Last week, the BBC aired a new TV series titled "Bonekickers" touted as a "groundbreaking" show where "history comes alive," and a series that is "Based in fact." The premier episode, though features an odd thing if "fact" is the aim of the Beeb's new TV series: a Christian beheading a Muslim. Yeah, THAT is really a "fact" based premise, isn't it?
Of course, the few remaining Christians in Britain have found themselves a bit put out by this "fact based" show where it is a Christian beheading a Muslim instead of the other way 'round.
And it isn't just a beheading, the entire episode turns our current "fact based" reality on its head as the plot gives us a group of "right wing Christians" bent on purging England of its immigrant population, a group the TV series is fictionalizing as the "White Wings Alliance." In a day when extremist Muslims the world over are killing people for not being a Muslim, this show features the exact opposite situation. Christian "extremists" killing innocent, moderate Muslims. For what reason? Only the Beeb knows for sure.
The whole premise is so ridiculous that Andrew Anthony of the Guardian newspaper said, "A Martian watching TV drama of late would probably conclude that the country is crawling with homicidal Islamophobes, desperate to kill those few Muslims who have not already been interned by the government or shot by the police." In his droll way, of course, Anthony is saying that none of that is happening despite the outrageous plot line that appears in this "fact based" series.
The Independent's reviewer was no kinder saying, "Murderous Christian fundamentalists, like the ones on Bonekickers, are frequently on TV, but their Islamic counterparts rarely make an appearance. Our TV controllers have a tendency to make like the three wise monkeys when it comes to Muslim extremism: hear no evil, see no evil, broadcast no evil." So much for "facts."
From the Bonekickers website, the show is describe as such:
Bonekickers is a highly original six-part series about a dynamic team of archaeologists... As a team their skills combine under a variety of imperatives to extract bodies, books, weapons and all manner of artefacts which lead them into an investigation of the past that will unlock dangers and mysteries in the present.
Based in fact, the series has on board the expertise of Professor Mark Horton, Head of Archaeology at Bristol University, a specialist in the archaeology of historical societies around the world and Bonekickers consultant on the factual evidence and background to the relics featured in each episode.
In any case, many viewers complained about this upending of reality, so many so that the BBC had to respond with a statement. And the BBC has responded to critics of their new series quite unsatisfactorily, it seems.
We've received some complaints from viewers who felt the scene featuring a beheading in Bonekickers on BBC One, Tuesday 8th July 2008 was inappropriate viewing.
The BBC's Response
We regret that some viewers felt the beheading scene was inappropriate. It appeared half way through episode one of Bonekickers, by which time the character's extreme fundamental belief' had been revealed, providing the audience with a good build up to the scene in question.
This storyline looked at religious fundamentalism within a fictional Christian group, and one character in particular who took his beliefs to an extreme. His ignorance and misguided behaviour lead to the beheading of a peaceful Asian Muslim character in the drama. His actions are clearly condemned by leading Muslim and Christian clerics. The drama also has the balance of a Christian character that has a deep faith which she uses humbly and only for good.
The killing and the method used reflected the flawed beliefs that the character had. It does not attempt to condone or glamorise such a violent act in any way. The drama seeks to highlight the consequences of a misguided fundamentalist taking his beliefs to violent extremes.
The inclusion of the scene had been carefully considered and was very much central to the story line and reflected the character's extreme fundamental beliefs and state of mind.
They regret nothing, of course.
So, lots of “extremist Christians” running about the countryside beheading moderate Muslims over there in England? There must be. After all, we did mention that this is a “fact based” series, didn’t we?
Speaking of bones, this appears to be another reason why the west hasn't the backbone to stand up to Islamic extremism, doesn't it?
(Photo credit: Blackstar.co.uk)