The BBC have announced plans to make archeology exciting and sexy (what haven't they seen Time Team - Phil in his denim shorts and Mick's stripey jumpers, guaranted to get any women's pulses racing!), Bonekickers promises to be a major new series for Spring 2008.
Julie Graham (Dalziel & Pascoe, William And Mary) is Gillian, a feisty Celt who heads up a team of archaeologists working out of Bath University.
Adrian Lester (Hustle, Ballet Shoes) is Dr Ben Akomfrah, a forensic expert who brings an objective understanding to the team, Hugh Bonneville (Miss Austen Regrets, Tsunami) is the encyclopaedic but terminally louche, Professor Gregory Parton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Spooks, Tish Jones in Doctor Who) is the eager, young, post-grad intern, Viv Davis.
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.
From the excavation of murdered 18th century slaves to the possible discovery of the True Cross, each episode is a window on a period of history but, more importantly, a reflection on how we live now.
Running through the series is a greater puzzle that Gillian keeps to herself for fear of ridicule – the hunt for the greatest treasure in the history of Man, a hunt that drove her brilliant mother insane, a hunt that pits her wits against her academic nemesis, the arrogant, urbane TV historian Daniel Mastif, and that will culminate at the end of series one in a desperate race for glory which may destroy her in the process.
From Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah (Monastic Productions), the writers and creators of the hit series Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen, Bonekickers is a thrilling adventure series packed with historical mystery and contemporary relevance.
Based in fact, the series has on board the expertise of Dr 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.
Polly Hill, BBC Commissioning Editor for Independent Drama, comments: "Bonekickers takes history and archaeology and makes it sexy, accessible and exciting."
Bonekickers is being produced by Rhonda Smith (Fairy Tales, Marie Lloyd) and executive produced by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah of Monastic Productions and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen.
Bonekickers begins filming in and around Bath this month and will transmit on BBC One in spring 2008.