Double BAFTA Award-winning comedy Detectorists is returning for a second series, including a Christmas special, on BBC Four.
Sometimes you stumble across a programme when there's little else on and end up falling in love with it. That was very much the case when I first watched Detectorists late last year. And it's hardly surprising, considering that some of the best comedy in recent years has come from BBC Four such as The Thick Of It and Getting On.
Detectorists stars Mackenzie Crook (The Office) and Toby Jones (Marvellous) who play Andy and Lance, two friends who share a passion for metal detecting, scouring the fields of the English countryside for something that will change their lives forever.
Perhaps an unlikely topic for a sitcom, but one that absolutely works. The first series won a BAFTA Television Craft Award for Comedy Writing, and earlier this year, Detectorists beat the likes of The Wrong Mans and Moone Boy to take home the BAFTA Television Award for Best Scripted Comedy.
The new six-part series takes place a year after the first; Andy and Becky are now proud parents to son Stanley, Andy is now a qualified archaeologist (but still unemployed), Becky has gone back to teaching and Lance is taking the departure of his ex-wife Maggie quite hard.
Lance has always been very devoted to metal detecting, spending as much time as he can out in the field, but with Maggie out of town, Lance is perhaps out there even more now. So in an attempt for him to finally get over Maggie and move on, Andy suggests he should try internet dating. But will Lance agree?
Unemployed, qualified and a dad. That’s the best way to sum up where Andy is in series two, and actually he’s happy to be a full-time metal detectorist. The reality is, that he has as much hope of finding a hoard of Saxon gold as he does a full-time job.
This series, Rachael Stirling, who plays Andy’s wife Becky is joined by her real-life mother who just so happens to be the wonderful Dame Diana Rigg. Older viewers will know her best for The Avengers, whilst younger viewers will know her best for playing Glenna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones.
In Detectorists, Diana will star in two episodes as Becky’s mother, Veronica. Whilst Andy is content with being unemployed, Veronica is not. She keeps making remarks about Andy’s joblessness and is convinced that something will change soon, even if she has to force the issue.
The DMDC, or The Danebury Metal Detecting Club to you and me, is still going strong, despite losing several members since the last series. Retired policeman Terry runs the club, and despite being down to just eight member, the ones that remain are most committed.
There’s new blood in Danebury when a young German called Peter (Daniel Donskoy), arrives looking to track down the remains of his grandfather’s plane, and who better to help him than the DMDC? With his romantic ideals and handsome good looks, he’s caught the eye of one particular member of the DMDC.
But has he gone to far when he refers to Andy and Lance as ‘freaks’? And is her really too good to be true?
Last series they were known as The Antiquisearchers, but this year Art and Paul are The Dirt Sharks, “A highly efficient unit comprising of a dozen or so elite detectorists”. At least, that’s how they like to describe themselves. In all honesty they’re self-important, officious and probably still up to no good, and remain arch-rivals to the DMDC.
Detectorists is a truly brilliant comedy, but don’t expect to laugh out loud. Mackenzie Crook’s excellent script opts for subtlety rather than jokes. And at the heart of it, Detectorists is a heart-warming comedy about friendship, and having watched the first two episodes of the new series it hasn’t lost the warmth and heart it had in series one.