Thursday, 14 April 2016
378 Antiques Roadshow
First viewed : February 1979
This Sunday teatime perennial was my Mum's favourite show though I never really understood why. With one grandfather declared bankrupt and the other redundant before his time and forced to downsize, Christ knows we had nothing of the sort ourselves. What's more, while glued to this, my Mum unceasingly complained about Dad filling up all her cupboard space with old books and regularly badgered my sister and I to yield up old toys for her playgroup's jumble sales. It's therefore hard to figure out why someone with no understanding of the collector's mentality found this programme so engrossing.
This show replaced the earlier antiques show Going For A Song which finished in 1977 and had more of a quiz show format. It transplanted the elderly antiques expert Arthur Negus from the earlier show but this time had members of the public bringing in their treasures in the hope of being told they were sitting ( sometimes literally ) on a goldmine whatever they might say to the contrary. I guess part of the appeal is watching the squirming impatience of the avaricious philistines as the expert gives an unhurried rumination on the piece's history and keeps them waiting for that all-important valuation.
Angela Rippon briefly fronted the programme then left Negus to helm the show on his own for a year. Seeing this was something of a struggle for a guy pushing 80 , they brought in Nationwide reporter and a longstanding antique collector himself , Hugh Scully to help him in 1981. Negus retired from the show when he turned 80 in 1983 ( he died two years later ) leaving the remarkably square-headed Scully in sole charge until 2000 when he quit to work for an online auction company. He died six months ago, an event that passed me by I'm afraid. He was replaced by Michael Aspel who at 67 was close to being an antique himself. He held the fort until 2008 when the current presenter Fiona Bruce took over.
I can honestly say I've never turned the TV on to catch this but over the years I watched quite a lot of it due to its timeslot, just as I was coming in from a walk and wanting to throw myself on the sofa .