Coming up next on dated pop culture spoofs: Who would win in a fight between Mr T and Ice-T?
Celebrate 50 years since the world was brought to the brink of Mutually-Assured-Destruction-ness with this cheerful song by David Bowie, When the Wind Blows:
And here’s the movie it belongs to, as it happens. Essential, powerful, chilling, distressing, filled with humour as black as tar.
And my award for overseas sports personality goes to….Alex Zanardi. The man, the hero, the inspirational Paralympic gold medallist with a first-class attitude.
PS. Get on that Indy 500 grid now, will you?
25 reasons why I loved Knightmare:
1. The Children’s ITV show was unlike practically anything else on television at the time – a pioneering use of computer graphics mixed in with a fantasy world that didn’t seek to patronise the audience or the contestants. And, also unlike practically every children’s gameshow at the time, it didn’t feature gunge.
2. Treguard, played by Hugo Myatt, was perfectly cast as initially the neutral dungeon master who didn’t care if dungeoneers met their doom, later evolving as someone to aid them on their quest within reason. Some of his help bordered on mockery though…
3. The original life force graphic, which as a child I was always led to believe was an accurate barometer of how much time each dungeoneer had in each room. Only much later in life did I realise it was added on afterwards as a thing in the edit suite. Still a groovy, albeit gory animation. The successor of a walking knight with bits of armour falling off to reveal a skeleton was pretty nifty too. The final life force (a, erm, pie) was not.
4. The original title sequence, although having very little to do with the show (the bloke is riding on horseback and leaps over a chasm. Don’t recall that happening on any quests), looked cool. And the intro music was super-80s.
5. The iconic helmet of justice. Looked silly, was silly. But had a useful purpose in blinding the dungeoneer from all the blue-screen chroma key technowizardry.
6. The blue-screen chroma key technowizardry that designed the ardrenalin-pumping corridor of blades.
8. The times when Treguard was ‘possessed’ in the second series and looked like he was having either a stroke or a fit.
9. The final series’ dungeon graphics looking pretty decent even now.
10. A perfect way to take up some airtime, but I always enjoyed it when the kids rode on Smirkenhoff the dragon and flew over some lovely British scenery.
11. The middle series locations basically being some old British castle ruins, which was nice. Although mysteriously bluey-purple.
12. Hungry blocker walls.
13. All the episodes are on YouTube so I can think of 25 reasons relatively easily.
14. Sinister floaty skulls.
15. The Play Your Cards Right game, which I couldn’t figure out as a child because I wasn’t paying enough attention. And clearly, nor did some of the ones who took part.
16. The fact the actors who took part in it, such as Mark ‘Lord Fear’ Knight, remember the show fondly enough to put up Knightmare clips themselves:
17. Series 8 CGI fireballs. Yes, the last series looked more like a computer game, but a fun one. And I’m sure I ducked at least once when a fireball came hurtling towards the TV screen.
18. It beat the pants off what followed… the barely-remembered-at-all Virtually Impossible.
19. Brother Mace was an excellent and charming character. Nowadays I’d go to the tavern with him and drink a few ales.
20. The well-spoken and strawberry-jam-smeared-on-beard Hordriss and his well-bosomed daughter Sidriss were always entertaining too.
21. “Sidestep to your left…”
22. It was popular enough for the TV channel Challenge to pick up the rights to show all eight series, finding time in their schedule to show something besides Bullseye, Extreme Poker or Takeshi’s Castle. Nowadays I think they even show Fun House. Tch.
23. It taught people how to flirt with gargoyles.
24. Thought that Treguard was a flirty sort too.
25. There’s a terrifically comprehensive fansite dedicated to all things Knightmare-y. It has the rather obvious web address of www.knightmare.com. I suggest you go there now and feed on nostalgia until it bursts out of your nose.
Well, sort of…
Online racing is quite fun, y’know. And that’s lil old me getting sixth place and making damn sure not to be lapped after all at the finish of the race.