Detectorists (Series 1-3 and Specials) Box Set – Review

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By Karl Hornsey

Remarkably, it’s more than eight years now since Detectorists first aired, and this box set features every episode from the three series, along with Christmas specials from 2015 and 2022. Whether there will be more episodes in the future is yet to be decided, but whatever writer, director and star Mackenzie Crook decides to do, Detectorists has surely already gone down as an all-time comedy classic. Though it’s the fact that it’s so much more than a comedy series that helps to explain its appeal, and Crook’s talents behind and in front of the camera are largely responsible.

It’s no surprise that there was a spike in interest in metal detecting once the show became a hit, as it’s just made to look like the most relaxing and beautiful of pastimes. The idyllic countryside, the simpler side of male bonding through a shared hobby, and the wonderful music of Johnny Flynn also help to paint a picture of tranquil harmony, interspersed with the odd moment of drama in the lives of the main characters.

“Relaxing world”

detectorists box set review coverCrook and co-star Toby Jones are at the centre of most of the storylines as friends Andy and Lance, and are completely relatable in their roles, with their weaknesses fully on display for all to see and care about, but, as so often with the very best comedy series, the cast of supporting characters is just as important. And in the case of Detectorists, there’s a whole host of outstanding acting talent that fleshes out the show, including Piers Quigley as the remarkably cynical and sarcastic Russell, Gerard Horan as Terry, president of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, and Sophie Thompson as his wife Sheila, who seems to steal every scene she appears in. Not to mention the butts of many a joke, ‘Simon and Garfunkel’, played with naïve aloofness by Simon Farnaby and Paul Casar, who allow some of the sillier and more wonderfully childish moments of humour to flourish.

Twenty episodes in, there has been plenty of character development, with Andy and wife Becky now with a young son, Lance trying his best to not allow his idiosyncrasies get in the way of his relationship with girlfriend Toni, and the eternal search for gold and treasure taking on new twists and turns, but one of the attractions of Detectorists is that at the same time nothing seems to change at all, and it’s like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers and being taken into a relaxing world far away. Should there be another series or further specials? I’m always one for thinking that leaving viewers wanting more is the best way, rather than diluting the quality of what’s gone before, but I, and millions of others, wouldn’t object if Andy, Lance and co make a return some time in the future.

‘Detectorists’ Series 1-3 + the Christmas and Movie Specials is on DVD now

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