The third series of Detectorists starts Wednesday 8th November on BBC Four. Here are Sophie‘s thoughts on the opening episode…
Series 3 of Detectorists begins with dramatic music, sweeping us into an office full of people in suits. I had to pause for a second to check that I wasn’t watching the wrong show by mistake! The reason for this unexpected opening – a world away from the rural landscapes and sleepy atmosphere that we’re used to – is that the detectorists are now under threat. Church Farm, where Andy (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) have been detecting for the last five years, is going to be turned into a solar farm.
And this isn’t the only big change in the lives of our duo. Andy is back from Botswana with his wife Becky (Rachael Stirling) and their young son. They’re temporarily staying with Becky’s mother, played by Rachael Stirling’s real-life mum Diana Rigg, with all of their belongings in boxes. Andy has taken up vaping, just so he has an excuse to stand alone in the garden for a few minutes…
Meanwhile, Lance’s daughter Kate (Alexa Davies) has moved in with him and she’s causing tongues to wag in the village by (shock horror!) dropping her keys outside the front door late at night. This new living situation means that Lance is “walking on egg shells, literally” as Kate’s tidiness isn’t up to his high standards. The look on his face upon discovering that she has recklessly cut a corner off a block of cheese is priceless.
And if that weren’t enough excitement for him, Lance is now in a relationship with Toni (Rebecca Callard), the mechanic who was introduced in the 2015 Christmas special. I’m not sure how Danebury’s most fastidious man will be able to cope with so much change in his routine. Forcing Lance out of his comfort zone is a great source of laughs though – the second episode of the series sees him visit a hypnotherapist at Toni’s request, in the hope that it will cure his sea sickness, and of course he thinks it’s a load of rubbish but doesn’t want to upset his new love.
The group of likeable oddballs that make up the Danebury Metal Detecting Club are all back for what Mackenzie Crook has said is likely the final series, plus there are appearances in the first two instalments from Tim Key (Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge) and Alex Lowe, aka Barry from Watford. Club rivals ‘Simon and Garfunkel’ (Paul Casar and TVO regular Simon Farnaby) also show up in episode 2 for a typically childish squabble over land.
It may be an ensemble comedy – and a top-notch one at that – but the central friendship between Andy and Lance continues to provide some of the show’s most enjoyable moments. Whether they’re discussing their dream dinner party guests or talking about the rich history of the area, while managing to find nothing more than a scaffolding clamp, the scenes they share are amusing and heartwarming in equal measure. No matter how much change happens elsewhere in their lives, it seems certain they will always have each other, and their detectors, for comfort. Hopefully they’ll get what they want from Church Farm before the impending solar farm arrives.
Detectorists returns Wednesday 8th November at 10pm on BBC Four.