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Detectorists opening title.png
Written byMackenzie Crook
Directed byMackenzie Crook
StarringMackenzie Crook
Toby Jones
Opening theme"Detectorists" by Johnny Flynn
Composer(s)Johnny Flynn
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series3
No. of episodes19
Producer(s)Adam Tandy
CinematographyJamie Cairney
Running time29 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 October 2014 (2014-10-02) –
13 December 2017 (2017-12-13)
External links

Detectorists is a British single-camera television comedy series which was first broadcast on BBC Four on 2 October 2014. It is written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, who also stars alongside Toby Jones.[1][2]

The series is set in the fictional small town of Danebury in northern Essex and the plot revolves around the lives, loves and detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMDC).

It won a BAFTA award at the 2015 British Academy Television Awards for Television Scripted Comedy.[3]


  • Mackenzie Crook as Andy Stone, an agency worker who qualifies as an archaeologist during the series.[4] A member of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMDC)
  • Toby Jones as Lance Stater, a forklift truck driver and amateur musician. A member of the DMDC
  • Lucy Benjamin as Maggie, Lance's ex-wife who runs a New Age supplies shop (series 1, 3)
  • Adam Riches as Tony, Maggie's boyfriend, a pizza restaurant manager (series 1)
  • Rachael Stirling as Becky, Andy's girlfriend, a primary school teacher
  • Gerard Horan as Terry Seymour, a retired policeman who is the president of the DMDC
  • Sophie Thompson as Sheila Seymour, Terry's wife
  • Pearce Quigley as Russell, a DMDC member
  • Divian Ladwa as Hugh, a shy and awkward DMDC member
  • Orion Ben as Varde, a mostly silent DMDC member and girlfriend of Louise. Despite appearing in nearly every episode, and being described by members of the DMDC as very talkative, her only line of dialogue is in series 2, episode 4
  • Laura Checkley as Louise, a stroppy DMDC member and girlfriend of Varde
  • Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Sophie, an ancient history student at a university (series 1, 2)
  • David Sterne as Larry Bishop, an eccentric farmer and landowner (series 1, 2)
  • Simon Farnaby as Philip Peters and Paul Casar as Paul Lee, members of "AntiquiSearchers", later "Dirt Sharks" and then "Terra Firma", a rival metal detecting group. Lance and Andy call them Paul and "Art" because of their resemblance to the pop duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. "Art" calls his partner "Paul" in series 1, episode 3, and both give their full names when questioned by the police in series 2, episode 5 (echoing the rather different vocal pairing of Peters and Lee)
  • Diana Rigg as Veronica, Becky's mother and occasional child-minder for Stanley.
  • Alexa Davies as Kate, daughter of Lance (series 2, 3)
  • Rebecca Callard as Toni, a mechanic and co-worker of Lance, who becomes his girlfriend. (Christmas special and series 3)
  • Daniel Donskoy as Peter, a German visitor who seeks the DMDC's help in finding the location of his grandfather's aircraft, alleged to have crashed during World War II. He becomes a love interest for Sophie (series 2)
  • Jacob and Isabella Hill as Stanley, Becky and Andy's baby (series 2)
  • Asa James Wallace as Stanley, Becky and Andy's child (series 3)


Series 1[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1"Episode 1"[5]2 October 2014 (2014-10-02)
Andy and Lance meet Sophie and become aware that a near-legendary find might be hidden on a local farm. Trouble is, the owner is notorious for discouraging trespassers, and it is rumoured that his wife is buried on the property.
2"Episode 2"[6]9 October 2014 (2014-10-09)
Andy and Lance have managed to secure permission to explore the Bishop estate, provided they avoid the lower paddock. It comes as little surprise that Larry Bishop is mad as a bag of ferrets. What they aren't expecting is a rival group of detectorists turning up.
3"Episode 3"[7]16 October 2014 (2014-10-16)
Andy and Lance are going to need help, and Terry—who runs the club—is only too keen to muck in if he can prove that Larry Bishop did murder his wife. Meanwhile, Lance has a gig coming up at the local pub and he wants Maggie to come. This looks like a great plan until his nerves kick in. (The episode includes a short performance of the title song, performed by Johnny Flynn as "Johnny Piper".)
4"Episode 4"[8]23 October 2014 (2014-10-23)
Terry announces that he is standing down as leader of the DMDC; Andy and Lance have a falling out after Andy shows Lance a recent find. Becky and Sophie are roped into a pub quiz together and Andy finds himself in trouble after a photograph is sent to Becky.
5"Episode 5"[9]30 October 2014 (2014-10-30)
Andy, Lance, Becky and Sophie refuse to talk to each other and Bishop's farm suddenly becomes an area of great interest.
6"Episode 6"[10]6 November 2014 (2014-11-06)
A huge hole has been excavated and police are looking into it. Furthermore, Larry Bishop's invisible dogs have disappeared without trace, and Andy and Lance now have one last chance to discover their hearts' true desire: the burial place of King Sexred of the East Saxons.

Series 2[edit]

Series 2 commences with a 3-minute sequence showing an Anglo Saxon priest, carrying a holy book and an aestel (a pointer stick similar to that associated with the Alfred Jewel) in a sack, fleeing mounted spearmen. He buries the sack near a standing stone. Time lapse shows all but the decorated gold handle of the stick decaying, and the shot pans upwards to reveal Andy and Lance walking across the field in present-day Danebury, detecting as they go. Having had no success they decide to look up the hill. The jewel is shown again, still buried, at the beginning of subsequent episodes.

No. Title Original air date
1"Episode 1"[11]29 October 2015 (2015-10-29)
Baby Stan has arrived, Andy has qualified as an archaeologist, but has no work and Becky is off with Gay Martin, talking about VSO. A young German, Peter, is looking for a crashed Junkers World War II bomber, which his grandfather was in – Sophie offers to help research it. Andy and the other members of the DMDC try to convince Lance to try Internet dating. Lance receives a call from a mystery woman called Kate.
2"Episode 2"[12]5 November 2015 (2015-11-05)
With Lance meeting the mystery woman, and Sophie helping German visitor Peter with his research, Andy feels left out. Meanwhile Becky's patience with staff meetings is at breaking point. Andy sees Lance with the mystery woman which preoccupies him when Becky phones. Danebury's mayor seeks the DMDC's help finding his chain of office which he has lost at a dogging site. Andy and Lance meet the Dirt Sharks, who hint that there is something other to the crashed plane than a resting place.
3"Episode 3"[13]12 November 2015 (2015-11-12)
Russell and Hugh continue the search for the mayor's missing chains of office. Lance again meets with the mystery woman, this time seen by Sophie and Peter. Becky tries to convince Andy to consider volunteering abroad again: she has found an archaeological dig in Botswana and set him up for an interview. Lance reveals Kate's identity to Andy. The chains of office are discovered, but someone needs to fetch a stick.
4"Episode 4"[14]19 November 2015 (2015-11-19)
The mayor—unwillingly, but with a nudge from Russell and Hugh—agrees to let the DMDC search his land. Terry receives the MOD clearance to excavate the plane, which reveals that all of the crew survived. Peter, who has asked Sophie to accompany him for the summer, is taken aback. Andy's interview does not go as well as it might, no thanks to Lance's daft pub-quiz trivia, although he does make an interesting find in a flower-bed. Lance attempts to connect with Kate, his long-lost daughter, but she is overwhelmed by 20 years' worth of presents.
5"Episode 5"[15]26 November 2015 (2015-11-26)
Andy and Lance call an emergency meeting of the DMDC when they learn that Peter has been secretly meeting with the Dirt Sharks and carries a bad gold coin in his wallet. Though Sophie defends Peter, the DMDC stake out the Junkers crash site and call police who catch the Dirt Sharks on a night dig though Peter himself escapes. Andy fears the uncertainties of providing for his family in Botswana and conceals that he got the job, leading to a fight and an ultimatum from Becky. Also, Lance places several unreturned calls to Kate.
6"Episode 6"[16]3 December 2015 (2015-12-03)
The DMDC hold their rally at the Junkers Ju 88 crash site. Peter, whom Sophie learns has been twice convicted of disturbing war graves in Germany, skulks in to search and is caught by Terry who calls the constabulary on him. Kate arrives and is reconciled with Lance. After speaking with Veronica, Andy rushes to Becky at the school's Dickens-themed fete and they agree to have an adventure together. Andy and Lance are returning from their last detecting session before Andy leaves for Botswana, when Lance hears horses near the fallen standing stone. Lance digs and uncovers the aestel, and joyously dances the gold dance with Andy and Sophie.


No. Title Original air date
"Christmas Special"[17][18]23 December 2015 (2015-12-23)
Lance's lucky strike, a late Saxon gold and jewelled aestel, is on display at the British Museum but seems to have used up all his luck, as he hasn't had a single find since (not even a ring-pull), and he suffers a series of misfortunes which his club-mates consider to be "the curse of the gold."

Series 3[edit]

In March 2017, the BBC released a statement confirming the filming of a third and final series.[19] The six-episode third series was filmed in the summer of 2017 and aired weekly on BBC Four from 8 November 2017.[20][21]

The first episode ends with a historical timeline sequence, backed by the song "Magpie" by The Unthanks.[22] Reviewing the opening episode for The Guardian, Sam Wollaston said: "Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones shine in the third and final series of this beautifully written and performed slice of life."[23]

No. Title Original air date
1"Episode 1"[24]8 November 2017 (2017-11-08)
Lance's flat is not his own any more and Andy is staying with the mother-in-law. But they have their old faithful permission to escape to. A solar farm threatens the tranquillity.
2"Episode 2"[25]15 November 2017 (2017-11-15)
Just as they are losing their farm, Lance and Andy start making good discoveries. But old enemies are around. Home lives are chaotic as usual and Lance is persuaded to try hypnotherapy for an awkward affliction, with mixed results.
3"Episode 3"[26]22 November 2017 (2017-11-22)
With time running out, Andy and Lance go to great (action-packed) lengths to protect their land. Away from the fields, life is no less stressful as Andy quits his job and Lance finds an unwelcome guest in the spare room. An audacious theft leaves Lance reeling.
4"Episode 4"[27]29 November 2017 (2017-11-29)
Lance is obsessed with finding the thief that stole his gold, which means he can ignore the melodrama going on at home. Andy's lies are catching up with him too. They decide that camping out is the safest option.
5"Episode 5"[28]6 December 2017 (2017-12-06)
Andy and Lance become eco-warriors when they find their beloved oak tree is due to be felled. But a 24-hour helpline turns out to be more of a hindrance. Andy stumbles upon treasure when, for once, he wasn't even looking.
6"Episode 6"13 December 2017 (2017-12-13)
With only days left before they lose the field, Andy and Lance decides to make a final push to find the golden hoard. They recruit the help of the entire DMDC, and gain some new allies as well. Andy and Becky attend an auction to bid on their dream home.


Detectorists was announced by the BBC on 31 January 2014. The producer was Adam Tandy and the series was a Channel X and Lola Entertainment co-production.[29][30]

Although the series is set in Essex, it was mainly filmed in neighbouring Suffolk, with Framlingham used as a major location.[31][32][33][34] Other locations used in filming include Orford, where Orford Primary School was used as the outside of Becky's school, Great Glemham, where interior pub scenes were filmed, and Ipswich. In series 2, the round-tower church at Aldham was used as a recurring location.[35] One location in Essex was used in Detectorists: the scenes involving Lance's girlfriend Toni's houseboat, 'Elsie', were filmed at Paper Mill Lock, Little Baddow. Locations were sourced by Creative England.[36]

Diana Rigg, who plays Veronica, and Rachael Stirling, who plays her daughter Becky, are mother and daughter in real life.[37]

Upon deciding to finish the show at the end of series 3, Crook commented "it took a while to realise that I did want to do six more episodes to finish. I don’t want to make any sort of big, dramatic announcement that ‘never again’, but I can’t see myself going back to it." [38]


Internationally, the series premiered in Australia on 9 November 2015 on BBC First.[39] In the United States, the series premiered on streaming subscription service Acorn TV in August 2015.[40]


Critical response[edit]

Series one of Detectorists was met with positive reviews from a number of UK and US media outlets. David Renshaw, writing for The Guardian, had particular praise for the "delightful double-act" Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones. Renshaw points to the "biggest ratings BBC4 has ever had for a comedy" as evidence that "Detectorists has clearly struck the sort of gold that Lance and Andy spend hours sweeping the fields for".[41] Rupert Hawksley, writing for The Daily Telegraph, was particularly impressed with Crook's "first-rate writing" and remarked in his review that series one "has all the markings of a classic sitcom".[42]

Ellen E. Jones of The Independent said that while the show "requires some patience ... it has turned out to be one of the best new sitcoms of the year".[43]

In the US media, The New York Times writer Mike Hale describes Detectorists as a "distinctive creation – not for everyone, but bound to be fiercely loved by those who fall into its rhythms".[44] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times "can't recommend it enough", saying: "Like the ordinary lives it magnifies, Detectorists has the air of seeming to be small and immense at once, to be about hardly anything and almost everything. It is full of space and packed with life."[40]

When the programme returned for a second series, the response was also positive.[37][45]

On the completion of the third and final series Radio Times website reviewer Mark Braxton wrote "The series finale ... is one of the most satisfying conclusions ever. Series one and two both ended in clever and memorable ways: bittersweet and punch-the-air respectively. But the series three finale has a real poetry to it; Crook seems to be saying: “Yes, that’s where we’ll leave it – I’m happy with that.”[46]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2015 BAFTA Situation Comedy Detectorists Won [47]
2016 BAFTA Best Male Comedy Performance Toby Jones Nominated [48]
2018 BAFTA Best Male Comedy Performance Toby Jones Won [49]
2018 Rose d'Or Rose d'Or for Sitcom Series Won [50]


  1. ^ Dowell, Ben (31 January 2014). "Mackenzie Crook to play metal detector enthusiast in one of four new BBC4 comedies". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  2. ^ Considine, Pippa (31 January 2014). "BBC4 orders four comedies". Televisual. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  3. ^ "2015 Television Scripted Comedy | BAFTA Awards". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  4. ^ Andy gives his name as "Andrew Stone" when arriving for his job interview in series 2, episode 4
  5. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 1" at BBC Programmes
  6. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 2" at BBC Programmes
  7. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 3" at BBC Programmes
  8. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 4" at BBC Programmes
  9. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 5" at BBC Programmes
  10. ^ "Detectorists, Episode 6" at BBC Programmes
  11. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 1" at BBC Programmes
  12. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 2" at BBC Programmes
  13. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 3" at BBC Programmes
  14. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 4" at BBC Programmes
  15. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 5" at BBC Programmes
  16. ^ "Detectorists, Series 2, Episode 6" at BBC Programmes
  17. ^ Dowell, Ben (3 December 2015). "BBC want a third series of Detectorists…but Mackenzie Crook is not so sure". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Detectorists, Christmas Special" at BBC Programmes
  19. ^ Dowell, Ben (31 March 2017). "Mackenzie Crook comedy Detectorists is returning for third and final series". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  20. ^ "BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals 2017 – Detectorists: An Exclusive Screening and Q&A with Mackenzie Crook". BBC Music Events. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Mackenzie Crook explains why this series of Detectorists will be the last". Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  23. ^ Wollaston, Sam (9 November 2017). "Detectorists review: more tender comedy about men, middle age and metal-detecting". Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Detectorists, Series 3, Episode 1" at BBC Programmes
  25. ^ "Detectorists, Series 3, Episode 2" at BBC Programmes
  26. ^ "Detectorists, Series 3, Episode 3" at BBC Programmes
  27. ^ "Detectorists, Series 3, Episode 4" at BBC Programmes
  28. ^ "Detectorists, Series 3, Episode 5" at BBC Programmes
  29. ^ "BBC Four announces new comedies for 2014". BBC. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  30. ^ Munn, Patrick (31 January 2014). "BBC Four Picks Up Quartet Of Comedy Series". TV Wise. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  31. ^ Everitt, Lauren (10 May 2015). "BBC4 sitcom Detectorists which was filmed in Framlingham picks up Bafta prize". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  32. ^ Clarke, Andrew (12 May 2015). "Is Framlingham the New Hollywood? Comedy filmed in town wins BAFTA while homegrown stars continue to soar". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  33. ^ Barker, Ellis (25 June 2015). "Mackenzie Crook sitcom Detectorists to return to Suffolk". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  34. ^ Lewis, Tim (25 October 2015). "Mackenzie Crook: 'We aspire to be the sitcom Thomas Hardy would have written'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  35. ^ Webb, Claire (29 October 2015). "Where to find Mackenzie Crook's Detectorists in Suffolk". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  36. ^ "What Locations Were Used In BBC Four Sitcom Detectorists?". Creative England. 1 October 2014. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  37. ^ a b Dowell, Ben (29 October 2015). "Detectorists series 2 episode 1 review: Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones return in style". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  38. ^ Dowell, Ben (1 November 2017). "Mackenzie Crook explains why this series of Detectorists will be the last". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  39. ^ Purcell, Charles (6 November 2015). "New This Week (Nov 9): Mr. Robot, Nashville, Legends, Rousey v Holm and live sport". The Green Room. Archived from the original on 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  40. ^ a b Lloyd, Robert (25 August 2015). "British 'Detectorists' on Acorn TV uncovers a comedy treasure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  41. ^ Renshaw, David. "Detectorists – box set review: this gentle tale of treasure-hunting folk struck TV gold". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  42. ^ Hawksley, Rupert (2 October 2014). "Detectorists, BBC Four, review: 'first-rate writing'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  43. ^ Jones, Ellen E. (30 October 2014). "Detectorists, TV review: Mackenzie Crook's sitcom has saved its sparkliest treasures for those who stick around to earn them". The Independent. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  44. ^ Hale, Mike (16 August 2015). "Review: 'Detectorists' on BBC and Acorntv Hope to Unearth a Fortune". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  45. ^ Rees, Jasper (30 October 2015). "Detectorists, Series 2 Episode 1, BBC Four, review: 'truthful'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  46. ^ Braxton, Mark (13 December 2017). "The final episode of Detectorists is "one of the most satisfying conclusions ever"". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  47. ^ "Bafta TV awards 2015: Winners". BBC News. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  48. ^ "BAFTA Television Awards 2016 – winners". Radio Times. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  49. ^ "Double Bafta win for This Country". 13 May 2018.
  50. ^ "Detectorists win international Rose d'Or". 17 September 2018.

External links[edit]