Sunday nights, Chris and I often find ourselves, feet up, watching the Antiques Roadshow. We have SKY and Netflix and probably a gazillion other options of exciting dramas, films and documentaries on Catch-Up, but somehow, on a Sunday the Antiques Roadshow gets top billing.
I have been watching the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow since I was a child. It was a bit of a family tradition, after my mother’s delicious Sunday roast. The most exciting bit, was of course finding out the value. We would all scoff when the person would profess, all doe-eyed and innocently that they weren’t really interested in what it was worth.
“Of course you are!”
Were some of the mutterings around our living room.
And, I suspect many living rooms were replicating the exact same scenario on Sunday evenings. Families gathered together, excited to see what treasures other people, just like them had discovered in lofts, at car boot sales, in Grandma’s wardrobe.
And 40 years on, the Antiques Roadshow remains a much-loved stalwart of British television.
It is now, of course, much flashier and shinier than it ever was. Gone are the days of people queuing up in grotty sports halls and vast community centres. Now, people queue up excitedly in grand and opulent grounds of castles, country estates, historic landmarks. And, the sun always seems to be shining, almost as brightly as Fiona Bruce’s smile.
Behind the more opulent exterior though, the core of the programme remains very much the same. And, we continue to watch in our millions each week to see if some lucky soul has discovered or uncovered a true valuable treasure.
Chris and I have the pleasure of knowing Paul Hollis, one of the BBC’s jewellery and silver experts who appeared on the programme for many years.
Recently, I asked him what one of his most memorable moments was on the roadshow.
“It was my first ever Roadshow,” he told me. “A lady opened up a bag with a gold necklace inside and told me she was about to take it to the jumble sale as she thought it was just rubbish, but thought she’d bring it along to the Roadshow first. I examined it and was thrilled - it was a really beautiful piece of jewellery. I asked her to wait whilst I rushed over to the producers and told them I had something worth getting on film.
“She didn’t mind waiting. The cameras and lights got set up and we started again. I asked her what she would say if I told her I thought it was worth £500. She was delighted! And very pleased she hadn't gone straight to the jumble.
“I asked her what she would say if I told her I thought it was worth £1000. She couldn’t believe it!
“I then asked her what she would say if I told her it was worth £5000. Well, she jumped off her chair and gave me a kiss! She was absolutely thrilled. I found out not long after, that she did sell the piece and did indeed, get £5000 for it.
"Slightly better than sending it off to the local jumble!”
I think the Antiques Roadshow is still so popular - despite the gazillion programmes available to us 24/7 - because we all know that we could all be that lady with the necklace. The people who feature on the show are just like us. They are normal folk, with normal lives, but every so often, they unearth something that is life-changing and thrilling.
I think we all like to think it could be us one day.
Now, time to get up into that attic!!!