Episode 20 Antiques Road Trip


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Episode 20

Antiques experts travel the UK searching for treasures. Paul Laidlaw and Thomas Plant start in Wendover, Buckinghamshire and make their way to auction in Bedford.


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-It's the nation's favourite antiques experts.

-All right, viewers?

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With £200 each, a classic car and a goal -

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to scour Britain for antiques.

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I'm on fire! Yes!

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Sold! Going, going, gone!

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The aim - to make the biggest profit at auction,

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-but it's no mean feat.

-Ow!

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-50p!

-There'll be worthy winners and valiant losers.

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Tricep dips...

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So will it be the high road to glory or the slow road to disaster?

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-Ooh! Oh!

-Ah, it's going to be a good one!

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This is the Antiques Road Trip.

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Yeah!

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This week's seen our two cheerful chaps

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hit the road on the quest for antique glory.

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But like all good things, this too must come to an end.

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Do you know, it's all extremely sad.

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I won't be able to learn off the Grand Master.

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PAUL LAUGHS

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Sensei, Sensei Laidlaw. PAUL CHORTLES

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Yes, Sensei. You have been a worthwhile student...

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Mr Plant.

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-A delicate flower.

-A delicate flower!

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You have been a worthy, a worthy student.

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Good, good! You think? THEY LAUGH

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Yes.

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Paul Laidlaw is indeed a master auctioneer

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and as a self-confessed antiques geek since childhood

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it's no wonder he's topping the leaderboard.

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Don't occupy me, I'm busy. Can't you see I'm working?

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-Have that, Laidlaw.

-What are you doing?

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Hot on his heels is auctioneer and valuer Thomas Plant.

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He has a bit of a penchant for jewellery in silver

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and also dressing up.

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Man about town, Tomato Plant.

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Are you at all worried, Laidlaw? You know, I've got half your money.

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I could sink half your money into something amazing.

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It's as easy as that? It ain't over!

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It certainly is not but Thomas has some serious catching up to do.

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After four trips to auction, he's turned an initial budget

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of £200 into a very respectable £423.66.

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But Paul has leapt ahead,

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turning his £200 into a rather enormous budget

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of £955.46.

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-We've had a laugh, though.

-We have had a laugh, yeah, absolutely.

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And we've seen the country, my God, if you think about it.

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Oh, yes.

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They've certainly been clocking up the miles in the Sunbeam Alpine.

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Kicking off in Morecambe, Lancashire,

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this trip has taken them over 600 miles

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towards the county town of Bedford.

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On this last leg, they're starting

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in Wendover, Buckinghamshire,

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and will make their way to their final destination

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at auction in Bedford.

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Nestled in the Chiltern Hills, Wendover has held a Royal Charter

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since 1464, which gives it its official market town status.

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Oh, good old market town, really, isn't it?

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I just said that...

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Pretty place, you could come and spend an afternoon here.

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Well, I hope a morning in Antiques of Wendover

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will suffice, actually, Thomas.

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-Have a good 'un!

-And you! Bye-bye!

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-Hello, I'm Thomas.

-Hi. Len.

-Len, nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you.

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-So this is a big centre?

-Yes.

-Lots of individual dealers.

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-Yep, 32 of us.

-All right, well, I'll have a good look around.

-OK.

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-Thank you very much.

-If you need any help.

-Thank you.

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He's already found a distraction.

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Magnum PI.

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Oh, look. There's some dressing up.

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-Lordy.

-No, I don't really want to go in drag today.

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Not in a drag mood.

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No dressing up, eh? Pressure to find profitable purchases

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finally getting to you, Thomas?

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Laidlaw's on the tremendous amount.

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You know, he's got, sort of, another £400 above me.

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Unless I find that real gem, it's a tall order.

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It's just a case of looking and looking and looking.

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And not buying with this, your heart, but buying with this.

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While Thomas hunts to his heart's content in Wendover,

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rival Paul's search is also beginning,

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as he heads towards Waddesdon in the Vale of Aylesbury.

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A small village with a history of silk and lace

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and Paul's first opportunity to part with some of that £955 he's holding.

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-Hello there!

-Good morning!

-I'm Paul.

-Good morning, I'm Roger.

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-Good to see you, Roger.

-And you.

-This is yours?

-It is, yes.

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-Great stuff.

-Yes.

-Have you anything military kicking about?

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No, unfortunately. I did have quite a lot of stuff in for you on Friday,

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and then I had a good weekend, so, uh...

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THEY LAUGH

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That's good news for Roger, but with some great stuff gone

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is Paul going to struggle here?

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It seems all that money isn't helping him in the shop.

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-It's been a pleasure.

-It's been nice to see you.

-I wish you well.

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-Good to see you.

-Yeah, we'll catch you next time. Bye.

-Bye.

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Mm, he's being very careful with his cash today.

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But back in Wendover it looks like Thomas is having more success.

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God, that's a stylish set of chess, isn't it?

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They've got lead weights on them.

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I can't tell you what a joy it is to handle a weighted chess piece.

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It really does have a real joy to it.

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These modernist chess pieces are speaking to his heart.

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So with a ticket price of £40, what's his heart saying?

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Mm, a good box. What's the best on those?

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For you, Thomas, 25.

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Oh, that's not bad. That's not bad. Let's think about it.

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You should make a profit.

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And now Len's offering up a silver card case. What a helpful chap!

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-It's a pretty little aide-memoire.

-Aide-memoire.

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Silver hallmarks.

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So you open it up,

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you've got a silk interior

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and you put your calling card case,

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aide-memoire, in there.

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It's quite sweet, really. I quite like the ribbed action to it.

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-That's quite good, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-Quite nice to be...ribbed.

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Another item tickles his fancy,

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but this Victorian aide-memoire

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costs £135.

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Oh, God. Let's not talk about that figure.

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-If you're interested, 60.

-OK.

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£15 off the chess set and a £75 reduction on the aide-memoire,

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this is looking good, Thomas!

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I see it at auction at £40-60.

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So if I let you have that for 40, and that for 20...

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-Yep, I'd be...

-That would help you?

-That would help me dramatically.

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-OK, we'll do that.

-Will you do that?

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-Yep.

-60 quid, we've got a deal?

-Deal.

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That's an absolute dream. Thank you very much.

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I really like the chess set. That's a bit, you know,

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I'm thinking with my head. I've thought with my heart on this.

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So, Thomas leaves with a happy heart and head.

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Not to mention, two items with a discount of £115.

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Such a great start that he is now intent on taking it easy...

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..and is heading to the village of Quainton to let off some steam.

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He's come to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre to experience

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the heyday of steam travel.

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During the late 19th and early 20th century, train travel,

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for most of us, would involve crowds and cramped seating

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reminiscent of modern Russia.

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But for the more privileged folk,

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carriages were the standard of five-star hotels

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displaying incredible craftsmanship.

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One even became a preferred meeting room

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for two great Second World War commanders.

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And here to give Thomas a taste for the high life is Tony Lister.

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-Hi, I'm Thomas.

-Good morning and thank you.

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Welcome to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

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Run by the Quainton Railway Society, a group of railway enthusiasts,

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who have gathered together one of the largest collections

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of its kind in the UK.

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Even this station, dating from 1890, was painstakingly dismantled

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from its home in Oxford and recreated on this site,

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evoking a time when rail travel, for some,

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included dining in opulent carriages.

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This is amazing, it's made to the standard

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-of a sort of gentlemen's club.

-Oh, indeed.

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I mean, it is, but that was the standard in 1901.

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That was how they built carriages before the first war,

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when labour was relatively cheap.

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But, you know, no expense is spared. You've got all the inlay work,

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the carvings, the mouldings.

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Love these bottle coasters. And very sensible

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because the tables are quite small,

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obviously - we're in a railway carriage,

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so the bottles are out the way, one for wine or water.

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-The little menu holder's sweet, isn't it?

-Yes.

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And all the extra trimmings. I mean, they lived and ate brilliantly.

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Although this carriage was built for first-class dining,

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it was also used by servants as part of the Royal Train.

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And if this is the servants' quarters,

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I can't imagine where the Queen takes her tea!

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It's amazing that the servants would be eating in this sumptuous,

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I suppose, you know, surroundings.

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And the Royals would have exactly the same.

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Almost identical, if better, or...?

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They did to start with. It was two identical vehicles

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which went in the Royal Train. Another one just the same as this.

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So that was modernised in 1941, internally.

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Oh, really? And this was always there?

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This is the original 1901 survivor.

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It was only used by the servants, so we didn't need to modernise it.

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Another proud part of the centre's collection

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is this special saloon from the 1940s.

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It was built for use by the Royals and VIPs,

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but carriages like this became important mobile offices

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during the war and this one has a very special claim to fame.

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Initially, it was used during the war for meetings with Churchill,

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and between Churchill and Eisenhower,

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planning, who knows, the invasion of Europe?

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So, Tony, what do you think the advantages were

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by using trains and carriages as this in wartime?

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It's a self-contained vehicle. It's harder to hit, to bomb,

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strafe, whatever, a moving train

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than it is to hit a stationary building.

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It's absolute opulence.

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There's space,

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there's a boardroom, there's a sitting room,

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your own private compartment, etc.

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Well, Thomas, you do seem very much at home

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amongst Churchill's soft furnishings,

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but Tony has one more thing to show you

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and it looks a little less comfortable.

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-Who would have used this?

-The single seater was for the inspector

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to go out and see how his men were getting on down the line.

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So he, poor chap, didn't have to walk all the way.

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Known as a velocipede tricycle,

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this was made in America, around 1889.

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And, incredibly, 120 years later, it still works.

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So with a tendency to give everything a go,

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I can only guess what's coming next.

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Just as I suspected.

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-Let me give you a push.

-Right, so...

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-That'll set you off.

-Here I go.

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Oh! I'll tell you what, it's hard work, this.

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But, Laidlaw, I've got it. And I'm coming for you.

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Ha-ha-ha, that's fighting talk, Thomas.

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But on the open road, rival Paul is unaware of this impending doom

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and is powering towards the once-Roman settlement

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of Fenny Stratford.

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A busy market town until the 17th century, Fenny Stratford

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has now been part of Milton Keynes for almost 40 years.

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And without a lot to his name, Paul's got high hopes

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for his second shopping adventure in Fenny Antiques Centre,

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under the watchful eyes of Mags.

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I've bought nothing thus far, today.

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And here's me with it all to do.

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So don't occupy me, I'm busy. Can't you see I'm working?

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Oh, my. All that money's gone to his head.

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That's some pair of shears, is it not?

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These Victorian, Baroque-style scissors have Paul's attention

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and a ticket price of £32.

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What are you telling us? Cased ceremonial scissors.

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I dare say if you were going to...

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-POSH VOICE:

-I open this supermarket...

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..they would fit the bill.

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How interesting. Good stuff. Great.

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If you know what you're looking for,

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it's no surprise that there's a Stanhope

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at the heart of this little card.

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Bone...or composition cross, that remains to be seen.

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But what draws me is the fact that the label tells me

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that this Stanhope has images of the 1418 War in it.

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That's what I am interested in. There you go.

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A Stanhope is a system for viewing pictures in miniature,

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and with a connection to the First World War,

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military-mad Paul's taken with this little piece.

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I like the subject matter. Not bad.

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This is...I'm certainly in the zone.

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We've by no means broken the back of this exercise,

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I doubt we're a third of the way through it.

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And look at the cracking, interesting little objects we're finding.

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Between you and me, very viable and the prices are all right.

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This place is getting him all fired up.

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That is a little bit of early Cold War decadence.

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I think it taps into this '40s chic.

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On the front, a map. It's a map of Germany,

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but it's a divided Germany.

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The third object of his affections is this 1940s

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nickel-plated cigarette case and lighter.

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There's another military connection and a pretty small price tag of £10.

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And the items keep coming.

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A lovely, lovely pot.

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The world's full of good Doulton stoneware pots,

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which is a problem but that, I think, is utterly divine.

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And yours for £35.

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I am spoiled for choice, Mags.

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He's like the cat that's got the cream.

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Have a look at this black cat.

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Crazy, terrified look about him,

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which I find really charming.

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What I find more charming is the little stud in the ear.

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And you don't have to tell me

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which prestigious firm manufacturing bears,

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uses as its trademark device, a little stud in the ear.

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It is, of course, Stieff.

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This German company started trading in 1880

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with many products now highly prized.

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So with a price of only £45, this one is worth considering. Meow.

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For something of age, and that's now, what, 60 years old?

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I suspect uncommon because I've not encountered one before.

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Stieff cat, not a bear, a cat.

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I think we're ticking a lot of strong boxes here

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and I'm liking that. Right...

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It seems you're liking quite a lot here, Paul.

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The Victorian scissors, the First World War period rosary Stanhope,

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the 1940s cigarette case and lighter,

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the early-20th-century Royal Doulton vase

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and the 1950s black cat.

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So with five items now on his short list

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and a total value of £160,

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it's time to talk money with Mags.

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I...am...

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going to offer you...

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-..£100 the lot.

-110.

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-No, I'm digging my heels in.

-Oh, come on!

-HE LAUGHS

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-So am I!

-You're good.

-110.

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-Are we shaking hands at 105?

-OK.

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-Wonderful, Mags.

-No problem.

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You sold me five things! Oh, what am I going to do now?

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Wonderful, that's a great little haul.

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So that's five items for £105.

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Great for Paul but Thomas needs his rival to take more of a risk

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with his money, if he stands a chance of catching up with him.

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Maybe tomorrow Paul won't play it so safe. Sleep well, chaps.

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It's a new day on the road

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and our boys are battling through the morning fog.

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We're pretty cool, driving around in a car,

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open top, in the fog.

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We have not seen a drop of rain.

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-Oh, come on!

-We have no roof. We require no roof.

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Blessed, this is another facet to our idyllic lives.

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-Well, act naturally.

-We don't see rain.

-We don't see - we're too cool!

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-They're drenched. Us?

-We're too cool for rain! THEY LAUGH

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Not exactly how I'd describe you, chaps...

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but at least they're still making each other laugh.

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And they do have quite a bit to show for their exploits on this trip

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as yesterday Paul picked up five items

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in that last shop for only £105.

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He still has a grand total of £850.46 to spend today,

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if he can be persuaded to part with it.

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But with it all to do,

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Thomas spent £60 on the modernist chess set

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and Victorian aide-memoire.

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So he's got £363.66 to challenge his rival's lead.

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This morning, they're starting in Bletchley, which like

0:17:550:18:00

Fenny Stratford, is now part of Milton Keynes.

0:18:000:18:02

The town grew with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century.

0:18:040:18:08

It's now synonymous with code-breaking

0:18:080:18:10

during the Second World War at Bletchley Park.

0:18:100:18:13

It's also recognised as the place where some of the earliest computers

0:18:150:18:19

were used to break encrypted messages of the Hitler regime.

0:18:190:18:23

These revolutionary devices have now grown to dominate

0:18:250:18:29

almost every aspect of our modern lives.

0:18:290:18:31

They've changed the way we communicate, move around the planet

0:18:310:18:34

and played a major role in globalisation.

0:18:340:18:37

In fact, life without them is almost unimaginable.

0:18:370:18:41

But back in Bletchley, in the 1940s, they only did one thing.

0:18:430:18:47

Paul's come to the National Museum of Computing to find out

0:18:470:18:51

how these machines went from top-secret code-breakers

0:18:510:18:55

to one of the world's most used objects,

0:18:550:18:58

with the help of museum curator Kevin Murrell.

0:18:580:19:01

-Hello! Is it Kevin?

-Hello, Paul.

0:19:010:19:04

-Good to see you.

-How are you doing?

0:19:040:19:06

-That's a toy.

-It is. This is the Colossus computer.

0:19:060:19:09

This is the machine that was developed in the middle

0:19:090:19:11

of the Second World War to decrypt the most secure transmissions

0:19:110:19:17

from the, sort of, Berlin headquarters

0:19:170:19:20

-of the Nazi regime.

-Right.

0:19:200:19:22

Previously, people had been able to decrypt messages slowly by hand,

0:19:220:19:25

but this level of messages required automation.

0:19:250:19:29

So this is the first electronic computer

0:19:290:19:32

that was built to solve that problem.

0:19:320:19:34

Colossus was designed by telephone engineer Tommy Flowers

0:19:360:19:39

who had the idea of using electronics

0:19:390:19:42

to power an automated machine.

0:19:420:19:44

This allowed workers at Bletchley Park

0:19:440:19:46

to decode each message in about six hours.

0:19:460:19:49

Something that had previously taken six weeks.

0:19:490:19:52

We're doing this here at Bletchley, during the war

0:19:540:19:59

and it's top-secret.

0:19:590:20:01

Is there anything comparable going on, albeit in isolation, elsewhere?

0:20:010:20:06

Not quite to the same degree. The Americans were here as well.

0:20:060:20:10

There was quite a team of Americans working here.

0:20:100:20:13

No-one could take one of these with them.

0:20:130:20:15

No-one could take the circuit diagrams.

0:20:150:20:17

But everyone left with the knowledge of the fact that

0:20:170:20:20

-you could build a machine on this scale to do that job.

-Yeah.

0:20:200:20:23

Although cutting edge for its time,

0:20:230:20:25

Colossus was designed to perform one task.

0:20:250:20:28

But a major breakthrough came a few years later

0:20:280:20:30

when engineers at the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment,

0:20:300:20:35

in nearby Oxfordshire, designed a machine

0:20:350:20:37

that could be programmed for multiple uses.

0:20:370:20:40

And this 2.5 tonne Harwell Dekatron computer was the result.

0:20:400:20:46

This is a general purpose computer,

0:20:460:20:48

-so, in principle, it can do anything we want.

-Yeah.

0:20:480:20:51

-Unlike Colossus, which is very much tailored to that one job.

-I see.

0:20:510:20:55

Originally designed to do mathematical calculations,

0:20:550:20:59

programs punched into paper tape could be loaded

0:20:590:21:02

into the machine's memory to tell the computer what to do.

0:21:020:21:05

In this case, it's the two times table.

0:21:050:21:08

Whoa, what a noise!

0:21:080:21:11

You know what that noise is? That's Robbie the Robot thinking, isn't it?

0:21:110:21:14

Well, it hasn't even begun... to the thinking stage yet.

0:21:140:21:17

What it's doing, it's reading that program into these,

0:21:170:21:20

into the memory of the computer,

0:21:200:21:23

and this is the memory of the computer.

0:21:230:21:25

This is the oldest original, working electronic-stored program computer in the world.

0:21:250:21:31

It only has the memory to store the equivalent of a few lines

0:21:310:21:35

of e-mail, but its significance cannot be underestimated.

0:21:350:21:39

It's functionally - it's identical to every modern computer.

0:21:390:21:43

-Just a bit bigger.

-Just a lot bigger.

0:21:430:21:45

And you should see the size of the batteries!

0:21:450:21:47

I've loved this. I'm never going to forget these beasts or you.

0:21:490:21:53

-Thank you very much for coming.

-Thank you very much.

-Cheers.

-All the best.

0:21:530:21:57

It's incredible to think that work by engineers and mathematicians

0:21:570:22:01

only 70 years ago has led to these devices

0:22:010:22:04

becoming part of our everyday lives.

0:22:040:22:07

And back in the Sunbeam,

0:22:070:22:08

Thomas is calculating his own life-changing victory.

0:22:080:22:12

So this is it, it's the last day. My final chance,

0:22:120:22:18

in two shops, to find the grail

0:22:180:22:22

to beat the Laidlaw which will change our trip

0:22:220:22:27

and maybe the course of history.

0:22:270:22:29

Eh! Steady on there, Thomas!

0:22:290:22:31

So, apparently, great things await

0:22:310:22:33

in the next destination of Ampthill.

0:22:330:22:35

This popular historic town has held a weekly market for over 750 years.

0:22:370:22:42

But Thomas has come for a snoop around Ampthill Antiques Centre,

0:22:430:22:47

with the help of Libby.

0:22:470:22:49

-Libby. So are you the...in charge?

-I'm the manager.

0:22:490:22:52

-You're the aficionado?

-Yes.

0:22:520:22:54

-Do you keep them all under control?

-Well, I'm supposed to.

0:22:540:22:57

-How many dealers have you got?

-56.

-56?

-Yeah.

0:22:570:23:01

You must have a long stick to poke them with sometimes?

0:23:010:23:04

Well, yeah, you have to lose your cool now and again.

0:23:040:23:07

Oh, I wouldn't get on the wrong side of her, mate.

0:23:070:23:10

This is what it's like to have long legs. It's extraordinary.

0:23:100:23:12

Very fetching.

0:23:120:23:14

The last and final day

0:23:160:23:18

of this leg of the road trip and it's been fabulous.

0:23:180:23:22

I've loved it.

0:23:220:23:24

I've enjoyed it so much I'm going to put another helmet on.

0:23:260:23:29

I'm getting armed up and ready to fight the Laidlaw.

0:23:330:23:37

Last day or not, he'll never pass up an opportunity to try things on.

0:23:370:23:42

What am I doing? I'm meant to be shopping for antiques,

0:23:420:23:45

not for shirts for myself. Do you know, that's my size.

0:23:450:23:48

Ooh-rah!

0:23:480:23:49

Come on, Thomas! Oh, what's he found now?

0:23:490:23:52

Kingfisher. Kingfisher waders.

0:23:520:23:56

Are you going fishing for antiques?

0:23:560:23:57

What do you think? If I turned up to the reveal with waders,

0:24:000:24:05

do you think Paul would notice?

0:24:050:24:07

Man about town, Tomato Plant.

0:24:070:24:10

To stand a chance of winning, Thomas, you'd better get shopping.

0:24:130:24:16

That's a bit more like it.

0:24:190:24:21

There's this very cool lighter.

0:24:210:24:24

It's in Perspex, inset with shells, here,

0:24:240:24:28

and looking like an aquarium or the sea bed.

0:24:280:24:30

Copying, you know, the Dunhill ones.

0:24:300:24:32

-That's right.

-But, you know, certainly, in that Sputnik form.

0:24:320:24:36

And there are collectors for lighters out there.

0:24:360:24:38

-He's got 40...

-44 on the ticket.

-..44 on it. Yeah.

0:24:380:24:41

OK, well that's something one can think about.

0:24:410:24:45

Ah, what a bright spark, eh?

0:24:450:24:46

He's found a 1960s aquarium-style table lighter

0:24:460:24:50

with a price tag of £44.

0:24:500:24:52

And I think there's a theme developing here.

0:24:520:24:54

Cigar stationery set.

0:24:570:24:59

-So, all intents and purposes, this is your cigar.

-Mm-hmm.

0:24:590:25:02

Then you pull it off at the end,

0:25:020:25:05

and you've got a bookmark,

0:25:050:25:08

bone handle pencil, dip pen and paper knife.

0:25:080:25:12

-And are they nibs?

-Nibs. Oh, yeah, nibs.

0:25:140:25:17

Well, that's quite fun, isn't it?

0:25:170:25:19

So that's at 55 and that's at 44.

0:25:190:25:22

-That makes, sort of, 90.

-Yeah.

0:25:220:25:24

At the moment, 10% - £5 and £4, but I can ring Alex...

0:25:240:25:29

-Could you ring Alex?

-..and see if he'd be prepared to do a better deal.

0:25:290:25:32

That would be really helpful.

0:25:320:25:34

Two objects from one cabinet, but will owner Alex cut him

0:25:340:25:37

a good deal over the phone?

0:25:370:25:40

One is 55 and one is 44.

0:25:400:25:43

If you clump them together, maybe we can get a good price.

0:25:440:25:48

I think the cigar's great fun. With all the little bits in there.

0:25:480:25:52

It's a sort of unusual object and the unusual sells.

0:25:530:25:58

OK, thank you, Alex. Bye-bye.

0:25:580:26:01

So has she whipped that price into shape?

0:26:010:26:04

-Well, Thomas, we've got them for £70 for the two.

-70 for the two?

-Yeah.

0:26:040:26:09

That's awesome. That's very good of him, isn't it?

0:26:090:26:12

-Yes, that is very kind.

-That is very, very kind.

0:26:120:26:15

-Yeah, we'll have those for £70 for the two.

-OK, thank you.

0:26:150:26:18

Well, thank you very much. That's an absolute dream, you know. Awesome.

0:26:180:26:22

Even after all that mucking about, he's on fire

0:26:220:26:25

with these two unusual pieces for £70.

0:26:250:26:28

And back on the road with Paul, they head to the market town

0:26:290:26:32

of Olney in the borough of Milton Keynes.

0:26:320:26:35

The town's fame, in part, coming from the annual pancake race,

0:26:360:26:40

held here since the 15th century.

0:26:400:26:42

Annual race! I want to get in there.

0:26:430:26:47

This is our last chance to dazzle.

0:26:470:26:50

Your last hurrah.

0:26:500:26:52

The last shop of the trip is a whopper, where manager Nick

0:26:520:26:56

and some 50 dealers-worth of antiques await.

0:26:560:26:59

Going to get hot. Oh, look at this.

0:27:000:27:03

-Here he goes again.

-I feel like Shaft. It's cool.

0:27:090:27:12

I can't express how much stuff there is.

0:27:140:27:18

So, really, it's a good idea to have a good look round then focus in.

0:27:180:27:23

-And get fit at the same time.

-Oh, my...

0:27:250:27:27

How much have I got left? £800-and-odd left.

0:27:290:27:33

And five purchases in hand. Yeah. How badly wrong can it go?

0:27:330:27:38

Touch wood, though. If Thomas finds that diamond solitaire for a fiver...

0:27:380:27:43

-Plant, come here.

-Laidlaw, what are you doing?

-Come here.

0:27:430:27:46

Described as brass for a fiver.

0:27:460:27:48

HE LAUGHS

0:27:480:27:49

That's your wedding band.

0:27:490:27:52

-Right.

-It looks like Paul's not risking any more of his cash,

0:27:520:27:55

so the pressure's on Thomas to find that last lot

0:27:550:27:58

that can challenge his rival's lead.

0:27:580:28:01

Rare octagonal, silver-plated, decorated Masonic snuffbox

0:28:010:28:05

with a verse stating the oak came from the 600-year Glasgow Cathedral in 1870.

0:28:050:28:10

Looks, it says here: "I am an outcast from the house of God

0:28:100:28:14

"and I have become a casing stock in the hands of a man.

0:28:140:28:17

"And part of my remains made this snuffbox."

0:28:170:28:21

Ah, there we are, look, there's snuff in there. Look at that.

0:28:220:28:26

A bit of snuff.

0:28:270:28:29

What a fabulous thing.

0:28:300:28:32

There's snuff in there!

0:28:320:28:35

-Isn't that exciting?

-Wow.

0:28:350:28:36

His heart's fallen for the £155 snuffbox,

0:28:380:28:42

so Nick gets on the phone to the dealer.

0:28:420:28:44

This could really help me against Paul

0:28:440:28:47

in the quest of thrashing him

0:28:470:28:51

and nip it at the last with the help, with the help of the Masons.

0:28:510:28:55

-It was 155.

-Yes.

-Trade of 15 makes 140.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:28:560:29:00

-And she says she can go down to 120.

-120. She couldn't do 100?

0:29:000:29:04

-No.

-A neat £100?

-She can't. Unfortunately.

0:29:040:29:08

-10?

-All right, 110.

0:29:080:29:10

-Why not 100 now?

-I can't! I can't! I really, really, really can't.

0:29:100:29:15

-110?

-110.

0:29:150:29:17

-We've got a deal, that's it.

-Fantastic.

0:29:170:29:19

For the first time on the trip, Thomas spends big

0:29:190:29:23

and Paul's bought small, but how will they fancy each other's lots?

0:29:230:29:27

It's time to gather for the big reveal.

0:29:270:29:29

I want to see, I want to see.

0:29:290:29:33

-Laidlaw. Well, what have you been buying?

-Don't you be surprised!

0:29:330:29:38

What have you been buying? Laidlaw, this is so un-you.

0:29:380:29:41

You've bought a black cat for good luck. HE LAUGHS

0:29:410:29:44

-You madman.

-I won't need it.

-A rosary.

-Yep.

-Because you need...

0:29:440:29:48

And I won't need that either.

0:29:480:29:51

-If I touch it, my skin will burn.

-Right. A Stanhope. Great War.

0:29:510:29:57

The ruins of Albert, 1916.

0:29:570:30:00

-Yeah, OK, OK. My fingers are slightly singed.

-So double your quote.

0:30:010:30:07

-£20.

-That's amazing.

0:30:070:30:09

-But I really love that...

-I like that. It's a good thing.

0:30:090:30:13

-Lighters are popular at the moment.

-Yep. I think it gets me...

0:30:130:30:17

-What do you mean, it gets you?

-Over a grand.

0:30:170:30:20

You think this will get you over a grand? Is that what you've done?

0:30:200:30:23

You've not risked it because you want to get over a grand.

0:30:240:30:29

What about this?

0:30:290:30:31

-Should I be worried?

-Can I just do one or two things?

0:30:310:30:36

Yeah, OK, reveal.

0:30:360:30:38

-What?

-Come on.

-A fiver.

-15 quid.

0:30:400:30:43

-Shut up. What did you pay for them?

-20 quid.

0:30:430:30:45

-Behave yourself!

-No, no, I did!

-That was an aberration, Thomas.

0:30:450:30:48

-No, it wasn't.

-The rest I'm intrigued by.

0:30:480:30:50

-This Sputnik...

-Yes.

-Your fruits of the seas...

-Yes.

0:30:500:30:55

-'50s, kitsch...

-'60s, yeah.

-..love it to bits.

0:30:550:30:58

Penguin lighter.

0:30:580:31:00

-I'm going to handle this.

-Go on.

0:31:000:31:01

-Oh, that's nicely done. How much did you pay for it?

-110.

0:31:030:31:06

I think it's a shrewd, speculative purchase.

0:31:070:31:11

-I can't believe you've done that...

-What?

-Just to make over that grand,

0:31:110:31:15

-that's so...

-No, I didn't! They were the best things I could buy!

0:31:150:31:18

Stieff and Stanhopes and victory!

0:31:180:31:23

-Come on.

-Come on.

0:31:230:31:24

Can Paul nudge it over £1,000?

0:31:250:31:28

And will Thomas' big-spending prove profitable?

0:31:280:31:32

Give us the lowdown then, chaps.

0:31:320:31:33

He thinks I'm being strategic in my buying.

0:31:330:31:36

I'm really gutted because I genuinely did not.

0:31:360:31:39

I went out to buy the best things I could

0:31:390:31:42

with the most likelihood of making some profit.

0:31:420:31:46

Laidlaw has only spent £105 on mediocre items.

0:31:460:31:51

Does Tom think he could win this auction?

0:31:510:31:54

Nah!

0:31:540:31:55

I hope he does it, but I hope my Masonic piece sails!

0:31:570:32:01

So, they've returned to the comforts of the Sunbeam

0:32:010:32:03

and for this last journey to auction the rain appears

0:32:030:32:07

and the roof goes on for the first time.

0:32:070:32:10

How are you going to cope without me?

0:32:100:32:13

Are you going to wake up in the morning and go, "Oh, no!

0:32:130:32:16

"I miss him so much!" PAUL LAUGHS

0:32:160:32:19

Their final destination of this trip is Bedford,

0:32:200:32:22

the county town of Bedfordshire.

0:32:220:32:24

With the River Great Ouse running through its centre,

0:32:260:32:30

the town was once a centre of the lace industry,

0:32:300:32:33

something that's reflected in this abstract statue erected in 2009.

0:32:330:32:38

But we're here for some antiques action,

0:32:380:32:41

at W&H Peacock Auctioneers and Valuers,

0:32:410:32:44

who've been in Bedford for over 100 years.

0:32:440:32:47

No, no, no, no! Laidlaw! Watch your head.

0:32:490:32:54

So, who's got the upper hand in this final showdown?

0:32:540:32:56

We asked auctioneer Lindsay Vintiner for her thoughts.

0:32:560:33:01

My favourite is the aquarium lighter. It's not a Dunhill.

0:33:010:33:05

If it was, we'd be talking thousands of pounds.

0:33:050:33:08

That sort of 1970s legs,

0:33:080:33:10

that'll appeal to the younger buyers amongst us.

0:33:100:33:13

I think the Masonic snuffbox will make the most money,

0:33:130:33:17

if the buyers are here today.

0:33:170:33:19

She's got her eyes on two of Thomas' lots,

0:33:190:33:22

which, together with the other three, cost him a total of £240.

0:33:220:33:27

Despite his massive budget, Paul only parted with £105

0:33:270:33:31

and is also presenting five lots.

0:33:310:33:33

And so with the end in sight,

0:33:330:33:35

the auction begins.

0:33:350:33:37

Oh, man, it's going to be hard. I know, is it getting to you too?

0:33:370:33:41

Yeah, hugely.

0:33:410:33:43

And Paul's praying he can edge it

0:33:430:33:45

over the £1,000 mark

0:33:450:33:46

with his offerings.

0:33:460:33:47

OK, Lot 60 now then, is the Stanhope viewer. £20, starting me, surely?

0:33:490:33:54

I've got £10 only bid now, 10, £10 now. 12 anywhere else? 12? 14?

0:33:540:34:00

At £14 now, the bid's on commission this time.

0:34:000:34:02

She's going to sell it for £14!

0:34:020:34:04

-16, lady's bid now, 16. 18.

-This is hard work, is it not?

0:34:040:34:09

Another bid's on £18 only. 20, at 20 now. 22. £22 now.

0:34:090:34:15

-It's washed its face.

-On commission, £22.

0:34:150:34:19

I'm afraid, after costs are deducted,

0:34:190:34:21

this first lot's fallen from grace.

0:34:210:34:23

-Ah, 22 quid.

-Paul, that was a roller coaster.

0:34:230:34:26

Now for the chess set that confused Paul but captured Thomas' heart.

0:34:270:34:32

Here we go. I'm loving this.

0:34:320:34:34

Commission bids, start me at £20 for the set now.

0:34:340:34:38

20, at £20 now.

0:34:380:34:39

The bid's on commission at £20. I need two in the room.

0:34:390:34:42

You're all out. On commission, at just £20 only.

0:34:420:34:44

One lonely bid - stalemate.

0:34:460:34:49

-That's a total result. What's the face for?

-I paid 20 for it.

0:34:490:34:52

-18 quid more than it should've been!

-Shut up!

0:34:520:34:55

Ooh-err! Tensions are rising.

0:34:550:34:57

Can Paul's lighter and cigarette case

0:34:570:34:59

do any better than his last lot?

0:34:590:35:02

-£50 for it.

-Oh, I like her style. I like her optimism.

-Deary me.

0:35:020:35:07

-£20, thank you, sir.

-Oh, 20!

-At £20 now. That's a start, I suppose.

0:35:070:35:10

£20 now, bids here. 22, 22, 24, 24,

0:35:100:35:14

26, 28, at 28. 30, 32, £32 now.

0:35:140:35:20

The bid's to my left at £32.

0:35:200:35:21

Things are picking up with that respectable profit.

0:35:230:35:26

What did that make? 24 quid, 26 quid?

0:35:260:35:30

-No, 34!

-It did! It didn't, did it?

-Yes.

0:35:300:35:33

-Oh, I'll take that.

-Maybe 34, 32, maybe.

0:35:330:35:37

You won't be so cheeky now your silver case

0:35:370:35:39

is going under the hammer, Thomas.

0:35:390:35:42

It's going to make £100. Less charges, 80.

0:35:420:35:44

-You're going to make 40 quid profit here.

-£50, start me.

0:35:440:35:47

Must be 50, nice silver lot, this. 30 to get going.

0:35:470:35:51

-Get started.

-Two ladies bidding now, 32. 34.

0:35:510:35:55

Lady's bid. Private interest would do you.

0:35:550:35:58

40, Madame. 40. At 40, 45. 45, 50.

0:35:580:36:03

50, 55. 60, 65. At 60.

0:36:030:36:06

-Oh, look at this.

-That's it. I told you.

-No.

0:36:060:36:10

A new bidder here now, 70. Gentleman here at £70.

0:36:100:36:14

That's a decent profit

0:36:140:36:15

but he's still got a mountain to climb to reach Paul's heady heights.

0:36:150:36:19

-That was a bargain.

-Well, it's a profit.

-30, call it a 30 quid profit.

0:36:190:36:23

Paul's got high hopes for his next lot, but can the Stieff cat deliver?

0:36:240:36:29

I love its pose. It looks like me in the morning. There we go.

0:36:300:36:34

£20, start me for it. 20. Must be a tenner, surely, then?

0:36:340:36:38

10, lady's bid, thank you now. 12 online now. At 14, 14.

0:36:380:36:42

-I am going down in flames today.

-At £14 now. 16 behind now, 16. 18.

0:36:420:36:48

At £18 now. It's the lady in the front. 20. At 20. At 20 now.

0:36:480:36:52

It's behind now. It's a lady's bid, at £20.

0:36:520:36:55

They just don't see it for what it is. It's another loss.

0:36:570:37:01

Aw. I'm not having a good day.

0:37:010:37:03

Now Thomas needs some big profits from his lighter.

0:37:030:37:07

Interesting lot, this. Had a fair bit of interest, this.

0:37:070:37:10

I have got loads of bids here.

0:37:100:37:12

-Start this at £1,100.

-How much?!

0:37:120:37:17

-She's joking.

-1,100. I'm just joking, actually.

0:37:170:37:22

I'm just joking, I'm sorry.

0:37:220:37:24

Just trying to wind you all up.

0:37:240:37:26

Auctioneers aren't normally known for playing tricks,

0:37:260:37:29

just as well Thomas is such a good sport.

0:37:290:37:31

-I have got just a fiver start here now.

-Ah, that's more realistic.

0:37:320:37:38

-At 5, 6, 8.

-What a cheeky soul!

0:37:380:37:43

Now 8. At £8 now. I've got a commission bid. 10, 12, at £12 now.

0:37:430:37:50

-14.

-Did you ask her to do that?

-Yeah.

-Good man. That was hilarious.

0:37:500:37:54

Online at £22.

0:37:540:37:58

What fun. It's not £1,100, it's not even a profit.

0:37:580:38:02

For that fleeting moment, you thought you'd turned it there.

0:38:040:38:07

I thought to myself, "Poor Paul."

0:38:070:38:09

-That's what went into my mind, was poor Paul.

-And now I feel terrible.

0:38:090:38:12

Will dirty trickster Paul's fortunes turn around now?

0:38:120:38:16

Every home should have a pair of these. £20 for the scissors.

0:38:160:38:20

Tenner then, surely, for these?

0:38:200:38:22

Ten, lady's bid, thank you.

0:38:220:38:25

12, online now. At 12, 14. At 14, 16.

0:38:250:38:29

18. At £18.

0:38:290:38:31

You know, I don't think Paul's experienced loss like this before.

0:38:330:38:38

This is not a good sale for you, is it? Oh, Laidlaw.

0:38:380:38:41

Well, Thomas, you're winning this auction so can you widen your lead?

0:38:410:38:45

£20 for it, surely?

0:38:450:38:48

Tenner then, anyone? Cigar?

0:38:480:38:50

-Come on, it's worth...

-Come on.

0:38:500:38:51

10, thank you, online now. 10. 12. At £12 now.

0:38:510:38:55

14. At £14 now,

0:38:550:38:57

16, 18, 18 now, 20, at £20 now.

0:38:570:39:01

In the room here.

0:39:010:39:02

22, 22, at 22, 24.

0:39:020:39:07

Two people online now.

0:39:070:39:08

24, bid's online. 26. Room bid now, 28.

0:39:080:39:12

30. 32, 34, 36.

0:39:120:39:15

At £36 now.

0:39:150:39:17

Ooh, yes. I can't believe it.

0:39:170:39:19

£38 now, online.

0:39:190:39:20

40, £40, 45 online at £45.

0:39:200:39:25

It's profit but not enough to worry rival Paul.

0:39:280:39:32

-I thought the aquarium lighter was going to do really well.

-Yeah.

0:39:320:39:34

And then that, that horror thing, the thing I say is terrible makes 45.

0:39:340:39:39

Basically, it shows us up for the complete fools that we are.

0:39:390:39:43

-Paul's last lot is his 20th-century vase.

-Here we go.

0:39:440:39:48

Lots of internet interest and I'm forced to start the bidding at...

0:39:480:39:51

-£10 for this only now.

-Wishful thinking, perhaps.

0:39:510:39:54

12, 14, 16, 18,

0:39:540:39:58

20, 22,

0:39:580:39:59

24. It's a gentleman's bid.

0:39:590:40:02

Just £24.

0:40:020:40:04

He didn't gamble with his cash and what he did part with he's lost.

0:40:050:40:10

The last lot is Thomas' big hope.

0:40:100:40:12

He needs this snuffbox to make over £633 to win this road trip.

0:40:120:40:17

-It is a big ask.

-It's going to bomb.

-Good luck.

0:40:170:40:21

£50 starting now. 50.

0:40:210:40:24

£50 now is that all you've got?

0:40:240:40:26

55, 60, at 60,

0:40:260:40:28

70, 75 online now, 75.

0:40:280:40:31

80, 85, 90 on commission now.

0:40:310:40:35

The snuffbox now, 95,

0:40:350:40:39

£100 now, 110, 120, 130, 130, 140.

0:40:390:40:44

-It's looking good, Thomas.

-Yes!

0:40:440:40:47

150, 150. There's two bidders online now.

0:40:470:40:49

150, 160. 170, 180,

0:40:490:40:52

-190, 200, 210.

-Hats off, man. It's still going, 220!

0:40:520:40:56

At 210 now, 220, it's online at £220.

0:40:560:41:01

Well, he's doubled his money

0:41:030:41:05

and that profit means Thomas is today's auction champion.

0:41:050:41:08

-Yes!

-Thomas, hats off, man.

-Yes!

-Well done!

0:41:080:41:13

Thomas is taking victory on this last leg, starting with £423.66,

0:41:130:41:18

he's made profits of £69.14 after auction house costs,

0:41:180:41:23

so ends the trip with £492.80.

0:41:230:41:27

Paul began with £955.46. Despite a loss of £9.88

0:41:280:41:33

and not quite reaching the thousand pound mark,

0:41:330:41:36

Paul has won this road trip with a total of £945.58.

0:41:360:41:42

All profits are donated to Children In Need.

0:41:420:41:45

So good work, chaps.

0:41:450:41:48

You stole it there, man!

0:41:480:41:50

What a way to go out.

0:41:500:41:52

That joke you played! That was fabulous.

0:41:520:41:56

I took it - hook, line and sinker.

0:41:560:41:58

-I would say sorry but I'm not!

-No, don't be.

0:41:580:42:01

-It was magic. Absolutely magic.

-Way to go, taking the last one.

0:42:010:42:06

-Aw, it was fun.

-Good result, man.

-Yeah, good result.

0:42:060:42:09

-Are you driving?

-Yeah, I want to drive! I'm feeling good.

0:42:090:42:13

And so you should because what a week it's been.

0:42:130:42:17

From Morecambe to Bedford,

0:42:170:42:19

we've been witness to a boisterous battle for antiques glory.

0:42:190:42:23

-Have that, Laidlaw!

-Ah, I'm in the void!

0:42:230:42:26

While one expert hasn't taken his eye off the ball.

0:42:260:42:29

Spotted because of my antiques sixth sense.

0:42:290:42:32

Of course I'm going to put it on.

0:42:320:42:33

The other has tried on everything he can find.

0:42:330:42:37

I fancy being a fireman today.

0:42:370:42:39

I'll be back.

0:42:390:42:41

Ooh-rah!

0:42:410:42:42

-There's been some big risks.

-It's just fantastic.

0:42:420:42:46

-And even bigger rewards.

-Man, what a sale!

0:42:460:42:50

But through it all, they've remained the best of friends.

0:42:500:42:54

-You are magic.

-Don't hug me, don't hug me.

0:42:540:42:56

You are magic.

0:42:560:42:57

Next time on the Antiques Road Trip, old friends are reunited.

0:43:050:43:08

The cool, calm and collected Mark Stacey.

0:43:080:43:12

-We're going to have fun.

-Yes.

0:43:120:43:14

-And the hot, hot, hot Catherine Southon.

-Ooh!

0:43:140:43:18

I'm on fire! Yes!

0:43:180:43:20

Antiques experts travel the UK searching for treasures.

On the final day of their trip, Paul Laidlaw and Thomas Plant start in Wendover, Buckinghamshire and make their way to auction in Bedford.