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British TV series
 

      Berk - star of The Trapdoor


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   The Trapdoor  (1984)
  
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   producers: CMTB Animation
                     & Queensgate Productions
   animation:
stop-motion animation
     episodes: 40 x 5min episodes

 

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    "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..."

                                                                                                  
 
- Trapdoor intro

      "Oh globbits!"

                            - Berk

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   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 series producers...

     Boni and Drutt   Oh globbits! - It's a Trapdoor 'thingy'!

   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
   of Stoppit 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 Close Shave,
   "Timmy Time" and Curse of the Were-Rabbit (co-written and co-directed by
    Steve Box).

   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 eccentricities and
   capped off by a splendidly hip theme song. And would you belive it, it's still
   showing today on Channel 4. Extraordinary.

   
» In 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...?

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    The Trapdoor from Alternative Software


     Trapdoor game

     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...

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     In the news


     The Hound: July 2006

     The Flanimals are coming...

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     The Trapdoor on DVD


     The Trapdoor: Series 1 and 2

     All 40 episodes / R2 / Universal / February 2005

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       series crearted and directed
       by Charles Mills and Terry Brain


      producer:             John 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
        material:
              GCP Ltd
      processing:          Universal
      editing:                KPTV
      asst editor:           Rob Copeland
      dubbing:              Glentham Studios
      voices:                 Willie Rushton


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     On the web


      
The Trapdoor.org
      A newcomer to the Trapdoor fan scene, this one's shaping up to
      be the ultimate online resource...

      Boni's Page
      Boni's neat appreciation pages give us series info, character details,
      several Willie Rushton WAV files and more...


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© CMTB Animation / Queensgate Productions Ltd / F2010