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Antiques Roadshow
Antiques Roadshow opening title card
Format Antiques
Starring Bruce Parker (1979)
Angela Rippon (1979)
Arthur Negus (1979–1983)
Hugh Scully (1981–2000)
Michael Aspel (2000–2007)
Fiona Bruce (2008–)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 32
No. of episodes (List of episodes)
Producer(s) BBC
Running time 50 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Original run 18 February 1979 (1979-02-18) – present

Antiques Roadshow is a British television show in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom and appraise antiques brought in by local residents. It has been running since 1979.[1] There are also international versions of the popular programme.



Paul Atterbury examines an antique cricket bat

The series 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 presented by Badgerwatch presenter Bruce Parker and Going for a Song antiques expert Arthur Negus. The pilot was so successful that it was transmitted and the format has remained almost unchanged ever since. In the original BBC series, 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. These specials aired 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 given over to "antiques of the future" dating from the 1950s to the present day.

A spin-off series, 20th Century Roadshow, focusing on modern collectables, aired between April and June 2005. It was hosted by Alan Titchmarsh.

Two other spin-off series, 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 young girl wrote in to Jim'll Fix It to ask if Jimmy Savile, would "fix it" so she could "accidentally" drop and smash a seemingly-valuable vase on an episode of Antiques Roadshow. This was broadcast as part of a regular edition of Antiques Roadshow (as well as in the Jim'll Fix It episode), with many of the crowd at the Roadshow looking on, horrified, until the 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 £1m by Philip Mould.[2] 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 brought in. Conversely, many items brought before the experts are worthless. However, these are seldom shown in the broadcasted episodes in order to spare embarrassment for the individuals involved[3]. Value is not the only criterion for inclusion; items with an interesting story attached will often be featured regardless of value, and counterfeit objects are sometimes included to give experts an opportunity to explain the difference between real and fake items.


Local people bring along their possessions to be evaluated for authenticity and interest (especially related to the venue) and an approximate valuation is given. Often, the professional evaluators give a rather in-depth historical, craft, or artistic context to the antique, 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.


Fiona Bruce on reception at the Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow has been hosted by Bruce Parker (1979), Angela Rippon (1979), Arthur Negus (1979–1983), Hugh Scully (1981–2000) and Michael Aspel (2000–2007). Fiona Bruce took over at the beginning of the 2008 series.[4]


Henry Sandon, porcelain expert

Many experts in the various fields of antiques appear on the show either regularly or intermittently. For example:

Episode locations

Episodes are usually filmed during the spring and summer and aired the following autumn and winter (into the following year). Each episode is filmed at a different location, although some locations feature in two episodes.

International versions


United States

Antiques Roadshow appraises thousands of items in any given taping, with the public ticketed for time slots between 8am and 5pm; this image shows a portion of the public entering the roadshow at noon.
Before people enter the main appraisal/recording area, general appraisers quickly categorize and give tickets to specific appraisers (e.g. "Asian Art", "Metal Work", etc).

American public broadcaster PBS created a similar show in 1997. (PBS also airs the original BBC series, though it is called Antiques Roadshow UK to differentiate it from its own version.) The American version of Antiques Roadshow is produced by WGBH, a broadcast station in Boston, Massachusetts.

The American version has been hosted by Chris Jussel (1997–2000), Dan Elias (2001–2003), Lara Spencer (2004–2005), and Mark L. Walberg (2005–).

Notable appraisers include Leigh and Leslie Keno, who appraise furniture and folk art, as well as Rudy Franchi, who works with collectibles and pop culture and Gary Sohmers, an appraiser of collectibles, pop culture, and toys.

In 2005 PBS introduced Antiques Roadshow FYI, a sister series to Antiques Roadshow. The weekly half-hour show, hosted by Lara Spencer with correspondent Clay Reynolds, provides information on items shown on previous episodes of Antiques Roadshow, as well as additional information on antiques and collecting.

Four items are recognized as the most valuable item featured on the American Antiques Roadshow:

  • In a record for the show, four pieces of Chinese carved jade and celadon dating to the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-1795), including a large bowl crafted for the Emperor, were given a conservative auction estimate of up to $1.07 million.[6] However the items sold at auction for only $494,615. [7]
  • A 1937 Clyfford Still oil painting, valued conservatively at $500,000, making it the second most valuable find ever appraised on the series, the episode is scheduled to debut on the first episode of its 13th season on January 5, 2009.[8][9]
  • A Navajo blanket valued at between $350,000 and $500,000, appeared in Tucson, Arizona, in 2002.[10]
  • An unsigned painting originally believed to be by 19th-century marine artist James E. Buttersworth valued at between $250,000 and $500,000, but turned out to be by Antonio Jacobsen and sold at auction for $281,000, appeared on the 10th season premiere episode filmed in Tampa, Florida, in June 2005.[11]


In 2005 part of the BBC team visited Australia and produced 6 x 1 hour-long 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.


A Canadian version — called Canadian Antiques Roadshow — 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 O’Neil's "Eastward Ho!" oil on canvas. Recommended insurance: $500,000 CDN, later sold at Southeby's in London for £164,800 ($412,000 CDN).


The Finnish version, known as Antiikkia, antiikkia has been running on YLE TV1 since 1997. The main host is Wenzel Hagelstam.


In Germany, various versions are broadcast regularly on the public regional channels of Das Erste, notable the eldest being the BR production Kunst und Krempel (in English: Art and Junk), which came into being in 1987. Other formats include Lieb & teuer (in English: Near & Dear), shown on NDR, Kitsch oder Kunst?, shown on HR (in English: Kitsch or Art?) or Echt antik?!, shown on SWR (in English: Genuinely Antique?!).

The Netherlands

Since 1984 a version has also been aired in the Netherlands under the name Tussen Kunst & Kitsch, (in English: Between Art & Kitsch). Also shown on the public broadcaster, 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. The experts take the viewers on a "cultural-art-trip" to places of great importance in the history of art.


The Swedish version started out as 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, Antikrundan has been shown on SVT every year.

As of 2006, 17 seasons have been shown and most of the experts have been with the programme since the start. Jesper Aspegren and Anne Lundberg were the original hosts. Aspegren left in 1999.


A DVD entitled Priceless Antiques Roadshow, presented by Fiona Bruce and featuring highlights from 30 years of the series, was released by Acorn Media UK on 5 October 2009.


The BBC publishes a monthly Home & Antiques magazine, which offers behind-the-scenes insights into the Antiques Roadshow, as well as offering tips and advice on buying and evaluating antiques.

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 series itself.

Board Games

In the year 2000, board game maker Hasbro launched Antiques Roadshow: The Game, which allowed players to play the role of the antiques experts and determine the value of items in the game.

In Christmas 2007, UK retailer Marks & Spencer launched a UK version of the game.

Game Rules

Each player is given a hand with 2 different types of cards-10 value cards with different dollar values (including a "reproduction" or $0/£0 card) that will be the same for all players and 3 Antique Speak cards, which have words used in the antique business and are dealt randomly from a deck of 32 different cards. The object of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand.

Each player is also given a number of antique cards, with an item pictured, which will be used to drive the game play.

On each player's turn, an antique card is selected. Each player will then choose a value card from his hand to correspond to the value the player thinks the antique is worth and places it in front of him. Once that is done, the player whose turn it is reads two stories that are printed on the back of the card. One is true, the other false. As the stories are read, if a term is used that is listed on an Antique Speak card held by a player, that player can discard that card as well as any value card that is still in his hand.

After the stories are read, all the players except the one who read the stories will vote on which story they think is true. The true story and actual appraised value are then revealed. All players who guessed the correct value can discard the value card they used for their guess. All players who guessed the correct story can discard any value card, including the one used to guess the value on this turn (if they guessed the value wrong.)

As soon as a player is out of cards at the end of a turn, the game ends.[12]



  • Hugh Scully, Fiona Malcolm, and Paul Atterbury (1998). Antiques Roadshow: A Celebration of the First 21 Years. Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 1-84000-072-4. 

External links

Official sites

Internet Movie Database sites

See also


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