Finders Keepers – Review

Worth seeing: to follow an otherwise model citizen, who's driven to make the wrong decisions by an odd combination of misfortune and fortune
Featuring:Fay Ripley, James Buckley, Neil Morrissey, Ace Bhatti, Brendan Coyle, Herbert Forthuber, Jessica Rhodes, Nick Harris, Nimmi Harasgama, Quentin Lee, Rakhee Thakrar, Shane Attwooll, Thom Jackson-Wood, Tracey Ann Wood, Wayne Foskett
Key crew:Philip John, Simon Lupton, Dan Sefton
Channel:Channel 5, My5
Length:45 minutes
Broadcast date:17th January - 7th February 2024


Martin (Neil Morrissey) is down on his luck after his business partner disappeared to Asia with most of the company’s money. He’s meant to be saving for his daughter Laura’s (Jessica Rhodes) wedding. She and her fiance, Ashley (James Buckley), have been putting aside every penny they can – or so she thinks; he has been paying off debts to some nasty people.

Martin isn’t as enthusiastic about the marriage as his wife Anne (Faye Ripley), so she persuades him to take James out metal detecting on her brother’s farm, for a bit of male bonding.

Martin takes it very seriously – James is completely non-plussed – until Martin starts digging up a haul of Saxon gold.

Obviously, it should be reported to the authorities – and any reward shared between them and the farmer – but they could use the money. Who would really be hurt if they sold it to the highest bidder?


The idea of desperate central characters deciding, against their better judgement, to keep something valuable they find is hardly original – if only they’d watched the recent BBC Drama Boat Story, they might have made a different choice.

Usually in such a story, it’s the original or intended owner who comes after them; clearly, the Saxons aren’t coming after these coins and jewels, but they rightly belong to the state and the farmer deserves a cut – and while both the authorities and Martin’s brother-in-law are soon on the case, it’s the middle-man James asks to help them shift the haul who causes them the most trouble.

You feel for Neil Morrissey, as each wrong decision gets him deeper into trouble, not least deciding who he can and can’t trust – or rely on. His business partner has run off with all his money, so he can’t afford to pay for his daughter’s wedding – and all at a time when they’re spending thousands of pounds to upgrade their house so that their son, who has severe learning difficulties, can return from the care-home where he’s been living.

In that position, you too might dream of finding treasure – and being a metal detectorist, you’d be one up on anyone else, at least.

But Martin finds himself in a highly unusual situation of being stuck between misfortune and fortune – and it’s not the combination you might expect. Having found the treasure, he wants to do the right thing. But everyone undermines his inclination to play by the book – from the self-serving landowner to the uncooperative authorities, greedy experts and his equally desperate side-kick, The Inbetweener’s James Buckley, who brings his dodgy mate from the pub to connect them to underground collectors.

Fay Ripley’s Anne is an unusually uneven character – part supportive wife, part Lady Macbeth, part flirting with a new guy at her dancing lessons.

The premise of this drama – though not strikingly original – is sound. But it feels oddly underwhelming and too many of the obstacles Martin encounters are obvious and he jumps to making the wrong decisions rather too quickly; he could have discussed his problems with his family sooner – he could have delayed the return of his son until their finances improved.

As the drama unwinds, it starts to take an altogether darker tone, for which the characters we’ve already got to know have to start behaving out of character. And a twist in the final episode, perhaps, goes a little too far for this kind of mini-series to have a satisfying ending.