Actor and explorer Brian Blessed takes to the road with comedian Jenny Eclair and antiques experts James Braxton and Anita Manning, starting in Cockermouth and ending in Runcorn.
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-Some of the nations favourite celebrities.
One antiques expert each.
-I'm just having a wobble.
-Don't have a wobble!
And one big challenge - who can seek out and buy the best antiques
at the very best prices?
I'm such a baby when it comes to all this.
-55, a new bidder, thank you.
-..for a big profit further down the road.
Who will spot the good investments?
Who will listen to advice?
And who will be the first to say, "Don't you know who I am"?
Time to put your pedal to the metal.
This is the Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, yeah!
The heady mix of celebrity power and intense antiques bargaining continues.
Two icons of stage and screen prepare to take on the road trip.
Oh, a joy to be here. A joy, joy, joy. I must be mental.
Less bonkers, more quirky, I'd say.
She's the chastened princess of comedy, first lady to win the Edinburgh Fringe comedy award,
and she's still touring her one-woman shows.
With age comes cunning.
She's raring to go. She's Jenny Eclair.
A bit close, by the way.
And this fine stout yeoman is Brian, Blessed be his name.
He's done an awful lot of acting,
even famously as the father of TV's Edmund Blackadder.
And he was in that film... You know the one I mean.
# Flash! Ahhh! #
That's the one.
But Brian has another life as revered mountaineer and adventurer.
He's even climbed Mount Everest.
Honestly! He did make it!
I don't think I can get in.
-And he's got into a car.
-It's a kind of size 8 car. I'd say Brian's a 16.
-I'm a cautious driver.
-I do tend to drive a little bit like an old lady.
-Are you braking all right?
I haven't got my foot on the brake at all!
I tend to now look at everything as an adventure. I look on this as an adventure.
So we've given our celebrities £400 each for their buying expedition,
but this isn't acting and this isn't comedy. Not on my watch.
So, we've cast a pair of antiques understudies to guide them.
This lovely lady is an auctioneer and antiques businesswoman.
-She's one to watch. She's Anita Manning.
Oh, you're a hard man.
Now, enough of that.
I know what you're thinking - who does he think he is in those trousers?
But the rouge slacks mask a fine mind.
He's a surveyor, an auctioneer, he loves great British design, he's James Braxton.
Another winner secured, another winner secured.
And what would an antiques road trip be without a pair of lovely motors?
A suave 1959 Austin Healey 3000 for our celebrities,
and a cute 1967 Triumph Vitesse for Anita and James.
-Do Jenny or Brian know anything about antiques?
-I'm not too sure.
-Do you think we know enough?
-I sincerely hope so.
I think Brian might give us a rigorous examination, I think.
That's in the spirit of the man, isn't it? Jenny will be very kind.
But before we can get going, we need to know where we're going.
We start the trip in Cockermouth and head south through Cumbria,
ending up in Runcorn for the auction.
Cockermouth is the rather damp meeting point for our thespian,
and fashion icon.
-Hiya! How lovely!
-Hello, hello. So what's the plan?
We'll put the two big guys together
and the two beautiful wacky women together.
-We'll win, obviously.
-We'll win, obviously, yeah.
You guys go that way, we'll go this way.
-Is that where the best shops are?
-And may the best women win.
-We're off! Bye, Brian.
We've got the brollies, too.
Good luck to you all.
Our celebrities have their money and their experts, now they each need a plan.
Important not to peak too early, I presume.
Well, if you see something you like and you can get it for the right price, then we go for it.
-Have you never been here before?
-So this is all new to you.
It's all new, but antique shops are my bread and butter. We love them.
Indeed, James has much to teach if you'll lend him your ear, Brian.
-How do you choose things? I mean...
-Very easy, Brian.
Two guidelines - quality of materials, quality of design.
The rest is all subjective.
So always a good thing to look for is the material.
Is it made of gold, is it made of silver, or wood? What sort of wood?
Well, I'm totally ignorant. I'll be guided by you.
I'm not leaving this shop without one item at least.
-Oh, what a team.
-Brollies down. Bonnets off!
Colin Graham antiques offers Jenny her first stab at this new buying game,
-attended by the owner himself.
-How are you?
-Very well, thank you.
-I've seen you somewhere before.
-I've got a very common face.
Right, there's something in the window that did catch my eye,
it's the optician's box.
Well now, no wonder this caught Jenny's eye.
It looks like a turn of the 20th century optician's testing kit,
complete with sight testing text.
There's something rather beautiful and poetic about...
"We had not long been travelling, air is sudden tempest."
-That's an eye test and a half, isn't it?
I'd think it's sort of 1910, 1920s,
although you could still use it today for eye testing.
I'm minus 5 in my left eye, so I wonder whether this is
on the same...
-Do you think these suit me?
-Are these good?
Erm, well, maybe!
I don't know why, it's the sort of thing you'd see in one of those gastropubs,
you know where they have to have lots of stuff all over the place.
And if you had a gastropub called The Optician's...
I'm thinking ahead here! I don't know why.
Interesting idea, and really quite specific.
-I think this is rather beautiful.
-You love it?
-Yeah, I do. I don't know how much is it?
Yes, it's out of our price range.
-You don't like the price, I know.
But Colin said...
I haven't been in the back room yet.
Miss Eclair, one doesn't flirt with a Cumbrian man
and then say one wishes to see the back room!
This was all exported from the Port of Canton so we all call it Cantonese.
Of course I was master of ceremonies for the Hong Kong handover.
-Oh, were you?
-Yes, I did the whole ceremony.
"Today the eyes of the world are upon us,"
and afterwards I was the kind of toast of Hong Kong and I met the Chinese people.
And when I'm in the Far East anywhere, I can't bargain.
I'm a sucker. I always pay top whack for it.
The fun of these antique shops is nobody really knows the price.
We can look at that and we think, well, if that was £20 we'd probably put it back,
but if it was five pounds we might think about buying it.
I'd find it embarrassing making an offer four or five pounds less.
These shop owners here will be loving that, won't they?
Oh dear, Brian, you'll have to get over that fear.
It's hard work, this antiques road tripping.
-What you do is you run, doing that.
And then you ffft! Whack!
It's a great game, and you can play it with eggs!
Wow, what a wacky television set, and who's not terribly handsome - not - young man
- not - filling the screen?
Colin, this woman is our telly star,
and we're looking at that star of a telly.
We'd like to know the price.
-But it's sold as a decorative item because it is electrical.
-In other words it doesn't work.
Well, yes, it will work but it does need alterations for digital.
-Shall we go and whisper in the back?
-Aha. Is it all right if we have a wee...?
-Go right through.
-We'll go and count our money. I think I've lost the money.
Find the money, quick! Remember I've got a wife and six kids.
Really? You've been busy!
And it's been a very busy morning.
This vision testing kit has caught Jenny's eye so far,
and now the cool discovery space helmet TV is asking for our girls to look to the stars.
But what's hoving in to view for Brian Blessed?
My father was a coal miner, he lived till he was 98.
He died a short while ago, the oldish Yorkshire coal miner.
All of my uncles were coalminers, and of course he used to carry his Davy lamp.
-And what do I see just there?
-Ah! Yes, the Davy lamp.
Sir Humphrey Davy invented his safety lamp in 1815
to help deal with hazardous flammable gases in mines.
The gauze layers prevented flames from turning any gas into an explosion.
Today they have a socio historical interest and appeal.
I expected my father to die any day in Hickleton Main.
The sirens went off all the time.
-It was a terrible sound. I had to leave school at 14
and work as an undertaker and then a plasterer.
-He was crushed in a roof fall.
He almost died. It took him about 18 months to recover.
-I haven't talked about that before.
-All because of a lamp!
-All because of a lamp!
Oh yes. Antiques can be incredibly powerful things,
portals to many points in history, sometimes our own.
I'm getting very serious. I'll have to put a definite offer in for that.
-What price have they got on that?
-They've got 75.
If we buy a number of items, I think we may strengthen our position on getting that.
I'm all for strengthening your position,
sometimes boldly and sometimes quite quietly.
WHISPERING: If we say the optician's case for 200...
-No, no, no.
-Remember, I'm from London, I'm an idiot!
I've been ripped off the last 30 years.
I think we're looking at the telly for around about 30 quid,
and the opticians I think we're looking for about 100 quid.
But this movement is called bargaining.
Yes, but he's going to think we're taking the...
-No, no! What I want you to do is...
-I'll back you up.
Back me up, and I want big lovely smiles.
I've got my pitch!
If you'd like more information on Anita's negotiation techniques,
then please watch and learn.
Now, here she comes.
Colin, you've got an Aladdin's cave in here.
It just seems to go on and on forever.
We've had the best time here actually, it's like a fun park.
Well, make it a fun time and buy something off me!
Yeah, Jenny, quit stalling and get haggling.
You've got to start somewhere so how about that lovely optician's set?
-The case is in need of some...
-It's scratched, badly scratched.
-Character, madam, character.
-We'd like it.
Shh! She loves it.
-I quite like it.
-She quite likes it.
-Quite likes it, yes.
That's better, Jenny,
but you've still got the retro TV to be nonchalant about.
Now, once more, with feeling.
This would need work if anybody was to want to use it as a television,
and this is a very scratched box.
-Can I make you an offer?
-Yep, make us an offer. We won't fall out.
Are we able to buy the two of these things for £150?
Cos I'm thinking - I've got my auctioneer's hat on now.
-I've got my auctioneer's hat, and I'm thinking...
-We're struggling at that.
-We're struggling? See, what I'm thinking...
-We're not far away. But we
-Right, do you want to hear
-best price? How's that?
-Then you can work away from that.
-And the ball's in your court.
It's... I mean, you're really giving us a good... you're trying.
I can't remember what he said!
You should be doing this for a living!
-I can't - this is making me tense.
-He said 180.
I don't like it!
What do you reckon they're saying?
We'd like to offer £155 cash, in your hand.
I've got to make some money out of it.
Could you squeeze 160?
Because we would love to buy them. We think that these are items...
I'll meet you at 170.
Could we come to...
The first star purchase of the day.
-See you both. Bye.
A good shop. What do you think? I think we've done well.
I hope we've not peaked too early. That's what's worrying me slightly. Come on!
Jenny now has serious auction ammunition.
So there's work to do back at Cockermouth Antiques,
with Sean and his father Gerard in attendance.
Brian has a mountain to climb,
if he can possibly get out of that chair.
-written all over it.
-That's a 1920s photograph.
Of the ridge of the Allerhorn. And it's so easy to fall from there.
He will have used techniques where he uses his hand, both hands, that way.
And leaned his body over here, and gone against gravity like that.
Oddly enough, he'll have kept his boots in here.
But his whole body would be over here.
He'd be leaning back, leaning back, leaning back,
and holding with his hands like that.
It definitely looks pretty tricky.
Of course, Brian would be the man to know about climbing technique.
Let's see if he can reach a negotiation summit soon.
We should go for your lovely miner's lamp. 75.
But the last one I sold at auction was £45.
So the chances of us actually making any money are slim.
This is a mining area, so...they are high priced. That one could be 58.
-I think we'll take it.
-Do you want to take that?
-My soul feels it.
I think we've got a chance with the mountaineering picture.
-So £28 on that?
-We can do that for 20 quid.
-What about a tenner?
-Oh, I can't do that!
-There's 28 on it.
I'm such a baby when it comes to all this!
I'm an absolute, total coward.
-Well, you can always chin them, Brian.
-They're very sweet.
They're very, very sweet.
However, even the suggestion of fisticuffs has seemingly worked.
So, it's £10 for the picture, and £58 for the Davy lamp.
I just hope there are no consequences.
Have you seen The House of Horrors? The film with Peter Cushing?
People come in, and they see things, and they don't pay the proper price for it.
And they go out, and each item they've bought
brings the most terrible kind of vengeance on them, and karma.
And they all die horribly.
-There's only one thing I would
Do you have a toilet?
I'm not like the Queen - I have to go!
Well, I wouldn't want to be the man to try and stop you, Brian.
And with your first plucky purchases under your belt,
how does James fancy your chances?
Brian is hysterical.
You know, he's a wealth of experience,
and all that exploration is such fun.
And I think we'll do well. You know,
if I can keep him off the violence and the ginny, we're going to win!
I think it's too soon to tell, frankly.
We've all had a good first shop, haven't we?
And now it's time to swap about a bit.
-Hi, guys! How are you doing?
Brian's been sitting on the step holding court.
-And he's been talking...
-Has he been doing anecdotes?
-You'll need to do stand-up in there.
-Oh, don't put pressure on me!
-Don't feel pressurised! They'll win, they'll win.
-Don't trust us. Don't trust us at all.
I don't trust them at all. She's very sweet and charming.
But she's a liar!
I can't let the Blessed win.
-You can't let the Blessed win?
He's climbed Everest, he's been in Z-Cars.
He's already beaten me, on certain things.
-He's not going to win on this one.
Well, at least you're still on your feet and fighting, Jenny.
Brian, meanwhile, has found Colin's antique shop and, well -
another comfy chair.
Here you are, Brian.
Oh, look at that! Thank you very much.
I accept this.
I want to thank my mother.
And my father, and my brother - and his wife. And all the family.
That's about as close as I'm going to get to an Oscar award, an Oscar!
No, don't get up!
When you've all quite finished,
-please remember what we're
-looking for here.
-Colin, where are your winners?
-What are you looking for?
What do you like? What do you want?
What about your sort of funny '30s display cabinet down here?
Yeah, we can have a good deal on that.
It's quite a nice item, that.
-Could we have an
-deal on that, Colin?
-Sort of...25 quid?
I've got to make a crust! 50 quid.
It's a bargain at that.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Colin, what about 30 on that?
-Can I squeeze you a bit?
-Meet you halfway - 40.
You know you want it.
He certainly does.
But can James talk Brian into buying it?
I think it's quite a good buy, because it's a great shape.
And it's a great price at £40, I think.
-You got that for 40 quid?
I think it could easily make 100, 150.
Wow. I'm all for it.
-So we'd make a profit.
-It's a bold idea. It's got a bold style.
-And Art deco, which I love...
And it's coming back more and more. It's a find. Let's buy it.
-Let's buy it.
-Good idea, Brian. Although you sort of took a back seat in the negotiations.
No, don't get up.
There you are, Brian. You can do the honours!
Still, the money keeps flowing.
And everyone's getting the antiques bug now.
I'm sniffing bargains.
-God, I'm - yeah. My waters are running. Come on!
-Let's have a wee look at this.
-Yeah, I can see something.
-You like that?
-I used to
-a reclining nude.
I used to be a life model at Camberwell Art School.
-I've done that pose.
-Did you enjoy that?
Well, I liked it when you were lying down, not standing up.
The hardest was when the leg starts to shake like that.
Starts to go a bit Shakin' Stevens.
Oh, that's very interesting.
So, we really fancy that strongly? But it all depends on the price.
Jenny loves the reclining nude in the window.
-I think it's 1920s/30s Art deco.
-Can I have a wee look at it?
Art deco was all about elegance, modernity, and glamour.
Just look at all these succulent naked curves.
She's lovely but she's also £120. Time to get to work, Anita.
-So it's a model? A cast?
-It's a ceramic.
It's in good condition. I don't think we've got any damage on it. We like it.
I mean, it's not a thing of high quality.
But it's an item which is expressing a time.
How much do you like it?
We like it £18 worth.
Oh, no, I suppose we would let it go for, what, 95, wouldn't we?
But that is really. That would be the absolute rock-bottom. Yes.
I might have to have a little lie-down, a little weep.
-It's taking her back.
-Making me feel young again.
Making her feel young again.
Dearie me! These celebrities are really letting
their hearts rule their heads. There may just be trouble ahead.
Do you like this type of thing, highly coloured and it's Poole.
-I think that's Poole Pottery.
-Is that '70s?
Poole Pottery hit its stride after World War II with popular
hand-painted ceramics and from the 1960s, designs and colours went wild
creating striking exotic beauties such as this one priced at £65.
This is talking to me more and more loudly.
Because it's a turtle or a tortoise?
-There's a picture emerging there. I like it. I do like it.
-So will we talk about these ones?
-You can. I'm going to slink off.
This is, this I can't stand. OK. Do I have to?
This is a double act.
Now, a nice big smile at this point.
If we bought both of these things, Sean, could you give us
a better deal?
-We are not paying by credit card, what are we paying by?
Oh, cash! You've found a word Sean likes. Keep going.
Cash is king.
It certainly is.
Now, that's really the bottom line on that's 50 and this one would be £95.
-I only like it a bit.
-You only like it a bit?
I'm trying my hardest.
-Jenny, you're doing very well.
-Sean, how about 130 for the two?
Well, 135 and you've got a deal.
I think that we should go for that.
-Yes, I'm really happy.
-I think so.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done, everyone.
I guess! Do you know, I can't help feeling our celebrities are taking
a bit of a back seat.
Luckily, it's time to go. The road trip is calling everyone to their cars.
If you'd like to keep to your side of the road.
Are you a back seat driver?
I'm a front seat driver and I'm feeling quite anxious.
Could you slow down, you maniac!
We're only going at 15 miles an hour and you're squeaking
and skwitching and squealing.
For God's sake, woman. Calm down!
Top Gear's got nothing like this. This is far superior to Top Gear.
They're very Nancy. They boob and scream! It sounds very sexual.
-I find it very, very, very poofy.
-Oh, I wouldn't say that.
But onwards we ride.
Celebrity and expert alike going 30 miles east from Cockermouth
to the intriguing estate of Hutton in the Forest.
I'm enjoying it without the roof.
I wonder if it would drive better without the engine?
It's been a frenetic and emotional morning
for Brian, bless him, so he's asked James for a little treat
here in a Hutton-in-the-Forest.
Hutton-in-the-Forest is an amazing cobbled together ancestral home
with tales of myth, murder and mayhem to reveal.
Valiant cultural defender and head tour guide, Edward,
is waiting to welcome our boys.
-Welcome to Hutton-in-the-Forest.
-What's your name?
-Hello, I'm James.
-I'm the King from Blackadder.
Oh, right, I thought I'd seen you somewhere before.
-Did you see Edward, or eh?
-Not Egbert or...
-So I can call you Enid?
As you wish, Brian. I'm sure Edward won't be offended.
Around this vast courtyard are five very different
periods of English housebuilding joined together
from Medieval to Tudor to Victorian.
This 1830s tower was the last edition from the famous
architect Anthony Salvin.
-Are we allowed in, Egbert?!
Sorry, Edward. He's new.
Well, new to the Road Trip.
Strangely, this part of the world was, for centuries,
neither England nor Scotland in any real sense.
Feuding families robbed, plundered, built castles
and curried favour with both sides of the border.
The 13th century de Hoghton family savoured their ill-gotten gains
and built the defensive peel tower to built it all in.
Then found other intriguing ways to protect what they'd gained.
This end of Inglewood Forest was a royal hunting forest
so the animals would belong to the King.
To stop the poachers, we'd need quite a few of these.
-Oh, dear, you cannot believe that!
-And so, this would be set.
Covered with leaves and grass.
And in the dusk, when the poachers do their stuff,
they would come in contact.
I mean, the state of your leg.
-That would break the leg, wouldn't it?
-Yes, oh yes.
And there would be nobody passing. It would be a lonely part of forest.
So, blood poisoning, gangrene,
you wouldn't last very long afterwards.
What a ghastly contraption.
This was found in the surrounding grounds in the 1640s,
after the estate was sold from the de Hoghtons
to the Fletchers in 1605.
These devices would have been forged in their hundreds
and littered in the estate forests to catch the desperate and hungry.
A rather extreme method of preventing the locals from having game pie. What?
There would be so many starving people around the forests that the poachers would really be driven
to steal the king's animals.
Well, that sounds very good. Food.
I think it's time. Let's go off to one of the great big rooms
and have a wonderful big lunch!
-What do you say to that?
Later, Brian, later.
There's still more to see in this marvellous historical hodgepodge.
With many tales to tell here, but not all are necessarily true.
In these mythical surroundings, it's thought the Arthurian legend
of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
took place where the Round Table regular met
his ultimate trial of chivalry and bravery against an immortal foe.
Well, there is the myth that this might have been
the Green Knight's castle from the days of King Arthur.
Gawain and the Green Knight?
Yes, but that's if you believe Carlisle was Camelot.
This castle was in an ancient forest, Inglewood Forest,
which stretched all the way from Penrith up to Carlisle.
It's in about the right relationship to Camelot if it was Carlisle.
Gosh. I think, if you wouldn't mind, Egbert?
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Ethel! Show us a bit more, then.
Well done, Egbert.
-Apologies again, Edward.
-What is this?
This is the Cupid's staircase. The Fletchers, owners of the house,
their coat of arms has got arrow heads on it.
Well, cupids have got arrows as well
so they used cupids as a decorative theme.
This is totally unrestrained.
It's got huge acanthus scrolls going on.
-Very chubby sort of Rubens-like cherubs, isn't it?
Pink and fluffy and fat.
Cherubs are first mentioned in the bible as sword-wielding
defenders of heaven.
Possibly another threat to would-be thieves and poachers, eh?
However, some things are thankfully designed to be unthreatening.
-Do you know why classical figures were given small willies?
So that they didn't detract from the whole sculpture.
Because it was felt that if they gave them large willies,
everybody would look at the willie!
A lot of men have lost confidence since that.
Because they all thought, "My chopper's bigger than that"!
Wonderful Hutton-in-the-Forest is a family home today.
Still owned by descendants of the Fletchers
and open to the visiting public.
Although I'm not entirely sure they'd allow
Brian Blessed a second visit.
Where are you, Edward?! It's time for dinner!
Cheswick! Fresh horses!
Bring me some horses!
Oh, dear. Do you think it's time?
I think it's time to leave!
It certainly is.
The weather's closing in and Cumbria must provide shelter
for one and all.
Good night, road trippers. Good night, Egbert.
An ill-timed yawn from Brian wakes us all so it's straight back
in the cars for more adventure.
-James, have you had a good day?
-I've managed to get in two words.
-What were they?
I've always admired you, Jenny.
What I detect always in you, is there's this gravitas and stillness.
-Oh, wow, me?
-I've got such gravitas!
-Which I find fascinating.
-So, tell me about your wife.
Ooh, enough of that!
So far then, Jenny "Cream Centered" Eclair,
fought her natural timidity to spend a healthy £300 on four items.
The fine optician's set, the cool 1980s TV,
the Art Deco reclining nude.
-And the lovely Poole Pottery dish.
-Thank you very much indeed.
Jenny and Anita have £100 left to fight on with.
You go to your brutal Glaswegian mode
and just beat him down and beat him down.
-But I'm not as bad as some people.
Brian "Mad Dog" Blessed
just made it into the shops and into a few comfy chairs
but still spent £108 on three items.
The '30s mining lamp,
the heroic mountaineering photograph
and the handsome Art Deco cabinet.
Brian and James begin day two sky-high with £292.
No end to my talents. And I'm not remotely vain.
Look at that view! I've got to get my camera out, I'm afraid.
It would be nice if you could see it.
Hutton-in-the-Forest has been lost in the mist,
consigned to myth as we head southeast along the open road
to lovely Penrith.
I must say, there is quite a lot of heat coming off this engine.
There's that much heat, we're going to be rare cooked!
It's the best ride I've had in years!
These shopping moments will fast be behind us
so make haste to the nearest antiques purveyor forthwith.
-Make haste! That's a nice table.
And who is that good lady hiding in the corner? Is that a ghost?
Be not shy! Come here, for...!
For God's sake, darling! She's lovely.
She's glamorous. This is a...
It's why I like doing programmes like this.
Because you can get all the glamorous ladies.
I love kissing ladies.
But you might consider if they really, really, really,
want a big, wet, sloppy, hairy kiss, Brian.
So, please keep a safe distance from lovely, helpful Sylvia here.
Are you a fisherman? It's a fish set. I think it's lovely.
-It's so unusual.
-I've never seen anything like them.
-It came from a lady
that used to cook for the Fish Marketing Board.
But you've got to find room for that, haven't you?
You cannot move for fishermen while...their carp.
I've bred koi carp all my life, but I think that that could be an ace.
80% of people who have gardens have koi in the garden.
Mmmm. I'm not sure that's right.
Maybe 80% of people who have ponds in their garden have koi carp.
However, fish and fishing are massive in Britain.
Could Brian be talking James into a shrewd investment here?
-Fishing, isn't it the largest hobby in the UK?
-It appeals to the soul of the British fisherman.
-Ah, ha, ha, sole!
What do you think we should offer her, Brian?
Well you're the expert. I'm hopeless at striking a bargain.
-I'm a coward.
-Sylvia, how much for all this lot?
-They're £95, aren't they? So, £70 for all that.
-What about 50? Sylvia?
60, I'll meet you halfway and that's my last bid.
-You get a lot for your money.
-You really do.
-You've got a bargain.
-I think that's awfully good.
-And it's very unusual.
-Shake the lady's hand, Brian.
-Goodness me! And a kiss!
Give it all for the camera! Come here.
-Oh! A whiskery kiss!
-That's why I'm doing the programme.
Sorry, Sylvia, you'll recover, eventually.
On a positive note, our boys have seized the day. Carpe diem, Brian.
Jenny and Anita, however, frankly, they've just stopped shopping.
Who do they think they are, eh?
I would have enjoyed buying things more if I was buying for me.
I like buying things.
Do you want them, do you lust after material objects?
I have that London thing of wanting stuff. Buying it, then feeling sick.
So you go from extremes to extremes?
What you're doing just now is extreme antique hunting.
-Not touristy taking photographs.
-I'm a tourist!
So long, rainswept Penrith. See you in our dreams.
This fine road tripping escapade continues,
lurching southwesterly to lovely, lovely Hawkshead.
In fact, our ladies have not only selfishly shirked their
shopping duties, they're actually en route to their own little treat.
Unbelievable, isn't it?
What a shame, that weather. What a crying shame.
All those families
having holidays at home, all stuck in playing Monopoly.
Screaming at each other. Children misbehaving.
Stuffing their faces full of sweeties to keep them quiet
and then they're sick.
Well, what a cheerful travelling pair you are!
Beautiful scenery surrounds the now world-famous Hill Top House.
Not just a home, but once a source of great inspiration
for the famous Potter of children's literature.
No, not him! Beatrix Potter.
Jenny and Anita are heading for a world of imagination,
of well-mannered, well-dressed woodland creatures
who've been loved by successive generations of young readers.
-Hello, I'm Anita. And this is Jenny.
Hello, nice to meet you.
Would you like to come and have a look round Beatrix Potter's house?
-I would love to.
-Can we leave our brollies here?
Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top House,
moving her life here from London in 1905,
after the success of her first published books -
The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny,
and The Tale Of Two Bad Mice.
In all, Beatrix produced 23 successful, well-loved books
between 1902 and 1930.
Today, Liz works here as the house and collections manager.
So this is the kitchen which is probably the most well-known
room in the house.
In terms of the Beatrix Potter stories, it features in quite a few.
So, The Tale Of Samuel Whiskers,
Anna Maria runs along here to get to her rat hole.
-Is the rat hole still there?
-It's still there, that's right.
We've also got the range that Tom Kitten disappears up
-when he's escaping from his mother.
-Isn't that lovely?
These tales were unusual for their time.
Self-illustrated with skills learned from a solitary childhood.
Beatrix was educated at home, away from other children
and with an over-protective mother terrified of London's germs.
Fresh-aired family holidays here in the Lake District
provided further inspiration.
Behind us here, we can also see some of the trivets that Beatrix painted
using Victorian books which instructed you on how to draw
-as the inspiration.
-What age would she have been, Liz?
-She was just 14 when she produced these.
-She's got a natural talent.
But there is technique in there as well.
The technique came from just hours and days and weeks of practice.
Being left to get on with it, really.
She said, she was so glad that she didn't have any more instruction
because she thought it would have rubbed off the originality.
Great success would follow years after these first illustrations,
with most of Beatrix Potter's books
written or completed around Hill Top House.
We've got this wonderful bureau bookcase here.
Another bureau here and another little writing desk.
She's totting up how much all this is worth!
-Did she write in this room, Liz?
-Absolutely, she did.
And we know that because one of the illustrations from
The Tail Of Samuel Whiskers actually features
the view from this window.
Beatrix Potter's first tales came from an unlikely combination
of bad weather, a lack of news and a poorly penpal.
An almost accidental foray into literature.
A copy of the original source material is here
for all visitors to read, bespectacled or otherwise.
"My dear Noel, I don't know what to write to you,
"so I will tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names are..."
-And we've got...the drawing.
-Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.
-So this is how it all started off.
Noel was the son of her last governess and he was suffering from
polio and was in bed, she wanted to write to him, but on this particular
day it was raining which is why she didn't know what to write to him.
And it wasn't until quite a few years later that she borrowed
the letter back to copy it.
Gave Noel his original, and from her copy
she wrote the manuscript for The Tale Of Peter Rabbit.
In this first literary outing, Peter Rabbit
and his sisters sport human attire in their make-believe world.
Mother has banned them from playing next door in Mr McGregor's
garden following their father's bad luck
and untimely inclusion in Mr McGregor's savoury pie.
Harsh for the times they lived in.
"They lived with their mother in a sandbank under the roof of a...
-"Big fir tree."
-Was that 1893?
Must be, it can't be 1993.
That's Harry Potter!
-Don't forget your brolly.
-That was great. Right, into the rain!
Alluding Mr McGregor's crosshairs,
our road trip bunnies hurry to the car.
A savoury end in sight as it's finally time for Brian and Jenny's
-tales of antique shopping.
I just thought, you know
there are all these gastropubs now that have nick-nacks hanging around?
-I thought maybe somebody would have one called The Optician that could buy this.
It's original, it's visionary, it's imaginative.
And though I profoundly would want to hate you. That's a piece of magic.
A compliment of sorts from the miner's son.
My father worked at Hickleton Main which is one of the
biggest pits in Yorkshire.
And my father was down there with a Davy lamp and he did sense
the air was very bad and he told them all to lie flat on their faces.
If they had not, these 300 miners would have all died instantly.
You die instantly from gas.
And it cost the Coal Board an awful lot of money
but saved many lives.
The Hickleton Main colliery discovered the vast
Barnsley seam in 1894, where Brian's father worked,
unearthing large quantities of coal for Britain
until it closed for good in 1970.
It's part of social history and I think that these things
are very important to remind us of what these guys did.
Oh, a telly!
It's not just an ordinary TV.
It's a Sputnik television. It's called Discovery, isn't it?
It's made to look like a spaceman's helmet.
You could buy a pub, a gastropub, called The Astronaut!
But you'd have that sitting in the corner.
I think we're being outclassed.
I just, I just think that's a divine choice.
That's Hermann Buhl.
Rankles with Messner and Doug Scott and with
Mallory as one of the greatest climbers ever.
How do you know that's Hermann Buhl? It says Viceless.
No, no, that's just the photographer.
I've never heard so much "Buhl" in all my life!
No, no, Jenny, this was meant for Brian to buy.
For Brian's sake, let's hope this is Hermann Buhl.
That legendary climber and Blessed kindred spirit.
Buhl achieved great fame for his pioneering style.
His 1953 ascent of the Himalayan Nanga Parbat peak is still
considered one of the greatest climbs of all time.
If you want to have a wee look at a bonnie lassie.
What we have is a very beautiful 1930s Art Deco nude
and Jenny loved this
because she was a live model at Camberwell Art School.
-Not in the '30s!
-And we think that sex sells.
-However, let's try and raise the tone, shall we?
-Do you like it?
Oh yes, I'm sorry, I really like it. There's a shelf missing!
-Yeah, no, we have the shelf.
I'm going to guess you paid about 300 quid for it.
How much did we pay for it? I've forgotten. Five quid? What was it?
-She's feeling sick. She's crying.
-You mustn't, Jenny.
I don't really want to play this game any more.
-I know we've got one more item to show you.
-James will know what this is worth.
Did you pay £22 for that?
-Sorry, have I been really mean?
-Quite rude, actually!
It's like going round someone's house and saying,
"Oh, look at that table, what did you buy that for, five pounds or something?"
-We paid £45 for it.
-Ah, but it's great.
-I was jesting with you.
A well-timed backtrack, James. Best not to swim against the tide.
-Fishy, fishy, fishy, swimmy, swimmy.
-They're all carp, you see?
And there's a whole dinner set and tea set.
But 80% of people in this country are now mad on carp.
Hold on, 80% of people in this country are mad on carp?
No, no, it's huge!
That still doesn't sound quite right, does it? 80%?
(MAKES POPPING NOISE)
Still, enough of what I think. What do they think?
I love the ladies.
-And they started very strongly.
And they thought they were doing so well.
But gradually, it got less and less, didn't it?
They didn't reckon with Hermann Buhl.
They've got a black and white snap in a grotty little frame.
It might be Buhl!
She'll go to bed tonight cursing Hermann Buhl.
She'll wake up during the night going, "Hermann Buhl.
"Hermann Buhl, Hermann Buhl!"
Know what my biggest nightmare is?
If that hideous carp dinner service pulled more money in
than our beautiful reclining nude.
Jenny has taken it to heart.
She will end up like Edward was, in that manner. Edward!
She's going to end up not knowing whether she is Egbert, Ethel,
Enid, Blackadder or Black-udder.
Actually, I think we are all quite discombobulated after that.
Whatever that means.
So let's distract ourselves with another blast on the open road.
Here comes your big task. A hump-backed bridge.
-Keep it in second gear. In second.
-I'm not going into third.
-That's it. That's it.
-Room for one, coming over.
That's it. You're doing fine.
The many pleasures of Cumbria are far behind us now.
As destiny approaches,
the road trip heads 101 miles due south to Cheshire's own Runcorn.
Auction day is once more upon us
and all eyes turn to the fate of celebrity antique shoppers.
We have got an adventure ahead of us, Brian. We've got the auction.
Yes, I've never been to an auction.
Well, I don't think I have, when I think about it!
I don't know what to expect.
Here we come, Runcorn!
This is lovely, isn't it? Open-top motoring at its finest.
Here we are, we're following you!
-Brian can't wait to get out. I don't know why!
Let's do it when it's raining! They made us do it in the rain.
Runcorn's auction centre has been selling antiques
and collectables since 2006.
Today's auctioneer is Michael Bain with his own thoughts on Brian
and Jenny's best offerings.
Well, the ophthalmic set,
they could sell for anywhere between 50 on a bad day, 200 on a good day.
Let's hope it's a good day today.
Brian's bought an interesting mountaineering lot.
I do know that Brian takes an interest in mountaineering.
Yes, I think that's got chances as well.
If you're asking me who's going to win today,
I think it's a day for the ladies. But that's just my opinion.
Well, there's optimism for you!
Bread and butter. Calm down.
Our celebrities began with £400 each.
Jenny and Anita shopped with great passion, spending £300 on four lots.
Brian and James shopped with great, um, gusto?!
And many a tale to tell. But only spent £168.
Also on four auction lots.
Give us a kiss!
So, hold fast, man the barricades and prepare for glory.
The auction is about to begin.
And up first, the mining lamp that's dear to Brian's heart.
However, there's actually a few of them on sale today.
What could be done to make yours special?
Oh, that's mine! My father was a coal miner in Yorkshire.
-So was his mother!
-So was me mother!
My father, using that lamp, closed the Barnsley seam, saving 300 lives.
Well, it wasn't actually THAT lamp, was it, Brian?
I think it's overrated, the truth. Who wants the truth? Tell me lies!
Tell me I'm handsome, tell me I'm sexy!
OK, Brian, you're very...
Oh, get on with it.
A first-class provenance goes with this lamp.
So I can start this off at... £28 on commission with me.
Where's the 30 on the net?
-30...30 on the net.
-BRIAN: Oh, brilliant.
Come on, me old sons! Come on, lovelies!
Otherwise I'll subject you to more vocal power!
Don't feel pressurised.
The bid is on commission at £30.
It's 32 now on the internet. The hammer goes down at 32, then.
-Brian, I think that could have been a lot worse.
Sadly, this happens when your heart rules your head.
Now, for Brian and James's sake, let's hope that there are at least
two people from the alleged 80% of nationwide carp lovers here today.
This one is a rather nice one, not at all tacky.
It's absolutely bloody marvellous!
Do you want to start at 20?
20 I've got, 22 at the front. 22 at the front. 25.
28. 30. 32.
-There's lots of pieces, it's wonderful!
-There's 7,000 pieces.
£35 for the lady.
-Don't worry, Brian, we're only 50 down.
-We're only 50 down.
That's the spirit. Now for Jenny and Anita's retro TV.
-It's demanding our full attention, look.
-Oh, here we go!
Ladies and gentlemen, let's all sit up in our chairs now.
I can start this off at £80 with me.
-Yes! Yes! Come on!
-80 I've got, and 85 comes next.
85 in the gallery. 90 still with me.
Look at this! The success has gone to her head! >
-Oh, God, no!
Thank you very much!
Fantastic. Double money for the girls,
and they've shot into an early lead.
Whilst their Poole Pottery stunner waits in the wings.
This is a lovely piece. This is a lovely piece, everybody.
22. 25. 28.
Yes? 30. 30 there. 32.
35. Do you want to go back in?
No, it's 32 with the young gentleman.
Either I'm getting older or these auction bidders are getting younger.
£38. All done at 38?
-You did all right, girls!
-You did all right, girls.
-That was lovely!
-We've lost two quid on that!
Actually, you've lost £7.
These young bidders, they're not very generous.
And, if anyone else wants a nice gift for their nan,
Brian and James's lovely Art Deco cabinet is up next.
50 bid. 50 I've got. Thank you, sir. 55 comes next.
55. 60. £60 I have.
-It's a steal!
-All done at 60? >
And I sell at £60, all done?
-You still made, you still made. You've made £20.
-But we've lost 50 already.
-But we've lost 15,000 quid on the other things.
If I can just remind everyone, there are no prizes today for moaning.
So, chin up, and let's get to the lads' last lot today.
I'm afraid it's down to Hermann Buhl. He'll save the day.
Assuming, of course, that that is Hermann Buhl in the picture.
You can be a bit economical with the truth, Brian.
20 bid, thank you, sir. £20 I've got, and 22 comes next.
25. 28. 30. 32.
35. 38. 40. 42.
42 at the back.
-All done at £42?
Are we all done at £42?
Crackers or what?
He's on top of the world.
We're up £48, guys. How much are you up?
And that was a fast descent.
Still, keep 'em peeled for Jenny and Anita's big hopeful contender.
Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes.
Right, what shall we say for this?
There are bids on the book, so I can start this at 35,
38 with me and 40 with me.
40 I've got. 42. 45. 48. 50, and 55.
60 comes next. 60.
Five? What do you mean, "No"?
Oh, Jenny. There's not a dry eye in the house.
70 I've got. Selling at 70, then.
All done at 70?
-WOMAN: Is that good?
-No, it's awful.
Never mind, Jenny, let's just try and focus on...
Sorry, not "focus", that was misjudged.
Erm, let's look to, er, the lovely Art Deco nude,
which is last to offer our ladies an auction spectacle...
Sorry, not "spectacle".
Oh, she's lovely. Isn't she? It's very stylish.
Start me at 30.
This auction is not about who's going to win,
but who's going to lose the least.
35 with me. 38 in the front row. 40 at the back. 42.
42 at the front. All done at 45? The hammer is going down. At 45...
I genuinely, genuinely wish that I'd bought it for myself
and taken it home and... kept it for myself.
I feel a bit weepy about it.
Runcorn has not been kind today.
And our girls have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
But at least Jenny has taken it well.
I can't stay. I'm sorry, everybody, but I've got to go.
I'm far too disappointed to stay. Come on.
It's really tragic and I do feel for them.
BRIAN WHEEZES WITH LAUGHTER It's terrible!
Brian Blessed, that is not funny.
Anyway, our celebrities at least began well, with £400 each.
After auction costs were deducted,
Jenny and Anita made a very, very sad loss of £100.74,
ending their road trip with just £299.26.
Blackadder and Baldrick, meanwhile, fared slightly better,
with a mildly nagging loss of £29.42.
Brian and James end their road trip with £370.58.
Losses or not, all the monies generated by our Celebrity Antique Road Trippers in this series
will go to Children in Need, so thank you, at least, for trying your hardest. Well done.
-Well, I'm starting to recover.
-I know, and we started so well.
-And we ended so badly, Anita.
-That's what can happen.
We have to say congratulations to the boys. We actually have to.
-Ah, thank you, thank you.
Next time I'm going to put the £400 on the roulette wheel. That's what I'm going to do!
Well, it's all a game of chance, dear friends.
Oh, and it's raining!
There are no certainties on the Road Trip.
Here we go. Here we go.
-Yeah, go on, me old son.
-I'm a bit worried about that blue car.
It's a long road back to stage and screen for our celebrities.
So, just for now, adventure is out there.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Actor and explorer Brian Blessed takes to the road with comedian Jenny Eclair, accompanied by antiques experts James Braxton and Anita Manning. They start their trip in Cockermouth and head south through Cumbria, eventually ending up in Runcorn for an auction showdown.