You’ll have no doubt heard about this one. Punted as a cross between Time Team and The Da Vinci Code, it’s a newish BBC 1 drama series about a team of maverick archaeologists working at some dull university, who each week appear to uncover historical artefacts of such significance that in reality they’d have the scientific community reeling for months. Here, it’s just another day at the office.
In the past three weeks they’ve discovered The Holy Grail, the lost burial ground of Queen Boudica and this week, a sacred vessel from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Inevitably, some big bad men also want to get their hands on these and what is known in the biz as ‘drama’ ensues.
The team consists of Adrian Lester, hotfoot from the entertaining ‘Hustle’. Julie Graham, 40-something Scottish siren last seen engaged in lesbo MILF action in ‘At Home with the Braithwaites’ and still quite sexy, despite getting a bit jowly. And some fluffy eye-candy playing the young intern, who’s there purely for reasons of exposition and soft porn.
But the real highlight of the show is Hugh Bonneville as Professor Gregory Parton (they hilariously refer to him as ‘Dolly’ the wags) who appears to have watched ‘Force on the Case’ from the original (ie funny) ‘Armstrong & Miller Show’ and decided to channel Jack Force. If you haven’t seen ‘Force’ he’s sort of like Inspector Morse with Alzheimer’s and a violent drinking problem. To all of this, Bonneville has cleverly added an Indiana Jones costume and a big red face. Yes, that’s what I was thinking – genius.
They all do their best with a script, obviously sent in by an earnest child for a Blue Peter competition and mistakenly delivered to the head of drama. But they don’t stand a chance. Even the superb and, as always,under-used Michael Maloney snoozes his way through his role as the head of the faculty worrying about funding. I think the Blue Peter child must have been nearing his beddy-byes by the time he got to creating Maloney’s character as his part was even more thinly-drawn than the others. But the poor kid was probably putting away his toys at the same time, bless him, so cut him some slack.)
Anyway, this week there was a crap CGI snake, some occult nonsense and a bunch of shadowy CIA types. The plot was all over the place and, even if I’d been able to follow it, probably not worth repeating. The thing is – I quite like it.
Okay, it’s utter rubbish. But if you’ve had a long day, you don’t always want to sit down and watch Baltimore’s finest unravelling the complex heirarchies of the Barksdale gang. Sometimes you just want a big double whopper cheeseburger. And this certainly delivers extra cheese.
Utter bollocks, but if you fancy emptying your brains into the settee, give it a try.
So tune in. Don’t be ashamed. Stand proud. Attend the meetings. ‘Hello My name is Charlie and I like Bonekickers …’
Postscript: Blue Peter Boy has now tidied his room and is script-editing the new series of Torchwood.