Pickle fooling Fatilla in Series 4 Quest 4

Dungeon of Deceit: Fools of Knightmare

By David Goldstein

Knightmare was built on illusion, but which characters and contestants were the biggest victims of its foolery?

The opening words of Knightmare, from Treguard to us watchers, included "illusion", "confusion" and "deceit". To get the best of the dungeon, whether you worked there or were just visiting, you had to be wise to its trickery.

In any given quest, someone could end up looking a fool, including those who were accustomed to fooling others. Here are 10 examples.

1. The sorcerer's stone: Series 2 Quest 10

Knightmare Series 2 Team 10. Folly fools Gumboil the guard into accepting an invisible philosopher's stone.

"Folly is my name and foolishness my nature," said Knightmare's original jester, but he was adept at exploiting the foolishness of others. He bribed his way past Gumboil with a "sorcerer's stone ... rare and valuable ... completely invisible to all but the cleverest people..." It worked on Gumboil, just as it worked when dungeoneer Julian tried it himself on Olaf later in the quest. His team went on to win.

2. A pickle: Series 4 Quest 4

Knightmare Series 4 Quest 4. Pickle persuades Fatilla the Hun not to harm the dungeoneer.

Dungeoneer Simon was in a tight spot with Fatilla the Hun, prompting Pickle to enter the game. He convinced Fatilla that Simon was not a dungeoneer but a "military forager ... with a hundred hungry men hard on his heels". The hun is hoodwinked, escorting Simon safely to the clue area. As long as Simon has people looking out for him, he's sure to be OK.

3. Dickon the deceiver: Series 4 Quest 6

Dickon, Knightmare's third winning dungeoneer, was a lad from Torquay who left a trail of duped dungeon denizens in his wake. On Level 1, he and his team fooled Mellisandre (with Treguard's encouragement) into thinking that Caledonia was the Roman name for Colchester; she gave him true information in exchange. On Level 2, he tricked Brother Mace into drinking "fifty-year-old Etruscan brandy": a potion from Hordriss that turned the monk into a massive lizard.

4. Password pile up: Series 5 Quest 3

Knightmare Series 5 Team 3. Julius Scaramonger looking shifty in the Greenwood.

When dungeoneer Sarah stumbled across Julius Scaramonger with a sack of venison, he tried to buy her silence by giving her the Level 1 password, frightknight. At the same time as believing him, the team misheard him, thinking he may have said "bright light". They were fortunate enough to get the correct password, greenwood, later in the quest from Gwendoline - in spite of offering her poison.

5. Going, going, goblin: Series 5 Quest 7

Scaramonger strikes again. He sold Christopher a spell called CHANGE that, instead of melting the ice around a firestone, turned the dungeoneer into a goblin. All seemed lost until... well, no, it was lost. The final embarrassment came when the team tried to get past a blocker using a muddled causeway combination as a password and... why don't you watch for yourself?

6. Lord Fear's double disguise: Series 6 Quest 3

Knightmare Series 6 Team 3. Alan turns away as a disguised Hordriss hands him a box with a medusa eye.

A spyglass revealed that Lord Fear had a Medusa eye in a deceptively delightful presentation box which he wanted to trick dungeoneer Alan into using. Later, we saw the box handed to Alan by Hordriss, in his customary beggar's guise of Harris. Only it wasn't either: it was Lord Fear disguised as Hordriss disguised as Harris. Many of us watchers missed the clues until we watched the repeats on Challenge decades later.

7. Misleading minstrel: Series 7 Quest 4

Knightmare Series 7 Team 4. A disguised Sylvester Hands gives Naila a horn.

After a failed attempt in Series 6 to pass himself off as the carrot eating hero Coonan the Vegetarian, Sylvester Hands was back in Series 7 with a new disguise: troubadour. He even adapted Greensleeves for the occasion:

"Alas, my love, you done me up
And pushed me off me mother's knee
For I 'ave got a broken 'eart
All for the love of thee"

The joke was on Hands. When he spoke with Naila, her outfit functioned as a disguise: Hands was unaware that the horned Helmet of Justice was no longer in use, and thus missed the fact that Naila, wearing the new-style Helmet, was a dungeoneer.

8. Made up Marta: Series 7 Quest 7

Hordriss the Confuser liked using disguises to live up his name, from beggars and witches to giant cats and tortoises. Yet he was all too easily fooled by others' ruses. When Lord Fear transformed Lissard into Hordriss' favourite barmaid Marta, it took another spell to expose the truth. Hordriss was suitably embarrassed. "One has been the victim of a cruel deceit! This is appalling!"

9. Fake your Fear: Series 8 Quest 2

Knightmare Series 8 Team 2. Daniel turns into Lord Fear. Sylvester Hands kneels at his feet.

Thanks to a potion called Fearsome, dungeoneer Daniel was able to present himself as Lord Fear to Sylvester Hands. In a nod to Bullseye, he got a speedboat out of it. (Alright, a rowing boat. Alright, a ride in a rowing boat through sewers.) He then moved to the big city, played a big floor piano and got a job in a toy company until the potion wore off.

10. Sidestep to your left: Series 4 Quest 4

Need we say more?

You Might Also Like...

Hugo Myatt and Tim Child Interviewed

Hugo Myatt appears in a documentary for Challenge in December 2013.

Challenge's 2013 Knightmare interviews with Tim Child and Hugo Myatt are now online.

Series 1 Quest 4

Series 1 Quest 4. Danny lands in the serpent's stomach.

Team 4: Danny, Nigel, Tom and Mark from Portsmouth.

Children's ITV - 1987

Children's ITV 1987 studio

A review of Children's ITV in 1987, particularly the autumn months when Knightmare Series 1 was broadcast.

See Also