Comedy series ‘Detectorists’: Bingeworthy TV

The show was first broadcasted in 2014. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 May 2020

Comedy series ‘Detectorists’: Bingeworthy TV

AMSTERDAM: Mackenzie Crook’s slow-burner comedy is centered around the Danebury Metal Detecting Club — a group of oddballs whose hobby/obsession is metal detecting (basically, spending their days in fields with a machine that lets them know if there is something metallic under the ground it is ‘sweeping’; if it beeps, the user then digs down to see what’s there — hoping for buried treasure, but usually discovering something far more prosaic, like a button).

It’s not easy to explain the appeal of “Detectorists”: There are no big comedy set-pieces or pratfalls, just hours of meticulously observed, beautifully crafted, low-key humor and sweetly touching moments, often set in unspectacular but wonderful countryside scenery. It’s not a bombastic, joke-per-minute sit com, it’s a subtle, understated examination of relationships of all kinds (albeit an extremely funny one).




The show is by Mackenzie Crook. (Supplied)

Much of the show’s considerable soul comes from the relationship between Andy (played by Crook) — a worker at a temp agency, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing his true passion of archaeology — and his best friend and fellow detectorist Lance. It’s a vivid portrayal of the gentler side of male bonding in which emotions may not often be openly stated, but nor are they buried. 

“Gentle” is an apt word for the show as a whole. Its humor is generous, rather than cruel. In the hands of another writer, the detectorists may have come across as loser misfits with sad lives. But Crook’s affection for eccentricity of all kinds shines through, and the obvious joy the little group takes in each others’ company is clear. They are like a (slightly dysfunctional) family — with the delightful Sheila (Sophie Thompson) as the group mother. She’s not a detectorist herself, but her husband Terry is the club president, and Sheila is happy to indulge and support him. Just as Terry will go dancing with Sheila, because he knows it’s important to her. 




The show is centered around the Danebury Metal Detecting Club. (Supplied)

Andy’s girlfriend (and later wife) Becky, a primary school teacher, is less enamored with the whole metal-detecting thing, feeling that it leaves him with little spare time and even less spare money. The story of this relationship, too, is wonderfully told, with Crook again eschewing melodramatic sit-com tropes in favor of realism.

Crook also deserves credit for knowing when to stop (just as Ricky Gervais did with “The Office,” in which Crook got his big break). The series’ three-season run is brilliantly judged — with one of those rare endings that seems entirely right for the show.


Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 17 min 59 sec ago

Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

MUMBAI:  Three generations of Bollywood’s Bachchan family were hit by the coronavirus as former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter on Sunday joined her father-in-law Amitabh and husband Abhishek in testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Maharashtra state health minister Rajesh Tope said in a tweet that Aishwarya and her eight-year-old daughter had tested positive for the virus.

It was not clear whether they had been admitted to hospital, as Amitabh, a legendary Indian actor, and Abhishek were on Saturday, when they said they had mild symptoms of COVID-19.

Hospital officials and government health authorities said earlier on Sunday that Amitabh and his son were in stable condition.

Aishwarya, 46, who often features on “most beautiful” lists, has worked in several Bollywood and Hollywood films. She is a brand ambassador for several multinational companies, including L’Oreal.

Amitabh said in a tweet on Saturday night that he had tested positive for the infectious virus. 

Within minutes, his actor son Abhishek, 44, tweeted that he had also tested positive.

Both were moved to the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai despite showing only mild symptoms and the father-son duo appealed to their millions of fans to stay calm.

Authorities launched a massive sanitising drill at Bachchan’s upscale residence in Mumbai, spraying disinfectant in the large compound and on cars parked there.