After all the rushing about, hanging pictures and end of term, presents bought and sent, office lunches and class parties and generally trying to fit a year’s worth of socialising into two weeks, it has been good to just park my arse on the sofa and watch some television. Over the last day or two, watching the last half of the last series of The Detectorists.
I like everything about it, and have done since the first series: the writing, with its beautiful timing and sly absurdity, the acting, the score, Johnny Flynn’s perfectly simple title track.
It is deft and understated and charming. It looks gorgeous and knows it, framing the Suffolk countryside (the fictional town of Danebury is in Essex, but many of the locations are around Framlingham, halfway between Southwold and Ipswich) to showcase it, even in the rain. I even like the fact that this is the last series – the treasures have been found against all odds, after all. Twice.
I’m hardly alone in liking it, with all its awards and famous fans, but I’m especially fond of it because my grandparents lived in Cambridgeshire and my father for a while in Burwell, and I remember this countryside from when I was a child. In the summer holidays we walked across it, lolled about with lemonade and crisps in pub gardens in the wonky pink and white villages, and watched it go by through bus windows on our way to Newmarket, Bury St Edmonds, Hunstanton and Felixstowe. My grandparents were Londoners but Grandma had been evacuated out to Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire during the war, and some years afterwards they moved back out, and stayed for the rest of their lives.