Thursday, 6 November 2014

Crook's "Detectorists" Abuse Farmer's Permission, Apostrophes and Miss their Target - What's New?

The BBC4 sitcom "Detectorists" has finished, to general applause of the UK artefact hunting community, which cannot see why the NCMD avoided being associated with it. I can't either, the programme was witty, sensible and warm, everything I guess the NCMD is not. Here's the final, episode six. on You Tube.

The action in the past few episodes revolved around the pals taking a nosy friend along on one trip when the farmer was absent going on the one part of the farm they'd been forbidden to go on. I was waiting for one of the "responsible detectorists" on the forums near you to comment on that depiction of tekkie "Entitlement", but the forums were silent. It seems like every single member thought there was nothing wrong with taking somebody who had no explicit permission artefact hunting on private land (echoes of the Medway fiasco there), and going on the one part of the farm where permission had been denied. We waited in vain for any such comment.

Instead, in the intervening weeks we heard how 'true to life' it all was, and speculation that the scriptwriter had spent a lot of time on their forums investigating attitudes and behaviour. I wonder though whether he'd not found mine too. I was quite taken by Lance's comment to his manipulative ex-wife in episode six "no apostrophe in bargains". Apostrophe abuse is endemic in tekkie circles - but them MacKenzie Crook went to school, so probably noticed that himself and did not need anyone to point it out. The tekkies did not notice that one either, one "Numanoid" adding to the corpus of adult no-hopers (Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:02 pm) with "I thought his wife would of found it".

The last scene, as the couple walk off with their next ringpull as it is revealed by a rising camera shot that it was pulled out of a grassmark which we are supposed to understand was the ship burial  they'd been seeking is quite redolent, the two were hoiking metal objects unable to see their wider site and landscape context - which is basically the problem with metal detecting as a form of ersatz archaeology.

[The ship was the wrong shape of course with a square stern, but on reflection, would the real shape have been understood by the average viewer as readily as the more familiar shape of a modern boat?]

Reported viewing figures for the first four episodes:
1 - 783k
2 - 365k
3 - 505k
4 - 587k

There will be a second series at the end of 2015.

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