"Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions where nobody
goes stands an ancient castle. Deep within
this dank and
uninviting place lives Berk, overworked servant
to The Thing
upstairs. But that's nothing compared to
the horrors that
lurk beneath The Trapdoor, for there is always something
down there in the dark, waiting to come out..." -
This splendid plasticene series was stuffed with
creepy critters and creations.
It was set in the dungeons of an old creepy castle.
Here Berk was a blue, rather
unfortunate servant to "The Thing Upstairs",
the menacing master of the castle
whom we never saw but certainly heard as his booming
voice echoed around
the corridors and hideaways. Berk was assisted and
prevaricated in equal
amounts by his scurrying pet Drutt and a long-suffering
talking skull called Boni.
The Trapdoor itself sat smack in the way of Berk's
work. A big wooden door
in the floor through which beasties and insects
would emerge at the most
inopportune of moments to hinder Berk's progress
and generally cause much
manic mischief. These creatures were squirming,
trundling, thundering, squishing
brilliant - as cooky as the imaginations of the
CMTB Productions is an amalgum of the initials of Charles
Mills and Terry Brain,
the series creators. They and the third team member Steve
Box (credited here
as "Thing Doer" on the show) went on to
bring us the cel animated delights
and Tidyup. All three have since gone on to scale great animated
heights at Aardman Animation, with credits on the likes
of "Creature Comforts"
"Cracking Contraptions", Chicken
Run, "The Wrong Trousers", A
"Timmy Time" and Curse
of the Were-Rabbit (co-written
and co-directed by
The Trapdoor voices and story emebellishments were
provided by the late great
Willie Rushton, famous for his satiric contributions
to shows like "That Was The
Week That Was". Take a closer look at Berk's pal
Drutt there - he even looks
a little like Willie doesn't he?
Trapdoor was a gem of a show, stuffed with imaginative
capped off by a splendidly hip theme song. And would
you belive it, it's still
showing today on Channel 4. Extraordinary.
2006, Charles Mills and Tery Brain were said
to be reteaming to produce
an animated adaptation of Ricky
Gervais' "Flanimals", but alas the project
went off in a different direction.
It would have been the perfect marriage,
though, don't you think...?
In 1987 Alternative Software produced
a rather popular game based on
the series, for the CBM64/128. Gameplayers
adopted the role of Berk,
and were required to collect all sorts
of dark and nasty critters in order to
complete a series of demanding tasks.
Of course, the blocky characters
and levels have aged horribly by today's
hi-tech standards. But it was a
real fan favourite, back then...
crearted and directed
by Charles Mills and Terry
Howson asst to the prod: Sue
Kerridge animation: CMTB thing doer: Steve
Box stories: Charles
'Brainbox' Mills add. material:
Willie Rushton music & lyrics: Bob
Heatlie vocals: Zygott eyes in the dark:
Nigel Davies modelling
Ltd processing: Universal
editing: KPTV asst editor: Rob
Copeland dubbing: Glentham
Studios voices: Willie
A newcomer to the Trapdoor fan
scene, this one's shaping up to
be the ultimate online resource...
neat appreciation pages give us series info, character details,
several Willie Rushton WAV files and