The British were playing D&D on Television in the 80s.

Here’s an odd one from the past. Around the same time that Double Dare was being shown in American households, British television had “Knightmare,” a game show where one contestant would play a “dungeoneer,” traveling through an animated dungeon of chromakey rooms. He would be guided by three other contestants, hunkered over a television screen, who saw his progress and told him where to step, what to say, and cast spells for him. D&D with a little bit of Dragon’s Lair mixed with Nick Arcade.

Despite the fact that there was no dice rolling, the game felt like one of those old school D&D sessions. The three advisors even took notes on large clipboards. The only thing missing was Mountain Dew and potato chips – well, crisps, because this is the U.K., after all. The gameshow host was even called Dungeon Master Treguard, and as for why the dungeoneer couldn’t see more than a foot in front of his face? Well, each Dungeoneer wore a “Helmet of Justice” to protect the dungeoneer from seeing the danger ahead. (Sort of like Peril Sensitive Sunglasses.)

You can check out an old surviving episode here. In this one, the contestants successfully navigate the dungeon – a rarity, as the game was brutally difficult, with most of the game a giant lateral thinking puzzle. The show ran for eight years – in that time, only eight teams successfully navigated the dungeon.


12 Responses to The British were playing D&D on Television in the 80s.

  1. Knightmare was a work of genius. I've met a couple of people that actually went on it and, even though I am now 31 years old, they have still had a small "Glow of Awesome" around them. :)

    Although, like all shows, the later series (to my eyes) were not as good as the early ones.

  2. Something similar is airing on Bosnian (or Serbian, not sure. NHF if anyone's from any of those countries for not being sure xD ) television.

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