on 20 November 2006
I remember watching this back when I was little and feeling the delicious shivers creep up and down my spine as the theme music started. I was overjoyed to see that it was finally out on DVD - more than that, it still holds up pretty well if you want to watch something that isn't too demanding and doesn't try to be adult like a lot of animation nowadays. Seems to have a bit of social commentary going on with the 'orrible Thing Upstairs having a blatant Cockney accent while Burk speaks with West Country vowels and Boney sounds like a baritone Kenneth Williams. But never mind that, revel in the joy of plasticine models, the sheer absurdity of Drut being male and having babies, and the wonderfully inventive monsters which come out of that trapdoor. It's a pretty good metaphor for the psyche, now I think about it: superconcious, ego, id.
Warning: as others have stated, this DVD does not include the opening and ending theme for each episode. The opening theme is included separately, which seems pointless as it is very much an introduction to the episode and doesn't really stand on its own. That's the only reason I gave this four out of five stars.
"Stay away from that trapdoor, cause there's something down there..."
Another recent dive into the golden age of children's television has revealed to me yet another forgotten treasure in The Trap Door. Originally broadcast from 1984 to 1986, this wonderful claymation series has enjoyed many repeated viewings and a cult status. It's truly one of the Best of British, and for long-time fans, this DVD is not only a joyous trip down memory lane, but also an opportunity to show the kids of today what greatness can be found from our archives.
The setting is an ancient castle, focusing on the lives of a friendly blue blob named Berk, his best mate Boni and Berk's pet spider Drutt. Berk's daily routine consists of his rigorous duties of serving his bossy, unseen master `The Thing Upstairs'. And Berk is `strictly forbidden' from opening the castle's TRAP DOOR, where all manner of creepy crawlies and unsightly beasts live. Unsurprisingly, Berk can't help himself from opening it (and LEAVING it open!) and all kinds of problems ensue...day-after-day!
The Trap Door's premise was pure gold, and despite the idea being virtually the same for every episode, creators Terry Brain and Charlie Mills deserved all the praise in the world for managing to make every single episode refreshingly unique. They took the same idea and managed to present it in an almost infinite variety of ways. Using an unforgettable cast of characters, colourful sets, a strong continuity, highly-fluid animation, and the legendary voice-work of the late, great Willie Rushton (all to tremendous effect), The Trap Door was an instant hit.
And the quality of it hasn't aged at all. Each episode features hilarious antics with Berk and his friends, making it perfect for all ages (kids and adults alike). Although this IS a kid's show, The Trap Door clearly draws inspiration from horror and dark fantasy, and there are genuine moments throughout the series which will you're your eyes-widen or even jump (most notably in the episode "Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite"). Another remarkable thing about the series' charm is its ability to generate genuine poignancy and emotion, such as the Series 1 finale "Bye, Bye, Berk" and the very last episode "The Big Red Thing".
There are no dud episodes whatsoever here. Just a perfect show from start-to-finish. The Trap Door is yet another unforgettable classic from yesteryear which has everything a great show requires, and presented flawlessly. As for the DVD release, it's a fine one indeed from Right Entertainment. Every single episode from Series 1 & 2 (40 in total) are included here, with 5 grouped together for the scene-selection structure. The menu designs are absolutely brilliant, featuring cracking animations and great functionality. There's also a fab screen-saver that kicks in if you leave the DVD unattended.
No subtitles, no real special features. As fellow Amazon reviewers have pointed out, the main title sequence (a thing of artistic excellence and featuring the show's awesome song) is cut from the main content of episodes. Instead the opening credits have been relocated as a feature dubbed, "Drive the Thing Upstairs Mad", where the title sequence plays on a loop about three times (that's what I counted!) before returning to the main menu. Personally, I don't have a problem with this and I actually think it's a smart move. Hearing the opening theme episode-after-episode would get extremely repetitive after a while and by relocating the opening credits as a separate feature, you can enjoy the flow of the episodes uninterrupted.
Besides which, the excellent opening theme stands perfectly well on its own.
On a final note, the ending credits portion of the show's song kicks in at the end of the first and second series showings. And for the FULL, COMPLETE version of The Trap Door Theme, check out the episode "Don't Open That Trap Door", which can be labelled the official music video for the series. TRULY a work of art!
The Trap Door: The Complete Collection is an absolute bargain. For fans old and new, it's a vintage gem that simply cannot be overlooked.
on 19 August 2010
The Trap Door is a series I fondly remember growing up with, and my younger siblings are also fans of the lovable blue blob Berk - master chef and all around slave of the Thing Upstairs, and his companions, the talking skull Boni (with his dry sense of humour), and the strange "pet" Drutt.
There is a trap door in their spooky old castle, which either gets opened by some plasticine Lovecraftian horror from below, or by Berk through boredom or accident and hilarity ensues.
This might be crude by today's animation, but the Trap Door really is classic children's television.
I hope to share this slice of my childhood with my nieces one day, and hopefully make them love the Trap Door as much as I do.
I'm surprised there hasn't been a techno remix of the theme tune either - as it was very synth-pop for the time (I guess I can be thankful for small mercies).
The disc is somewhat bereft of extras, but all the episodes are there, which is the main reason for purchase.
on 30 December 2009
Trap Door hooked me as a child, as it did with many folk in their 20s and 30s, and getting it on DVD was one of the greatest Red Letter Days of my life.
On watching it anew, I realised that I had never really appreciated it properly before. For example, it is often filled with terrific dark double entendre, usually uttered by poor old Burk; I cannot be the only one to snigger at the line 'I loves a bit o' bonking' as he whacks the orange tentacles with a plank. All of this went over my head as an innocent toddler. It is extremely funny, with Burk's grumbling and panicking brought to life by Willie Rushton's voice work. It is also stunningly beautiful and inventive: the scenery never stops moving. There is always a peculiar little beastie scampering or slithering about, giving every scene a rich and varied impact, ensuring you can watch it over and over. As for the show's main attraction: the monsters are unfailingly superb. From the glorious 'onion with a beak' Thort (named just for the weak pun 'Food for Thort - genius) to the mischievous yellow 'bubo' with the 'little hole in the top of his head', it is a real rogues gallery of imagination.
Watch and enjoy it without irony, for it requires none. It is entertaining for adults in its own right.
on 24 February 2005
When i found out that the complete Trap Door was being released on dvd i couldn't wait to buy it, as i loved it when i was younger. It's great to see all these episodes again, including what was probably the most disturbing one of all (when you were young), which is 'the splund'. the only problem is that, aside from the last episode of series 1, and the last one of series 2, they've cut off all the end credits, plus the sound of the trap door slamming before the end music starts. And, none of the episodes contain the starting credits, which have been kept seperately as an 'extra'. It would've been better just to spread it on to 2 dvds instead of cramming it into one. but, as long as the actual episodes are there, its still brilliant.
I just happened to be browsing for something for my godson when I stumbled accross this littel gem. Instantly bringing back fond memories from childhood I decided to take a punt and see if it's as good as rose tinted memories suggest. The answer? Yes! Even better, as an adult I now understand a lot of the humour, double ententres and innuendo that went right over my head as a 5 yr old. At last I know what it was my Dad was laughing at!
A really enjoyable trip down memory lane, which can be enjoyed by young and old alike. I have to dock it one star though, for not having that anthemic theme at the start of each episode!
on 8 August 2010
This is great viewing for kids of all ages,and adults who haven't grown up.(Who,me?). I first came across this gem many years ago when some bikers in the flat next to mine at the time (you know who you are !)used to watch the VHS version very frequently.After many times hearing the immortal "Berk,where's my dinner?" I decided to check this out.I borrowed the tape and have been a fan ever since. My favourite character is Drutt,the little green thingy who eats worms and often gets squished flat in several episodes but always gets up again. The time and attention that went into making this show,animating the characters and the background action,must have been formidable. You just don't get this kind of thing today. It's a work of art. Some reviews have pointed out the missing intros between the episodes,but I don't think this is too bad as it could get annoying if you watched many episodes in one sitting. It would have been nice to have an on/off function though to keep everyone happy. Altogether a great buy.
For anyone who grew up with this show and liked it I cant recommend it enough!
All 40 episodes,each lasting between 3-5 minutes on one disc for a few quid.
Even if your a grown up now its nice to watch this for the level of effort put into each 4 minute episode, the attention and care seen on screen puts any modern kids show to shame.
Its also still funny! Especially moments like when Burk declares he is fond of a bit of 'bonking' and the episode where they find a 'Rad-lio' ,as Burk puts it, and it plays the classic them tune in its entirety.
This is still an Awesome kids programme,it made me realise I grew up in a better time and when I have kids they'll be forced to watch this!
on 26 January 2012
Having had fond memories of the programme when I was younger I decided to buy this when I saw it on sale for only a few quid in the local video shop.
Admittedtly its not to everyones taste but I loved how fresh it seemed and it was refreshing to have a proper kid's programme on my TV again. Not only does it appeal to the kids in me but it has some fantastic oneliner's that as a small child I never got (a particular favourite is when Berk is miniaturised after several transformations by a monster from the trap door and the chases him saying " a joke's a joke but this is beyond the realms of light entertainment", you rarely get lines in modern cartoons like that now outside Aardman). This keeps it really fresh and a joy to watch.
Its also great for younger audiences too. My 3 year old son loves it and regularly has it on loop during the day and constantly asks for it to be played much to his mother's chargrin. However when he settles down to watch it we don't hear anything from him then for the duration as the short episodes keep his attention fixed for the 5 - 7 minute episodes.
In short a brilliant purchase for adults that remembered it the first time around and just as funny for kids who are seeing it for the first time. For so little money you can't go wrong.
on 4 March 2005
In theory, this is great. The Trap Door (with Willie Rushton narrating) is fantastic viewing from the ninetees. This is what made the kids of my age what we are today (!!).
Whilst it is nice to see all the episodes, they have commited a cardinal scene and have cut out one of the aspects the show was famous for: The opening music and introduction, and the end credits. Whoever's bright idea this was should be shot.
My guess is that this is due to the fact that watching the same bits of music every 5 minutes throughout the DVD would annoy - so why not add an option to watch with or without the opening and closing credits. Problems solved. Both parties are happy, and with the power of DVD, this is surely not too hard.
A good idea for a trapdoor fan, and still worth a purchase for all those nostalgic show chasers, but in the age when most DVD's come with extra bits, the decision to cut out some of the good bits here is a big mistake.