Re:Interview with Rob from season 4 team 8

Questions for the cast and crew of Knightmare
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Re: Re:Interview with Rob from season 4 team 8

Post by s4t8brett »

I don't know whether you havev Rob's interview transcript anywhere, but as the team captain here are my answers:

Which actors/characters did you most enjoy encountering during your time on Knightmare?
Most of them: Treguard, Merlin, Motley, Pickle, Brother Mace, Mogdred, Gundrada, Mellisandre (in that order).

Once you'd appeared on Knightmare, did you find yourself comparing other quests to yours? e.g. having thoughts such as: 'That team was rather lucky!' or 'We were much better on the Corridor of Blades!'?

Yes - you realise how easy it is as an armchair viewer to wonder why teams didn't react more effectively, but when you've faced the Block and Tackle or the Corridor of Blades, you are more sympathetic to reaction times and novelty, and this despite learning from Series 3 and practising precise directions! Remember these kinds of challenges were also unprecedented in the earlier series. You also realise that some teams - such as the winning team - had it easier on the Corridor of Blades, because in our case Pickle introduced vertical movement to make the scene more exciting; whereas a simple left-right manoeuvre in time was all that was required. And that doesn't seem fair, but it's entertainment at the end of the day!

Knightmare fans sometimes enjoy speculating about what spells that were never cast would have done, had they been used. Your team had a TINY spell when the quest ended - what do you think it was intended for?

Shrinking Mogdred temporarily. Shrinking and Expanding were used earlier on the series, however. It's difficult to see why the production team don't answer some of these questions by now. It's also fun to consider unverifiable spells that the team might have brought - e.g. casting 'ENBOLDEN' in the face of Mogdred or Lord Fear. It might not have amused the production team, but would have been amusing nonetheless ('TIN'!).

Was playing Knightmare more scary than watching it, or less scary?

Scary on the first room (the Place of Choice), the Swinging Axe room (unseen), the Corridor of Blades and the Block and Tackle. For the first room it was surreal, 'we're actually on Knightmare and that's my brother in the Dungeon!'. But after that, after a night in a hotel, it was pretty much the same as viewers experience it for the first time - focused on what's going on in the game.

Regarding the reaction back at school - we came from two different schools. There were remarks such as - after Episode 15 was broadcast - how I jumped momentarily when the Assassin arrived - one friend said he replayed that clip again and again! Typical questions were: "What was it like to be on Knightmare?" "How did it work?" and "Did you win?" (to which my answer was 'not exactly ...' - how else to phrase it?!). Our final episode (#16) coincided with the end of the school term, of course, so when we were back at school in January the moment, like the Christmas season itself, had largely passed.

What are your thoughts on Knightmare VR?

I would rather see the Eye Shield sequences develop so that there were actual choices on it (eventually an almost infinite number of choices, of course) and for characters, objects and graphics to be superimposed accurately on the moving camera positions and angles. When I saw the first Eye Shield sequence, I thought the production team HAD mastered lifelike VR-type graphics.

Finally, in regard to comparing it to Series 3, I actually much preferred Series 4 - the forests, the inn with all those people in it, the boat across the lake. But I wondered why there was a clean break with the scenes of series 3 - I was expecting new challenges, but also familiar scenes. I think they could have introduced outside scenes without using the Eye Shield if they'd wanted to, and made the transition from series 3 smoother by incorporating some of the previous rooms. I suspect the extra cost of royalties is the reason why that didn't happen. The mine ride in series 3 was more exciting than the steps into Level 3, in series 4.

Looking ahead, I know many Knightmare fans like Lord Fear but I never really took to him, partly as I thought he was overused (not least by himself!). The dragon rides were impressive at first, but quickly became so many 'passive paths' - and effectively discarded by series 8 in any case. Winteria, Wolfenden and the galleon were ideas that must have looked good on paper, but I found them just too unbelievable to work - I actually prefer the smaller-scale outdoor scenes of series 4 (and didn't find our particular quest 'too purple'). The variety of scenes in, say series 5, was an improvement and that despite Tim telling me it wasn't new rooms, but what happened in the scenes that made an adventure. Characters like Pixel, Elita and Ah Wok were disappointingly irritating, though. Difficult to disentangle moving on, having been on Knightmare (and continuing to grow up) from the merits of the later series, though.
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Re: Interview with Series 4 Team 8: Brett

Post by Drassil »

Thank you for taking the time to give your answers, Brett. To my knowledge, Darren has never shared Rob's answers with Maybe he decided we were the wrong people.

s4t8brett wrote: 05 May 2017, 20:40 I actually much preferred Series 4 - the forests, the inn with all those people in it, the boat across the lake.

I've always enjoyed the look of Series 4. A cynic might ask: "What is dungeoneering if it doesn't look like a dungeon?" But in my view, the gameplay was still there (as demonstrated so well by your own immersion in the experience), the tension was still there and, to an extent, the claustrophobia was still there, since you still needed to complete three levels to regain your freedom.

s4t8brett wrote: 05 May 2017, 20:40 Winteria, Wolfenden and the galleon were ideas that must have looked good on paper, but I found them just too unbelievable to work

It's tempting to wonder whether Winteria was on paper, or whether it was the result of getting snow on days when they'd scheduled location filming.

I have another question. Were there any encounters (locations, puzzles, characters) from other Knightmare quests that you wish your team had had?
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Re: Re:Interview with Rob from season 4 team 8

Post by s4t8brett »

Hi Drassil,

I have always assumed Winteria was an opportunity the production team seized in December 1990. I know it was snowing heavily in Yorkshire on the weekend of Episode 15 of Series 4, anyway! But it could have been scheduled - possibly Tim trying to get the location shooting done earlier in the production year to give him more time for devising the puzzles than for Series 4? Or perhaps because he felt winter would look more suitable - and of course be less touristed! I remember during our series 4 audition he said there is a lot of preparation in a high tech gameshow (the boatman cropped up in the scenarios for both the series 3 and series 4 auditions, so it was no surprise to encounter the boatman in series 4).

Locations, characters, puzzles from other series? I have some tentative preferences.
I would have liked some continuity with some of the passageways/cliffs of Series 1-3, although rooms such as the pool room and those with snakes and scorpions feel dated now.
The forest scenes from Series 5, including the horse - there were a good variety and it would have padded out the forests in Series 4 a bit more. Possibly the dwarf tunnels from Series 6.
Smirkenoff introducing the quest - quest object, information about the quest (possibly the opposition - the spyglass was overused in my opinion) en route to the first location. Replace the spyglass in Level 2 with some sort of viewing pool perhaps.
Possibly some sort of henchman for Mogdred such as Skarkill - although perhaps a larger goblin, with at least three goblins in toe, would have been even better.
Sylvester Hands - perhaps in the inn, and in Level 2.
Stiletta and Gundrada seem pretty well interchangeable to me (same for Folly and Gretel). I always liked Mrs Grimwold and the 'dog' sounds when Series 3 was broadcast, also Olaf the viking and Bumptious the dwarf were quite entertaining at the time.
That's only three definites then: Sir Hugh de Witless' horse, Smirkenoff and Sylvester Hands.

The later puzzles seem to coalesce around the Causeways, Play Your Cards Right and Trial by Spikes. I think it was a sensible production idea to have puzzles that could be simply altered by changing the symbols. But I have no strong preference either way.

Other ideas - I would have liked some of the timing/positioning puzzles from series 1-3 to have been re-set in the forest, using computer graphics of course. Character interactions seem to me to boil down to flattery, bribery and deception - or mere entertainment for viewers at home - too often, whereas for me transactions of a trading nature would have improved the gameplay. Incidentally, someone said Mellisandre's dialogue was pointless and Mistress Goody mumbled gibberish (episode 15). And, functionally speaking, that may be so. But - as Tim said to me at the time - it was important to make the show entertaining for viewers, as well as functional in terms of the quest challenges. Such dialogues - including Merlin's "There's nothing to fear" - seem to have had a chiaroscuro effect of deepening the shadows and the forthcoming drama (assassin, conveyor belt, Lord Fear), as well as providing light {sic} relief between challenges (whether or not that was Tim's conscious intention).

Finally, the Eye Shield could have been more dynamic - e.g. by putting the shortlisted teams together in a forest (say Sherwood as it's fairly central) and film (three) navigational tasks. The sequence that will go into the show is chosen at random - a team member draws a card. Now this would have been fair given that if the team performs all navigational tasks successfully, they have no worries. It would also have helped the production team (to some degree) to plan quest lengths. Ditto for a castle (or dwarf tunnel set) for Level 2. Caves for Level 3 (borrowing slightly from the end of Series 6, as I recall). And, perhaps, a flight simulator for Smirkenoff. I always felt there was the potential to portray journeys through mountains (outside of them) on Knightmare more extensively - they tended to be used mainly for atmospherics, on the horizon.

Thanks again for your interest in my reflections on our quest (in 2017!) Drassil, and best wishes,
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