British Fantasy TV influences

As well as the standard gaming influences (Fighting Fantasy, White Dwarf etc.), there are various British TV series that have shaped my gaming habits over the years.

Mr Benn is a kids animation from the 70s where a mild-mannered banker called Mr Ben visits a magical costume shop and is given a costume by the Shop Keeper, who sends him through into the changing room from where he has an adventure. If that isn’t the very definition of Roleplaying, I don’t know what is 🙂

Chorlton and the Wheelies. Not going even to try to explain it. Here’s the music intro/outro, which does a bloody good job. Vibrant, imaginative and somewhat unsettling.

Finally, on the animation side of things is Trapdoor, a claymation epic of a master and overworked servant from the late 80s.

In modern times, we have Yonderland. It’s sort of a kid’s TV program, but in the good old tradition of British TV, it has lots of knowing references and depth for adults. By the same team who brought us Horrible Histories.

This is Jinsy, one of Sky’s first commissioned comedies, although the pilot was shown on BBC. Made by a duo, playing multiple parts, and based on a weird and wonderful fantasy version of Jersey. Each episode is a whos who of British Comedy actors in supporting roles.

Alas, they only did two series, which only seem to be available on DVD these days. But the creative duo behind it have continued making music, which was an integral part of the show, as the Jinsy Boys.

From back in the old days (the late 80s) comes ITV’s Knightmare. Basically D&D on TV if you wore a bucket on your head and relied on your mates to guide you.

And if I’m going to mention Knightmare, it would be amiss not to flag up the Adventure Game, and of course, the Crystal Maze.

Finally, good old Monty Python was an influence on many a British gaming table in the 80s, courtesy of the films and a well-timed repeat on BBC 2.  I know some groups who had a swear jar to avoid references to the show swamping actual gameplay. This scene, for some reason, comes to mind whenever I player RuneQuest 😀