Knightmare | The Kids’ TV Show That Fuelled My Creativity
I began considering careers in TV at the age of 6.
In 1988 I was engrossed by a kids’ TV game show, Knightmare. The young contestants were dropped into a Dungeons & Dragons universe created by then bleeding-edge CGI. There was nothing else like it. Knightmare was must-see TV and is still fondly remembered with a cult following. The game’s Dungeon Master, Treguard (spookily portrayed by actor Hugo Myatt) was undoubtedly one of the creepiest characters on kids’ TV.
The live-action gameplay was recorded at Anglia Television’s Magdalen Street studio, in my home city of Norwich. My dad knew the designer creating the pioneering computer graphics for the series. One evening Robert Harris—of the Travelling Matte Company—let me briefly take the helm of the Spaceward SuperNova computer used to generate Knightmare’s CGI environments.
I used the SuperNova’s ‘magic pen’ to scrawl a vibrant pink line-drawing of a house, with a tree beside it, and a couple of birds in the sky. The live output was recorded to a VHS cassette (sadly, lost many years ago). I was so eager for friends to see my remarkable creation that I took the tape to school. A special ‘Show and Tell’ was arranged, and my entire class was taken to the ‘Television Room’. It was the 80s, so the school owned just one television and one top-loader Ferguson Videostar (FYI, it was state of the art back then! Google it!)
The teacher loaded the cassette. A couple of dozen 6-year olds sat cross legged, gazing up to the television. They had front row seats at the premiere viewing of an invisible pen drawing a house, which—just seconds later— then vanished into the sputtering noise of blank tape. Blank stares. They were probably expecting more. Maybe they thought I had a raging ego? I didn’t much care. I had drawn a picture on the TV, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Knightmare fired my creative imagination (it also had a badass title sequence), and the opportunity to dabble—even for just a couple of minutes—with the tech that made the show possible left a big impression on me. From 1988 to the present day, I have never deviated even once from my desire to use computers to create video.
You can find out more about the production of the Knightmare with its creator Tim Child, here.
Tom has had a diverse career as a Television Commercial Producer, Video Marketing Expert, Video Editor, Designer, and Writer. He is the author of the Focal Press media studies textbook 'Managing a Video Production Company' and is also the co-owner of a TV advertising business in the UK. Outside of the media Tom enjoys sci-fi, gaming, and fitness.