is a British radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
The story follows Sam Porter, a misanthropic fantasy author, who is visited by three strangely-dressed people he believes to be cosplaying fans. However, when they attempt to steal his dog, Amis, in the belief that he is The Chosen One
, Sam follows, only to be drawn into the fantasy world of Lower Earth, where Amis is transformed into a human, though keeps his dog-like tendencies. Soon, Sam is dragged along on a quest for the Sword of Asnagar, along with dim elven prince Vidar, beautiful but naive warrior princess Penthiselea, and stubborn dwarf Dean, all the while pursued by Lord Darkness and his servant Kreech.
Not to be confused with ElfQuest
- Aerith and Bob: In the first episode the questers are introduced as "Lord Vidar, Penthiselea and Dean, the Dwarf".
- All Periods Are PMS: Queen Eleanor, "beautiful but wildly unpredictable queen of Premenstrua".
- Animal Stereotypes: Although Amis is now human, he likes to chase sheep, cannot resist retrieving a stick, and is easily distracted by biscuits.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Amis.
- Back from the Dead: Dean, in the Puzzles episode.
- Black Cloak: "You will make sure you separate the darks from the whites, won't you? Only your Terrible Black Cape of Maleficence does tend to run..."
- British Brevity: Four series have been recorded, each of six episodes.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The denizens of Lower Earth have never heard of camels. However they do have creatures called 'flamels'.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Lord Darkness
- Cliff Hanger: The ending of the sixth episode.
- Distracted by the Sexy: The Sirens episode. Dean, along with Penthiselea, is Not Distracted by the Sexy, for reasons he cannot imagine.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Amis, with a mix of Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, My Instincts Are Showing and Cloud Cuckoolander.
- Et Tu, Brute?: The Questers when Sam gets the sword and hands it to Darkness in exchange for a portal home.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Night Demon.
- Fantastic Racism: A mild version. Humans are apparently rare in Lower Earth, and Sam attracts some disdain. Mostly from Dean, though, and mostly for being Sam.
- Dwarves are oppressed by the "lankeys", according to Little Dick the dwarf.
- Five-Man Band:
- Food Chains: The Fat Hog, which causes everyone who eats there to turn into pigs so they can be killed and served to future diners.
- Genre Savvy: Sam is the author of several fantasy novels, which occasionally helps or hinders him in Lower Earth.
- Humans Are Bastards: The Night Demon believes sacrificing Sam will grant it power, as only humans are compelled to annihilate.
- Idiot Hero: Lord Vidar, leader of the Questers.
- I Lied: Darkness, after promising Sam that he wouldn't hurt the Questers if he gave him the Sword. Lampshaded by Kreech; "Good line."
- King Incognito: Lord Darkness tries to infiltrate his own slaves... and is immediately suspected of being a spy.
- MacGuffin: The Sword of Asnagar, for whosoe'er wields the Sword shall rule all of Lower Earth.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Used by Sam when he says he wants to remain with his friends... and Dean.
- My Instincts Are Showing: Amis is entirely human in appearance, but the doglike instincts don't go away.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Lord Darkness. The Night Demon. Also, Lord Darkness himself goes to some effort to name his new torture device... the Petard of Irony.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: It's not unknown for Lord Darkness's actions to be the accidental means of saving the questers from their own mistakes.
- The Nicknamer: The escape officer in Trollditz. His first priority in coming up with a time-critical escape plan is to give the new inmates cool nicknames.
- Number Two for Brains: Kreech, though he tries to be something between Hypercompetent Sidekick and nanny, bless him.
- Only Smart People May Pass: What is it that is brown, and yet also sticky? Spoofed and lampshaded.
- Opening Narration at the beginning of every episode, though it tends to ramble and lose the point.
Narrator: For as it is written in the Great Elven Book of Knowing, isn't life just one bloody thing after another.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dean fits the bill all the way, with the exception of being in a Transparent Closet.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The Tower of Tests... apparently. It all takes place offscreen.
Each room has had traps and challenges which required the individual skills that we bring to get us through. Sam: Yeah, we know, we were there. Penthiselea:
My swordcraft, Amis's stamina, Sam's wit and intelligence, Vidar's..... so, we have four of the five keys needed to open the door in the wall.
- Also when the Queen demands a written saga of party's adventures:
Penthiselea: Oh, if only one of us was a professional writer.
- The Quest
- Stating the Simple Solution: Sam, repeatedly, during the Tower of Tests, which everyone else insists on overthinking.
- Straight Gay. There are hints that Dean is this, during the first season. He doesn't appear to be interested in discussing it. The innuendo increases in later seasons (see Transparent Closet).
- Tautological Templar: The White Wizard.
- Transparent Closet: Dean.
- Unicorns Are Sacred: Subverted. As the men are musing on the beast's aura of peace and beauty... Penthiselea shoots it. "Well we've got to eat..."
- Villains Out Shopping: The Questers run into Lord Darkness and Kreech all sorts of places, like a book launch in a labyrinthine mine.
- Weird Trade Union: Formed by the slaves in the salt mines.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: When they bring Dean Back from the Dead and take the opportunity to "improve" his personality, they accidentally make him into a simpering coward. In order to change him back, they have to kill him again.
- Whole Plot Reference: The fourth series finale has the gang trying to escape from maximum security prison "Trollditz", evading the German-accented guards and planning to dig three tunnels called Tom, Dick and Harry. It's a Running Gag that Sam finds all of this very familiar, but can't put his finger on why. The episode's title? "The Great Escape."