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Series / Bonekickers

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Now, for the love of Jehovah, can we please go to the pub?
Professor Gregory "Dolly" Parton

A BBC1 series that aired at 9pm Tuesdays from 8th July to 12th August 2008.

A show that could be described as Time Team meets Waking the Dead meets Indiana Jones, it involves a bunch of archaeologists who have increasingly ludicrous adventures, usually culminating in the destruction of whatever precious artifact they're after this week.


This show contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Dolly is often seen drinking. It is very likely that he works under the influence.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The protagonists are supposed to be this, in a professional, academic-like manner.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: One per episode.
  • Artistic License – History: This show is practically built on this trope. Do not try holding a drinking game.
    • In Episode two the characters find a slave ship that is dated about a decade after slavery was outlawed in England.
      • A pedent writes: slavery has never been outlawed in England as it has never been legal in the first place. Various judgements in the 17th century declared that it had had incompatible with English common law since at least before the Magna Carta.
    • In Episode four Magwilde claims that 4000 years ago Egyptians and Greeks were much more advanced than the people in the UK who were doing nothing but "picking their teeth." They completely failed to mention that one of the oldest known human settlements, Skara Brae, was built off the coast of Northern Scotland, is still standing and they had a working drainage system.
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    • Magwilde dismisses Stonehenge as just a bunch of rocks and ultimately unimpressive compared to things like the pyramids or Petra. Stonehenge is the center of a huge complex that was one of the greatest technical accomplishments of its era and and the stones themselves were likely a gigantic functional lithophone.
    • The entire Boudica episode is based around the idea that the Romans really captured her alive, but spread the story of her suicide to discredit her. Even leaving aside how utterly pointless this is, both the Iceni and the Romans considered a defeated leader committing suicide to be an honorable death and being captured alive the ultimate humiliation.
  • Arc Words: Follow the gleam.
  • Atrocious Alias: As Diamanda Hagan noted in her review of the final episode, the Disciples of Good Use is the "worst name for an evil conspiracy EVER".
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  • Audience Surrogate: Viv.
  • British Brevity: A six-episode series.
  • Camp Straight: Daniel Mastiff.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dolly.
  • Church Militant: An evil example.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: They discover and subsequently destroy the true cross, along with causing the death of a leading politician/ religious leader, in just the first episode. Despite this and all their other history-shattering discoveries, it's a frequent plot point that the department has zero public awareness.
  • The Faceless: Henry Timberdyne.
  • Faux Action Girl: Boudica, the Celtic Warrior Queen. They talk up her skills in battle throughout the episode, but in one flashback she's taken prisoner by one Roman guy without a fight, and in another flashback she's again menaced by a single Roman soldier and kills herself rather than be captured, again without even trying to defend herself. Her actress is also about five feet tall without a scrap of muscle on her body.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Magwilde is Melancholic, Ben is Choleric, Dolly is Sanguine and Viv is Phlegmatic.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Both Magwilde and Dolly.
  • Knight Templar: The first episode focuses on these guys.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's later revealed that Magwilde and Viv are sisters. Thought it's never explained whether they're biological or adoptive.
  • Lowest Cosmic Denominator: Marduk and Tiamat receive this treatment in "Cradle of Civilization."
  • Myth Arc: Involving Excalibur.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Viv.
  • Nice Hat: Parton's hat is inspired by Indy's.
  • Off with His Head!: The infamous decapitation scene from the first episode.
  • Only Sane Man: Ben comes off as the most sensible, easy-going member of the team.
  • Overarching Villain: The aforementioned "Disciples of Good Use."
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Dolly. He's a drinker, a womaniser and has rather un-PC views.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Excalibur, The Round Table [of Arthur], the True Cross.
  • Punny Nickname: Gregory Parton being called "Dolly", after the singer Dolly Parton.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Magwilde has one concerning Excalibur.
  • Sinister Minister: Edward Laygass combines this with a plan to take over the United Kingdom and expel non-Christians. Hagan notes in her review that he's a kind of very American-style fundamentalist televangelist that barely even exists in the UK, and one that would probably not even get a TV show like the one he appears in. Oddly enough Society Marches On, and if the series was made even a few years later he would seem like a blatant parody of a mainstream UKIP politician.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Muslim boy who goes to to meet the crazy Christian fanatic, Jack alone, in a deserted place, after Jack and friend threatened him and said he wanted to start a holy war with the Muslims. Did I mention that Jack thinks he is a modern day knight and carries a broad sword around with him? Yeah, this meeting goes about as well as you think it does.
  • Unfortunate Names: Dr. Gillian Magwilde and Professor Gregory "Dolly" Parton.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Edward Laygass is killed in the first episode. He is relatively famous in this universe and no one seems to care that he died and that the Bonekickers team is completely responsible for it. Also in the first episode is a woman who apparently gained miraculous healing powers after unknowingly touching the true cross; her claims are never examined by the characters beyond being a clue, and she's never mentioned again.


Example of: