The only thing I’ve ever really taken from the Antiques Roadshow historically is the ridiculously catchy opening theme tune. The programme was sort of the easy watching Sunday TV programme you’d have on in the background with the smooth and sophisticated Fiona Bruce running through some wonderfully fantastic highlights from the show. Before today, I felt like going to the actual live screening of the Antiques Roadshow was one bold step into the day of a life of a pensioner. Technically speaking it really is just that; the average age was about 65. The Antiques Roadshow is actually full of weird and wonderful surprises, aswell as a lot of posh people wearing tweed and silly hats but it’s also a really fun day out. Find out about my pensioner day out…
Naturally when presented with the opportunity to go and see the Antiques Roadshow live in Bristol on a grey and murky day I found myself begrudgingly driving over there and standing in a queue just craving caffeine. Luckily my Dad offered to go and get some coffee like a true mindreader and the morning was quickly transformed. Fiona Bruce, Antiques Roadshow and BBC news presenter was spotted pretty early on in the day being interviewed – surrounding her was a distant group of terrible paparazzi consisting of old ladies in anoraks and then me.
Hearing Fiona Bruce say ‘let’s take a selfie, shall we?’ was a personal highlight.
We’d brought along two items to be valued, one being a pair of engraved spoons which dated back to the 18th century and were used to serve up berries, the other was a small brown figurine of Atlas holding a globe which turned out to be a telegram seal. Unfortunately the oldest item in my flat is an Ikea coffee table dating back to approximately 2007 so I was a mere spectator for the day. The experts were dotted about at tables depending on what item you were bringing along… jewellery, militaria, ceramics, paintings, silverware etc. The format is that you queue up to get to the reception consisting of a number of experts who then tell you join another queue to see another expert – so it’s a really good day if you like queuing, and experts.
The whole thing felt really British with a Pimms tent just on the other side of the square and a nice display of umbrellas covering the crowd like you see at Wimbledon on TV when it’s chucking it down. After our items got valued we lost a bit of momentum but I wanted to make sure I’d soaked up all of the atmosphere, plus I found the whole TV recording process hilarious – the experts getting clearly irritated with the producers telling them to repeat certain phrases or arch their body to the left to avoid continuity errors.
Somehow I managed to place myself next to a producer who said ‘make sure we get a crowd for the Banksy’ – I had clearly just heard what I wanted to hear and just dismissed hearing the word ‘Banksy’. Then an easel turns up next to me, and a very thinly covered plank of wood… So my not-so-secret-secret was that I would get onto TV, and as I ended up standing next to the art dealer, Rupert Maas (painting specialist, dealer and gallery owner) I realised I would definitely make the cut. I like to think my TV debut featured an array of emotions, curiosity, surprise, wonderment – hopefully I didn’t overshadow Rupert, actually when we see the footage you’ll notice that he outshadowed me being SIX FOOT SIX. (When he stood infront of me it was the classic ‘afroman sitting infront of you in the cinema’ moment.)
The piece of Banksy in question was the ‘Mobile Lovers’ latest masterpiece which was completed on April 12th of this year so it clearly an exception to the antique trend on the show. Dennis Stinchcombe, of the Broadplain Boys’ Club in St Pauls, had claimed the artwork by cutting it off the wall which it belonged – and after a number of arguments about ownership, a letter from Banksy to Dennis had confirmed he should be the owner for the good of the charity. Mobile Lovers is a great piece of social commentary of the current world we live in today through the construct of a lover’s embrace. We download messenger and community apps on our phones to become more immersed within our digital communication that natural human interaction passes us by.
I won’t tell you what the outcome was (despite giving it away on various social media sites..).
After the Banksy surprise I was inspired to hang around in the chance of seeing some little expensive chestnuts come to light. I hung around the painting and pictures table which was hit and miss, there was alot of “railing art” which is art that was historically hung on park railings – hung high and priced low. The experts were really polite in passing on feedback, even in the face of artwork which was discovered on top of a wardrobe with a date stamp of 1979, a brand new frame holding a painting that looked a bit naff – the experts kindly said ‘Just keep it and enjoy it’. There were some really cool antiques, miniature sewing machines, giant bells, a model of the Suspension bridge. If you were lucky enough to be selected to be filmed with your antique then you’re invited into the makeup room which was held within one of the Estate rooms next to the cafe – I wondered in there thinking it was part of the cafe – I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
Ok, ok, so I snobbed the Antiques Roadshow as a pensioner’s day out, in conclusion I want to retract that statement and say that it’s a surprisingly fun day out even for people under 30. All in all we spent five hours at the show, eavesdropping valuations, watching the BBC TV crew work hard in delivering a good production and ofcourse standing behind very tall experts looking at a Banksy. I can confirm I will be on TV but not sure when, no doubt I’ll be showering screen grabs of my awkward looking stance on here so keep posted!