Category Archives: Television

Insider’s Guide To the Antiques Roadshow

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Antiques Roadshow? How much preparation goes into each valuation?

Wonder no more!

Ipswich Evening Star reporter James Marston took some of his family heirlooms along to the Antiques Roadshow when they filmed in Suffolk recently. In an article on the newspaper’s website, he gives the low down on what happens behind the scenes and what it’s like being on the receiving end of a real valuation.

The good news is that it seems a lot more genuine than some of the other programmes –at least in our experience.

Check out Marston’s article here for all the details.

Michael Aspel, the Antiques Roadshow & Lustful Ladies

You’ve got to laugh. Today’s Sun has an interview with Michael Aspel in which he reveals that “There are a lot of lustful ladies on the roadshow – they get very physical.”

The 74-year-old silver-haired presenter goes on to admit that despite having stalkers of both sexes in his younger days, he believes the secret to the longevity of his career has been his blandness, saying that as people didn’t remember him, “they didn’t get bored”.

Aspel has now handed over the reins of the Antiques Roadshow to newsreader Fiona Bruce, but does not admit to being retired, saying that “you only retire when the phone stops ringing”.

Can You Believe Anything You See On TV?

It would seem not – at least not when it comes to the BBC’s antique programmes.

We’ve had first-hand experience of the way that Bargain Hunt is staged – often (always?) the experts find, negotiate and buy the items for the programme, before briefing the contestants on the items and having the production crew tell them what to say on camera.

It’s hard to see what some of the contestants get out of the experience – other than simply being on TV.

The latest story to emerge regards the way in which auctions are filmed – in this case for Cash In The Attic. The News of the World has a story in which not only was film edited to show a man bidding on an item that he didn’t buy, but the footage used was actually of him bidding at a different auction!

To be honest, I think this story has been dredged up from somewhere, as I first heard about this type of thing some time ago – and the BBC now claim that they use a more honest system when filiming at auctions. Still, you can’t be sure – anyone for a phone-in competition?

You can see the full story on the News of the World website.

Antiques Roadshow – Chinese Style

Like many of you, I’m a big fan of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. It’s informative, stylishly presented and is not overly obssessed with money and profit – unlike many other TV antiques programmes. People’s heirlooms and treasured collections are lovingly brought to the filming location for a respectful and accurate appraisal – before being taken home again.

It’s fairly rare that any items are found to be fakes – and even rarer that they are shown on television.

Not so in China, however.

Beijing TV’s new series, Collector’s World, is just like the Antiques Roadshow – up to the point where the owners take their pieces home. If your item is judged to be a fake by the show’s panel of experts, then the programme’s host will wield his hammer, smashing the item.

I’ve written about fake antiques in China before and the scale of the problem is well known. It seems that aside from the obvious (if slightly malicious) entertainment value of Collector’s World, it does have a serious purpose – to raise awareness of the number of forgeries that are in circulation in China.

In this article in The Telegraph, the programme’s creator, Bian Yiwen, said that the programme is getting lots of positive feedback:

“We get a lot of feedback – people saying we are doing a good thing by smashing up the forgeries.”

I’m not sure how the viewers of Antiques Roadshow would take to this approach, though…

All Change At Antiques Roadshow

It seems that Michael Aspel is standing down from presenting the Antiques Roadshow and is likely to be replaced by newsreader Fiona Bruce.

Aspel (and the BBC) insist that it has nothing to do with his age, saying that he is simply ready to “hang up his shoes” in his 50th year of television, as he is feeling “totally fulfilled”.

Fiona Bruce is already well-known as the co-host of Crimewatch and the presenter of BBC One’s 10 O’clock News.

Update: Confirmed here.

New BBC TV Antiques Programme – Treasure

Hot on the heels of my discovery that the BBC has closed the antiques section of their Lifestyle website, I have also found out that they have a new antique-related TV series in the pipeline aimed at collectors and enthusiasts.

The series is called “Treasure” and seems to revolve around the idea of collectors valuing, buying, swapping and selling pieces with other collectors and a selection of dealers. I can reveal that the first filming session is taking place at The Victoria Rooms in Bristol on the 8th July and is aimed at Royal Worcester porcelain and Moorcroft Pottery collectors and enthusiasts.

According to the publicity blurb we were sent, Treasure “takes an in-depth look into the world of collecting antiques”. The premise of the series seems to be to give collectors a chance to receive expert valuations and advice on their collections, at the same time as allowing them to sell, swap and purchase pieces they are missing – hence Treasure, I suppose.

I can’t find any mention of this programme on the BBC’s Antiques website (unsurprising since it has “closed”) but I guarantee it does exist! Should you be interested in going along you can find out more by contacting Emily Green ( / 0117 9746899) at the BBC.

Dickinson Returns

It seems that filming is underway for the latest series of Dickinson’s Real Deal, the ITV1 show hosted by David Dickinson, of Bargain Hunt infamy.

You can find a list of the remaining film dates here, on David Dickinson’s official website.

Dickinson and Bargain Hunt have been widely blamed by some dealers for contributing to falling fair prices and rising auction prices and for dishonestly portraying auctions – which typically have 15% – 20% fees for buyers and sellers – as better value than antique fairs. These fees are rarely mentioned on TV and never taken into account on programmes like Bargain Hunt, giving a very false impression of the potential profitability of selling at auction.

However, the reality is that the auction/retail price divide is no longer as clear cut as it once was – a trend that seems unlikely to change and can’t completely be blamed on one TV show.

David Dickinson’s current TV series, Dickinson’s Real Deal, seems to take a more even-handed and honest view of this trend and is quite entertaining.

If you missed the first series, the show is based around members of the public bringing in their antiques to be valued by experienced dealers, who then offer to purchase the items for cash, with their own money. The contestants then have to choose whether to accept the offer or put the item into auction – the best result is supposedly “Dickinson’s Real Deal”.

Despite the cheesy name, it provides interesting and fairly honest entertainment (the dealers never fail to explain the true cost of selling at auction) – so why not go along if there’s one in your area?