I met up with a friend at the weekend who happened to mention a cool kids TV show that I’ve not yet managed to cover, so Al, here’s a post for you on The Trap Door.
The Trap Door, or just Trap Door as most people called it, was a plasticene modelled animated (or claymation as the method is sometimes called) series about a big blue creature called Berk. Berk was basically butler, cook and bottle washer for The Thing Upstairs, a mysterious being who we never saw but who ordered the good natured Berk around by bellowing commands at him, the most often used request being “Berk, Feed Me!“.
Berk had two main companions, who tended to be more of a hindrance than a help usually. First there was Boni, a skull who tended to complain rather a lot, so a lot of what he said went unheard by Berk, which was sometimes a pity as he did often give useful advice.
Berk also had a pet called Drutt, which was a kind of fat bodied spider like thing that scuttled around causing mischief and making farting sounds a lot. Whether this was his voice or just flatulence I don’t know.
The show took its name from the big wooden trap door which led to mysterious caverns deep below the castle in which Berk and his companions resided. The caverns were full of strange and dangerous beasts, and if the trap door happened to be left open they would often escape and run riot around the castle, until Berk managed to force them back down. Since Berk was a Berk by nature as well as by name, you can be sure that the trap door was left open more often than not.
In all two series of the show were created between 1984 and 1986, yielding a total of fourty episodes of five minutes in length. The creators of the show were Terry Brain and Charlie Mills, who also produced the cartoon Stoppit and Tidyup, which though cel animated had a similar style in the character designs. Each episode was narrated by the late comedian and cartoonist Willie Rushton.
Trap Door was popular enough to spawn two videogames, which involved Berk wandering around the castle collecting items to solve puzzles. The Trap Door games were unusual at the time for featuring extremely large playable characters which meant that despite the limited power of the computers that the games appeared on, the look of them was very close indeed to the TV series.
To finish then, I’ll leave you with a clip of the shows title sequence, which consisted mainly of a narrated intro, but had a short but catchy theme song warning you not to open The Trap Door!