|Treguard of Dunshelm, the Dungeon Master (played by Hugo Myatt)|
|Co-Hosts (Series 4–8 Only)|
|Pickle the Wood Elf (played by David Learner) (Series 4–6)|
Majida the Genie (played by Jackie Sawris) (Last Two Series)
Knightmare was an adventure game show for children.
At the start of each game, Treguard (Majida in the last two series) would say, "Enter Stranger!" A child would then enter the antechamber; this was the dungeoneer. The dungeoneer would then call for three advisors (their teammates) to help them with their quest (in the final series, all four of them appeared at once).
The Main Items for the Quest and the Life ForceEdit
To start the quest, the dungeoneer was made to wear The Helmet of Justice; this was said to "protect them from the illusions of the dungeon." In reality, however, it was to prevent them from realising they were in a blue room. This is because the dungeon was computer-generated and handrawn (completely computer-generated in the final series), and appeared with blue-screen technology (making it the world's first ever game show to use it). The dungeoneer was also given a knapsack to place food inside to replenish their Life Force, which was both a clock and progress meter used to keep track of their energy status. It could be reduced by taking too much time, being attacked by monsters and hazards, taking the wrong route, or making bad decisions; however, there were certain traps or pits that caused an instant death, no matter how much was left (these deaths were occasionally animated in post-production). The Life Force had three different forms throughout the show's run:
- In the first five series, it was a computer-generated image of an adventurer wearing a helmet. When the Life Force was healthy, the background was green. As it drained away, the helmet would break off piece by piece on an amber background. When the helmet was gone, pieces of skin would break off to reveal a skull (but no blood) on a red background. Finally, the skull would crumble away, afterwhich the eyes would roll away past the camera, indicating a death.
- In the sixth and seventh series, it was a moving graphic of a walking knight, whose armour would fall off, revealing a skeleton who eventually collapsed, indicating a death.
- In the final series, it was an animated pie, whose slices slowly dissolved. This form was never used to indicate a death.
Other main items in later series included:
- The Eye-Shield (Series 4–8) – By now, the dungeoneer could explore places "outside the dungeon." So they were given this item to hold in front of their chest so that the advisors could see where they were going.
- Reach (Final Series) – This was a magic wand that allowed the team to do things that they couldn't do normally. Whenever the dungeoneer was in a position to use it, a crosshair would appear where they were pointing it. As soon as it was in the right place, the dungeoneer would press a button, and the thing happened.
During the QuestEdit
The advisors would watch the dungeoneer through a screen in the antechamber and would guide them through hurried descriptions and shouted instructions, while overcoming a variety of traps and puzzles in the dungeon.
At certain points during the quest, the advisors could cast a spell, which gave them an advantage. They did this by saying "Spellcasting" and then spelling the spell's name letter by letter. Spells could also be reversed or stopped by saying, "Dispel" and then the letters in a wrong order.
Sometimes the team would find a table with objects on it. The team would have to carefully choose the objects that they would need for later. In most series, these objects always had to be carried by hand; in the final series, however, they were allowed to be carried in the knapsack. Either way, the team could only carry a maximum of two objects at one time.
Levels, Treasures, Travel Modes, and CharactersEdit
The dungeon had three levels. The object of the quest was to collect items, meet various characters, and (in later series) get out alive once they found a specific treasure. Sometimes the teams chose one of four treasures to pursue. The choice only affected the first room entered, and the treasure found (the latter always happened near the end of Level 3). There were a variety of ways to travel through the dungeon; these included wellways, mine cart rides, lifts known as "descenders", and airborne rides on Smirkenorff the Dragon (voiced by Clifford Norgate). Other characters in the dungeon included jesters, maids, and wizards, who would help the dungeoneer, and guards, witches, and sorcerers, who either demanded something, or simply tried to kill the dungeoneer.
The End of the QuestEdit
Teams that died would be eliminated from the game (although they survived in "their own time"), but teams who completed all three levels won awards. In the first three series, the award was a plaque called "The Silver Spurs of Squiredom". This was changed to medallions for the fourth series, and then trophies called "Frightknights", which were of a knight holding a sword, for the rest of the run.
The End of the SeriesEdit
Usually, the last team in each series would face an impossible quest, ending with the dungeon collapsing before the conclusion of it.
Knightmare is often said to be the most difficult children's game show in the world. This is because only eight teams managed to complete their quests in all eight series.
Because Knightmare was a fantasy-/adventure-based programme, people felt that it should have both heroes and villains. During the first half it's run, it was nothing like that; all of the characters (including Treguard) were generally neutral. The closest there was to a villain was Mogred the Dark Wizard (played by John Woodnutt); although in the penultimate episode in the second series, his main job was revealed by Merlin the Wizard (who was Mogred's "alter ego" in the first series, and also played by Woodnutt) as nothing more than to "scare you into making a mistake." However, he did kill two dungeoneers. Starting in the fifth series, most of the characters were split into two sides: the righteous "Powers that Be" (Treguard's side), and the villainous "Opposition", led by Lord Fear the Techno-Sorcerer (played by Mark Knight). So from this point onward, Treguard's job was to help the team complete their quest.
According to the story, Majida joined Treguard because Pickle had "gone back to the forest." Also, she originally claimed that her name was, "Daughter of the Setting Moon Whose Eyes are Like Daggers in the Hearts of Men Who Ride the Great Caravan of the Sultan".
Knightmare was canceled not because of low ratings, but because in 1993, the average audience age of CITV had dropped from 6-15 to 6-10. Dawn Airey, the new Controller of CITV, (who had replaced the ITV Children's Committee the previous year) felt that new programmes for a younger audience were needed. They went ahead with the eighth series, though it was shorter than prior series, leaving a new programme called Virtually Impossible to take its place.
Despite this, its eighth series did well. In fact, after it ended, people had a strong hope it would return for a ninth series in 1995 (there was even a post address shown onscreen at the end of the final episode); however, there were also strong chances that the eighth series was the last one. Thus, the show ended on an ambiguous note.