Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 13:37 UK

Digging the dirt on Bonekickers

By Greig Watson
BBC News

Hugh Bonneville
Hugh Bonneville's Professor Parton is dubbed a "human Google"
"There is always something down there," says serious but sexy archaeologist Dr Gillian Magwilde (Julie Graham) at the start of the new digger drama Bonekickers.

"Oh no there isn't," she should be told.

No prime time series about anything is going to do serious justice to the real world. Was Morse an accurate take on police work? Is Casualty a good snapshot of the NHS? But Bonekickers is baloney of a timeless kind.

Archaeology has always had a patina of glamour that most other "ologies" would give their left test tube for. From the real life Howard "King Tut" Carter to the protruding pixels of Lara Croft, the combination of mystery and treasure has managed to sell books, cinema tickets and university courses for decades.

This mystifies a lot of those who actually do the job. I took a degree in archaeology and worked on excavations in the UK and abroad for five years.

Dead people's rubbish

Sure it is fascinating, in a nerdy sort of way, but glamorous? It's not the word that springs to mind as you squelch towards a chilly shed, scraping as much 13th Century cesspit as possible from under your fingernails before you munch a cheap sausage roll pretending to be lunch.

Adrian Lester in Bonekickers
Adrian Lester has called Bonekickers "CSI meets Indiana Jones"
Truth be told, cesspits rate as a highlight. Most modern archaeology is of the "rescue" variety. Making sure sites are clear ahead of building work - digging holes with nothing in them.

In dictionary terms, archaeology is the study of past human activity through its material remains - in effect, going through dead people's rubbish.

Adrian Lester's little speech about "layers" is basically true, if delivered with a reverential intensity that would get him put away somewhere secure.

Field excavation deals in stratigraphy, the idea that some activities leaves a trace and those traces (a wall, a fireplace, a mud floor) generally stack up to make a heap.

That heap can be pulled apart from the top down, effectively going back in time, activity by activity, event by event.

Julie Graham in Bonekickers
Julie Graham plays a serious but glamorous archaelologist

What it doesn't do so well on is detecting eye-catching little incidents like ambushes in woods or somebody being nailed to a tree.

So that's the opening ploy of Bonekickers. If you want to grab the archaeological attention of the world, then mention religion. It worked for the super-archaeologist Indiana Jones.

And our new heroes have found what could be a bit of the cross.

Now how likely is that? Considering the Romans (and a few other empires) used crucifixion like we use Asbos, the chances of finding a significant cross are tiny.

And despite its popularity, the evidence for how it was carried out is slight - a handful of vague literary references, a couple of clumsy drawings and a controversial skeleton or two. So no-one really knows what a cross looked like, or even if there was a single design.

Plus the first Christian Romans turned the Jerusalem area upside down in the search for relics a thousand years before those pesky Templars turned up.

Chunky jumpers

Paul Rhys in Bonekickers
Roman communities built many crosses, Greig Watson argues
Dozens of digital channels and the evergreen Time Team mean the public are more savvy to what real excavations look like.

Bonekickers certainly ticks some of these boxes, with neat trenches, heaps of dirt and students in chunky jumpers. But the rest is like being sold archaeology by a motivational speaker.

When Dr Magwilde purrs "Looks like we have a medieval riddle - so let's solve it!" you expect the diggers to high five and start whooping.

Dirt is brushed off skeletons and swords like dust in a furniture polish commercial, rather than mud being scraped from different coloured mud and splinters of pot being scrubbed with an old tooth brush.

The writers - Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah - have Life of Mars to show they can make a wacky idea work but in Bonekickers, for every gem like "This is Dolly, think of him as Google with a beer gut," there was a cringeworthy "Come on, give up your secrets."

A lot of archaeology is done with a mechanical digger, a bit is done with a paint brush and much is done in a dusty storeroom.

None, however is done in a chic apartment in Bath being pursued by swordsmen in fetching templar T-shirts.

But its representation of a troublesome, sensationalist journalists - that is just bang on.

Bonekickers airs on Tuesdays at 2100 BST on BBC One, except in Scotland where it can be seen on Fridays at the same time.

BBC News website readers sent in their views on Bonekickers.

It's difficult being a field archaeologist. If we're not fighting off religious orders its dealing with ancient evil from the dawn of time. I long for the days when i get the chance to write up an artefacts catalogue. Seriously though I expected no more than sub-Dan Brown rubbish and I got it in abundance. If an archaeologists career is in ruins from the start it doesn't bode well for this series.
Stephen Gilmore, Belfast

It could have been so good, I'm not averse to silliness but the cartoon characters and plot were just too cringeworthy. Someone should have told the scriptwriters to try again with just a dash of realism!
Liz, Ivybridge, Devon

Grieg Watson certainly has the background to warrent a comment on this show but seriously now - do you HAVE to take it so seriously. Why can't you just take it all with a pinch of salt! It's an entertainment programme - not a factual documentary after all!
James Barnett, Bristol

I thought the programme was awful. A desperate attempt to make an archaeology based drama into some kind of CSI. It was embarrassing to watch and I turned it off 20 mins into the programme. Not only was the background music far too dramatic to what was actually going on but the acting was over done for the script. Daft storyline. Hopefully this will only last one series at least Holby City and Casualty are a little more realistic.
PJ, Reading

It was truly awful. The line in the first scene "lets dig" rather set the tone for the whole hour. What a shame as I really like the cast and I expected more from the BBC.
Sarah, Heathfield, East Sussex

I enjoyed the programme and am interested in learning more about archaeology - though Greig obviously wants to deter people from this profession. Of course, as a drama programme, it plays to a certain audience and ought to be taken with a pinch of salt. I think programmes like this and Time Team that encourage an interest in history and archaeology should be encouraged.
Chris, Oxford, UK

I managed to watch the first ten minutes of the series before I had to turn over, it was dire. As has been said in the interview we've all watched Time Team, well everyone except the set and costume designers for this series. Getting the small details right helps set a series, something you would have thought the writers knew about after Life on Mars, but no we have Adrian Lester climbing out a trench in a brand new leather jacket in the first scene, not a hi-vis jacket or hard hat in sight. Artifacts wrenched out of the ground rather than carefully dug out. Truly awful, this series should be buried in a trench itself.
Steve Short, Hull

I lost interest and switched off after about 10 minutes, funnily enough just after the "give up your secrets" quote! Sad, as I had high hopes it would be a cross between Time Team and Waking the Dead, not Blue Peter and Hetty Wainthrop...
Sara Luck, Oxford, England

mildly enjoyable tosh!
Ru, Bristol

I haven't laughed so much in ages! What a load of utter tosh. I expected so much more from Pharoah and Graham, but this was dire. Less, BBC - much, much less!
Michelle, Retford, UK

Well, had me for the first half hour then decended into farce... After setting fire to what was possibly the most significant find of the 20th century they decided to 'go down the pub' instead of checking to see it anything had survived! Well for me that was the nail in the coffin, shame it could have been a great programme in the style of Morse or Prime Suspect, but someone let a script writer from Marvel work on it...
Jonathan, London

Started off ok - unbelieveable but ok. But the last 20 mins, what happened there?? Totally lost the plot!!
Jane, Manchester

I guessed Bonekickers would be well over the top and I wasnt proved wrong! I suppose it might be entertaining to those who have little to no factual experience. I lost patience and changed channels.
Elaine Bain, Bognor Regis. West Sussex

Great idea and all but slow to start and quick to finish..The over dramatisation in the final sequence and use of relatively poor special effects diminishes its chance of being a spectacular series. A dissapointment in my opinion.
Nik, Maidstone, UK

I'll confess I enjoyed it for what it was - entertainment. And is it just me , but is Hugh Bonneville's character an amalgam of Mick & Phil from Time Team (with less of an accent but with the coat & hat!)?
Graeme, Windsor

Ok yea it wasn't accurate, but its harmless fiction, a bit of feelgood fun to keep us amused. If we are to start believing everythng we watch, then we would all live in a fantasy world. Its not put out as reality Tv its pure fiction, if it keeps us amused then good. I for one will continue watching it, and probably quite enjoy it. If you want real life, watch the national geographic channel or the History Channel.
Alison halsey, Folkestone

Apart from taking itself seriously despite having a terrible script, the trouble with Bonekickers is that you only have to have watched Time Team to know how wrong they got most of the details. I loved the little stick men on the geophys results showing where the graves were.
Rosie, Cambridge

I laughed and laughed and laughed, then laughed a bit more. Highly corny and the only true bit is the bumbling fool in the coat who seems to do nothing but want to go to the pub. Don't think it was ever mean't to be a serious Archaelogy programme, did you? Still laughing now, will watch again next week.
SW, , Worcester

I love that some people can judge it after admitting they only watched ten minutes! Yes, it was a bit clunky in places, yes I'm sure its not an accurate representation of archaeology and yes, I'm sure people who wanted something grittier will be disappointed. But having seen the trailers over the last three weeks, I got what I expected: a slightly tongue-in-cheek, entertaining hour of hokum. I'm not so daft as to believe this is what its really like - but given that people can suspend their disbelief for Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider (both of which have their fair share of cheesy dialogue and ridiculous situations) I find it interesting that they can't do the same with Bonekickers. I think that Pharoh and Graham seem to be tarred with the Life On Mars brush. "Oh why wasnt it as good as that" I hear cried from many quarters. Well, for me, LoM wasn't any great shakes and I gave up on that after the first series - but at least I gave it a series to try and engage me! Different strokes for different folks. Calling for it to be axed after one episode tells me that some people should get out a bit more. It's just a TV show...
Paul, Eastbourne

Truly, truly, truly awful! From the opening to the closing line. Just dreadful. Stop it before it ruins the BBC's reputation. Please BBC, leave no archaeological trace of this utter rubbish.
Karl, sheffield

I watched it all and even though I did not take it seriously, it was still unbeleivably bad. Bad script, bad acting, poorly executed plot. More like a poorly made kids show. So bad it made me laugh out loud. Maybe a TimeTeam/CSI plot was not the best idea. It should be buried and never unearthed, not even by accident by some fool with the archeiology skills of a road drill, like the cast of the show. Give Tony Robinson and the gang Uzi 9mm's and send them off to South America to find lost cities of gold. THAT would be worth watching.
Richard, Gwent

I was bitterly disappointed, it was a good idea and I'd watched the trailers with eager anticipation but 10 minutes in I felt cheated and let down! The BBC can do so much better than this.
Clare Malcolm, Fakenham, UK

Unbearably stupid, nauseatingly so at times and on many levels. There is a possibility of an intelligent archaeological mystery series being made for adults. This is not it, not even close. Scooby Doo without the dog or the humour, and with added religious hatred!
Ash Armstrong, Leicester

It was awful, awful, awful. Bad doesn't begin to describe it. It wasn't even bad enough to be so bad you'd watch it for a laugh.
Sarah, London

I thought it was great fun - but then I am capable of discerning the difference between a serious archaeology programme, Time Team and this show... and enjoy all 3 for quite different reasons. And at least the chunk of wood really WAS cedar - I'd identified it about 10 minutes before they did (but then I am trained as a botanist)!
Megan, Cheshire UK

Factually accurate it may not have been, but it was far more watchable to a layman like myself than a heck of a lot of the other rubbish BBC programme planners are putting out (see Top Gear, Eastenders and any programme about traffic cops)
Elaine Grant, UK

I thought it would be good - really looked forward to it. But it was confused as to what it was and where it should be. At some points it is exactly the same as Waking The Dead - just with older dead bodies! It was very badly written with lines like "Ground, give up your secrets" - which is a truly dreadful line. The scene at the end with the wooden crosses on fire was a joke - total tosh! I DO hope they bring back a second series, BUT with new writers and with a new director. It has soooo much potential - but soooo much is wrong at the moment it doesn't work. But don't kill it off yet, this CAN work. Its is a good idea, just terribly excecuted. Let me write it - got tons of ideas for it! There's so much to play with here, could be a great show.
Adam, London

Would someone at the BBC please put the spade down? The hole is deep enough.
Geoff, London, UK

I'm extremely interested in archeology and history too, but lighten up! Its supposed to be something fun and enjoyable to watch. A little bit of fantasy, after a long day at work this sort of thing is perfect to just realx and watch on automatic pilot and just enjoy for what it is. When theres so much 'reality tv' rubbish on at the moment it was nice to see an actual programme. We all know if we want to watch an archeological programme with pure fact we'd watch Time Time or Horizon, and Bone Kickers is certainly not purporting to be that,Indiana Jones anyone - not based on pure archeolgical fact either..?? I for one enjoyed it.
Claire, London,UK

"Bonekickers" is NOT a documentary and therefore can use as much artistic license as it chooses. I thought it was along the lines of Indiana Jones and found it very entertaining. Who cares if it was authentic. There is too much doom and gloom on TV, we could use some fantasy!
Rosy Knight, Sheffield

I feel sorry for the cast. A troupe of good actors having to work with such a dire script and plot.
Kevin, Douglas, Isle of Man

The final 10 minutes were the best laugh I've had for ages - Time Team Beyond Thunderdome!
Paul Daws, Kenley, England

I too had high hopes for a show coming from the makers of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, I did watch it till the end but only because I couldn't believe how bad it was and thought there might be some twist at the end that would make it all worth while. How wrong I was!! This has to be one of the worst programmes ever made. Ok you could try and take it with a pinch of salt but as it obviously wasn't made to be taken this way I don't see why I should bother. I don't know much about archaeology but even I knew ripping something out of the ground the way they did wasn't right. Plus still not getting their facts straight, Christ died on a stake not a cross!! At least you got God's name right, Jehovah. What a total waste of the licence fee!!
Stephanie Hardman, Wellington, England

It could have been so good! But the script was awful, the story tied up in some ridiculous fashion. A decapitation and burning crosses left with the line let's go down the pub! I'm not taking it too seriously but at least with Indiana Jones there is time for the story to develop. I thought it would be a 6 parter about the Knights Templar, not an hour of rubbish one liners. Shots of Bath were a waste of time, having no relevance to the story. As usual the BBC try and cram too much into an hour slot. (The same could be said for Dr Who!) Give the story more time and it could be good.
maxine hayes, bristol

Truly awful. Terrible premise, terrible script, poor acting, cardboard characterisation, full of cliches and stereotypes not to mention religious mumbo jumbo. The BBC has proved in the past that it can produce top quality drama, but this certainly isn't it. I managed to make it through maybe half an hour before I could stand no more.
Andrew, Cardiff, UK

The underground chamber scene is the funniest thing I've seen in ages. Well done BBC - who needs Gavin and Stacey...
melissa, Reading, UK

This could have been so good but sadly was way off the mark. There must be lots of opportunities to expand on actual archealogical evidence found in the uk into some truly interesting stories that could be well dramatised. The actors appeared to be desparately trying to breathe life into a very poor script and screenplay, I was embarrased for them. I didn't expect a highly detailed and accurate representation of archeaology as some seem to, we have Time Team for that. But I did expect something more akin to Indiana Jones, all be it on a much lower budget. I hope it gets better, the concept is there and the actors are more than capable of it but the writing needs alot of work. I have seen many historical documentaries that do a better job at stiring the imagination.
Stephen Smith, Southport UK

The writers seem to have created the stereotypical, boring characters after watching one episode of Time Team, and the DVD box set of Indiana Jones, the cast have been wasted. The laughable plot which portrayed politically correct peace loving Muslims, and Evil Christians characters (complete with burning crosses to emphasise how evil they was) with brief historical references was pathetic. The low Tec special effects don’t even approach the standard of shows like C.S.I. for examining the ‘artefacts’ and clearly green screen ‘scenery’ was disappointing. Within a few seconds of the episodes climax, they all brush them selves down, discount the events, smile and ‘go to the pub’!!! What a let down, if the rest of the series is anything like the first episode, I hope the BBC do not waste any money by even considering making a second
Mark., Birmingham.

Yes, it was tosh - delightful, entertaining and escapist "rubbish" that is just perfect for a truly miserable summer's evening. Since I loathe sport, detest reality shows and hate soaps it is wonderful to finally have a programme I can enjoy...and it isn't an American import. So - "can I have some more, please ?"
Ruth, Poole, Dorset

This, from the BBC who last week presented ‘Criminal Justice’ widely acclaimed as one the finest pieces of TV drama ever produced. Bonekickers was appalling, and we can’t simply excuse it as 'entertainment’ (a view taken by some who insult the intelligence of viewers who point out the endless factual inaccuracies and ludicrous storyline). The last issue of British Archaeology Magazine included the statement that Bonekickers would be a ‘new series that might just transform the public image of archaeology’, it certainly will.
Tony, Oxford

this was truly dire. not a conservator in site when any of these artefacts are wrenched from the ground. if that block of wood had really survived in the ground for so long then it would have been waterlogged and so should have been kept in a similar dark, wet, cool environment and handled with a little more care. and I didn't spot any of the paperwork that should've been filled in to record it all. nor did I notice any mention of a coroner's licence. I could go on...
FD, Marlborough, UK

Oh dear, The script was appalling. The acting appeared wooden.(Although I'm not blaming the actors) This 'could' have been an entertaining new series. but.... Lame and completely unnecessary background plot explanations via Crack Archaeologists telling each other well known facts about the Knights Templars, just in case the poor viewers didn't know their basic history. Flashbacks to blatantly obvious happenings. I know it's supposed to be a bit 'tongue in cheek' but just how retarded do the writers think the average BBC viewer is? This might do better on CBBC. Although I found 'Raven' far more convincing.
RobD, Brighton

Well I enjoyed it! Very entertaining. How sad for those who commented previously that being soooo clever obviously means you have no room for a sense of fun. Lighten up!
Viv, Den Haag, Netherlands

It reminded me of one of the old Dead Ringers sketches, like they used to do with Waking the Dead and Silent Witness! But I think they would probably do a better job of it.
Chris Dart, Newport Pagnell, Bucks

I was so looking forward to this show, it had so much promise, but alas the script was dire and story was bigger than the hour the show had to deal with it so nothing was really explained well enough. I did however watch it all the way through and will be watching next week in the hope that it gets better!!
Kate, Manchester

It should have been called Indiana Bones. I had to watch the whole programme because I couldn't believe that the BBC would allow such utter tripe to be broadcast, Tony Robinson and friends must have choked on their supper.
Colin, Macclesfield

It was dreadful.
Dave, Hove, England

Pure bunk and an insult to anyone with more than half a brain
Ric Fairburn, Ebbw Vale - Wales

The programme was just dreadful. The real nail in the coffin for me was the Obligatory Slideshow Scene. Every investigation/cop show has one, it's a standard cliche. One of the team operates the projector while everyone sits around and takes it in turns to tell each other things that they already know (to act as an info-dump for we stupid viewers).
Andrew, Warrington, UK

I enjoyed the programme for what it was, light entertainment not to be taken seriously.
Sue, Burgess Hill, UK

i lasted 40 minutes before giving up, I thought it was like a French and Saunders spoof of Time Team but I think it was meant to be serious? What were Hugh Bonneville and Adrian Lester thinking of, and poor Mark Horton the archaelogical advisor must be wishing he'd never got involved.
Anne, Hull

I haven't seen such woeful television for months - it was hilarious. I know audiences have to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy far-fetched stories - but there is a limit. Hats off to the team though, they discovered the true cross in less than 24 hours, fought off sword wielding zealots and burned the villian alive and then capped off the day with a trip to the pub. All in a days work I suppose.
David Brown, Alresford, England

When the BBC agrees and increases hideous salaries for their top people, I would expect something far better than this tripe as a result. I just switched off!
Nathan, Northampton, UK

It was hilariously bad! How do these scripts get through?
JA, Furzehill

We decided to watch it as it was set in our home town. It was truly, dreadfully awful. Neither entertaining or educational and so absolutely pointless. Plot, acting, characters, effects…. where to start? What on earth (or heaven) will they find next week? Dreadful, made worse as I have just had to renew my TV licence and read about BBC salaries, if BBC claims to attract the best people, you should have the best product. This is not.
Rupert, Bath

Oh dear! I think this program has a future on DVD but only as the centrepiece of a "Bonekickers Drinking Game" Professor Magwilde says something portentious : 1 shot Basic archaeological gaffe : 1 shot Team leaps to a totally mental conclusion on scant evidence : 1 shot Team turns out to be right and there really ARE chinese assassins buried in 12th century Scunthorpe : Drain whole bottle etc Hic!
Geoff, bangor, wales

What absolute rubbish. Was looking forward to it for weeks, and it was a real letdown. Why couldn't it be more like 'Bones' the US version?
Jill Bramley, Watford, UK

Were these two writers the main people who worked on Life on Mars? I find it hard to believe as I quite liked that. I think the lack of archaeological rigor was the least of it's problems. I think it had epic themes but only an hour to get through them with a very small budget. The villain and his evil empire of two lads in a flat with their pronto print templar t shirts and their wobbly swords. I think those of you who switched off after a few minutes should have stayed as you would have enjoyed the moment when the girl started singing hymns at sword point because there was a moment of real hope that she might get her head chopped off but alas no.
Adam, Wokingham

This was just dreadful - particularly given the timeslot. I'm really worried the BBC has lost the plot on adult drama. After this one dimensional, self consciously 'P.C.' drivel was over, you could turn over to UKTV Drama to catch Between The Lines. If the BBC want to resurrect some history, try concentrating on a time when it knew how to make good drama for grown ups, and try to avoid the Dark Ages..
Jonathan, England

Whenever TV programmes or movies decide to tackle an Archaeological story I always expect there to be a few mistakes and generally these are forgivable within the context of the story. Bonekickers however is in a different league. I have never seen so many inaccuracies and misrepresentations in one programme before. I think it is fare to say it did not get one thing right. For example, organic remains do not survive outside of waterlogged contitions, Archaeologists don't dig in the dark, Geophysics will not detect an unburied skeleton and Radiocarbon and Dendrochronolgy results take a lot longer than a few minutes to obtain. I could go on!! This show is not even worthy of ITV or Sky. I'm not even going to get started on the poor script, acting and direction. Rubbish!!!
James, Chippenham, England

Holding out hope with the BBC I stuck with the programme most of the way through. I wish I hadn't. The idea itself had premise, but the dodgy camera shots, panto-acting and poor scripting buried this shoddy show into an already badly dug trench. The story was hurried and all over the place, it felt less like it was written by award-winning writers, more like from a collection of drunk first year archeology students. I expect more from the BBC, much more.
Sarah Emms, Bournemouth, England

I watched the whole thing - it was an utter load of garbage. At the end they found a chamber the size of St Pauls under some old guys Dovecot (that bit had me crying with laughter). In summary; bad acting, bad script, dire CGI moments and no basis in reality at all.. in fact dr Who is more realistic.
Tim, Northampton

I feel sorry for the people who turned off after just 10, or, 20 minutes. I persevered for the programme's entirety and was rewarded with a plot that got exponentially sillier, knuckle bitingly embarrassing dialogue and a finale that was so unbelievable and poorly executed it made Blake's 7 look well made. A fine example of train wreck TV.
Jeff, Liverpool

For all those telling us to lighten up, I can take silly stories with a pinch of salt, in fact i am a huge fan of B-Movies but this programme was just utter rubbish. It took itself seriously and yet had more plot holes than a seive. I expect a lot better from the BBC. My Lord, even the title is something I would expect from a cheap American TV channel!
Martin Stickley, Scarborough

It was just awful. Like a poor man's Da Vinci Code, which is a pretty big insult when you think about it.
Leo, London, UK

Oh dear me, just how many stereotypes can you fit into one programme -It was all just too much of everything. Just how many blokes would want you to call them Dolly? I can't say I know any but maybe I have a sheltered life.
Sally, Bakewell, England

Please keep it on the air! I thought it hilarious nonsense that kept me thoroughly entertained. I was irritated at the beginning ('What is a coin from the middle east doing in a garden in Somerset?') but then readjusted my expectations to view it as a 'National Treasure' or Indiana Jones type silliness. I look forward to more daft dialogue and earnest passion. Also, if possible, Archaeologists escaping from burning/flooding/exploding formerly secret chambers every week. Marvellous.
Lisa, Southampton

Its always difficult watching a drama about which you know something - but having had careers in both archaeology & the NHS, this made Green Wing (let alone Casualty & Holby City) look like in-depth documentaries. It could have been so good, but I ended up looking for the continuity errors in the number of crosses burning in each shot. Disappointing, especially as Life on Mars was so great.
Catherine, Oxford

What is wrong with everyone - it wasn't trying to be a documentary - you can watch discovery channel for that - it was just a bit of light hearted easy viewing for a Tuesday evening - a nice change from the tennis, football and soon to be olympics or the doom and gloom of all the hideous things happening in Britain.
Claire, Bath

Totally enjoyable! A surreal cross between Scooby-Doo and Time Team and obviously not intended to be taken too seriously. You only have to look at the writers' earlier offerings to know that it would be tongue-in-cheek.
Jake Ubed, Norwich, England

Brilliant, Can not wait til next weeks episode. Never laughed so much. Great new comedy
Brian, Rochford, uk

I love archaeology. I love watching Time Team and any decent history programmes or drama. Bonekickers was stomach-turning, embarrassing nonsense. I was cringing for the first twenty minutes then had to switch off. Utter drivel.
Peter Linnett, Altrincham Cheshire

Even my children thought this was complete rubbish - what a shame we were really hoping for some good family TV.
Nigel, Eardisley UK

Horrendous - one of the worst programmes I've seen for a good while. I normally like this kind of stuff, usually being able to suspend disbelief, and just let myself be entertained but not on this occasion. The plot was unoriginal, totally contrived and the lead characters nauseating. I managed to watch it all the way through but was left cringing uncomfortably in my chair. Do everyone a favour BBC and pull this one to prevent further embarrassment all round. Time Team meets Torchwwod meets Da Vinci is not working here.
Mike, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Can just imagine the kick-off meeting for this one;- "Let's do a show about archeology, pull in the Time Team fans, make it a bit like Spooks, drag in a not-too-subtle reference to Muslims being attacked by nasty Christians (SO topical), drsss everyone in long black coats so they can swing around looking like Dracula, put a (hopelessly miscast) Julie Graham in a lead role to provide a bit of totty, and give it an Indiana Jones style climax'. Almost miraculously bad. And whoever wrote the scriptline 'Use your archeological imagination' should be fired at once.
Carol, Rye, Sussex, UK

To paraphrase one of the writers; "You don't have to be realistic to make entertainment." Even with a professor of archeology advising in the background they certainly managed to be so unrealistic it lost any semblance of credibility. (Pulling a lump of wood out of the ground, in the dark, without checking what's around it and what layer it is in? Puleeze!) Yes the writers could have done more research but really that's the BBC commissioning editors for you, only willing to commission from people who have come up through the staff writer path rather than taking a chance on decent unknown talent, and then moaning that there is such a small pool of creative writers in this country they are forced to take what they can get. That pool would be a lot bigger if the commissioning editors stopped aiming for the 18-24 demographic and instead went all out to embrace a much wider audience. Let's face it, those of us who have got past the clubbing stage are the ones who generally pay the license fee and watch the programmes. Maybe that could be a consideration in future programming?
Sue Wadsworth, Halifax, W Yorks

This 'drama' was so woefully dire, from the insultingly bad storyline and dialogue to how - much like the plot devices they violently tore (!) from the ground - dramatically forced it's delivery was. I expected Harry Enfield to appear in a educated-looking scarf, screaming blue murder at the ground, after hearing that "give up your secrets" line!
Andy, Birmingham

I really liked it - not from a historical accuracy point of view - but from a light-hearted 'Indiana' 1 hour jaunt
Andy, Leicestershire, UK

Best comedy for ages.The decapitation was straight out of The Young Ones or Comic Strip and as for the Team going up and down on ropes in the underground cavern - Hilarious! Hopefully next episode will be in the lost city of Atlantis and they will all drown.
Mike Ware , Portsmouth UK

Bonekickers was great! Fantastic Entertainment... because that's what it was... Entertainment! It was a drama "based on" an imaginary archeological dig. I'm pretty sure we aren't supposed to think it could actually happen in real life. Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Spooks, Hustle, and even Dr.Who, are all based on imaginary situations, using the real world as a stage. Of course we didn't see Archeologists digging up cesspits or excavating empty trenches. We didn't see them going to the toilet, or sleeping for eight hours either! I don't want to be controversial, but I would like to make the observation, that if anyone was expecting anything other than "drama", or looking forward to something akin to TimeTeam Vs BBC News, I believe they may have missed the point. I was looking forward to Bonekickers, I wanted to be entertained, and I was. Misson accomplished. Well Done!
Kevin, Hastings, East Sussex.

Absolutely awful, the worst script I've heard in a long, long time.
Maddy, Bristol, UK

10, 20 minutes? Everyone else seems to have a lot more patience than me. 5 minutes was all I could stomach.
Zoie, Maidstone, UK

I kept watching till the end in the hope that the joke would be on us, and the appalling storyline and dramatisation was going to twist somehow to make the audience cry "oh I see!"...but alas it never came. Truly terrible stuff. Please just scrap the rest of the series and call it a day.
Chris, Stowmarket, UK

It's not accurate, the plot tramples all over reality. Well that can be said about a lot of modern dramas. This time however the drama was on a subject that fascinates many. Namely good old ancient conspiracy concerning the Templars. I don't expect accuracy, I don't expect hours of tedius excavations or dusty back offices trawling through books. I expect to be entertained, and I was.
Steve Gibson, Manchester, UK

I watched Bonekickers, and thought it could be better. There wasn't even the galmour of Indiana Jones, although the story did try too hard to be a mini Da Vinci Code. I give praise to the writers for creating the show, it's not easy to come up with great ideas, especially following the fantastic Life on Mars. I'm going to keep watching it in the hope that it does get better, but they do need to research better and making it slightly more realistic won't do them any more harm than they've already done in the first episode. Good luck to them though, I'm hoping it'll get better.
Caroline, London, UK

I was expecting something of a cross between Relic Hunter and Indiana Jones, having watched programmes like Time Team and seen how artifacts are treated in real life, I was appalled at the way this was shown in the programme - piece of wood - should it not have had some kind of treatment to stop it degrading further - it was hauled around by that bimbo and left lying on a table. Absolutely dire - I will not be watching any more of this rubbish.
Sheila Martin, Hastings, East Sussex

I was expecting more facts and less sensational. I think the plot could have been good, but for the young templars and the cript. It could be an opportunity to teach people a bit of history without being a documentary. Kathy Reichs does so in her books and it is really interesting. This was pure "entertainment" and not really believable, sorry! Will try the next episode and see if this improves. I did love Life on Mars though so please make it better.
laetitia, London, UK

Bonekickers should be buried and left well alone. I switched off after 20 minutes. I wasn't so naieve as to expect a serious take on the subject but Bonekickers was too ridiculous for words. When the new girl yanked a chunky piece of wood unceremoniously from the dirt, I almost shrieked. Terrible, just terrible.
Mark Waddington, Preston, UK

Bizarre. Very bizarre. We became increasingly convinced that it was a spoof. In fact I think it must have been. Could be the comedy highspot of the season.
Sarah, Norfolk UK

What a disappointment. I too had expected somthing of a cross between Time Team and Waking the Dead, but this was just utter drivel.
Celeste, London

I did A Level Archaeology and really wanted to enjoy this programme but it was utter rubbish. The plot was ridiculous. I wasn't expecting a TV version of Indiana Jones but I did expect something better from the BBC.
Rachel, London, UK

"We've just burnt 2 people to death and destroyed the one true cross, nicely situated 10ft underground for easy access, let's go get a pint"...was pretty much the last and hopefully will be the final line of this embarrassment of a programme.
Richard Clark, Wakefield, UK

I haven't laughed so much in ages! For years I have been striving to achieve tousled ringlets in the middle of a field in Somerset covered in cow poo!I certainly don't think anybody in the archaeological profession could afford such a nice flat on a current archaeological wage! But we all like to dream..... A little too far from reality for me.
Maria,, Liverpool, UK

I dont get what people expect, tv drama's rarely represent real life, its an hours worth of escapism not a documentary on real life archaeology. If this is far fetched then what the hell is a story about an ageless time lord? For me this makes a change from the usual reality and game/talent show dross we are constantly fed and a step in the right direction for the BBC
Darren Leach, London

How you view Bonekickers depends on your initial expectations. If you were expecting a gritty, true to life drama then I can understand how dissappointed you must be but did you not see the previews?? Yes, it would have been nice to have watched a cross between CSI and Waking The Dead, but even then there would have had to have been some eliment of the fantastic to have kept us entertained. It works for Timeteam because that IS real. When something is fiction then it needs to step up a few gears to keep the veiwers engaged. It was corny, it was far fetched but I don't care - I loved it and will be getting my fix of Historical escapism (especially now that Dr Who has finished for a while) at 9pm next Tuesday!!
Amanda, Yate, South Gloucestershire

Wasn't it Terry Wogan on "points of view" who used to have a cupboard full of TV disasters? Maybe this one will join the Borgias and Life in Provence and never be seen again... Actually, I would love to see the head drop off again...just once more!
Jonathan, London


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