Every now and then we stumble across a show that is just pure, heart-warming gold, guaranteed to leave us feeling better after each episode. If only we had a metal detector to help us find these shows. “But, that’s Must” we hear you cry…
If we ask nicely, we might be able to borrow an actual metal detector from Lance or Andy, of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, who are the focus of this hilarious and joyful sitcom. Written, directed and staring Mackenzie Crook – you’ll recognise him as the wooden-eyed pirate of the Caribbean, Gareth in The Office, or more recently disguised as Worzel Gummidge – this buried treasure is one of iPlayer’s hidden gems.
Here Mackenzie Crook is Andy, a part-time cleaner whilst he studies for an archaeology degree, living with his girlfriend Becky but escaping whenever he can to the great outdoors, armed with a flask of coffee and his trusty metal detector. He’s joined by his pal, Lance (played by the always brilliant Toby Jones), who’s still gutted after his ex-wife left him for the manager at a Pizza Hut. They say there’s no better therapy than the great outdoors, don’t they? Luckily these two spend half their time trudging about in search of treasure, chatting nonsense and bickering like an old married couple. Whilst there’s talk of ancient artefacts and Saxon marvels hidden in the hills, for the most part they’re unearthing ring-pulls and 20p pieces.
We understand if at this point you’re sat wondering why on earth we’re telling you to watch this show. There’s no glossy camera lens, no big ruins being revealed, and no ultimate goal that each episode edges towards. What there is, however, is comfort. Lots of it.
The characters are consistently good company, without an ounce of malevolence between them. Whilst there’s the odd jibe here and there, it’s more on the taking the micky level, rather than cruelty. In fact, it’s really quite cosy watching these two oddballs bond over a mutual, quirky hobby, their friendship developing as the series and years pass by. And so naturally, the jokes flow – the chemistry is entirely natural between Cook and Jones, and they’re perfect company for half an hour of light-hearted, happy TV.
David Cheal of The Financial Times calls this “a gentle comedy, of a kind that could perhaps only be made in Britain by the BBC.” He says “Detectorists is more than anything about quietness. Periodically, Crook the director breathes out, showing us a bee going about its work, or a dragonfly… the music, too, is exquisite, the theme song and incidental folky guitar by Johnny Flynn adding to the series’ serenity.” The Guardian’s Adam Fleet loves this show, saying it’s “become one of those programs I find myself endlessly, overzealously recommending. It’s good-natured and charming, and there’s really something admirable about a series so singularly dedicated to making you feel good.” And it keeps to this promise right until the last episode, with Michael Hogan of The Telegraph saying “This was a note-perfect, wistful and warm-hearted portrayal of male friendship.”
First shown October 2014. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.