One for lovers of the CBeebies program ‘Mike the Knight’ as well as knights and wizards of all ages, this DVD includes 5 episodes of the TV program as well as some mini character introductions as extras.
I must declare an interest here, Mike the Knight is one of Munchkin’s favourite programs and we’ve been playing with castles, knights and dragons for a good couple of years now.
Mike is a young ‘knight in training’ who really wants to ‘do things right’ in the correct knightly way; however, his best intentions usually go astray as he forgets to consider others, or wishes to be the hero without considering the effect of his actions. His constant companions in his adventures are Galahad his long suffering horse, Sparkie the large fire breathing dragon (with an implausible West Indian accent) and Squirt the small water squirting dragon.
Mike’s sister Evie is in most episodes, she’s a trainee wizard who hasn’t quite got things right yet, but is a lot more sensible than Mike. One of her mis-firing spells has enchanted Mike’s sword so that each episode it magically appears as something else, always critical to the episode. She has a marvellous sidekick Mr Cuddles the toad, who rather wonderfully counts by croaking in one of the episodes.
Mike’s mother is the queen, and his father is apparently the king but is an absentee father, my suspicion is that he’s being held for ransom by some neighbouring monarch, but that’s adding a rather adult assumption to the fact that he’s simply never there.
Mike’s friend Trollee appears in 2 of the episodes. He’s a young troll, cautious but very strong and a good foil for Mike’s enthusiasm for knightly tournaments and rescues.
From a visual point of view, the animation is marvellous. I love the clarity with which the characters are drawn and the locations have been fully mapped out allowing the action to smoothly move anywhere around the castle, village, tournament grounds and other locations, whilst incidental backgrounds are simple patterns.
But so far all of this is a review of the television programs rather than the DVD and I think it is clear that I’m a fan.
The DVD includes 5 excellent episodes, but not much in the way of extras. There are small ‘character studies’ of 7 characters, sung by the resident bard along with clips from various programs illustrating their parts in the stories – taken from many episodes, not just those on this DVD. There are also some lyrics included.
The episodes are ‘Galahad the Great’, where Mike realises that his horse is fantastic regardless of whether he has been given lots of gaudy trinkets to wear; ‘The Great Gallop’ where the excellent acrobatic Vikings appear to collect their Danegeld (sorry, jam tarts) and have to be trebucheted back into the sea; ‘Sir Trollee’ where Mike has a knight’s tournament with his friend Trollee but realises too late that he needs to be fair; ‘Knight Hider’ where Mike’s father’s old game is found and Mike blames his friends for all of his mistakes in the game and finally ‘Trollee in Trouble’ where Mike’s rescue of his friend manages to get everyone needing help.
The DVD would make a good Christmas present for fans or those new to the program, and potentially for CGI animators as a ‘how-to’ guide.
You can get the DVD at ‘all good retailers’ and www.hitstoreuk.com.
On Facebook he’s at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-the-Knight/286720858018967, and @MiketheKnightUK on Twitter.
Disclosure: I was sent the DVD in order to write a review. However, my opinions are all my own and always honest.