On Wednesday probably the last ever episode was broadcast of the excellent sitcom Detectorists. A lot of loose ends remained: the gold lay tantalisingly out of reach in the magpies’ nest, visible only to viewers; Andy and Becky had yet to bid for their dream house and Lance and Toni had yet to move in together. Plus, the date when their field would be built on was fast approaching, and in a last desperate bid to find what underlies the grass, the Danebury Metal Detecting Club join forces with the Dirt Sharks (Simon and Garfunkel) and hold a rally to see what they can find. In the midst of this, Andy and Becky have to go to the auction where their house goes for far more than they can afford; however at the last minute Becky bids and wins it, revealing afterwards that her Mum had lent her the money. Triumphant, they return to the rally which is just about to break up, having found very little. Still, the tree is saved, since Phil (Garfunkel) has put a preservation order on it. Andy and Lance are just packing up to go when the miraculous happens: the magpies start moving, dislodging the gold and showering it onto the ground. The scene dissolves with the two of them picking it up in total wonder.
I don’t know if they can make another series. I guess there’s always a way back, but so many loose ends were tied up here that I don’t know where they could go with it. Still it’s been an engaging and very different sitcom: unusual in its subject matter and the fact that it takes place outdoors. It’s also extremely well-observed and the friendship between the two guys is touching whilst downplayed. But there are many other aspects to the narrative: they both have relationships – Andy has a steady girlfriend while Lance is plagued by his ex-wife before he finally takes up with Toni; then his long-lost daughter appears. Andy and Becky move to Botswana for a year or two between series two and three, where he works on a dig. They have a child together. Interspersed with this are scenes of the DMDC and spats with the Dirt Sharks. But the point of the programme I guess, is the passion they have for their hobby. They really care about detecting; they care about archaeology; and in a world that cares only about money, this is a great thing to see. Mackenzie Crook said when he wrote it that he had The Good Life in mind and that he wanted it to be uncynical.
It’s a great series; sitcom at its finest. If you haven’t watched it yet, all three seasons are on iplayer.