Sunday afternoon and the tell-tale music of Antiques Roadshow spreads across the living room from the television and a strange wondering begins to build. What unusual item is going to appear on this week’s episode, what back story will the item have and what will be the eccentric story behind its owner?
Considering it is quite a niche market that they are catering for, the program has become a bit of a staple for UK television. Each week it sees everyday people turning up to usually a period location or landscape bringing with them some item or items of significance in the hope that one of the specialists on hand will tell them that their item is worth a lot of money. People bring everything from jewellery, art, vintage furniture and much more. Inevitably you have the person who thinks their item is worth a lot only to be told that it is just an average item and then you have the stories of items that have been passed down through generations that often have a lovely back story and the family are then rendered speechless when they are told that their vintage furniture item is worth thousands.
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Although the presenters and specialist have changed, Antiques Roadshow is one of those programs that has seen very little changes occur to its formatting since it began in 1977. It began as a documentary style program following a London auction house when it went on a tour of the West of England. The format has always been specialists in their fields discussing the history and possible price tag of items brought along by members of the public and businesses.
In 2008 the most valuable item ever seen on the show appeared as a maquette of the Angel of North and was valued at one million pounds. A seven-million-pound item was discussed on a later show but as this was the chandeliers housed in the Bath Assembly rooms it was merely a discussion point rather than an item for possible sale.
To prove this shows longevity there have been a total of forty series and seven hundred and seventy-eight episodes in total, with six different presenters. Now that definitely makes it a piece of television history!