Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions, where nobody goes, stands an ancient castle. Deep within this dank and uninviting place lives Berk, overworked servant of the Thing Upstairs. 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...!
So begins each episode of The Trap Door. The Trap Door is probably one of the most iconic kids' cartoons of the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Overall, The Trap Door ran for 40 five-minute-long episodes, and its original run was between 1984 (25 episodes) and 1986 (15 episodes). Each episode followed Berk, a Cornish "blue blob" who earns a living serving "'im upstairs", and his friends Boni the skull, and Drutt the... annoying little green frog-spider-fly-thing (all voiced by Willie Rushton) as they battled monsters that invariably came out of the trap door. The monsters themselves were generally either benign and annoying, or mean and havoc-wreaking, and ranged from a small, green bat-like creature to a huge pink-and-blue monster with psychokinetic powers. One recurring monster was Rogg, a big pink creature who was one of the very few trap door monsters who spoke (albeit in a very slow voice).
Although quite obviously dressed up as a horror show for kiddies, at its heart the Claymation show is a comedy. Berk's threats towards the monsters that came out of the trap door are nothing short of hilarious ("I shall turn you into a custard and serve you up as pudding for 'im upstairs!"), and so are his catchphrases (such as "Oh globbits" and "Sniff that!"). Some of the creatures are just as funny, such as the "elongated baked bean" creature (also referred to as a "honker"), which scooted around too fast for Berk to catch and occasionally let out a trumpeting sound from its horn. In addition, adults will get some joy out of the show every time Berk mentions bonking ("I loves a bit of bonking!").
Yes, there is a DVD. Yes, it is the complete series. Yes, if you're lucky you can also track down a VHS or two of the series. Yes, I love it and I'm giving it five stars. I'd love to see a few longer episodes, but I guess these days kids' attention spans aren't that much longer.