Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Just something I simply had to get off my chest. I wrote the following to the BBC. Whether it will even be noticed I doubt very much but surely somebody has to say something. If you want to know what this is about you can find it here

I have just watched the new BBC 1 drama, Bonekickers, and disappointment does not begin to describe how I feel about this 24 carat unmitigated disaster. The writing was formulaic, the acting clunky, the production capable of being done by a first year drama student. It made the Da Vinci Code look (almost) respectable by comparison.

The historical detail, such as it was, would have been at home in a copy of 1066 and All That. The heavy prejudice against Christian history and practice and obvious sympathy for what the writers clearly saw as noble and downtrodden Islam would be simply embarrassing if it wasn’t for the fact that many people will come away with this tired, clichéd and flawed view of religious history.

And all the clichés were there, in splendid and predictable numbers. The superstition about “the true cross”; the demise of the bloody and bloodthirsty Crusaders who had, unprovoked, cut a swathe of death and carnage through the peaceful and peace-loving Muslim population of the Middle East until they were disowned by their own; the scurrilous suggestion that Crusaders and been followed and killed by Saracens, scurrilous of course because it turns out that it was not Saracens (phew!) but Christians butchering Christians – typical; the portrayal of modern-day Christian believers as either simpletons or unscrupulous and violent zealots; and, of course, the voice of religious reason is that of a Muslim who, inevitably, gets butchered by a Christian zealot (history repeating itself surely). And, in the midst of it all, trying to be the true voice of knowing and liberal reason, is a secular archaeologist who approaches her subject with all the cold and scientific reason of a Richard Dawkins.

Finally, I found myself wondering whether, in the current climate, it was altogether politic to put before an already fragmented nation, trying to deal with Muslim zealots, a portrayal of Crusaders that is inaccurate in that it is incomplete, violent so that it feeds the very prejudices we are trying to quell and brought right up-to-date so as to make the threat very real for those who choose not to think but to react to the terrible clichés they are fed and that inform and reinforce their cause.

I will find something better to do with my Tuesdays

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