Sorry, I Didn’t Dig “Dig Fellas”

Well I was thoroughly convinced that the new “Dig Fellas” show was going to be decent one.   Not a great one, but one that would be fun to watch.  After all  “Dig Wars” was an improvement over those that came before, and it stood to reason that this one would be as good, if not better.  Goes to show what I know!

First let me say that I have nothing at all against Bill Ladd or Howard Hewitt, the detectorists in this show.   I suspect they wanted to do all they could to make sure the pastime was shown in a good light, but were subjected to the whims and demands of producers, film crews and most assuredly, those doing the final editing.

I also don’t pretend to know anything about putting together a TV show, but for last night’s “storylines” to have any chance of working the shows needed to be longer than thirty minutes.  Add in commercials, lead-ins, etc., and you are lucky if you wind up with fifteen to twenty minutes of actual show.  Hardly time to get your point across…if indeed they even had one.

The first episode was filmed in Bath, North Carolina, and the pretense was looking for anything left or lost by the pirate Blackbeard who made his home base in the area years ago.   Apparently Howard decided to dress the part and was wearing a “white” long sleeved shirt, and tan vest, reminiscent of that era when pirates roamed the outer banks.  Didn’t matter that they would be hunting in weeds up to their ass, or that the weather was soupy, the area swampy looking, or that they had to paddle a canoe some distance. It never got dirty.  Call me  picky but that was the first thing that told me it wasn’t going to be a good show, and to make things worse, one of Howard’s first lines? “Let’s put the coil to the soil”….

Bill Ladd and Howard Hewitt looking for Blackbeard....

Bill Ladd and Howard Hewitt looking for Blackbeard….

While Howard is scanning his detector (waving it actually) Bill is knee deep in water looking for Blackbeard’s dock or landing area?  As the show moves on they find a white stone (obviously one used for ballast on a pirate ship), a brick (maybe from Blackbeard’s home), and a piece of scrap metal with a cross in it (from a treasure chest?).  The idea that everything and anything found might be related to Blackbeard was just ridiculous.  Watch here if you need more proof….

The second episode took place in Lincoln, New Mexico, and the goal was to find anything  Billy the Kidd.  Yep, more of the same…  Apparently an old bullet shell and horse bit they found was Billy’s, and when they found a “spittoon” it had to  have belonged to Billy for sure (was really disappointed when there wasn’t any of Billy’s spit inside).  Okay, okay I am overstating the case, but after a few minutes it was just laughable.  Why was it too that they  weren’t wearing headphones, and knew they had found something great before even digging it?

Each of the above episodes ended with the items being appraised, as has been the case with all of the TV detecting shows. Apparently that will always be a given…the ole wow factor, and of course most all of the items were worth big bucks. Come on folks…please?

I really hate being this critical but Dig Fella’s was a major disappointment.   I might give it one more go next week to see if maybe these two episodes were a mirage but I somehow doubt they were, and hey, if you liked the shows that’s fine….each to his own.

I would love to see an hour long show, and part of it dedicated to the researching of the site or storyline.  Likewise please do away with or minimize the wild ass antics.  It can be humorous or funny without being stupid (the “analgesic” moment is a good example). Lastly have the finds realistically valued (if they really need to be at all)….

Bill Ladd and Howard Hewitt are good guys and know their business when it comes to treasure hunting.  Dig Fellas unfortunately didn’t allow that to come through,  and please….this is just my opinion, which, in the overall scheme of things, ain’t worth spit!



Appeal to Save Ancient Treasures

Jersey Coin Hoard Tour

Field Teeming with Bronze Age Gold Rings

Treasure Hunter Warned by Police



Filed under Metal Detecting

17 responses to “Sorry, I Didn’t Dig “Dig Fellas”

  1. Yep, you are very picky Mr Stout…this was top tabloid TV journalism. Crass, it might be, but on the upside, it might well have induced a cardiac arrest in some of the arkies who believe in, and follow all this stuff! More please!
    By the way, did the Celtic stuff arrive ok? Tried emailing you but no bloody answer.

  2. You’ve done what????? Kyri will go apeshit!!!!!! Email me at once.

  3. Dick, here’s the acid test: Would you take these yahoos on a hunt with you?

    I thought not.


  4. Bob K

    Dick your comment about dig fellas was well written. Better than l could ever say/write..
    Bob K

    • Thanks Bob. Difficult to criticize something like this….I was really looking forward it. Guess as long as those who put the money up have control we will never be pleased with the end result.

      • Jeff Voorhis

        You are right, you never get to see the sheer enthusiasm these two guys generate within the lifestyle. TV did not do Bill and Howard justice, these are two genuine guys looking to preserve their slice of History. I chat back and forth with them, the followers, and the thousands of other people who thoroughly enjoy their antics and their finds. If Season 3 comes about, i will watch with the knowledge of who these to “fellas” are and what they bring to our hobby

  5. mncoinhunter

    Thank you for your honest appraisal of this show Mr. Stout …

  6. How nice would it be if someone put out a show about a group of normal MD’ers who go hunting together, harass each other, and just do what we do. I think they could make it very entertaining and shine a good light on the hobby if they kept it simple and honest while intriguing.

  7. Linda Bennett

    I too was disappointed. I rarely watch reality show. I thought both over acted and over reacted. I will watch the second night to give the show a fair chance. But they did mention the word research a few times. I would be more interested how they did their research.

    • Thanks Linda. Like you, I will give them one more shot, but given that these shows were probably shot all within a short time span I doubt anything will change. We’ll see….

    • Jeff Voorhis

      Well your looking at a poor production. TV shows so often want to depict people like they are less than normal people. For some reason that gets ratings. In this setting it doesn’t and wont work. You cant combine 1 week into 15 minutes of airtime and expect to hold an interest, especially when all you want to show are the antics. Bill does a better job editing his own Videos.

      • Jeff you will not get any arguments from me on either of your comments. I hope Howard and Bill get the opportunity to show off their expertise and talent again.

      • Linda Bennett

        Jeff – that is why I don’t like most reality programs – the production people are in it for the ratings and generating ad money. Howard and Bill sound like down to earth people with a love for metal detecting and history. I still watch occasionally and like at the history information.

  8. danhughes1

    Dick, I have a friend named Brian Pankey who holds over 2,000 Guinness World Records for all sorts of really bizarre stuff, mostly involving juggling weird items for ungodly lengths of time. He was on a reality show called America’s Got Talent last year, and he tells me he was booted from the show because he refused to make up a sob story about his wife (he’s never been married!)

    Seems the backstories are more important for ratings than the performances are!

    I like to say that the only difference in fiction on TV and reality shows is that in reality shows, the actors are uglier.

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