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Radio / ElvenQuest

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ElvenQuest 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.

Tropes used by ElvenQuest

  • Aerith and Bob: In the first episode the questers are introduced as "Lord Vidar, Penthiselea and Dean, the Dwarf".
    • A third series episode is set in "the mines of Grazak Dun buried deep beneath the dark mountains of Akanazar in the farthest reaches of the land of... Colin".
  • Affably Evil: Lord Darkness ultimately becomes this to the Questers, partly because they keep running into each other under bizarre circumstances. He and Kreech even sit quietly at the back for Sam's wedding.
  • 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 humped, desert-crossing creatures called 'flamels'.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Lord Darkness
  • Character Development: In the first series, Penthiselea doesn't seem to understand the difference between men and women, not even understanding about the birds and the bees. After the second series, this seems to disappear, as do any references to being Vidar's betrothed; she now solely refers to herself as a chaste warrior princess (though in the first episode of series two, Sam mentions her engagement to Vidar in the past tense, so presumably this was called off.)
  • Cliffhanger: The ending of the last episode of the first season.
  • Diet Episode: Series 2, episode 2, has everyone concerned that Amis is getting fat. Fatty-fatty fat fat. so they take him to the castle of Dietica.
  • 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.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Parodied. Lord Darkness realises his bad boss tendencies come from being sent to a fat camp as a kid. Once he gets revenge on his childhood tormentor, he's... still a bad boss, but now it's because he simply enjoys hurting minions For the Evulz, not to make up for any trauma.
  • 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. By contrast, Lord Darkness sounds rather nasal.
  • 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.
  • Flanderization: Dean goes from having subtle hints that he may be gay in the first series, before openly becoming a walking Transparent Closet in later series.
  • 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.
  • Freudian Excuse: Double subverted. Lord Darkness states his parents loved him and his childhood was great... except his bad boss tendencies come from being sent to fat camp, where he was mercilessly bullied.
  • Groin Attack: Kreech smashes the 'orbs' of the White Wizard. This upsets the White Wizard long enough for Kreech to smash his actual magic orbs.
  • High Fantasy: an Affectionate Parody. The show doesn't ridicule the genre; it uses it to make a genre sitcom.
  • 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 Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Penthiselea often does this to Sam, such as when the heat causes her to remove her breastplate.
  • 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.
  • King in the Mountain: Dean's father, Little Dick.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Sam and Penthiselea during series 2, episode 6, on their way to Lord Darkness's castle, with all the usual cliches, such as Sam being too stubborn to admit he's gone the wrong way. Then they're set upon by a troll who's a Henpecked Husband, and are too busy arguing to notice.
  • 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. La Grande Bastardo. 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.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Emperor Jackie sounds like a certain ('50s singer - particular in his later years.
    • Nigressa, the glamorous but evil sorceress who owns the most famous tavern in Lower Earth, is an obvious parody of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.
    • The White Wizard's speech pattern, along with his use of terms such as "The Third Way" and "Coalition of the Willing" are references to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
  • No Macguffin No Winner: The questers actually find the Sword of Asnagar at the end of series 2, but it ends up nearly falling into Lord Darkness's hands due to corrupting nearly everyone who touches it, so Amis throws it away.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: A bizarre case where both sides attempt this. Lord Darkness issues a challenge of single combat and Sam inadvertently accepts. Over the course of the episode Sam tries to back out due to his cowardice and eventually convinces Penthiselea to stand in for him. Lord Darkness discovers that he will not be allowed to use his magic powers and is terrible at melee fighting, so he tries to surreptitiously bring a monster onto the battlefield with him. Both ruses are eventually discovered and the fight is called off.
  • 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.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Darkness swears frequently by the name of "Shardvar!"
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: The Tower of Tests... apparently. It all takes place offscreen.
    Penthiselea: 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sam, an author, has called his dog 'Amis'; possibly in reference to authors Kingsley and Martin Amis. Although it's also an anagram of "I, Sam..."
    • There are two locations referred to as Numenor and the Mountains of Morgoth.
  • 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.
    Wizard: Sometimes you have to do difficult things if you want everything to be perfect. And I do want everything to be perfect. And I'm the living embodiment of goodness, so whatever I want must be good. D'you see?
    Sam: OK! So, he's a complete nutcase.
  • The Alleged Boss: Although Lord Vidar is the official Leader of the group, his stupidity and trusting nature make it easy (and often necessary) for the other Questers to override his authority.
  • 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 the Questers 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."
    • Another episode sees the Questers slaying a monster called the Grundel and fearing the wrath of its mother.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Merely holding the Sword of Asnagar for even a moment drives most people raving mad and evil. Amis is immune because he's too nice.
  • You Are Fat: All over the place in series 2, episode 2.