Lord Fear casting a spell

Interview with Mark Knight

By Kieran

An online interview with Mark Knight, who answered questions raised in the Knightmare Forum and presented to him by Kieran O'Brien.


Ideas for questions were posted to the Forum. Apologies if your questions weren't answered. Thanks go to Mark Knight for sparing us his time. Enjoy!


Steph / Kieran: Hello!

Lord Fear: Hello mortal.

Kieran: Greetings Lordness. Anything to say to the other mortals before we start?

Lord Fear: Just remember, I do like the proper forms of respect.

Kieran: By all means my Fearship.

Lord Fear: Good.

Cancellation

Kieran: Indeed. First of all we would like to ask you - are you aware of why Knightmare was cancelled, when did they tell you it was and what reasons did they give you?

Lord Fear: Tim Child had been trying to get an American pilot made of the series and also a CD game. After series 8 we all went home and our agents were told the next year that there would be no more Knightmare.

Kieran: A CD game! That would have been nice! Why on earth we can't do that today I don't know. So you got no real explanation as to why?

Lord Fear: No. The CITV people decided that the audience wasn't there any more.

Characters

Kieran: Rats to that! It was still the top show on CITV, they must have made a major mistake when they decided that. Who was your favourite character? (Ah Wok, Lord Fear, Rothbery or Sir Hugh)

Lord Fear: I liked Ah Wok but Sir Hugh was fun because he was such an idiot.

Kieran: Yes, well he was right, if it smells bad it must be saved.

Lord Fear: Exactly.

Sir Hugh de Wittless, as played by Mark Knight in Series 5 of Knightmare (1991).
Mark Knight as Sir Hugh de Wittless

Kieran: Who was the easiest of the characters to get into? Did you ever go into the wrong voice for a character?

Lord Fear: They were all easy. I have no trouble doing accents.

Kieran: okay then. :-) a sign of a confident actor.

Lord Fear: I never did the wrong voice - we had plenty of time to prepare.

Special effects

Kieran: How were the spyglass sequences filmed? e.g.. were they live or pre-recorded?

Lord Fear: They were all pre-recorded.

Kieran: How did they do the "seeking hand" you used in Series 6?

Lord Fear: All pre-recorded and mixed on-screen with live action.

Kieran: Did you use a blue background for the hand? If you want to go into the technical aspects of course...

Lord Fear: Yes we used bluescreen (aka chroma-key) to remove the bits we didn't want seen.

Kieran: Ah right. I wondered about that. You could always tell you were going to do that in the spyglass scenes, as you would have one bare hand. Was that on purpose?

Lord Fear: Yes.

Fellow actors

Kieran: Do you keep in contact with any of your fellow actors on Knightmare?

Lord Fear: Unfortunately no. I used to see Paul Valentine a bit but I live in another country now and have lost touch.

Lord Fear: I used to see Cliff Barry a bit (I was his best man when he got married) but no longer.

Kieran: Lord Fear as a best man?!!!

Lord Fear: Yep. A strange situation.

Kieran: Very strange. Did you watch Knightmare before you joined it?

Lord Fear: No. I knew of it and watched it when I knew I was going to audition for the part, but that was all.

Kieran: I see :-) Do you have a favourite series at all?

Lord Fear : Series 7 was great because I got to work with Cliff Barry who was a friend from another job. We used to work at the Museum of the Moving Image in London.

Lissard, Lord Fear's minion, played by Cliff Barry in Series 8 of Knightmare.
Cliff Barry in 1994

Kieran: I know that place! Were there any particular rooms/challenges you liked? e.g. Corridor of Blades or Black Tower of Goth etc

Lord Fear: The blades were excellent.

Kieran: Yes, a big Dungeoneer killer. :-)

Lord Fear: Very satisfying.

Kieran: Who did you used to hang around with whilst filming?

Lord Fear: Paul, Cliff, Steph and a few others.

Would you return?

Kieran: I see. Do you have any favourite teams? Or worthy victors?

Lord Fear: No. I hated them all equally.

Kieran: Anyone who stood out from the rest?

Lord Fear: None. They were all pathetic losers.

Lord Fear: Except the winners.

Lord Fear: Who I hated.

Kieran: I see, silly me, in thinking Lord Fear would like Dungeoneers ;-)

Kieran: If Knightmare came back, would you like to play Lord Fear again?

Lord Fear: In a heartbeat.

Kieran: I guessed so. :-)

Behind the scenes

Steph: How did they do your make-up for Lord Fear and how long did it take... less than 12 hours I hope ;-)

Lord Fear: Only about 40 minutes.

Kieran: Not too bad then, those finger nails looked like an hour each

Lord Fear: Nope. Just a bit o'glue and off I went.

Steph: Did you have to have fittings for your helmet?

Lord Fear: Yes. It was irksome.

Kieran: oh nasty :-)

Lord Fear, the Leader of the Opposition, as played by Mark Knight in Series 8 of Knightmare (1994).
Mark as Lord Fear in 1994

Kieran: Did you always stick to the script for your characters or did you improvise?

Lord Fear: All the smaller characters were impro'd. We just had to get certain bits of info across and maybe bargain for an item. Lord Fear was always scripted.

Kieran: Yes, as it was pre-recorded, makes sense. Who wrote the Lord Fear scripts? Did you have any say in them?

Lord Fear: Tim wrote them but I would make suggestions and tweaks sometimes.

Kieran: I see :-) Never let the director/script writer have too much power aye?

Lord Fear: Yes.

Kieran: Did you find the spy glass sequences difficult? e.g.. talking to another character through the pool with them not really being in the pool etc.

Lord Fear: Not really. It was acting which is strange enough as it is.

Kieran: Yes, I KNOW what you mean

Steph: How heavy was the suit of armour for Sir Hugh? Did YOU ride the horse?

Lord Fear: I didn't ride Neddy. In fact I never met Neddy. He was filmed on Bluescreen before we started shooting that series and they mixed him in when we needed him.

Lord Fear: The armour was all fibreglass and quite easy to wear.

Other projects

Kieran: Other than Knightmare, what else have you been involved in, in an acting role?

Lord Fear : I was a playwright and performer on the London Fringe for years. I toured in Shakespeare shows, I worked with the Medieval Players, I toured Germany twice with Educating Rita (I played Frank). I was also involved at the Shakespeare's Globe in Southwark (London) for over a decade. I gave thousands of lectures and workshops there and set up a team of actor-teachers.

The Globe Theatre in Southwark, London.
The Globe Theatre in London

Steph: I loved Educating Rita! What kind of publicity stunts did you do for Knightmare? Did you enjoy them? Were you involved in the Knightmare fanzine/news letter, as Lord Fear had a regular column in it?

Lord Fear: Very few stunts. Someone else wrote the Lord fear column - Sue Child, I think.

Kieran: Ah no! Oh well, she did a good enough job, not quite the Fearship good though.

Kieran: Did you ever see the finished product of Knightmare? Do you have copies on video today?

Lord Fear: We used to see instant playback in our dressing rooms and we had copies back then. I have no copies now though.

Getting the role

Steph / Kieran: How did you find out about the actor opening in Knightmare for Lord Fear? Do you remember anything about the trial runs for the character?

Lord Fear: I was in an actors' co-operative and the part was advertised. We applied for it, I did a reading, met Tim and Sue and got it. The character just came to me - the voice was a sort of upper class sneery thing with a bit of Oliviers's Richard the Third (now there's a villain I'd love to play).

Kieran: Did you ever feel sorry for Lord Fear? e.g. in him being the bad guy and always losing in some way @ end of season [usually being crushed by something].

Lord Fear: No. He always made a comeback.

Having fun

Kieran: He tried his best, until he was crushed again :-) Did you prefer playing good guys or bad guys?

Lord Fear: I liked playing all my parts. Bad guys are fun though. Being naughty is always more fun.

Steph: I thought you would say that. Did you feel Lord Fear was given a hard time by his minions?

Lord Fear: Yes. They were all idiots.

Kieran: even poor Lissard? ;-)

Rothberry the Apothecary, played by Mark Knight. As seen in Series 8 of Knightmare (1994).
Mark as Rothberry the Apothecary

Kieran: You wore glasses for Rothbery, were they just clear lenses or did they have a prescription? Do you wear glasses in real life and if so, did you need contact lenses for Lord Fear, Sir Hugh and Ah Wok?

Lord Fear: I wear glasses but I wore contacts for Fear. Rothberry's specs were clear lenses.

Kieran: I see, I wear glasses too, nasty things! Have you ever been pointed at in the street as "Lord Fear" or recognised for your parts in Knightmare?

Lord Fear : Nope. I was too heavily made up.

Kieran: Yes, true :-) Do your friends/family ever joke about you playing Lord Fear and your other characters? Tease you for it etc?

Lord Fear: They wouldn't dare. :-)

Endings

Kieran: I bet they wouldn't! ;-) Okay, final question I think... What was your favorite end of season? Crushed by dragon, crushed by troll, being frozen up or just a huge rant like Series 8?

Lord Fear: Ice was good but I loved the rant - it's great to let go like that!

Knightmare Series 8, End of Series. Lord Fear is incandescent with rage at the thought of surrender.
Lord Fear's rant at the end of Series 8

Kieran: Yes, those were the final words in Knightmare. :-(

Kieran: Nice rant indeed!

Lord Fear: Shame it's all finished now.

Kieran: Yes, I think we all think that. Anyway, thanks for your time.

Lord Fear: You're welcome.

Kieran: Any last comments to the "mortals"?

Lord Fear: I hate you all.

Kieran: Right, well, thank you very much for that.

Lord Fear: Except Steph. Don't mention it.

Kieran: Makes us feel loved...

Steph: aww thank you. [Begins to sob]

Lord Fear: Stop sniveling girl or I'll give you something to snivel about.

Kieran: Okay, maybe one day you can make it to Knightmare chat, until then, thank you and keep fearing about :-)

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