Saturday, 27 August 2022

Tekkies' Thoughts on Channel Five TV Programme on Their Hobby


       big spade for site-trashing        
It's not only archaeologists who have been having doubts about the treasure hunting programme on the UK's Channel Five. There is an interesting thread Detecting TV : Digging for Treasure on a metal detecting forum near you, they block access from the public, so you have to do some jiggery-pokery to get in these days, so I'll summarise some of the repeating points. But Let's start with Mr Malony (I've tweaked his punctuation a bit):

Post by jcmaloney » Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:09 pm
My thoughts for copying by Messrs Barf and Swift.....

Utter dross - and I`ve done a fair bit of telly so know how it works behind the scenes.
1. Applause and whoop whoop everytime a "star" entered the tent.
2. Chap with "his first gold coin in 20 years" - that must of (sic) been take 15 because his excitement/enthusiasm was l-o-o-o-n-g-g-g gone.
3. Lancaster - known crash site - you need a licence from the MoD? - not a mention. "This might be a buckle from a dead airman" made me feel sick to be fair.
4. Diving - yep - there are rules about that too, the receiver of wreck etc.
5. "Whats your best find?" - really?
6. "Bring us-s you-u-r-r c-o-o-i-i-i--n..... woop, woop, clap, clap".

Andy Agate (FLO) is a top chap - not featured enough nor given enough opportunity to discuss the detail & process of PAS.
I've corresponded with Andy Agate, seems a reasonable bloke as FLOs go, but I though he'd be younger. There was a lot of comment on the unrealistic way metal detecting was portrayed, that the programme gave a picture that finding interesting and valuable stuff was a doddle. Members were adamant that they should have shown what the detectorist usually finds in fields. Otherwise, as they put it, the programme will attract a lot of "get-rich-quick" newbies, who when they find out that following the rules does not producce the results they were expecting, may turn to other ways of satisfying the greed aroused by what they saw on the telly. They commented that in a huge field, all the tekkies were crowded together in a small area rather than following their intuition where in that huge area around them, there would be finds to be found.

Most comments were about the detecting technique. A female presenter was shown (by an 'expert') how to do it... but then proceded to do it differently, waving it around most ineffectively - she'll not find much like that. That's the "guidance" this programme offers - bad advice and a bad example. Interestingly, two members noted the same thing:
[Phil2401] "not only Michaela Strachan but some detectorists also seen doing a 'pendulum' swing - almost as if they were film extras who'd been handed a machine and told to swing it about...".
Is that so? They are not even real metal detectorists? Who were the crowd of noisy and distracting onlookers in the tent?

A topic that attracted even more attention was one of the finds:
[Phil2401] " There does seem to be widespread controversy / scepticism about the gold quarter noble found - (about 09:45 minutes into the programme) - the detectorist said he had been detecting for 20 years and this was his first gold find, but immediately identified it as a 22 carat gold quarter noble ... keeping remarkably calm and certainly not doing a 'gold dance' - think I'd have been a bit more enthusiastic (and less immediately knowledgeable)...
Several people suggested that finding any gold coin of that date in northern England was pretty unusual (from what I know of the distribution of Medieval coinage in England, however, Hallerton is well within the range of finds of this type). In the light of the comments of all these experienced metal detectorists, it does nevertheless seem possible that this find was not actually found as the film showed, the show is called Digging for Treasure Tonight, so treasure needed to be shown. In which case, again why would archaeologists get involved in faked finds?

TheIronMan comments:
"Having watched this programme I'm reminded of the quote - 'All the right notes, just not necessarily played in the right order...' It had all of the right components - good finds, good presenters, a very competent FLO, a representative bunch of detectorists - but somehow didn't come together properly for me. [...] I felt uncomfortable with the style clash between the gushing enthusiasm of the celebrity presenters and the understandably more reserved detectorists.
Mega B:
Watched about 30 mins of it then switched it off,will it improve over time i hardly think so, its is nothing like what detecting is in the real world....will i watch it again not at all. It will increase sales of detectors and equipment for sure, also it will make getting land harder as landowners will be approached by so many more folks thinking the 1st time out they will find the Holy Grail of finds. Alas its not for me along side these massive rallies that keep springing up.
It was very Channel Five. It didn’t know whether it was trying to be a serious historical programme or a dramatic ‘news just in’/live programme or just a hodgepodge of titillating bits and pieces slung together [...].

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