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Banished was a British television drama airing for seven episodes on BBC Two in March and April of 2015. It was set in the first British penal colony in New South Wales in 1788, and dealt equally with the convicts and the soldiers guarding them.


Banished provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: Multiple phrases and appearances seem anachronistic, but most noticeably Letters Malloy referencing a "Dear John Letter," a phrase that wouldn't be coined for another 150 years.
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  • Berserk Button: Tommy's is Elizabeth, with tragic results.
  • Bungled Suicide: Kitty decides to drown herself in the ocean, only to discover Marston's body and decide she doesn't want to end up looking like that.
  • Cement Shoes: After Marston refuses to stay buried, Tommy and James take his body out to sea, weighted down with chains. Unfortunately, that doesn't work too well, either...
  • Cruel Mercy: James is saved from hanging for killing Marston only to become the hangman, a job he knows will get him ostracized and killed as soon as his fellow convicts find out, and which leads to him having to hang his best friend.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Private Buckley tells Major Ross he fell, rather than admit that Sergeant Timmins beat him up.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Major Ross wants to do this with Tommy Barrett.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Stubbins receives one right before he departs for New South Wales, but doesn't know it for quite awhile since he can't read and Letters Malloy lies to him about its contents.
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  • Downer Ending: James kills his best friend Tommy, Corporal Mac Donald apparently kills himself, and all the surviving characters are probably going to starve to death.
  • Dramatic Irony: We know that James is the hangman since the end of episode four, but none of the other convicts know until the end of the last episode
  • Driven to Suicide: Corporal Mac Donald
  • Ensemble Cast: The opening credits featured eighteen names.
  • Evil Is Petty: Buckley tells Tommy he's been with his wife (knowing full well this will lead to Tommy hitting him, which will lead to Tommy being executed) just because Tommy beat him at cards.
  • Fatal Flaw: Tommy's temper
  • Ironic Name: James Freeman is a convict.
  • Just Following Orders: Sergeant Timmins clearly doesn't enjoy a lot of his assigned tasks (including flogging Elizabeth), but does them because it's his job. The one time he disobeys an order (turning back so as not to lose any men in the bush during the chase for James) leads to a severe dressing down (and threats) from Major Ross, which leads him to buckle down on doing exactly what he's told.
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  • Large Ham: Reverend Johnson
  • Last-Name Basis: The majority of the soldiers' first names are never revealed.
  • Last Request: Tommy requests that James marry Elizabeth after his death. This is, of course, before he knows James will be the one hanging him...
  • Love Triangle: Major Ross, Corporal Mac Donald, and Kitty
  • Manipulative Bastard: in the course of six episodes, Major Ross manipulates Kitty into leaving Corporal Mac Donald and coming to him willingly.
  • Manly Tears: Multiple times, mainly among the convicts.
  • Never Learned to Read: The majority of the convicts, with the notable exception of Letters Malloy, whose services as a reader and writer are used by multiple characters throughout the series. It's later revealed that Anne Meredith is also literate, though she hides it, and several other characters are depicted as learning over the course of the series.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Buckley suffers one of these at the hands of Tommy, as well as, to a slightly lesser extent, Sergeant Timmins.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Major Ross brings up the possibility of feeding corpses to the convicts to preserve food for the soldiers, though this policy is not yet put into place by the end of the series.
  • Official Couple: Tommy and Elizabeth
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Letters Malloy
  • Penal Colony
  • Say My Name: If you took a shot every time Elizabeth cries Tommy's name, you would quickly be dead drunk...
  • The Hero Dies: Tommy, in the final episode
  • Sentenced to Down Under
  • The Quiet One: Captain Collins records the minutes in the official meetings that include Governor Phillip, Major Ross, and Reverend Johnson. He usually adds little to the conversation, but his facial reactions to the others are priceless.
  • The Smart Guy: Letters Malloy
  • Tragic Stillbirth: Mrs. Johnson's entire back story, having suffered four stillborn children.
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