TV treasure - another Toby Jones hidden gem that’s pure gold
Quirky roles that evoke gentle humor, tenderness and compassion, silent suffering and a fair share of pathos too - these are a few of my favorite things about Toby Jones (see my earlier reviews of Marvelous and Don’t Forget the Driver). And so I’m thrilled that Acorn is streaming all three series of the BAFTA-award winning Detectorists, co-starring Mackenzie Crook (Gareth from The Office) who also wrote and directed this hidden gem.
Jones and Crook play Andy and Lance, two metal-detecting mates whose geeky hobby/obsession provides an escape from the humdrum mediocre of middle-age and their uneventful lives. Along with the other devoted members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (an eccentric collection of likeable oddbods) they dream of unearthing long-forgotten Saxon relics, as opposed to Tizer ring-pulls and Tufty Club badges, buried beneath the fields of Essex. Their companionship centers around mutual affection, dreams and disappointments ... and childishly poking fun at “Simon and Garfunkel”, their rival detectorist duo, whenever possible.
The cast also includes none other than Diana Rigg as Andy’s mum-in-law, who also just happened to be the real-life mother of his on-screen wife Becky, played by Rachael Sterling. The very presence of Dame Diana, shortly before her death, gives Detectorists the serious clout it fully deserves. And the folksy theme song by Johnny Flynn just adds even more to its charm (look out for Flynn singing down the pub in series 1).
In terms of storyline, not much happens at all.
Each episode is naturally slow-paced, with plenty of pregnant pauses, making it almost Pinteresque. The script is more whimsical than side-splitting (and a bit sweary, with some very strong language at times) and overall Detectorists is powerfully simple. However, the hidden jewel here is buried within the characters Crook has created. Digging deeper below the superficial surface, Lance and Andy are really searching for love, friendship, fulfillment, hope and happiness - the true treasures of life.
Watching Detectorists is such a lovely surprise; it’s so laid-back you’ll feel like you spent several half hours leisurely ambling through the English countryside on a warm summer day yourself. But unlike Lance and Andy, you will have discovered that some riches are not buried underground; they can be found on your TV screen instead.
Detectorists series 1-3 (plus bonus features) is streaming on Acorn TV.
Living and loving life
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