Trapdoor

                                                                   

 

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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 (Allo!), overworked servant of "the thing upstairs" (Berk! Feed Me!) But that's nothing compared to the horrors that lurk beneath the trap door, for there is always something down there, in the dark, waiting to come out...

The Trap Door is a claymation-style animated television series, originally shown in the United Kingdom in 1984. The plot revolves around both the daily lives and the misadventures of a group of monsters living in a castle. Although the emphasis was on humour and the show was marketed as a children's programme, the show drew much from the genres of horror and dark fantasy.

The world of The Trap Door is completely inhabited by monsters, and almost all the show takes place in the monsters' castle, and especially the pantry or cellar where Berk resides, the castle servant and central character of the show. Beneath the castle are a series of dark and mysterious caverns inhabited by all manner of "horrible things", accessible by the eponymous trap door in the bowels of the castle.

The master of the castle, "The Thing Upstairs", resides in the attic of the castle and is never actually seen, remaining an unseen character throughout the entire show, only shouting down orders to Berk. This happens when it is hungry and wants dinner or supper, or when it wants something attending to, such as shelves putting up or the giant venus fly traps in the castle garden feeding. Berk has two companions, Boni and Drutt, and occasionally the eponymous trap door is opened by Berk to retrieve something from the caverns below and another monster will escape and cause havoc. In most episodes, Berk, who is quite docile, will accidentally leave the trap door open for something more nasty to escape later on. Though mostly hostile or mischievous, occasionally a helpful or friendly creature does emerge. One such monster, Rogg, becomes friends with Berk and frequently returns to visit.

Berk

A blue-skinned monster who speaks with a Cornish accent, Berk is the main character or protagonist of the show, and steward or caretaker of the monsters' castle. Berk is also the loyal servant of "The Thing Upstairs", an unseen character, although Berk's loyalty to his master may also have something to do with the fact he is terrified of "The Thing Upstairs". Despite this Berk often goes to his duties and chores with simple-minded glee, and especially enjoys cooking up exotic things in his kitchen, usually with ingredients such as mud, eyeballs, snakes and worms. Berk is often warned not to open the trap door by his friends and he is strictly forbidden from doing so by his master, although in most episodes Berk does open the trap door, sometimes out of sheer child-like curiosity and other times to fetch something from the mysterious caverns below the castle (such as to fetch worms to feed his pet, Drutt.) Berk is often careless and irresponsible enough to leave the trap door open, allowing a less friendly monster to escape from the caverns below and wreak chaos in the castle. Berk is usually lighthearted, optimistic and cheery unless he is having a hard time dealing with a monster from the trap door. He also tends to shrug off Boni's (usually rather paranoid) warnings and often forces him to do things Boni would like to skip, such as taking him fishing in the swamp outside the castle. Berk's usual exclamation is "globbits!", and also "sniff that!" He also enjoys "bonking" things (hitting other monsters over the head with blunt objects).

Boni

Boni is a disembodied, undead, well spoken skull, and Berk's only real friend. Boni hates to be moved from his favourite spot, an alcove in the wall near the trap door. Boni spends most of his time moaning from his alcove in the wall, or getting paranoid and unsuccessfully trying to warn Berk about trap door monsters. While some of his constant complaining is unwarranted, his warnings often have merit, mostly when trying to convince Berk to close the unattended trap door before something nasty comes out of it. It is left unresolved why Boni is a skull and has no body. However, in the 28th episode, or third episode of the second series, "Moany Boni", a spell is cast on Boni which gives him his body back. It is however the body of a horse, and Boni begins to make goat noises. This is suggestive of the fact that perhaps before he was merely a skull, Boni was a centaur.

Drutt

Berk's pet "thing", vaguely resembling a frog, with the legs of a spider. Drutt is very hyperactive and makes a series of bizarre noises, many resembling flatulence. Berk often finds Drutt unhelpful and annoying. Drutt often causes trouble when chasing after worms and other creepy-crawlies to eat that have emerged from the trap door, sometimes even going down into the caverns in search of them. It is unclear whether Drutt is male or female; halfway through the second series Drutt has four pink babies, however the others still refer to him as "he."

The Thing Upstairs

The grumpy and demanding master of the castle, "The Thing Upstairs" rarely leaves his penthouse room, flying out when he does, and consequently is never seen. He always has a job for Berk, which he shouts downstairs as orders in a booming voice, and usually involve fixing something around the castle or preparing meals made from interesting creatures.

Only hints are given as to what "The Thing Upstairs" looks like. In the 14th episode of series one, "The Little Thing", Berk enters his room and a lightning flash illuminates a mass of tentacles, and although this is only on screen for a split-second it gives some idea to what "The Thing Upstairs" actually looks like. Also, in the 13th episode "The Pain", Berk asks which head "The Thing Upstairs"'s toothache is in, therefore implying he has more than one head. The tooth itself is about two-thirds the size of Berk. In a later episode ("Not Very Nice"), Berk loses one of "The Thing Upstairs"'s eyeballs down the trapdoor, implying the eyes are removable, and Berk later recovers it (the master says afterwards he saw all of what happened despite the eye being disconnected from his body.) The master's eye is almost as big as Berk, showing the master is indeed massive. In the episode "The Stupid Thing" it is mentioned that he has three humps on his back. Finally in one of the last episodes of series 1, it is revealed that the master can fly, though we never actually see this happen.

Creepy, crawly, slimy things, that stick on to your skin... Horrid beasts with tentacles, that want to pull you in... Squirmy worms, slugs and snails, that lie there in a goo... They'll wait down there forever, 'till they get their hands on you... Stay away from that trapdoor, 'Cos there's something down there....

 

Title

Original airdate

 

"Breakfast Time"

1984

 

"Slither, Wriggle and Writhe"

1984

 

"Food for Thort"

1984

 

"Lurkings"

1984

 

"Gourmet's Delight"

1984

 

"Creepy Crawly"

1984

 

"The Big Thing"

1984

 

"Ghoulies"

1984

 

"The Dose"

1984

 

"The Thingy"

1984

 

"Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite"

1984

 

"Fester Rancid"

1984

 

"The Pain"

1984

 

"The Little Thing"

1984

 

"Don't Open That Trap Door"

1984

 

"Junk Food"

1984

 

"Yechh!"

1984

 

"Flyin' Wotsit Fingy"

1984

 

"Strange Goings On"

1984

 

"Midnight Snack"

1984

 

"Nasty Stuff"

1984

 

"Sniff That"

1984

 

"Vile Pile"

1984

 

"Slightly Weird"

1984

 

"Bye Bye Berk"

1984

 

 

Title

Original airdate

 

"Scunge"

1986

 

"Oh Globbits"

1986

 

"Moany Boni"

1986

 

"The Horrible Thing"

1986

 

"Not Very Nice"

1986

 

"Bugs"

1986

 

"Yum Yum"

1986

 

"Birthday Surprise"

1986

 

"The Stupid Thing"

1986

 

"Boo!"

1986

 

"The Lump"

1986

 

"The Splund"

1986

 

"Nasty Beasty"

1986

 

"What a Weirdo"

1986

 

"The Big Red Thing"

1986

 

 

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Genre Clay animation, Horror, Comedy
Created by Terry Brain
Charlie Mills
Voices of Willie Rushton
Narrated by  
Counrty of origin Unitaed Kingdom
No. of episodes 40
Running Time) 5 mins
Original Run 1984 1986
Language English

 

 

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