The Trap Door is a claymation-style animated television series, originally shown in the United Kingdom in 1984. The plot revolves around 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 genre of dark fantasy. The show has since become a cult favourite and remains one the most widely recognised kid's shows of the 1980s.
A total of 25 episodes of The Trap Door were made in 1984, with each episode with a running time of around four minutes. Two years later in 1986, when the show had proved successful, a second series was produced and aired with a further 15 episodes of similar running time. There were a total of 40 episodes of the show produced.
All the character voices were provided by Willie Rushton, an English cartoonist, satirist, comedian, actor and performer who co-founded the Private Eye satirical magazine. The recognizable theme song of the show was written by Scottish songwriter Bob Heatlie, who also wrote the Shakin' Stevens hit Merry Christmas Everyone, and also one of the popular hits of the 1980s, Japanese Boy, which was sung by Aneka and remained so recognizable that almost two decades later it was featured in the soundtrack to the hit 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
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.