“Detectorists – Series 1 – 3” (2014 – 2017)
Created by: Mackenzie Crook
Featuring: Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Lucy Benjamin, Rachel Stirling, Simon Farnaby and Diana Rigg
Released this week is the entire three series of the excellent comedy television series “Detectorists” (2014-2017) which sees the entire cast return for what must be the funniest as well as the season with the most plot yet as well as the reliance of more of the entire cast and not just the twi leads in Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, who still both shine in what has to be the most underrated comedy on television in recent years.
The series is set in the fictional small town of Danebury in northern Essex and the plot revolves around the lives, loves and detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMDC).
It’s remarkable the seeming ease that the British Film and Television Industry is able to produce great independent drama, comedies and horror movies and television shows each and every year. Not only that, but the talent on show always seems to be original as well as first class. What many of these English productions have in common is that they are based around something unique or have some kind of gimmick, the “Detectorists” has both, it is a comedy set around a small village that is host to a somewhat thriving amateur Detectorists club (two in fact) who come together with different issues (mostly personal), ending up in very normal but funny situations that revolve around the attempt to find treasure both for historical as well as monetary reasons. However with most English show of this ilk they normally follow very familiar A and B narratives where the main character is going through some life changing event, or has been through one. Then there is a larger overarching narrative for the main cast that propels the plot and is broad in that it appeals to a larger general audience, i.e. it is normally pretty non offensive.
There are two great reasons to watch this show, the first is the cast, which is spectacular, it is stacked with great character actors, you can see why they are all present, that is the original writing that gives them all the room to create some original performances, especially Toby Jones and Simon Farnaby. The other reason to watch not just this season but the entire series is the writing which is tight but offers a glimpse into something that most people would not know about, coupled with the unique way of looking at this and the humour, this becomes a perfect mix of plot, narrative and performance that means this a must watch series.
The star of the series is without a doubt Mackenzie Crook who stars as well as writes each episode, deserving all the credit as each episode is not only superbly paced but his own performance always seems to be spot on as he navigates his life dealing with issues at home as well as on the field where he would love to spend his entire life. Through the first two seasons he feels a pull towards making adult decisions even as he loses his job, his partner falls pregnant and he feels his private time being encroached on by not only competition but land development. The co-lead is the wonderful Toby Jones who we find to br the perfect foil to Crook, as the seasons roll by Jones becomes a focal point as his personal life which he thinks he has under strict control but he is wrong in many ways as we find out, all this comes to a head for both men in the third season.
“Detectorists” is about so much, the village lifestyle, niche hobbies, history as well as the encroaching urban lifestyles on what are rural locales, something many people can identify with, here these are all laid out for all to see, as well as laugh along to, if you haven’t seen this series you should seek it out immediately.
- Andy and Lance are approached by Sophie, who explains that she is a student with an interest in metal detecting. They invite her to attend the next meeting of their detecting club, the DMDC, where she is enthusiastically welcomed.
- Lance suggests to Andy that they perform a song he’s written at a local pub open-mic event, hoping to impress Maggie. Andy tries to convince his girlfriend Becky to come along, knowing that she resents the time he spends out detecting with Lance.
- Andy and Lance get an unexpected visit from the rival detectorists, the ‘Antiquisearchers’, who know all about the artefacts Bishop showed them. Deciding they need to act fast, Lance and Andy get the club involved, and Terry — the club president — is only too keen to muck in if he can prove that Larry Bishop murdered his wife.
- After striking an unexploded bomb digging on Bishop’s land, Terry is hospitalised and announces that he is standing down as president of the DMDC.
- Andy tries to convince Becky that he isn’t having an affair. She shows him the photograph but doesn’t know who took it. Lance helps out at Maggie’s shop, where she pressures him to give her a large loan. Later he and Sophie encounter the Antiquisearchers, who announce that they now have the sole right to search Bishop’s Farm.
- Andy gives up detecting, hoping that by selling his detector he can prove his devotion to Becky. He proposes to her and she accepts. Lance discovers that the only reason Maggie keeps in contact with him is that she knows he has substantial lottery winnings saved.
- Baby Stan has arrived, Andy has qualified as an archaeologist but has no work, and Becky is off with Gay Martin, talking about VSO. A young German man, Peter, turns up at a meeting of the DMDC, telling them he is looking for the wreckage of a Junkers World War II bomber.
- Lance is preparing to meet the mystery woman, but keeps it a secret. Andy heads to the library to join Sophie and Peter with their research, but gets the impression they don’t want him around, so leaves them to it. Meanwhile Becky’s patience with the petty politics at her school is at breaking point and she walks out of a staff meeting.
- Russell and Hugh begin the search for the mayor’s missing chain of office. Sophie and Peter discover Lance buying flowers and chocolate— apparently preparing for a date—and, on Andy’s instructions, spy on him as he meets the mystery woman again.
- The mayor—unwillingly, but with the threat of blackmail from Russell and Hugh—agrees to let the DMDC search his land. Sophie and Peter have been spending a lot of time together, and when Peter asks her to go travelling with him in the summer, she accepts. Andy’s interview goes disastrously at first, but his enthusiasm for archaeology shows when he presents some clay pipe pieces he found in a flower-bed. Terry receives the licence from the MOD to excavate the crash site, which reveals there were no crewmen on board when the plane crashed.
- Andy fears the uncertainties of providing for his family in Botswana and conceals that he’s been offered the job, leading to a fight and an ultimatum from Becky. Sophie manages to contact Peter, who tells her he’s been offended by the accusations Terry made against him and is going home.
- The DMDC hold their rally at the Junkers Ju 88 crash site. Peter, whom Sophie learns has been twice convicted of disturbing war graves in Germany, skulks in to search and is caught by Terry who calls the constabulary on him.
- Lance’s flat is not his own any more and Andy is staying with the mother-in-law. But they have their old faithful permission to escape to. A solar farm threatens the tranquillity.
- Just as they are losing their farm, Lance and Andy start making good discoveries. But old enemies are around. Home lives are chaotic as usual and Lance is persuaded to try hypnotherapy for an awkward affliction, with mixed results.
- With time running out, Andy and Lance go to great (action-packed) lengths to protect their land. Away from the fields, life is no less stressful as Andy quits his job and Lance finds an unwelcome guest in the spare room. An audacious theft leaves Lance reeling.
- Lance is obsessed with finding the thief that stole his gold, which means he can ignore the melodrama going on at home. Andy’s lies are catching up with him too. They decide that camping out is the safest option.
- Andy and Lance become eco-warriors when they find their beloved oak tree is due to be felled. But a 24-hour helpline turns out to be more of a hindrance. Andy stumbles upon treasure when, for once, he wasn’t even looking.
- With only days left before they lose the field, Andy and Lance decides to make a final push to find the golden hoard. They recruit the help of the entire DMDC, and gain some new allies as well. Andy and Becky attend an auction to bid on their dream home.