Friday, 11 July 2008

The Bone Supremacy?

Oonagh Robinson and Jennifer Scott look back at the week's TV....

An enormous thanks to the Beeb this week for giving us Bonekickers (BBC1, Tues) - the most unintentionally hilarious pile of excrement ever to grace our 42-inch plasma flat screen.

Seriously, we haven’t guffawed quite so loudly in years as we did while watching the “old-fashioned adventure yarn” about a bunch of completely useless west country archaeologists.

The first episode introduced us to the crack team of mavericks who will no doubt keep our Tuesday nights amusingly occupied for the entire summer.

It included shouty, obnoxious but vulnerable Dr Gillian Magwilde (Julie Graham), odious, creepy and completely unfunny letch Professor Gregory ‘Dolly’ Parton (Hugh Bonneville) and blink and you’ll miss him Dr Ben Ergha (Adrian ‘What the Hell Am I Doing in this Anyway?’ Lester).

We won’t bore you with the ins and outs of the ludicrous plot, suffice to say it all centred on some Knights Templar bringing the actual cross of Jesus Christ to Britain - and getting horribly murdered for their trouble.

There were also a couple of modern day Christian terrorists (one of them was the former schizophrenic Joe of EastEnders - which will give you an idea of the complete lack of threat posed throughout) starting a Holy War against non Christians.

The highlights were too numerous to mention - but we particularly enjoyed the grossly unnecessary decapitation incident.

Also getting us rolling on the floor laughing was the rope swing sword fight between shouty Magwilde and one of the terror boys. And special mention must go to nuttily named genius Edward Laygass (Paul Rhys) for the marvellous way he lowered himself into that pit thingy underneath the dovecote (don’t ask) to the accompaniment of a choir of angels singing. Priceless.

After accidentally burning down the ancient subterranean site of numerous Roman crosses (one of which was apparently THE cross) and leaving two men to burn to death, you might have thought questions needed to be answered by our heroes.

Surely the police would have been called, forensics would have turned up and that random old bloke who inexplicably owned the historic site would have at least been given a decent apology.

But no - all we got was Hello Dolly quipping: “In the name of Jehovah, can we PLEASE go to the pub now?”

And everyone groaned in weary amusement.

Truly, this was pants... see you next week.


“Gawd loves a tryer” award of the week: Tim Henman, now a BBC tennis commentator: “I always knew that, some day, I’d be involved in a Wimbledon final!” (BBC1, Sun)


Sports anoraks now have their own show with the creation of Sports Mastermind (Wed, BBC2). This was Mastermind (black leather chair, foreboding music) with the addition of... yes... you’ve guessed it... sport.

It was presented by silver fox Des Lynam who really hasn’t been the same since he left Match of the Day. Criminally, they didn’t even allow him so much as a roguish twinkle. Sapped of any chance to have a personality, Des simply read the autocue.

Sadly, the contestants were also personality vacuums which didn’t enhance the spectacle. Half the fun of Mastermind is seeing whether the contestant whose specialist subject is ancient Nordic runes can get beaten by the one whose chosen field is Geri Halliwell. But in the sports version, all the subjects seemed equally trivial and the passes and wrong answers were few and far between.

The only glimmers of amusement came via two questions: “Who was caught in the gully by Willey off Dilley?” (it was Lillee). And, to the man whose “specialist subject” was Brian Clough: “Why was Clough banned from the touchline in 1989?” “Because he punched a supporter”. But, on the whole, sports fans prefer a little more action.