Concept art for the Council for British Archaeology’s epic new drama.
[Lead Image: thePipeLine]
Following criticism that recent films such as “the Dig” and “the Lost King” did not represent archaeologists and the process of archaeology properly the Council for British Archaeology has announced that it has called in the creative team behind the famous BBC TV archaeological drama “Bonekickers” to prepare a pitch to television networks and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The brief given to the writers and producers is to tell epic, compelling, but realistic, archaeological stories which remain true to the practices and ethics of the profession, but which will also appeal to a mass audience in the manner of hits like “Game of Thrones” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”.
With a story arc designed to run over several seasons, the first episode commences with a young archaeologist escaping the destruction of their university department in the nick of time and embarking on a quest to enter the profession.
thePipeLine understands that an actual University Archaeology department is to be blown up for the episode, however precisely which one will depend on which university is most exposed to the downturn in foreign student numbers and ill advised property deals at the time of filming.
Following their escape from the conflagration our hero takes on temporary work in the local Aldi, where, joining forces with an everyman figure played by a well known TV comedian, they escape once again, taking a pay cut to join a company of sell-trowel diggers led by the legendary Philha Hatso on a by-pass project somewhere in the magical lands south of Peterborough and north of Wessex, where MOLA fears to go.
Kept alive only by their own comradery, a sense of destiny driven on by the sacred National Planning Policy Framework, and a fridge full of stale lemon drizzle cake, the heroic band must survive back breaking work, a pandemic plague, and the machinations of the evil Orcs of De Velopar .
Led by false chronicler and series villain, Ser Grayham Hancocke, the Orcs take no prisoners and will stop at nothing to thwart the opening of a new trench on known archaeology by misinterpreting radio carbon dates and natural geology and lying about the cost of a delay.
Other episodes are expected to feature a tense meeting where senior managers put pressure on their staff to cut costs on a bid for a commercial project, and a brutal battle to the death as a small band of archaeologists and an understaffed and under funded rural crime team, take to the ramparts of a scheduled hill fort to try to fend off waves of faceless, heavily armed metal detectorists and folk singers, all the time trying to avoid betrayal by the slippery Commsteam Silvertongue from the sponsoring University.
Unfortunately an episode with an all women cast set in a DNA laboratory has been cut from the first season on grounds of cost, but may be reconfigured as a standalone courtroom drama.
However, the series will also feature an episode, recorded in real time, where two aging archaeologists reminisce about their careers, and badmouth every contracting unit they have ever worked for, as they wash pottery outdoors in a blizzard.
While, in a storyline running across the series, a young trench supervisor on a watching brief in Dudley discovers a dragon, which she brings back to life in her temporary bedsit in Cradley Heath.
The storyline, designed to echo the magical realism of Game of Thrones, will see her rise to take charge first of a leading contracting unit, and then of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, but as she does she becomes increasingly driven and isolated, culminating in a fiery presentation at the “Red TAG” where not everyone emerges alive.
While few details of casting for the series are currently available it is rumoured that Sir Barry Cunliffe will play a Yoda like character, mentoring the series hero and that the series will feature also a horde of magical CGI badgers, motion captured from supporters of the #Dig4Archaeology initiative. They are led by a quixotic leader who sometimes aids and sometimes obstructs, the show’s main protagonists, but always has something to say.
Other key characters yet to be cast include Blogger the Black, a wizard who seeks to take control of Archae Earth and bend archaeologists to his will, Kenneth the Famous, the self-styled commander of the “Sell-Trowel” mercenaries who is bent on domination of the profession and Potty Mouth the Bluenosed, a veteran archaeologist and mage, who wears sacred leather armour and drinks the Trappist potion of power to gain the insight of the many eyed Raven.
The series will be shot in Ireland, Croatia and on the A303 Stonehenge Bypass Project as soon as the legal obstacles can be overcome.
The series, with the working title “Game of Bones”, will be helmed by Dutch director April Vis.