Wednesday Detectorists 10pm, BBC Four
IT’S cold outside but it’s endless summer in here as Mackenzie Crook’s golden masterpiece quietly returns for a third and probably (definitely, he says) final series. It hides its greatness away, but the scenes that bookend this opening episode say much about the subtle scope and ambition of Detectorists, which is not only the best new sitcom of the past decade, but a strange, burrowing, hauntological meditation on the British landscape and the flow of time. We begin in a landscape very far from the fields our heroes usually patrol: in the glassy heart of London’s financial district, where, in a high office, chilly business people meet to discuss their plan to build a vast new solar farm in Danebury, right where Lance (Toby Jones) and Andy (Crook) have been searching for treasure. Later comes a witchy, genuinely spine-tingling sequence, as magpies stir, and the old phantoms of the meadows’ past walk again, centuries rising and falling around them – you might just catch a hint of MR James. All this, plus crude double entendres.