“A Love Letter to the British Countryside” from Mackenzie Crook


I was interested to read this glowing preview on the BBC of a forthcoming series created by and starring Mackenzie Crook. Entitled “The Detectorists“, the series will follow the adventures of two middle-aged metal detectorists as they wander the British countryside in search of an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove, so I look forward to seeing it. It’s described as a sitcom, so I know in advance that the humour will be intentional, as opposed to the amusement and embarrassment I’ve sometimes felt when watching serious archaeological documentaries in recent times.

I’m also pleased that metal detectorists will be shown in a sympathetic light, because by and large, these people have contributed a great deal, especially in recent times, towards our understanding of the past in Britain, even though I’ve known them to be dismissed and frequently vilified by less productive, efficient and discerning archaeologists.

I’m otherwise engaged at the moment with revising Where the Cold Winds Blow and other matters, but if anyone – particularly metal detectorists – would like to write in to the comments section of this post with any details of outstanding discoveries made by this group of people, I’d like to see it and it’ll form a convenient testament to their achievements.

Other than that, I was taken aback by one particular sentence in the article by Will Gompertz, which was “He [Mackenzie] made a ten-minute taster-tape and showed it to the BBC, who promptly commissioned six episodes.” Hell’s teeth, that’s quick work – I’d try it myself if I owned or knew how to use a camera.

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