Lazlar Lyricon - Michael Cule, David Learner, header image

Knightmare and Hitchhiker's Guide

By David Goldstein

Dispel: C-I-N-A-P! It includes television episodes, books, stage shows, merchandise and a computer game or two. I'm talking about both Knightmare and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.


The latter is back for a new BBC Radio series and, much like Knightmare's YouTube Geek Week special in 2013, has many of the original cast and crew on board.

Time for a trilogy of questions in five parts. If you take the first one, I'll answer the rest.

Question 1, from the 1987 Knightmare C64 game:

Who wrote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Question 2: other than being stunningly imaginative, having fans with excellent taste and featuring doors that talk, what particular things do Knightmare and Hitchhiker's Guide have in common?

To find the answer, let's go back to June of 2017 and a Hitchhiker's Guide convention called Lazlar Lyricon 3. Among the guests were Michael Cule and David Learner, who'd appeared in the TV series as the Vogon Guard and body of Marvin respectively. They both had roles in the 1980 Rainbow Theatre show too.

In 1990, they were reunited on screen by Knightmare. David played Pickle in Series 4-6; Michael only appeared in Series 4-5 but played Brother Mace, Fatilla, Doorkis and the Gatemaster in that time.

At Lazlar Lyricon, mostly harmless worlds collided when David and Michael took part in a live reenactment of Knightmare.

David Learner as Pickle at Lazlar Lyricon.
David Learner at Lazlar Lyricon. Credit: Joe O'Connor

It was praised on Twitter as 'incredible' and 'a blast'. The dungeon master was Sanjay Shelat as "Treeguard, son of Treguard".

You can find videos on YouTube of David and Michael's Lazlar Lyricon panels. Obrigado Pelos Peixes, Hitchhiker's Guide fans from Brazil, did their own interview with Michael at the event (and he mentions Knightmare). Don't Panic meets Hispanic.

When David Cule and David Learner made their appearances in Episode 2 of the Hitchhiker's Guide TV series, so did Rayner Bourton, playing a newsreader. He too would later be seen in Knightmare, playing Julius Scaramonger and Skarkill in Series 5-6.

According to The Games Machine magazine, Robert Harris was involved with effects in The Hitchhiker's TV series while at the BBC. He later worked his magic on Knightmare.

Question 3: how many episodes into Knightmare's run did Michael Cule first appear?

Question 4: when Michael Cule, David Learner and Rayner Bourton made their first joint appearance in Knightmare (Series 5 Episode 1), what number team did they encounter (and let's include the teams from Knightmare's two pilot episodes)?

And the fifth and Ultimate Question - which I think has been asked somewhere before - is of Life, the Universe and Everything.

The answer to Questions 3-5 is - by joyous coincidence - 42.

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