Bargain Hunt

Not to be confused with Bargain Hunters.
Bargain Hunt

Bargain Hunt logo (Series 24 onwards)
Starring Guest Presenters (2016–)
Tim Wonnacott (2003–2016)
David Dickinson (2000–2004)
Theme music composer Dust Devil - "Horny Baby" (until 2009)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 39 (Completed)
No. of episodes 1,264 (as of 22 January 2016)
Running time 30/45/60 minutes
Original network BBC One
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 13 March 2000 (2000-03-13) – present
External links

Bargain Hunt is a British television programme in which two pairs of contestants are challenged to buy antiques from shops or a fair and then sell them in an auction for a profit. It has aired on BBC One since 13 March 2000 in a daytime version, and from 22 August 2002 to 13 November 2004 in a primetime version. Presenter Tim Wonnacott replaced original host David Dickinson from 2003 to January 2016. When Wonnacott ceased presenting, the format changed to a rota of hosts from a "team of experts" fronting the series. First to replace Tim was Thomas Plant on January 25, 2016, followed by Christina Trevanion, Charlie Ross, Paul Laidlaw, Natasha Raskin, Anita Manning, Charles Hanson and Eric Knowles.[1]


Bargain Hunt has undergone various format and rule changes since it premiered in 2000. Most episodes are 45 minutes in length, though 30-minute versions and one-hour "live" editions have also been produced.

Two teams – designated the "Reds" and the "Blues" – compete. Each team has two members, who wear matching tops that correspond to their team's colour. The contestants in most episodes are members of the public, though some shows feature teams of celebrity players instead. At the beginning of the show, each team is given a set amount of money with which to purchase antiques. The objective is to find items that will earn the team a profit when later sold at auction. Each team is accompanied by an antiques trade expert, though it is the contestants' decision whether to heed the advice given by their expert. After the contestants have completed their purchases and presented them to the host, home viewers are shown a "what the auctioneer thinks" segment in which the auctioneer appraises the buys and gives the auction estimate. At the auction, as each item is sold, the host compares the auction sale price to the price originally paid by the team, with the difference being either subtracted from or added to the team's total. If the final total shows a profit, the team receives that profit in cash; otherwise, the team receives nothing. The profit/loss does not take into account commission (buyers' premium) or VAT.

The show is punctuated by footage of the host visiting a place of historical interest, such as a stately home or museum, and talking about the items housed there. Occasionally, the show featured phone-in competitions for home viewers, but these were discontinued following a general review of phone-in competitions by the BBC in 2008.

In the early David Dickinson-era episodes, teams were given £200 each, and could buy as many or as few items as they liked within the hour given to wander around a trade fair. The item rule was later changed so that teams have to buy three items. After Tim Wonnacott became host, the money was increased to £300, and a new feature called the "swap item" was introduced. Each expert chose an item of their own, and the team could replace one of their own choices with the "swap item" if they wished to. The host, when offering the option to a team, would often ask, "Swap or No Swap?" Originally, the experts were given an unspecified amount of money to buy the extra item; the rule was later changed so that the experts could only use whatever money was left of the team's £300 budget (the remaining money was referred to by Wonnacott as the "leftover lolly"). Under the revised rule, if a team used its entire budget, the expert could not choose a "swap item."

The "swap" rule was changed again in 2006 (Series 14), becoming the "bonus buy." The expert is still given any "leftover lolly" to buy this bonus item, which is entered into the auction. Just after the auction of their own items, and before that of the bonus item, teams must decide whether the auction results of the bonus item should be added to their own auction lots. Teams can potentially add to their profit with the bonus item, but it can also subtract from a team's earnings if it loses money.

An alternative bonus item called "Tim's Ton" was purchased by Tim Wannacott for less than a £100 (a ton), which seems to be only on offer if they reject the expert's item was used for a while but no longer forms part of the game. It seems that rejecting both items wasn't an option.

On average, the majority of contestants' items lose money: the teams are paying retail prices at fairs, whereas auction prices are generally lower. Large profits are fairly rare, though it is not particularly unusual for contestants to take home a small profit. Teams achieving the difficult feat of earning a profit on all three items are awarded a "golden gavel";[2] originally a wooden trophy, but latterly a lapel pin.

Items are entered in auctions without reserve, so almost always sell. In the rare event that an item is left unsold, the team used to get to keep the item but this is no longer the case. In 2007, the BBC admitted that parts of the show are 'reconstructed', the prices paid for items are negotiated off-camera and the contestants buying them 'act out' the purchase, and that the hour-long search for bargains is also a 're-construction'.[3]

Bargain Hunt Famous Finds

Bargain Hunt Famous Finds
Starring Tim Wonnacott
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 20
Running time 45 minutes
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 16:9
Original release 1 December 2008 (2008-12-01) – 3 April 2009 (2009-04-03)
External links

A separate celebrity version of the show premiered on 1 December 2008 on BBC Two featuring team pairs made up of one well-known personality accompanied by a friend or family member. The show is presented by Tim Wonnacott and the format is the same as the main show but Wonnacott's visit to see an antiques collection or stately home is replaced by a feature where each celebrity contestant discusses antiques with him. Wonnacott might show them a borrowed collection of antiques brought along for the show that he believes would interest the celebrity (this may be related to the occupation of the celebrity), and in turn the celebrity shows Wonnacott an antique or collectable belonging to themselves. There is no suggestion of what to do with any profit if the teams make any, but most decide to give it to charity. Series 2 began on 30 March 2009 and ended on 3 April 2009.

Celebrity contestants

Series 1 Series 2
Dame Kelly Holmes and Sally Gunnell OBE Sir Henry Cooper and Geoff Capes
Lembit Öpik MP and Edwina Currie Tony Blackburn and Alvin Stardust
Helen Lederer and Bobby Davro Johnny Ball and Eddie Large
Ruth Badger and Tamara Beckwith Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner
Jilly Goolden and Theo Paphitis Janet Ellis and Valerie Singleton
Connie Fisher and Ian 'H' Watkins Christopher Timothy and Lysette Anthony
Julian Clary and Matthew Cottle Janice Long and Mike Read
Rakie Ayola and Charles Dale Toyah Willcox and Kiki Dee
Keith Chegwin and Sally James Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne
Ricky Groves and Jilly Cooper Vanessa Feltz and Nicki Chapman


Originally a daytime show when launched in 2000 with game host David Dickinson. Later a primetime version, hosted by Dickinson, was also made (2002–2004), which was similar to the daytime show except that the teams' budget was increased to £500. It was on this version of the show that the record was set for the greatest profit earned on Bargain Hunt. A team led by Michael Hogben purchased a Royal Worcester box at Ardingly Fair for £140; the item made £800 in the live primetime auction.

When Dickinson gave up the daytime show to concentrate on the primetime version, his place was taken by Tim Wonnacott, an antiques expert already well-known to UK viewers as a long-standing expert on the Antiques Roadshow.

In April 2005 it was announced that the primetime version of Bargain Hunt had been axed; however the daytime version continued. Reruns of the daytime version (from the Dickinson era) also appear on BBC Entertainment and BBC America.

The show occasionally features well-known contestants, such as 'Allo 'Allo! stars Gorden Kaye and Sue Hodge.

The show airs on the Australian Foxtel and Austar cable television channel, Lifestyle, at 6.30 pm weekdays. The show also airs on the Seven Network's digital station 7Two (Prime's 7Two, in Regional Areas), weekdays at 11am and 6.30pm.

Several episodes recorded in late 2014 were presented by Anita Manning, Charlie Ross, Christina Trevanion, Natasha Raskin, Charles Hanson, and Paul Laidlaw whilst Wonnacott took part in the BBC 1 entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing.

Series 41 Episode 22 saw the first-ever time two teams of twins competed against each other. The red team (Polly Weighill & Gemma Weighill) emerged victorious over the blue team (Martin Sansom & Russell Sansom) at Ardingly Antiques and Collectors Fair in West Sussex.[4]

Special programmes

Following the death of expert David Barby on 25 July 2012, the programme paid tribute to him on 1 October 2012 by showing a montage of clips featuring his appearances on the show.

500th programme

On 15 October 2007, the 500th show was broadcast. This show differed from a normal show in that both teams were made up of experts – the red team featured David Barby and Philip Serrell (described as the "old" team), while the blue team featured Kate Bliss and Charles Hanson (deemed the "young" team); the "bonus items" were purchased by Tim Wonnacott himself.[5] The teams were given £500 to spend, rather than the usual £300, with any profits going to charities chosen by the team members. The red team made a profit of £245, beating the blue team's break-even. The show also featured out-takes and memorable clips from previous shows.

10th anniversary

The programme marked its tenth anniversary on air with a week of special editions broadcast between 15 and 19 March 2010. These followed a similar format to the 500th episode, except that the teams were given only the usual £300 to buy items, with a separate £100 per team allotted for the bonus items.


Series Start date End date Episodes
18 15 October 2007 23 November 2007 25
19 11 February 2008 17 March 2008 24
20 21 April 2008 13 June 2008 24
21 1 September 2008 17 October 2008 24
22 19 January 2009 19 February 2009 24
23 8 June 2009 6 October 2009 32
24 26 October 2009 5 January 2010 32
25 18 January 2010 19 March 2010 32
26 10 May 2010 28 July 2010 32
27 6 September 2010 9 December 2010 32
28 3 January 2011 7 April 2011 32
29 9 May 2011 21 July 2011 32
30 26 September 2011 23 December 2011 40
31 2 January 2012 22 March 2012 32
32 28 May 2012 29 November 2012 32
33 2 January 2013 13 March 2013 32
34 8 April 2013 28 June 2013 32
35 1 July 2013 16 September 2013 32
36 20 September 2013 15 January 2014 30
37 17 January 2014 4 August 2014 32
Hour Specials 28 April 2014 4 January 2015 28
38 19 May 2014 12 September 2014 32
39 17 September 2014 16 January 2015 32
40 19 January 2015 5 May 2015 32
41 11 May 2015 4 September 2015 32
42 7 September 2015 22 January 2016 32
43 25 January 2016 16 May 2016 32
44 20 May 2016 9 September 2016 32
45 12 September 2016 TBC 32


Past experts

  • David Barby[25]
  • Dean Goodwin (2000)
  • Michael Hogben (2000–2006)
  • Karen van Hoey Smith (2004)
  • Kevin Jackson (2000–2005)
  • Toby Moy (2000)
  • Susan Orringe
  • Sally Stratton (2001–2002)
  • Louise Weir (2000)
  • Charlie Ross(2011-2016


  1. "Tim Wonnacott steps down from Bargain Hunt". BBC News. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  2. Doplhin, Kirstie (17 November 2011). "Beci and Frank have an eye for a real bargain". Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. "BBC faked Bargain Hunt too, claim contestants". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  4. "Bargain Hunt (Series 41 Episode 22 – Friday 24th July 2015)". Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  5. "500th Episode". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  6. "Lowry-esque orchard scene makes top price at auction". 28 June 2012. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  7. "Blackers Art of Angling and Complete System of Fly Making and Dying of Colours". 28 August 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  8. "Bargain Hunt - Kate Bateman - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  9. "Bargain Hunt - Kate Bliss - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  10. "This year's Rye Show 'best ever'". Rye & Battle Observer. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  11. "Bargain Hunt - Nick Hall - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  12. "Caroline Hawley's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  13. "Bargain Hunt - Charles Hanson - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  14. "David Harper's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  15. "Paul Laidlaw's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  16. "Laidlaw Auctioneers & Valuers". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  17. "BBC1 – Bargain Hunt – Episode Guide".
  18. "Bargain Hunt - Thomas Plant - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. "Bargain Hunt - Jonathan Pratt - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  20. "Bargain Hunt - Natasha Raskin - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  21. "Bargain Hunt - Philip Serrell - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  22. "Bargain Hunt - Catherine Southon - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  23. "Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  24. "Bargain Hunt - Christina Trevanion - BBC One". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  25. Arnold, Ben (27 July 2012). "Bargain Hunt's David Barby dies – Daily TV round up". Retrieved 5 February 2014.

External links

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