Antiques Roadshow is a British television programme broadcast by the BBC in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom (and occasionally in other countries) to appraise antiques brought in by local people. It has been running since 1979, based on a 1977 documentary programme. The programme has spawned versions in other countries with the same TV format, including Canada and the United States. As of 2019, it is in its 42nd series and has been presented by Fiona Bruce since 2008.
Antiques Roadshow title logo
|Created by||BBC Studios|
|Theme music composer||Paul Reade and Tim Gibson|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||42|
|No. of episodes||817 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||18 February 1979 –|
The programme began as a 1977 BBC documentary about a London auction house doing a tour of the West Country in England. The pilot roadshow was recorded in Hereford on 17 May 1977 and presented by contributor Bruce Parker, a presenter of news/current affairs programme Nationwide and antiques expert Arthur Negus, who had previously worked on a similarly-themed show, Going for a Song. The pilot was so successful that it was transmitted and the format has remained almost unchanged ever since. Negus appeared on Antiques Roadshow until 1983. In the original BBC programme, various towns or famous places are advertised as venues. The show has since visited a number of other countries (including Canada in 2001 and Australia in 2005) and has been imitated by other TV production companies around the world.
In the United Kingdom, annual children's Christmas specials aired from 1991 until 2006, under the title Antiques Roadshow: The Next Generation (except for the 1991 edition, which was titled Antiques Roadshow Going Live) and used a specially reworked version of the regular theme music. However, there was no children's special in 2007; instead an edition was devoted to "antiques of the future" dating from the 1950s to the present day. Since then individually-themed specials have been aired, though not every year.
A spin-off programme, 20th Century Roadshow, focusing on modern collectibles, aired between April and June 2005. It was hosted by Alan Titchmarsh. Two other spin-off programmes, Antiques Roadshow Gems (1991) and Priceless Antiques Roadshow (2009–10), revisited items from the show's history and provided background information on the making of the show and interviews with the programme's experts.
In the 1980s, a girl wrote in to Jim'll Fix It to ask if Jimmy Savile would "fix it" for her to "accidentally" drop and smash a seemingly-valuable vase in an episode of the show. This was broadcast as part of a regular edition, as well as in the Jim'll Fix It episode, with many of the Roadshow spectators looking on in astonishment, until antiques expert David Battie explained the ruse.
The most valuable item to ever appear on the show featured on 16 November 2008. This was an original 1990s maquette of the Angel of the North sculpture by Antony Gormley, owned by Gateshead Council, which was valued at £1,000,000 by Philip Mould. Glassware expert Andy McConnell later valued a collection of chandeliers at seven million pounds (their actual insurance value), noting as he did so that this beat Mould's record; however these were fixtures of the building in which the show was being filmed (Bath Assembly Rooms) rather than an item that had been brought in. In reality, the two most expensive objects to be sold as a result of being discovered on the show are the 1932 camera found by Marc Allum, which realised over $600,000 (US) in 2013 and the Christofle et Cie Japonisme jardiniere filmed by Eric Knowles, which sold for £668,450 (including buyers premium).
Conversely, many items brought before the experts are without commercial value, if not outright counterfeits. They are seldom shown in the broadcast episodes, to spare embarrassment for the individuals involved, although counterfeit objects are sometimes included, to give experts an opportunity to explain the difference between real and fake items. Value is not the only criterion for inclusion; items with an interesting story attached, or of a provenance relevant to the show's location, will often be featured regardless of value. An episode commemorating the end of the First World War and featuring personal mementoes, included no valuations. All items are appraised, although most appraisals take place off-camera, with only the most promising items (around 50 on an average day) being filmed, of which about 20 appear in the final programme.
Some significant items have been acquired by museums after being sold once their owners were appraised of their true value. An example is the watercolour painting The Artist's Halt in the Desert by Richard Dadd, discovered and shown by Peter Nahum in 1986 and purchased the next year by the British Museum for £100,000. Another such item, later dubbed "Ozzy the Owl", is a Staffordshire slipware jug, valued by Henry Sandon on a 1990 show at £20,000 to £30,000, and subsequently acquired by Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.
The original theme music was Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (for several years in a Moog synthesiser version by Wendy Carlos), but was changed in the early 1990s to an original piece. This theme was written by Paul Reade and Tim Gibson and published by Air Edel.
Visitors (predominantly from the local area) bring along their possessions to be evaluated for authenticity and interest (especially related to the venue) and an approximate valuation is given. The production team selects the items whose appraisal is to be televised. Often, the professional evaluators give a rather in-depth historical, craft, or artistic context to the item, adding a very strong cultural element to the show. This increases the show's appeal to people interested in the study of the past or some particular crafts, or certain arts, regardless of the monetary value of the objects. At the core though, the focus of the production is on the interplay between the owner and the evaluator.
Antiques Roadshow has been hosted by:
Programme experts for 2019
Arms and Militaria
- Bill Harriman
- Mark Smith
- Robert Tilney
Books and Manuscripts
Ceramics and Glass
Clocks and Watches
- Alastair Chandler
- Richard Price
- Ben Wright
- Lennox Cato
- Christopher Payne
- John Benjamin
- Kate Flitcroft
- Joanna Hardy
- Geoffrey Munn
- Susan Rumfitt
- Siobhan Tyrrell
- Marc Allum
- George Archdale
- Ronnie Archer-Morgan
- Paul Atterbury
- Jon Baddeley
- Cristian Beadman
- Elaine Binning
- Bunny Campione
- Wayne Colquhoun
- John Foster
- Mark Hill
- Amin Jaffer
- Hilary Kay
- Eric Knowles
- Lisa Lloyd
- Judith Miller
- Nicholas Mitchell (now also and more at the reception desk)
- Adam Schoon
- Clive Stewart-Lockhart
- Philip Taubenheim
- Chris Yeo
- Lee Young
Pictures and Prints
- Duncan Campbell
- Alastair Dickenson
- Gordon Foster
- Ian Pickford
Episodes are usually filmed during the spring and summer and aired the following autumn and winter (into the following year). Each location visited is covered by one or two (exceptionally even three) episodes.
In 2005, part of the BBC team visited Australia and produced six one-hour episodes in conjunction with The LifeStyle Channel (XYZnetworks). These were titled Antiques Roadshow Australia. A special was also made about the visit to Australia, entitled Antiques Roadshow Australia: Behind the Scenes.
In Canada Canadian Antiques Roadshow – a programme based on the British and American versions - debuted in January 2005 on CBC Television and CBC Newsworld. It is hosted by Valerie Pringle. The show has also been aired on CBC Country Canada.
The most expensive item featured was Henry Nelson O'Neil's "Eastward Ho!" oil on canvas. Recommended insurance: CDN$500,000, later sold at Sotheby's in London for GB£164,800 (about CDN$300,000 at the 2008 exchange rate).
In Germany, various versions are broadcast regularly on the public regional channels of the ARD, the eldest being the BR production Kunst und Krempel (in English: Art and Junk), which came into being in 1985. Other formats include Lieb & teuer (in English: Near & dear), shown on NDR, Kitsch oder Kunst?, shown on HR (in English: Kitsch or Art?) and Echt Antik?!, shown on SWR (in English: Genuinely antique?!).
The show Tussen Kunst & Kitsch has been aired in the Netherlands since 1984. This programme, translating to Between Art & Kitsch, is based on the BBC-format Antiques Roadshow. Shown on the public broadcaster AVRO (since the end of 2014 by AVROTROS), the programme is usually set in a museum in the Netherlands or sometimes in Belgium and Germany. It has become so popular through the years that even specials have been made in which the experts take the viewers on a "cultural-art-trip" to places of great importance in the history of art.
In 2011, a painting of Joost van Geel with the title Het Kantwerkstertje (in English: The Little Lacemaker) was discovered with an estimated value of 250,000 euro, which is the highest validation ever in the show. The programme has been presented by Cees van Drongelen (1984-2002) and Nelleke van der Krogt (2002-2015), celebrating its 30th series in 2014 and has featured a new presenter, Frits Sissing, as of September 2015.
The Swedish version started out as a co-production between SVT Malmö and the BBC, where the Antiques Roadshow would visit Scandinavia for two programmes. Antikrundan, its Swedish title, premiered in August 1989 on TV2. Since then, it has been shown on SVT every year.
As of 2019, 30 seasons have been shown and most of the experts have been with the programme since its start. Jesper Aspegren was the original host. He left in 2000, and from the 2001 season Antikrundan is hosted by Anne Lundberg.
The BBC original is also shown regularly on Swedish television, under the name Engelska Antikrundan ("English [sic] Round of Antiques").
American public broadcaster PBS created a show in 1997 inspired by the Antiques Roadshow. The American version of Antiques Roadshow is produced by WGBH, a PBS member station in Boston, Massachusetts. Mark Walberg is host and Marsha Bemko is executive producer.
PBS also airs the original BBC programme, though it is called Antiques Roadshow UK to differentiate it from the PBS version. Values of items in United States dollars are often superimposed over the pound sterling values given in the original broadcast.
- Antiques Roadshow: The First Ten Years (20 December 1987)
- Antiques Roadshow: Going Live! (26 December 1991)
- Antiques Roadshow: The Next Generation (12 editions, broadcast 1 January 1992 – 29 December 2006)
- Antiques Roadshow: Fifteen Priceless Years (28 March 1993)
- Antiques Roadshow: Junior Roadshow (13 August 1993)
- Antiques Roadshow: Priceless Gems (6 editions, broadcast 1 October 1996 – 11 April 2001)
- Antiques Roadshow: Unwrapped – 21st Anniversary (20 December 1998)
- Antiques Roadshow: 25 Years On! (1 September 2002)
- Antiques Roadshow: Greatest Finds (3 editions, broadcast 3–17 September 2006)
- Antiques Roadshow: Farewell to Michael Aspel (30 March 2008)
- Priceless Antiques Roadshow Series 1 (15 editions, broadcast 9–27 March 2009)
- Priceless Antiques Roadshow Series 2 (20 editions, broadcast 1–26 February 2010)
- Restoration Roadshow (20 editions, broadcast 9 August – 3 September 2010; presented by Eric Knowles)
- Shakespeare Special (29 April 2012)
- Diamond Jubilee Special (10 June 2012)
- Antiques Roadshow Detectives (15 editions, broadcast 6–24 April 2015)
- Balmoral Royal Special (30 September 2015)
- Golden Age of Travel Special (30 October 2016)—a look at items from the golden age of rail, air and sea including the world's most famous steam locomotive: 60103 Flying Scotsman
- Highlights of 2016 (28 December 2016)
Antiques Roadshow Detectives
Fiona Bruce together with individual Antiques Roadshow appraisers investigate the history of significant items, uncovering the stories that form the history of family heirlooms and finding out about their origin and authenticity.
In Sweden it was shown on SVT in Autumn 2018 under the name of Engelska Antikrundan: Arvegodsens hemligheter ("English Round of Antiques: The Secrets of the Heirlooms").
Hugh Scully hosted a Beaulieu based show on 3 January 1993, a Jamaican based show on 14 February 1993, a Cork based show on 13 February 1994 and a Brussels based show on 16 April 1995, all on the BBC.
The BBC published a monthly Home & Antiques magazine until 2011, which offered behind-the-scenes insights into Antiques Roadshow, as well as offering tips and advice on buying and evaluating antiques. This magazine still exists, currently published by Immediate.
There is also a spin-off magazine of the American version of the show called Antiques Roadshow Insider, which gives fans an inside look at the show as well as offering special features about antiques and collectibles from the programme itself.
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- "Antiques Roadshow's Highest Valuation Ever", BBC Channel on YouTube. Retrieved 25 August 2009
- "Bonhams: An extraordinarily rare Leica Luxus II, 1932". Bonhams. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- "Antiques Roadshow: Collector left embarrassed after told his expensive 'antique' came from Tesco". Daily Mirror. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "Artist's Halt in the Desert by Moonlight by RICHARD DADD". Peter Nahum At The Leicester Galleries. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- Singh, Anita (14 October 2008). "Antiques Roadshow memorable moments". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- "Museum Treasures: Ozzy the Owl". The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- Frequently Asked Questions at pbs.org Archived 25 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "Bruce to host Antiques Roadshow". BBC News. 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
- "The team". BBC.
- Antiques Roadshow Australia
- (in Dutch) Rijker dan je denkt infotainment VTM 2015
- Canadian Antiques Roadshow
- (in Finnish) Antiikkia, antiikkia
- (in Dutch) Official website Archived 11 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine, AVROTROS
- (in Dutch) Nachtwacht decor van Tussen Kunst en Kitsch, RTL Boulevard
- "Duurste vondst ooit bij Kunst en Kitsch: kwart miljoen". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 8 February 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- Antiques Road Trip Why it's a vintage period for antiques on television
- ANTIQUES ROADSHOW OUR FIRST 10 YEARS A TIMELINE, PBS
- Noted. "On TV, March 12–18: including Antiques Roadshow Detectives and Black Work - The Listener". Noted. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- "BBC Two - Antiques Roadshow Detectives". BBC. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- "Antiques Roadshow Detectives, BBC2 - TV review". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- TV.com. "Antiques Roadshow (UK): Beaulieu".
- TV.com. "Antiques Roadshow (UK): Jamaica".
- TV.com. "Antiques Roadshow (UK): Cork".
- TV.com. "Antiques Roadshow (UK): Brussels".
- "BBC - Press Office - Homes & Antiques magazine creates 1950s living room for Festival of Britain anniversary celebrations". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
- "Immediate - Homes & Antiques Magazine relaunches with exiting new look in its May issue, on sale 2nd April 2015". www.immediate.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
- Roadshow experts (2000). Lars Tharp (ed.). BBC Antiques Roadshow: A-Z of 20th Century Antiques. Michael Aspel (Foreword). Boxtree Ltd. p. 252. ISBN 0-7522-1790-9.
- Hugh Scully; Fiona Malcolm; Paul Atterbury (1998). Antiques Roadshow: A Celebration of the First 21 Years. Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 1-84000-072-4.
- Antiques Roadshow: Experts on Objects, BBC Books, 1987. Authors include Eric Knowles, David Battie, John Bly and Anthony J Lester.