that children in teams of four challenge the Dungeon of Deceit. The game was unashamedly difficult for a kids' TV show: over the eight years that the show ran, over eighty teams entered but only eight teams actually won. Not a single team won in the first and third years.

The reason for the popularity of Knightmare was the way the dungeon was fought. One member of the team walked around a room with a Blue Screen whilst the other three guided him. In order to explain why he needed guiding, the Dungeoneer wore "The Helmet of Justice" that basically blinded him to everything more than about a foot away. The puzzles were heavily focused on riddles of wildly variable difficulty and lateral thinking. The Dungeon Master, Treguard, was a wonderful character. Whilst on the children's side, giving advice where needed, he was also more than a little sarcastic and seemed to be just as happy whether the teams won or lost.

Not to be confused with the Humongous Mecha from Code Geass. Or the Konami game.

Tropes used in Knightmare include:
  • Action Girl: Several. Velda in Season 3, Gundrada in S4 and Gwendolyn Greenwood in S5.
  • Big Bad: Lord Fear in later series, Mogdred to a lesser extreme in earlier ones.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: The Bomb Room. Not the most subtle of 'puzzles', but it provided some exciting close shaves.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The prize for winning was medallions or, later, a trophy made to look like a Frightknight (one of the monsters in the dungeon). Even if you died, you still got scrolls "as proof of your quest."
  • Catch Phrase: Treguard's "Ooh, nasty" whenever the Dungeoneer died. Impossible to describe. It was also ad-libbed by the actor, apparently.
    • Another one for him, said when ushering off a losing team: "Spellcasting. D-I-S-M-I-S-S."
    • Early on, he had the awesomely creepy sign-off line "Join us again, for Knightmare.
    • Treguard also opens every episode of Knightmare by saying, "Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion."
    • Others had their own, especially for some reason Lord Fear's minions.

 Scarkill: "Lovely."

Sylvester Hands: "Like feet, but at the other end of your body."

Dreadnought: "Live in fear."

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Merlin was this at times. Or should I say Marvin?
    • Also Folly at times.
  • Chroma Key: How the dungeon was created.
  • Comic Relief: Pickle the Elf, later Magida the Genie.
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: Made up the floor of the deadly Corridor of Blades.
  • Cutscene: To create the illusion of a larger world, Series 4 brought in the Eye Shield, which showed the journey from one location to the next from a first-person viewpoint, and spyglasses, which would let the team watch what the villains were up to for a few minutes.
  • The Ditz: Gretel, big time. Sidriss even more so.
  • Dungeon Master: Also the original meaning.
  • Epic Fail: See the entry under "Too Dumb To Live" below.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Treguard was this even before the books angst'd him up.
    • And Pickle.
  • Evil Gloating: Lord Fear is keen on this, as he happily admits.
  • Expanded Universe: The books were half-novel, half-Gamebook, and dealt with how Treguard became the master of the castle. They're an awful lot better than they had any right to be...
  • Fish People: The Mire Men.
  • Functional Magic: Rules- and Item-based.
  • Gender Bender: In one Series 7 episode, Lord Fear turns his henchlizard into a tavern wench and then comes onto him/her!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Oh yes. At least once a Wall monster said something that with a little squinting could be mistaken for something more pungent.
    • But this troper's favourite example is when a dungeoneer slid down into the mine, knocking Bumptious the Dwarf over and causing an explosion to be accused by Gretel of "playing with his plunger". Even better/worse was when after running off for a cold compress she runs back screaming "I'm coming, Bumptious, I'm coming!" Oh, and did I mention the dungeoneer was a girl in her early teens?
    • Then there were the magic pills marked "Upper" and "Downer".
    • And of course, the wall monster called Granitas (say it out loud). Granite Arse.

 Granitas: "MY NAME IS NOT AMUSING!"

    • Pickle, after a dungeoneer took a hunting horn from a table: "Dickon's got the horn, master."
    • The pub was called The Crazed Heifer Mad Cow.
    • One personality of the dragon Bal-Sheba somehow got away with calling the other a "smart-arse".
    • At one point here at 4:15 onward, listen to the advisers and watch the middle one, he drops a f-bomb quietly (yet still able to be heard) and covers his mouth with his hand, looking guilty. This was never detected and later broadcast.
  • Ho Yay: Between Treguard and Pickle.
  • Indy Ploy: While the game had fairly strict rules, it seems like the players could sometimes bend them, if they said the right things and the actors decided to play along. The first winning team actually convinced one of the dungeon characters that they were friends, and said character escorted them for a bit and beat up one of the guards to grant the player an auto-pass.
    • When a team accidentally destroyed the clue room, they received help from Folly the Fool. Folly managed to use an "Emperor's New Clothes" trick on a guard, and when the dungeoneer had to face Olaf the Viking alone, he used the exact same trick. Turning an instant-loss scenario into a fighting chance. They eventually won.
    • One team didn't have a gold bar they needed to bribe someone blocking their path, and instead offered him a goblin horn and claimed that it was magical, with the power to create riches beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Unfortunately, the person they were trying it on happened to be Skarkill, Lord Fear's hired Goblin Master, and not only did he not fall for the ploy, he actually turned it right back on them by tricking the dungeoneer into blowing the horn, summoning some goblins to take him prisoner.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted, and as noted in "Taken for Granite" not even the advisors were safe!
    • However, also played straight in the fact that they were always stated as being alive in "our time".
  • Kid's Show Genre Blindness: Justified in the first series in that they didn't know what they were in for...yet later on they somehow never learned to solve simple riddles and other such things but they especially couldn't give directions. As pointed out by Spoony, they never seemed to learn how to tell people how to make a diagonal step.
  • Life Meter: It ran down if the Dungeoneer came across a non-lethal foe (very rare), as well as over time.
  • Luck-Based Mission: If you missed a clue or item at times it was possible to get past the obstacle they related to by luck.
  • MacGuffin: Starting with the second season teams won by finding a magic artifact or rescuing a damsel. Frankly we don't know what happened if somebody won in the first season.
  • Mad Oracle: The Oracle of Confusion.
  • Magitek: The Descenders (elevators). Also the Fear Knights and the Dreadnaught.
  • Moral Guardians: Mary Whitehouse, moral Knight Templar and Worthy Opponent to Doctor Who fans everywhere, was deeply critical of the show, what with children being killed in various ways and what have you, until it actually turned out that she had never actually watched the show and apologised after she had. It was one of the last things she commented on before disappearing into the night and then passing away in 2001.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stiletta and Romahna, to mention but two.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Lord Fear.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Fortress of Assassins had an encounter with a nun from a branch of the church that hunts the undead.
  • Obi Wan: Treguard.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: About 70% of the puzzles are riddles or lateral thinking problems.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Treguard explained the gaps between episodes as "temporal disruptions" and made it clear that whilst people may die in his reality, they were fine in "your time".
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Lissard, Lord Fear's seneschal in series 7 and 8, despite appearing in every episode, never actually did anything (except once, when he ventured into the dungeon disguised as Marta the barmaid to trick Hordriss) and seemed only to be there to give Lord Fear someone to talk to in the spyglass scenes.
    • Magida, Treguard's assistant in the last two seasons, was supposed to be a genie but outside of coming out of a bottle in her debut she displayed no real evidence of this.
  • "Previously On...": During the early seasons, Treguard would recap the previous episode in rhyme. Later, the sidekicks would give a brief synopsis of the quest state.
  • Put on a Bus: Pickle the Elf "went back to the forest".
  • Rule of Three: Questions were usually asked in sets of three. With few exceptions, missing all three meant death. Getting only one right would often result in the dungeoneer's later doom, typically due to lack of information. Getting two right would give the team either a small bit of information (wall monsters) or a spell (most others). Getting all three right actually gave the team a decent chance.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Treguard tried to guess which of the identical wall monsters the team had met, not matter what is his reasoning, he was wrong.
  • Screwed by the Network: Despite consistently rating as CITV's most-watched show until the very end of its life, the network suits decided that the show was yesterday's news and coerced the producers into allowing Knightmare to die so that Virtually Impossible could have a second season... and then they cancelled Virtually Impossible anyway.
  • Shout-Out: To much of legend and to myth, especially in the riddles and major NPCs.
  • Smug Snake: Lord Fear.
  • Spiritual Successor: Virtually Impossible - basically the same idea, but explicitly set in a virtual world in The Future. Didn't do as well, partly due to Special Effects Failure but mainly due to the lack of a live-action host to interact with the kids (instead, it had a bizarre CGI fish thing).
  • Steampunk: The Mechanical Warrior in the early seasons. In the later seasons, there were the "Descenders", voice-activated lifts/elevators by any other name. And Lord Fear occasionally referred to "Technomagic" which he presumably used to create the Dreadnought.
  • Taken for Granite: The team that lost at Medusa. The entire team.
  • Third Person Person: Most characters spoke like this at least once.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many teams. This is probably the most famous.
    • There were lots of teams that died similarly (or, in one case, in exactly the same way); for example, the one where they walked up the Fire Exit and got incinerated.
      • To dispel a spell, characters had to spell it backwards. "B-I-G" becomes "G-I-B". The number of errors in this simple act are made more incredible by the fact that they had to write it down first. One famous team had "S-H-R-O-U-D" cast upon their player by Mordred. This was big. No-one had ever faced Mordred before. To cancel it, tried "D-U-R-H-S". They then tried "D-U-R-H-S" again, to the same effect. Mordred dispelled it silently, then recast it, spelling it out -- and Treguard began to moan "Oooooo... Ooooo..." After another attempt, with "Stalactite", Treguard moaned "Let... ter... Oooo..." And, on their final attempt, they came up with "Dispel! O-S-R-D-H-U." Mordred fled in terror of the incredibly-bad spelling.

  Spoony: "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SPELL, YOU STUPID PILLOCK!?"

        • To be fair about that last bit (the rest was just incompetence), at the time the dispelling rule was "the right letters but in the wrong order"; it only became specifically "spell it backwards" in a later series.
    • The guy who got his friend killed trying to cast "Spade", when the spell they were given was named "Shovel". How would you like it if someone got your name wrong?
      • Not forgetting the time they tried to bribe Lilith with an empty jar of humbugs. They had found the item they needed to give to Lilith (the Potion) earlier, but had misread the label as "Poison".
      • And the girls who gave the ring to Sylvester. They were supposed to use it.
      • Near the start of the show's run, one team became the first ever to make it into Level 2, and were on the verge of making it into Level 3, when their "Lantern" spell woke up an irate guard who was blocking the wellway. The guard threatened to kill the dungeoneer, and the team's spellcaster immediately worked out what they were supposed to do, which was to cast their other spell, "Anvil" to dispose of the guard. However, the other two advisers decided it'd be a better idea to turn out the light, and browbeat the spellcaster into dispelling "Lantern" instead... instantly resulting in the dungeoneer's death.
      • There's also this.
  • Unwinnable: There was no returning to a previous room. If a team missed an important item or character in a room, it was only a matter of time. Well, he did warn them: The only way is onward. There is no turning back.
  • Video Game Lives: Averted; when you die, it's Game Over (accompanied with a loud BONG! and Treguard usually saying "Oooh... nasty.") Mentioned because, at least in the first couple seasons, Treguard lampshaded the lack of lives by saying something like, "This is no game of numerous lives, here you have only one."
    • Played with in the French and Spanish versions (which did not use a life meter): any mistake is fatal, and one of your advisors gets sent in in your place. There always has to be one advisor guiding the active player, or the game is over. With a team of four players, that gives the team three lives. (Though if your team wins, you get to share in the prize, usually a Sega video game console and games.)
  • Who's on First?: In The Spoony One's review of the series, he points out a common British verbal affectation which many participants seemed unable to shake at the cost of the game: the habit of ending all imperative sentences by saying "right?". This led to exchanges such as "Go left, right?" "You want me to go right?" "No, left. Right?" "Right?" "Right. Left, right?" "Okay. going right. Aieee!" "Oooh... Nasty."
  • Wicked Witch: Mildred, also the first NPC to ever attack Treguard.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The way you refill the life meter.
  • Your Other Left: The bane of many teams. Especially the team in the video next to Too Dumb to Live.
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