There is plenty of competition but putting aside the reality TV drivel, the endless property and cookery shows and Jeremy Kyle-style car crash entertainment, is Bonekickers the worst programme currently being aired?

Over-hyped, over-acted and under-written makes for a very poor combination.

Time Team meets Indian Jones, CSI and The Da Vinci Code makes for an even worse combination.

What makes the whole sorry offering more baffling is that the writing team is the same that created Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Spooks, Hustle and a few episodes of This Life?

The cast, on paper at least, is impressive – Hugh Bonneville and Adrian Lester are more than capable of putting in a good turn, whilst Gugu Mbatha-Raw is fresh from a stand out performance in Fallout on C4 last week.

Julie Graham isn’t a strong enough lead, but that’s not the show’s major fault.

Bonekickers just isn’t very good. It is up there, competing hard alongside ITV’s The Fixer as the worst show of 2008.

The fact that Rachel and I spent almost the entire programme coming up with less than flattering alternative titles to Bonekickers – Sh!tflickers seemed to be the winner – is not a good sign.

Last week the BBC served up a rarity in Criminal Justice, a genuinely impressive prime-time drama that was superbly written, directed and acted and which managed to hold attention for five nights in a row.

Bonekickers barely managed to get beyond the opening first couple of minutes without incredulous looks being swapped on our sofa and then snorts of derision.

What made this debut episode even harder to take was the startlingly graphic beheading scene. It was gratuitous, completely out of keeping with the rest of the episode and went for very dubious and cheap shock value.

Was the fact that the victim was a Muslim student and the killer a Christian zealot designed to merely ramp up the shock value even more?

Even the flashbacks to the deaths of the Knights Templar – the flimsy plot was laughable at times – who we were told were “hacked to death” did not match the student beheading scene for sheer visceral brutality. So why show a modern day execution in all its gruesome gory, but not the blood-curdling events of the Crusades?

Amongst the hilarity at the poor quality of just about everything to do with the show, the beheading was plain offensive.

The writers might describe Bonekickers as a series of airport novels brought to the small screen, I’ll stick with utter rubbish. And some of the first impressions on a fan site created for Bonekickers are less than enthusiastic. 

There are plenty of examples of poor, misguided and ill-judged TV shows down the years. We might have a new contender.

Competition is very strong these days, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Bonekickers is the worst TV show of 2008.

[Update: There seems to be fairly widespread condemnation of the quality of Bonekickers, with a lot of people mentioning the words “licence fee” and “refund” in the same sentence. Will it survive the planned six-part run?]

[NOTE: I have slightly revised my opinion of Bonekickers, read my second thoughts here.]

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11 responses »

  1. Nick Scott Donald says:

    I think the popularity of Doctor Who (escapism for adults of all ages) may have started something.

    But on the strength of this programme I’m already scared where it might end…

  2. Paul Groves says:

    Nick: I fear you are right.

    I can’t believe Rachel pays our TV licence for this sort of drivel.

  3. Wayne Noble says:

    Perhaps Sh#tkickers would be a better title after watching the first episode! What utter tripe!

  4. Jilly Clark says:

    I was really disappointed with Bonekickers – I was really looking forward to viewing but this first story was awful – a dedicated archaeologist setting fire to such a fantastic find is just totally unbelievable – the whole subject and the way it was handled was unpleasant and I felt had nasty undertones – not nice and I feel the whole thing was just wrong and did not gel.

  5. Paul Groves says:

    Wayne/Jilly: Thanks both. I can only see it getting worse as they’re already trying way too hard. Jilly I think you’re absolutely right with the “nasty undertones” description and the subject matter for episode 2 – slavery – fills me with a certain sense of dread.

  6. Mark says:

    It was rubbish and PC rubbish at that (the very worst kind).

  7. […] Is Bonekickers the worst show on TV? […]

  8. Julian Glass says:

    All these things being said about it being taken off before the end of its run: help! I was in episode one (in a DJ at the book launch – in fact I had a line that was cut) and there is one more scene I am in too.

    Being edited out of an episode is one thing. Have the whole episode cut is too much!

  9. Paul Groves says:

    Julian: I will keep my fingers crossed for you that it survives the whole run.
    But I’m not sure I’ll survive it myself.

  10. […] Is Bonekickers the worst show on TV? […]

  11. Richard Morant says:

    Bonekickers? Oh yeah, it’s so very bad I fear for the past AND the future. And then there is Spooks: Code 9! Great Scot what is happening at the BBC? They’re getting in the habit of taking piss now. Where will it end?

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