Readers of a certain age will recognise the picture at once as the iconic Helmet of Justice from the legendary UK puzzle show Knightmare, a staple of ITV during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The show overtly featured riddles and transportation puzzles; even navigating the real human player around the computer graphical dungeons could be a puzzle in itself. Changes in TV channel demographics meant there wasn’t a place for the show from the mid-’90s, but it remains fondly remembered, with knightmare.com probably the hub of the fandom, and repeats still stand the test of time better than many other shows celebrating their silver anniversary, even if partly as a period piece.
The show has come back into the public consciousness over the last year or two, most notably with a Knightmare Live theatre game show that proved popular at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in 2013 and has been touring successfully ever since. There was also a one-off revival as part of YouTube’s Geek Week, and a convention, set to take place in Norwich, where the show was originally filmed, on Friday 9th May to Sunday 11th May. Saturday and Sunday night sees a convention expected to attract some of the original actors and offering teams a chance to play a single room of the dungeon. The Friday night will feature the Knightmare Live stage show, and I can imagine no better company in which to see the show.
This is exciting enough to merit discussion in the context of a beloved puzzle show alone, but even more exciting still is mention of Lord Fear’s Midnight Hunt running from 11:30pm on the Saturday night until 3am (!!) on Sunday morning.
“Come join us for an exclusive opportunity to be chased around the the streets of Norwich by Mark Knight, a.k.a Lord Fear himself! You will be joining a team of ten others as you all search through Norwich City Centre for clues to save both yourself and your team from Lord Fear as he attempts to hunt you down. […] The hunt will last for at least a couple of hours – please note that there will be a lot of movement on foot (walking, running etc) involved.”
I’m not sure to what extent the hunt will attempt to recapture and celebrate the puzzle content of the show, but it sounds like a spectacular, possibly unique, opportunity all the same – and with only one team of ten players getting to play, you might well think it worth taking a chance on a £20 ticket for the hunt; con tickets are not too dear either. Sadly I won’t be able to attend the weekend, but I’d love to hear reports from the convention, and possibly even its hunt, from any attendees.