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Thank you so much for this, Mackenzie!
Without doubt this is the best thing I've watched on TV all year. A top quality cast who play their roles to perfection - even the minor characters are memorable and contribute something of worth. Orion Ben doesn't say anything at all for the whole series but her face still made me laugh, in particular her brief, admiring glance across at new member Sophie in the first episode, to the obvious annoyance of girlfriend Louise.
Terry (Gerard Horan), the dedicated president of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMDC) and his dotty, doting, lemonade-making wife Sheila (Sophie Thompson) also provide solid comic support. It would be interesting to discover if Mackenzie based these characters on a particular real life couple that he knows.
Detectorists intricately and lovingly portrays the close friendship between metal detecting enthusiasts Andy (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones). The sudden, unsettling arrival of new DMDC member, Sophie (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) arouses new passions in both of them and threatens to destroy not only their friendship, but their shared love for metal detecting. In tandem, Andy is also struggling to satisfy the competing needs at home of his partner, Becky, played by the irresistible, husky-voiced Rachel Stirling.
Sophie also presents a real threat to the relationship between Andy and Becky. Watching the latter couple trying to navigate the various highs and lows of their romance is, for me, the best thing about Detectorists and it reaches its tender, moving climax in two scenes in the final episode. The first scene is played out in the not very romantic setting of the driveway of Becky's mum's house. The other takes place in a field at Bishop's Farm. I enjoyed the humour in the frequent verbal exchanges between Andy and Becky - the way she gently mocks his geeky obsession with metal detecting and his constant need to associate with the uncool Lance.
Nevertheless Becky seems pragmatic enough to realise that if their love is ultimately to survive, she must grudgingly tolerate his frequent absences from the home on mundane metal detecting assignments and not completely dismiss his great dream of one day finding his own Saxon burial chamber full of treasure. Andy can't survive without Becky, a fact he is painfully reminded of by his total inability to work out how to switch the TV on whenever she's not home! By the final episode, we see how Becky ultimately resolves to deal with this inherent conflict between her own relationship with Andy on the one hand and Andy's relationships with fellow detectorists Lance and Sophie on the other. Will Andy and Becky's love for each other manage to co-exist with his competing obsession for his hobby or could he end up losing one or both of them?
Aside from this, there is Lance's self-destructive infatuation with his ex-wife, the vacuous Maggie (Lucy Benjamin), who is utterly disinterested in him, both physically and emotionally. She can't even remember whether he has sugar in his tea, or more likely she just doesn't care whether he has it or not. To Lance's obvious annoyance, Tony (Adam Riches) - the man who stole Maggie away from Lance - never fails to appear at the most inconvenient moment, scuppering Lance's hopeless attempts to conjure up some sort of a romantic reconciliation with Maggie. It takes until the final episode before Lance finally seems to wake up to the reality of his relationship with Maggie and why she has continued to tolerate his presence in her life since she left him for Tony.
I understand that a second series has been approved, which is joyous news, only tempered by my reasonable concerns that it may not be possible for Mackenzie Crook to craft anything more beautiful than the work of art that was series one. However I am willing to risk that disappointment...