‘Why don’t we just move there?’ Detectorists TV show brings couple from Phoenix to Framlingham
- Credit: BBC/Channel X North/Treasure Tro
It is a gentle comedy about the trials and tribulations of an often unsuccessful metal detecting club.
But the Detectorists’ idyllic portrayal of Suffolk has helped one couple find hidden treasure – from 5,000 miles away.
Guy and Victoria Downes had been living in Phoenix, Arizona, when they began watching the BBC show, which is filmed around Framlingham and returns tonight for series three.
The couple, who are originally from Cambridgeshire but had been based in America since 1999, wanted to return to the UK to be closer to family, but were unsure where to settle.
“We were watching Detectorists on Netflix and said, ‘my word, look at this lovely town’,” said Mr Downes, 50.
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“It was like it had been made by the Framlingham tourism board.
“People often say Woody Allen’s films are like a love letter to New York – this was the same but for Suffolk.
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“We loved the show and kept saying what an incredible place to be to the point where we thought, ‘why don’t we just move there’?”
The couple left Phoenix in June with their dog Brutus and rented a holiday cottage in Debenham, which they said was the “perfect place” to explore east Suffolk.
In September they found a home to rent in Framlingham and say it has exceeded their expectations.
“As we walked around the town, we were cracking up because it was like being in a scene from the Detectorists,” Mr Downes added.
“We ended up doing a tour of all the places featured in the show.
“Now it’s November, we’re still here, we’re looking to buy a house and we’re working with the Framlingham Business Association to promote our company, Deep Space Marketing.”
Mr Downes said his British family “didn’t really get it” when they explained their reasons for moving. But after visiting the town during The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival and with trips to Aldeburgh for fish and chips beside the sea, they soon came round to the idea.
“We love the fact that there’s all these old fashioned buildings and independent shops – and they’re all in walking distance,” Mr Downes said. “It’s lived up to our expectations and even exceeded them. We didn’t realise how convenient everything would be and how much is going on here.
“The house we live in backs on to Framlingham Castle, so every morning my dog walk is on that big meadow next to it. It’ seems like I’m doing publicity for English Heritage but the place is amazing.”
‘Unexpected and brilliant’
Business leaders in Framlingham have welcomed their latest arrivals – and the international experience they bring.
Jenny Stockman of the Framlingham Business Association, said: “Until now, the idyllic portrayal of our vibrant and traditional town has been seen as a great boost to tourism and national awareness of this picturesque town. For Guy and Victoria to relocate their whole business to the town because they saw it on a television programme is both unexpected and brilliant. To welcome broad international experience and fresh thinking onto our management committee is exciting and reinvigorating for the whole of the business association. For people to come here on a commercial level, rather than just to enjoy the scenery bodes extremely well for the future of the town.”
The couple’s business, Deep Space Marketing, helps companies extend their social media reach.