The Editor’s Desk: Laughter is the best medicine

The Editor’s Desk: Laughter is the best medicine

The BBC-TV comedy Detectorists — witty, wise, and kind — is the perfect show for our times

Two men stand on a windy hillside, patiently scanning the ground with their metal detectors. One of them looks up and calls to the other, and we see what he has seen: a round backyard trampoline, the kind with a net around it, rolling gracefully down the hill toward them.

They watch in silence as it passes, their faces suggesting mild puzzlement, nothing more, and it continues on its graceful path down the hill. Moments later a Land Rover pulls up, and the driver asks if they have seen a trampoline.

“Went that way,” says one of the men, pointing. When the driver asks if there was a child inside it, the other man replies “Don’t think so.” The driver thinks this over for a moment.

“Right,” he says, as if trying to work out a particularly thorny problem. When asked if this is good news, the driver considers the question before replying “Potentially,” then drives off without another word.

This one-minute scene encapsulates everything that is weird, wise, and wonderful about the BBC4 TV show Detectorists. Weird, because an errant trampoline at loose in the English countryside is not at all usual; wise, because all involved realize that silence can speak volumes; and wonderful, because that is Detectorists, a gentle comedy that in a few short years has become one of the most beloved TV shows ever to air in Great Britain.

It runs to three seasons of six half-hour episodes each and one Christmas special; the entire series can be binge-watched in less than the time it takes to drive from Ashcroft to Prince George and back. Binge-watch it if you will — the entire run is available on Acorn TV — but if you are at all receptive to its charms (and it has too many to describe here), you will a) regret that it is over so soon and b) immediately want to watch it all over again.

Written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, the show is about two men who share a common hobby: metal detecting. What could have been a series that descended into a merciless piss-take of the hobby and those who pursue it instead becomes, in Crook’s hands, a nuanced, knowing, affectionate, and funny look at Andy (played by Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) who spend as much time as they possibly can searching the countryside, ostensibly for long-buried items from the distant past (preferably made of gold).

What they mostly find is ring pulls, buttons, barbed wire, and bits of farm equipment, but that’s not important. It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters to them. They are comfortable in each other’s company, talking about shared interests and their own lives and hopes and fears. Andy is married, and worried about not being able to get a job as an archaeologist and support his family, while Lance is sorting through his failed marriage while not being able to let go of his scatty ex, Maggie.

Along the way we meet the other members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, and get to know them all as real, warm, quirky human beings. There are also two snooty detectorists from a rival club, who Lance and Andy call Simon and Garfunkel because of their resemblance to the singing duo (and every time they appear, there’s a gentle Simon and Garfunkel guitar riff in the background).

It’s that kind of quiet, unshowy humour that abounds throughout Detectorists, along with scenes of laugh-out-loud comedy and others of stunning beauty, where the past comes alive and we see the relics that Andy and Lance occasionally find as living, breathing things that once belonged to real people who lived and loved and laughed the way we do. It’s a show that explores male friendship, hobbies, family, friends and more in a wise, gentle, and knowing way, that accepts Andy and Lance’s hobby with quiet understanding, and will leave you feeling better about humanity as a species long before its perfect, and perfectly lovely, ending. That’s something we could all do with more of right now.

To hear the beautiful and haunting theme song for Detectorists, go to To view the trampoline clip, go to

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
RCMP investigating suspicious trailer found abandoned in Cache Creek

Hazardous materials believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs were found

The trustees of the Spences Bridge Improvement District argue that one reason the EV charging station (l) should be moved is because it could compromise emergency response from the nearby fire hall. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Time is running out for Spences Bridge EV charging station

Lease for the site runs out at the end of January and no new agreement has been reached

Areas in blue show properties in Cache Creek zoned C1, which the village’s Cannabis Regulatory Framework proposes as properties where retail cannabis stores could be sited. The area outlined with a dotted orange line shows a 200 metre buffer zone around Cache Creek Elementary School, within which no retail cannabis establishments could operate. (Photo credit: Village of Cache Creek)
Cache Creek council gets more input on cannabis regulations

Council considers options to regulate retail cannabis sales and production within the village

(from l) Gordon and Lee Berdan in front of the framed ensign from HMCS Sudbury which they recently presented to the Ashcroft Legion. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft Legion continues helping community in tough times

Branch now also displays a recently donated artifact from WW II corvette HMCS Sudbury

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read