Antiques Roadshow

For the U.S. version, see Antiques Roadshow (U.S. TV series).
Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow opening title card
Starring Bruce Parker (1979)
Angela Rippon (1979)
Arthur Negus (1979–83)
Hugh Scully (1981–2000)
Michael Aspel (2000–08)
Fiona Bruce (2008–present)
Theme music composer Paul Reade and Tim Gibson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 39
No. of episodes 747 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) BBC
Running time 60 minutes
Original network BBC One
Original release 18 February 1979 (1979-02-18) – present
Related shows Bargain Hunt (2000–present)
Cash in the Attic (2002–2012)
Flog It! (2002–present)
Dickinson's Real Deal (2006–present)

Antiques Roadshow is a British television show 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 series.[1] The series has spawned versions in other countries with the same TV format, including Canada and the United States. As of 2016 it is presented by Fiona Bruce and is in its 39th series.[2]


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 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 series, various towns or famous places are advertised as venues. The original theme music was Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 3 (for several years in a Moog synthesiser version by Walter Carlos), but was changed in the early 1990s to an original piece, by Paul Reade and Tim Gibson, which has been used ever since. 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 devoted to "antiques of the future" dating from the 1950s to the present day.

A spin-off series, 20th Century Roadshow, focusing on modern collectibles, 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 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.[3] 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[4] 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 worthless. However, these are seldom shown in the broadcast episodes, to spare embarrassment for the individuals involved.[5] 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, and counterfeit objects are sometimes included to give experts an opportunity to explain the difference between real and fake items. 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.

The theme music for the show was written by Paul Reade and Tim Gibson and was published by Air Edel.[6]


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:

Antiques experts and appraisers

Furniture expert Lennox Cato

Many experts in the various antiques fields appear(ed) on the show either regularly or intermittently.[8] Among the best known are:

Paintings expert Rupert Maas appearing on the show
Henry Sandon, porcelain expert (seated, centre)

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.

Items reviewed

International versions


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.


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 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 2008 exchange rate).


The Finnish version, known as Antiikkia, antiikkia has been running on YLE TV1 since 1997.


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?) or Echt antik?!, shown on SWR (in English: Genuinely Antique?!).


Since 1984, a version has also been aired in the Netherlands under the name Tussen Kunst & Kitsch (in English: 'Between Art & Kitsch'). 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. 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 was discovered with an estimated value of 250,000 euro.[11] 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 is currently showing its latest series with a new presenter as of September 2015, namely Frits Sissing.


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 2010, 21 seasons have been shown and most of the experts have been with the programme since its start. Jesper Aspegren and Anne Lundberg were the original hosts. Aspegren left in 1999.

United States

American public broadcaster PBS created a similar show in 1997. 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 series, though it is called Antiques Roadshow UK to differentiate it from its own version. Values of items in United States dollars are often superimposed over the pound sterling values given in the original broadcast.



The BBC publishes a monthly Home & Antiques magazine, which offers behind-the-scenes insights into 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.


  1. BBC – Cult – Classic TV – BBC – Title Sequences – The Antiques Roadshow
  2. Antiques Roadshow Web site: The Team
  3. "Antiques Roadshow's Highest Valuation Ever", BBC Channel on YouTube. Retrieved 25 August 2009
  4. "Bonhams: An extraordinarily rare Leica Luxus II, 1932". 31 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  5. "Antiques Roadshow: Collector left embarrassed after told his expensive 'antique' came from Tesco". Daily Mirror. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  6. Frequently Asked Questions at Archived 25 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Bruce to host Antiques Roadshow". BBC News. 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  8. The team
  9. In 1987 a long-lost watercolour by Richard Dadd, The Artist's Halt in the Desert, was discovered by Peter Nahum on the Roadshow. Made while the artist was incarcerated, it is based on sketches made during his tour of the Middle East, and shows his party encamped by the Dead Sea, with Dadd at the far right ( It was later sold for £100,000 to the British Museum.
  10. "Sotheby's to sell original receipt for Goya painting in Danny Boyle's art heist movie Trance". Royalville Communications, Inc. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  11. "Duurste vondst ooit bij Kunst en Kitsch: kwart miljoen" (in Dutch). 8 February 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2014.

Further reading

External links

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