Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Let us once more recognise the God-like genius of Nancy Banks-Smith

I haven't seen "Bonekickers" and I don't think I'll be finding the time. However I'm glad it was done because otherwise Nancy Banks-Smith would never have got to write this:
Bonekickers (BBC1) is, it has been noticed, only a syllable short of bonkers. Hugh Bonneville, a decent actor tragically seduced by the temptation of a Harrison Ford hat, plays Professor "Dolly" Parton. Based, he says, on the archaeological adviser for the series, who "literally froths at the mouth". Frankly, I'd hesitate to share a table in an all-night cafe with any one of them.


  1. Anonymous6:29 pm

    Bonekickers, which I have had the pleasure of seeing (it really is so bad it's good) proves two things about current state of TV in this country. One: if someone has had a hit, let them do whatever they want in case they accidentally give us another hit -- this is by the Life on Mars mob. And two, decent productions are so very few and far between that you can attract a really quite superb cast to an absolute pile of tripe. Especially if you're the BBC.

  2. Anonymous6:51 pm

    David, you really should make the effort to see it. I normally have no time for "so bad it's good", but honestly, this is so so awful that it is very funny.

    In the first episode they found the cross of Christ in a field in Wiltshire, and in last night's third episode found the body of Boadicea in Bath. I didn't see the second episode (Atlantis, maybe?).


  3. Anonymous6:59 pm

    Yes, it is jaw-droppingly bad.

    Worth watching if only to see Hugh Bonneville doing a perfect impersonation of Jack Force from The superb Armstrong & Miller Show. Not the terrible recent BBC one, the funny one for Channel Four.

    I keep expecting Chuffy his imaginary traindriver sidekick to turn up. If he did, I'm positive no one would bat an eyelid.

  4. Anonymous7:55 pm

    Nancy Banks-Smith really is very good , isn't she?

    David, Liverpool

  5. Anonymous10:04 am

    God-like genius indeed. She's been blessed with both an eventful life (" George Formby once told me...") and the wit and passion to reflect it in her work without the slightest sense of solipsism. Quite a skill.

    Random link from The Guardian's archive unearthed this from 2003:

    'It is a typical northern bank holiday in Coronation Street (ITV1), where we know how to make our own entertainment. Framed in an upstairs window and clutching his baby to his breast, Curly Watts is flinging his estranged wife's smalls on to the cobbles. (Traditionally, it is the wife who does the clutching and flinging, but Curly is a new man and house husband, so the roles are reversed.) His wife, Emma, is an inspector with the Greater Manchester Constabulary, so we were charmed at the frivolous nature of her pastel underpinnings.'

  6. Anonymous11:16 am

    A Nancy Banks Smith facetime in Word would be most welcome.

  7. I recently did a presentation on Clive James’s three volumes of TV criticisms (it was a ‘show and tell’ for fellow editors at my company), and beforehand I was trying to think if any other TV critics have had their columns compiled in book form.

    The only one I came up with was Charlie Brooker, who was anthologised last year, I believe. But I would happily pay to read the entire collected works of Nancy Banks-Smith - if only to find out exactly how many times she has used the immortal line:

    “As Rob Wilton used to say, ‘There was enough said at our Evie’s wedding’.”

    She trots it out pretty much every time there’s a wedding on Corrie or EastEnders, bless her.

  8. timt,

    I've got a couple of books of compiled TV reviews, 'The Magic Rectangle' by Victor Lewis-Smith and 'Interference: Tapehead vs. Television' by Jim Shelly as well as the Charlie Booker one and of course, the ones by Mr James. Both are entertaining reads even if the programmes are long forgotten.

  9. Anonymous10:08 pm

    I too think it unlikely I'll be able to 'find the time'. Life on Mars was probably the last series I would actively stay in for, and because of that I watched a few other Kudos productions, like Hustle and Spooks. I found them strangely disappointing, if entertaining in a superficial manner. Hard to say what set LoM apart as it was certainly a ridiculous premise, but for whatever reason it just worked brilliantly.