Anne Reid and Thelma Barlow, two veteran actresses, take a whistle-stop road trip around Oxfordshire with £400 to invest in antiques with experts Paul Laidlaw and David Harper.
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-Some of the nation's favourite celebrities...
-Why have I got such expensive taste?
..one antiques expert each...
..and one big challenge -
who can seek out and buy the best antiques
at the very best prices...
Answers on a postcard...
-..and auction for a big profit further down the road?
It's a wee bit funky!
Who will spot the good investments? Who will listen to advice?
-Do you like it?
-No, I think it's horrible.
And who will be the first to say, "Don't you know who I am?"
Well done, us!
Time to put your pedal to the metal!
This is Celebrity Antiques Road Trip!
On this road trip, we're enjoying the talents of two great British grandes dames
of the acting world.
A standing ovation please for good chums
Anne Reid and Thelma Barlow.
I love you, Thelma.
-I know you do. Put your other hand on the wheel, darling!
-I really love you!
Anne and Thelma together, of course,
are best known for their parts in Victoria Wood's much-loved sitcom Dinnerladies,
where they became the best of friends...
I think we should ask somebody with bigger hips.
..and a comedy double act.
With Keith's family? Last big wedding, his Auntie Dot ate a coaster.
She thought it was a high-fibre biscuit.
-The first time we worked together, wasn't it?
-It's the only time we've worked together.
-The one and only.
-It was enough for both of us!
-Yes, well, I said to my agent, "Please don't."
"Don't ever put me with Thelma Barlow again."
I don't think your agent's listening, darling.
Anne spent the Swinging '60s on Coronation Street,
before branching out to shine in a stunning variety of productions,
flitting from popular comedy to serious drama.
She's just recently been snuggling up to Sir Derek Jacobi
in the BAFTA-bagging BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax.
What a girl!
-It's exciting, isn't it? I've never done anything like this before.
-No, I haven't.
My hair is going to be ruined, of course, that's the only thing.
But who is Thelma Barlow?
Well, I don't really know! Just kidding!
The charming Thelma spent more than two decades
portraying treasured Corrie character Mavis Wilton,
and gave life to what's probably
still the series' best-known catchphrase.
-Or is it?
-I don't really know!
When she left the Street in the late '90s,
she went on to feature in many of our best-loved dramas.
She's our twinkle-eyed performance powerhouse.
-This is lovely, this car.
-It's a lovely area.
Do you think they'd miss it if we just...
-We could take off.
-We could just drive off!
We could head for the coast and a ferry, we'd be gone!
Thelma and Louise, I mean Anne, are piloting a blue-bodied beauty,
the 1985 Mercedes 280SL.
-It's so beautiful, though, isn't it?
Not as lovely as you two girls.
And they're getting into the mood for antiquity.
-I've just had my ancestors traced.
-I might be royal.
-It gets worse!
High born? Up in the attic!
Every leading lady needs her stage-door Johnny
and we have got a pair of them.
David Harper is an auctioneer who's proud to say
that his passion for antiques courses through his very veins.
-I'm the purest, you're like the nouveau.
Puerile! THEY LAUGH
Paul Laidlaw's a canny Scottish antiques expert
with a keen eye for quality.
A day like this, open-top classic car, whatever it is...
OK, there's you, but we can't have it all!
The chaps are driving a neat little number today -
the 1968 Triumph Vitesse. Saucy!
I'm loving the Vitesse.
Do you love the Vitesse as much as I love the Vitesse?
-David, almost certainly not!
Today, they'll begin their buying in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire,
aiming for their auction in Penkridge, Staffordshire.
Henley-on-Thames is, of course,
the rowing capital of Britain,
hosting the annual Henley Royal Regatta.
Let's hope some of that sportsmanlike spirit rubs off on Paul and David
as they meet our right royal ladies of stage and screen.
ALL: Hello! Hello there! Hello! Good morning!
Hello! I'm David.
There we go. If he's getting kisses, I'm getting kisses.
Lordy! Let's get paired up, then.
Who got the short straw? THEY LAUGH
Who's getting me?
OK, well, I can reveal that poor Thelma's got the short straw,
-because you've got me, I'm afraid.
-Oh, I'm delighted!
-Are you ready to go shopping?
-Come on. Link on!
-Your chariot is this way!
Newly-minted twosome Anne and Paul are heading off towards their first shop.
I'll just have to follow my instinct
because I don't know anything about antiques at all.
-You do know that?
-I'll guide you. We're a double act.
We've got £400 to spend on up to five auction lots.
-You lead the way, Anne, come on!
With that decided, they're going into Henley Antiques and meeting dealer Simon.
-Hello. Good afternoon.
-Hello. I'm Annie.
-Hello, Annie. Welcome to Henley-on-Thames.
-Hi, I'm Paul.
-Hello, Paul. Simon.
You can call me Tim.
Anyway, you'd both better get browsing.
To aid the search,
Paul's trying to glean some info on Anne's tastes.
-Are you a collector, Anne?
-I collect music.
-What do you mean by music?
Well, if there's a sheet music shop, I love that.
There doesn't seem to be any sheet music to be had in this shop,
but Anne has spied something which looks like it might ring true.
It's a pewter plate,
-Ooh, I like that.
-Yours for £45.
Should we have a little look?
Pewter is a metal alloy comprising largely tin.
It was ubiquitous as a material for manufacturing everyday objects
up until the 19th century.
I don't know why I like it, I just do.
-Something drew you.
Something did. I just think it's pretty. I'd like it on my table.
And that one I like, as well, that little one.
Look at what you're buying into, something that's, what, 300 years old?
-Yes. The mouths that that fed...
-The conversations that went on around the table...
I know. Isn't that amazing?
It also bears some little marriage marks,
the initials of the couple who owned it.
It's a real piece of history and priced up at £45.
I love the fact that you like it,
-and I don't think it's expensive.
Are we looking at something we might want to buy?
Oh, gosh! You make the mind up, darling!
Dealer Simon is a pewter specialist, so Paul's quite confident of its 18th-century provenance.
But what sort of price could he let it go for?
-You've found something of interest?
-I just like it. It's just pretty.
-Annie likes that.
-That's all I go in.
-(We're going to buy this!)
Forgive me, I've got to haggle. Can you give us a wee bit of discount on that?
Well, £45 I had to sell it,
but two crisp 20-pound-notes and it's yours.
-If I knew you better, I'd kiss you!
Ooh! So they've got their first buy in hand. Pewt-her there!
-Thank you very much.
-Our first purchase!
-There is a little pewter plate for you.
PAUL LAUGHS There we are.
Thelma and David, meanwhile,
are getting chummy on their walk to the first shop.
-Are we going to be a competitive team?
-Ooh, tremendously! Absolutely.
-Are you very competitive by nature?
-I didn't think I was
until I went to yoga and I found I was.
-It's a very wrong thing to do!
-That's meant to make you calm and relaxed!
So just imagine how competitive the road trip's going to make her!
-So we're really looking to...
-How about this? It's a bit unusual.
Let's have a look in here.
They're moseying in. Owner Abba presides.
-Pleased to meet you.
-How do you do?
-Where do we start?
Let's just have a wander, Thelma. Come on, we'll have a wander!
Before long, Thelma spotted something she thinks is quite cracking.
That is quite a pretty little thing.
It's not something I would buy or use, but it's an attractive little item.
-So, why are you drawn to it, then?
-Just because it's pretty.
No other reason.
It's a silver-plated egg cruet set,
comprising a tray, four egg cups and four spoons.
-Because your butler, of course...
..would deliver this to you, Thelma,
but he's going to carry it from one part of the house to another
and what he doesn't want to happen, he doesn't want to lose any of those eggs,
-so the egg cups are fixed pretty tight.
-It's very pretty.
It's really good.
Mm. It dates from the early part of the 20th century
and bears the mark of maker Walker and Hall.
-What date do you think it is? It would have to be cheap, I've got to tell you.
-Shall we get a price?
-Let's consult Abba.
-What would you like?
-What kind of price?
-The best price?
-The absolute best price, please?
In the cold reality of an auction,
on a wet Wednesday afternoon, with no-one there potentially,
-it has to be 10 to £20 as an estimate.
So then you have to think, "I've got to pay less than £10."
Abba will do it for a knockdown £10,
but devilish haggler David's not finished.
We're competitive, aren't we? We've got to beat the other team.
A fiver would be an absolute steal. It would be a steal at a fiver.
-You can have it for five.
-Let's shake his hand!
-Thank you so much!
-That's so kind! Thank you very much.
So with some very hard bargaining from David,
they have their first buy and they're browsing on.
Thelma, I'm hoping you're an expert in musical instruments.
No, I'm not!
-What is it?
-It's a musical instrument.
It's this expert insight we rely on you for, David.
-What a lovely sound!
-I'm going to do that again. I didn't know how talented I was.
-PLAYS SLIGHTLY OFF-KEY
-# A bit more! #
Ooh, you've got a lovely voice. Do that again. Ready?
# A bit more! #
-It's utterly gorgeous.
-It's got a little box!
-How much it is, I don't know.
-It's probably too expensive for us.
-It might be.
-Can you give us a idea on this musical instrument?
-This one here.
-It's a flutina.
It's a type of accordion, popular in the 19th century,
fashioned from rosewood and mother-of-pearl
and complete with its original box.
But having already grabbed Abba down to a tiddly price on the cruet set,
can this fledgling bargaining tag-team repeat the trick?
What kind of money are we looking at?
-Ooh, I think we'll have to leave the shop!
No, it's beautiful, but it's a bit out of our range, isn't it?
A lot out of our range.
It's going into auction, it's a competition,
and I'm going to ask you a question...
-Do you want to see Thelma win this competition?
-Yes, I do.
Crikey! That's some discount!
As an object,
-it's absolutely delicious, isn't it?
Abba, it couldn't be 30, could it?
-Go in the middle. 40.
-Thelma, it's over to you. What do you think?
Do you think we might get it for 35, if you look at him nicely?
-We can have it for 35.
-Has he said yes?
-He certainly is!
-Thank you very much indeed.
-That's very kind. Thank you very much.
So Thelma and David are proving to be a deadly duo in the haggling stakes,
and they got the egg cruet set and the flutina
for very little loot-ina.
Now, Anne and Paul are also still in sunny Henley
and have made their way to their next shop, Tudor House, where they're meeting dealer David.
-How are you doing?
-Pleased to meet you.
-David, it's good to see you.
This shop's a jam-packed treasure trove, full of thousands of items.
Best get hunting!
-Wigs... Do you want a wig?
-Er, not yet!
I might be heading in that direction ultimately, but at the moment...
That's a shame. I think one of those might rather suit you, Paul.
While they search, Paul quizzes Anne on her friendship with Thelma.
With regards to Coronation Street,
-did your roles overlap?
We got really to know each other a lot
-just before Dinnerladies.
-Ah, yes, yes!
-And Victoria Wood saw us together.
She said, "Would you like to work with Thelma?"
and I said, "No, but all right, go on!"
-Any competition between you?
-No! She's one of my best friends!
-I love her to pieces!
-So, you really don't mind who wins?
Ooh, no, I love it. No, no...
Oh, no, I'm quite competitive about this.
Yes, I want us to win. PAUL LAUGHS
Quite right, too, Anne.
And she's soon spotted something that might help in that cause.
We used to have those when I was a little girl. I think it's lovely!
-Your face lights up when you love things.
-It's the same look we saw with pewter.
It's a tea service.
It's likely fashioned of Britannia metal,
another pewter-like alloy of tin, in this case plated with silver,
and dating from the early 20th century.
There's no ticket price on it.
David, is that expensive? How much do you want for a four-piece...?
-About £40, 40 to 50.
That's too rich for their blood.
But David's got a proposal.
I tell you what we'll do, why don't you ask me if you can have it for £20?
-Can we have it?
-Certainly. No problem. £20.
Would you like it gift-wrapped, madam?!
Anne dazzles him with her leading-lady's peepers...
-You're a star.
-..and it's a deal done at £20.
They're continuing the hunt.
-It's a gorgeous building.
-Look at the staircase!
-If I'm not mistaken, Annie...
-If I'm not mistaken, that's the dulcet tones of Mr Harper.
Thelma and David have caught up with them.
PAUL LAUGHS Oh, hello!
ANNE: I thought I heard your dulcet tones!
-I wonder what that's for!
-Oh, be careful!
Come and have a sit down. We need a break.
You're looking much too pleased with yourselves!
No. And what about this shop?
This whole morning, "I don't anything about antiques!"
I do know a bit more now because of David.
It's fascinating, isn't it? I'm learning, as well.
DAVID: She's the best negotiator I've ever had.
-Oh, shut up!
-I'm wonderful, as well, aren't I?
Well, we know that, Anne.
She can wrap these people round there!
You haven't seen this one...
Well, then, let this battle of the fluttered eyelashes commence!
-..you haven't got it yet.
-No, we haven't.
Those two are looking worried and I like it.
To aid the search, David's keen to learn more about the lovely Ms Barlow.
-Whereabouts in Yorkshire were you born?
-I was born in Middlesbrough. Teesside.
-I was born in Middlesbrough.
-You were born in Middlesbrough?
-Isn't that amazing? We make a proper team, don't we?
-Isn't that wonderful?
I'm glad you proud northerners are bonding,
but we're supposed to be looking for items, you know.
Oh, look, he's spied something.
-Let me ask you what you think about him.
-He's a handsome thing, isn't he?
No, not me, Thelma, the... the fish!
Honestly! It's a large wooden carp, late 20th century,
and carved from hardwood in an Oriental style.
You're not over enamoured by him at all, are you?
No! But if you think he's a jolly good...
I think he is jolly good. I think he's got some good age. I think he's fantastically carved.
It's certainly got quality.
The ticket price is £75. That's a little on the costly side
so they're noting it and browsing on.
But David clearly has timber on the brain today,
as he's shortly spotted another wooden item.
What on earth is that, the Egyptian-looking thing?
It's just a box!
But it's very different.
-It's very different.
It's a hand-carved box, or possibly a seat,
rendered in an Egyptian style,
perhaps dating from the 1950s or '60s.
To be honest, it's a little bit of a mystery.
# Walk like an Egyptian #
-I love it because we haven't got a clue what it is.
OK, I don't think we can hide that from those two!
Do you think they'd be drawn to it? THEY LAUGH
-That's not very...
-I don't know about Paul, you see.
-He might see it as you see it.
-He's a bit straight-laced.
-He's a straight-laced Scotsman.
-So, he would find that a bit funky?
"Oh, it's a wee bit funky!"
I thought that was Paul Laidlaw! That was absolutely amazing!
Ha! So they're definitely interested in the carp
and the Egyptian box.
Downstairs to dealer David they go.
Will he prove as susceptible to Thelma's charms as he was to Anne's?
-Do you think he's particularly good-looking, Thelma?
I've fallen hook, line and sinker.
That would work if you said it to me but I don't know about him!
-There's a very odd Egyptian-looking box upstairs.
What could he do on the price?
Could you do it for 30?
I could do it for 15. DEALER SIGHS
-It's the girls, isn't it?
-You bring the girls in!
No less than £20, I'm afraid.
-Didn't he get to 15, or was that me?
-That was you, but we could go in between the two.
If you promise not to tell Anne that you got something cheaper off of me than she did...
I promise I won't tell.
And neither will I. Deal done at £15!
But what about the carp David's so very keen on?
My partner in crime isn't a lover of it.
I would go along with it if you think it's a very good thing to buy for the auction.
-I'm not carping about it!
-Oh, Thelma, you are a card!
If Thelma asked me very nicely if she could have it for 20, I'd probably say yes.
Do you think you could do it for £20 for us?
I could do it for you for 20,
-but not for "us"!
-Story of my life...
-I don't mind.
-Shall we have him?
-Let's have a big fat carp.
-Thank you so much.
Crikey! Our experts barely get a look in when Thelma and Anne are around.
Dealer David is putty in her hands
and she's 2-1 up in this championship flirt-off.
I'm not even trying. I didn't know I had this gift!
The other two had better up their game.
What is that?
That is an extremely elegant magazine rack. Edwardian.
-What do you think of that?
It is elegant, actually.
Is that an oak base?
-You're asking me?
-Allow me, Anne.
It's an Edwardian lacquered brass and oak magazine rack.
Ticket price is a whopping £85.
What can I do for you?
-What do you think of this, Annie? Help me.
-I think it's very sweet and charming.
-Rather Downton Abbey, we thought.
-Well, yes, of course. That's where I got it from.
Downton Abbey? You got it from Highclere!
-A day to Highclere! You just walked out with it, did you?
-I'm only joking!
I think it's more Upstairs, Downstairs, personally.
I can probably help you with the price a little bit.
-She's doing it again!
-Work that magic!
Listen, if I was... Darling, if I was younger,
I could really persuade you! I'm an old girl now!
We're not too far apart, I don't think.
Steady on, you two! This is a family show.
Now that you've been, er, charmed...
..what can it be? I know what it needs to be.
-Would 40 be all right? That's half price.
That man took the words out of my mouth!
-Thank you very much.
-Another great deal for Anne,
and it looks like the charm offensive is a draw.
If today has proved anything, it's that dealers stand no chance
against the wiles of an accomplished actress.
I wonder where I can get one! Nighty-night, you lovely lot.
But the show must go on, and so must this road trip.
This is the great, glorious British summer.
Having spent the whole of their first day in Henley,
they're all in the motorcars and travelling on... damply.
-It's a bit wetter today, darling, isn't it?
-Oh, it is!
It turns out that dark horse Thelma has got previous in this trade.
-I worked for an auctioneer in my pre-theatre days.
-What did you do?
-I was in the office. I was a terrible secretary.
-You never told me that.
-There's a lot about me you don't know...
-..still to reveal!
How intriguing. I like a woman of mystery.
So far, Thelma and David have spent £75 on four lots -
the egg cruet set, the rosewood flutina,
the carved wooden carp
and an item that's probably a box and might well be Egyptian.
While Anne and Paul take the prize for spend-thriftery so far,
having shelled out a cool 100 smackers for three items -
the pewter dish,
the silver-plated tea set
and the Edwardian magazine rack.
# He played the ukulele As the ship went down #
-Oh, please don't...
-That's a song.
-Don't sing, darling.
-I won't sing.
-I'd rather you didn't sing.
-All right, darling.
Where are we going from here, I wonder.
You're going to meet Paul and David.
-Ah, here they are.
-Right, my brolly...
-I'm getting dribbled on!
-Hello. Round that side.
Luckily for you, you can stay in the car.
-Have you seen him?!
Oh, dear! Come on, Mary Poppins, let's get going!
Anne and Paul are motoring on towards Northend in Warwickshire...
..and chatting away like old pals.
I've twin boys, six year old,
and they are massive fans of Doctor Who.
-Would I be right in thinking...?
-I did, you're absolutely right.
There was a lot of giggling went on that day.
-David Tennant did not behave very well.
Those things always make me giggle.
You think, "This is no job for grown-ups."
Neither is this, to be honest, Anne.
Having acquired a good haul of items yesterday,
they've decided to take their feet off the gas a little
and spend this morning visiting a fascinating local collection
relating to World War I.
-My dad was in the First World War.
I think he was in the Middle East, actually, because he learnt to speak Arabic.
Between Anne's family link to the Great War via her dad's service,
and Paul's great enthusiasm for all things militaria,
they're certainly in for a treat this morning.
What an interesting wee building.
They're meeting collector James Gordon-Cummings.
-Good to see you.
-Amassed over the last 15 years...
..James's huge collection numbers more than 1,300 items of trench art.
He's fascinated by these objects, crafted by people caught up in war.
These items were often handmade by servicemen, fighting in conflicts,
or by civilians affected by them,
so that they can be highly evocative of personal war experiences.
The objects are often fashioned from discarded war materials,
such as shell casings or, as here, discarded fighter plane propellers.
Trench art was made during World War I and the post-war period.
It's very iconic of the First World War.
You only really get it in this scale
because the First World War came slap-bang in the middle
of the Arts & Crafts movement and Art Nouveau
and everybody was a craftsman,
and, suddenly, this 20th-century warfare lands in the middle
and they have that ability to make things that they lost.
In the '20s and '30s, machinery came in and everything became more mechanised.
This truly was a World War
and trench-art items can be found from many countries.
I recognise those as hailing from the Middle East.
-That's Damascus-type work, isn't it?
This type of inlay, where they've inlaid copper and silver,
is very peculiar to the Middle East.
These shells were actually made at the Bezalel School of Arts in Jerusalem.
Oh, my goodness!
But these are exceptionally nice...
-..and unusual things.
Anne has a personal connection to the Middle Eastern Theatre of War in World War I
and a fascinating link to a very famous name.
My father served in the Middle East as a young man.
He was supposed to be one of the soldiers
who was connected with Lawrence.
-Yes, TE Lawrence.
-Lawrence of Arabia.
One of the people who carried the money that he needed,
he was one of the links, apparently.
TE Lawrence was providing support, financial support,
from England to the Arab tribes
in order to help them and arm them
to revolt against the Turkish occupation.
So, yes, he did a very important job
if he was actually part of that funnel of money
to Lawrence and the Arab troops.
James is taking them to see an object that tells another personal story,
that of a British fighter pilot, Frank Billinge,
who flew in the Royal Flying Corps, the precursor of the RAF.
It's a clock, fashioned from Frank's damaged plane propeller.
That propeller was on Frank Billinge's plane,
he was in the Royal Flying Corps,
and he was flying in France
and they got attacked by three German Fokker planes,
and that propeller actually got hit five times by German bullets
but didn't destruct
and managed to bring him back over the lines.
But in the course of that, he was injured
and sent back to England to recuperate.
He was sent to a hospital for servicemen
which had been set up in the grand former Hampshire home of Empress Eugenie,
the exiled wife of former French Emperor Napoleon III.
Frank was sent there, with his injury,
and they struck up a friendship,
and he had the propeller from his accident
turned into that clock and presented to the Empress
as a mark of respect to her and her friendship.
-What a lovely story.
-It is indeed!
It's all written on that little silver plaque at the bottom.
That's a fantastic object!
Great story, isn't it?
But having paid tribute to Anne's dad
and all the other brave men who served,
it's time for them to be hitting the road.
James, thanks for having us. That was absolutely magic.
Pleasure. Thank you for coming.
-Lovely to meet you, Anne. I'm glad we had a link with your father.
I know! That was really nice.
Thank you very much.
-Thelma and David, meanwhile, are in the Merc...
-What a day!
..and heading for the town of Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
This attractive and historic town
makes an excellent place to continue their buying,
despite the weather.
-We're going to go in this one here.
They're dashing into Woodstock Art And Antiques,
where there's a very warm welcome from dealer Michael.
-Welcome to Woodstock.
-Very, very wet!
-Pleased to meet you. Sorry about the weather.
Well, a browse should keep you out of the soup for a bit.
And some items are leading Thelma down Memory Lane this morning.
And this, certainly, reminds me of my great aunt.
One of our celebrations when I was in Coronation Street,
-we all got lovely carriage clocks like that.
-Yes. I've still got it.
You know, it's just a lot of things that just tick with you.
-TICK with you...!
Sorry! A pretty little something's caught Thelma's eye.
That's been here less than a week. It is fabulous silver.
It's a silver lady's calling-card case.
There's a Birmingham hallmark, dating from 1915.
-That is solid silver.
-It's very elegant. It's very you.
Gilded interior. So solid silver with a gold-plated interior.
Isn't it lovely?
How much is it to us, trade, Michael?
I've got to pick up £90 on that, I think.
Maybe parcel it again, another bit of silver,
-which has got a lot more to play with.
David's not convinced at £90,
so they're going to try to assemble a job lot of silver items
which Michael might be able to let them have for a more attractive price.
-A fruit knife!
-A lady's fruit knife. Cased.
It is indeed a lady's fruit knife, dating from 1924,
in its original case.
-That's a nice little thing.
-That's very nice.
He's got something else from the Jazz Age -
a white metal chainmail handbag.
-You tell me what you think, Thelma.
-You can do the Charleston with that.
I'm really, really going to help you.
I shall do the three for £80.
All three for 80?
But David's still worried the lot won't perform at auction.
-It doesn't get me overly excited on the profit stakes.
So Michael's generously offering to throw in
another two silver gewgaws from the early 20th century -
a manicure tool and a little magnifying glass.
This little magnifying glass is so pretty.
-Oh, that's rather nice.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
So, how much can he do this silvery mega-lot for?
100 for the five.
It sounds marvellous, you've been wonderfully generous,
but if you could do a little bit more!
90, and that is going to be it!
He daren't look at you! Have you noticed?
-I'm sure we've got a deal at 90.
I think it is an interesting lot and it's a cracking deal.
-It's a cracking deal.
-Yes. Thank you.
-Are we going to say yes?
-Go for it.
-The Thelma magic works again. Thank you very much.
So they've got a sterling deal on all that pretty stuff
and David and Thelma are all bought up!
Anne and Paul are making their way onto Banbury in Oxfordshire...
..where they're aiming for Slade's Antiques & House Clearances.
They're meeting dealer Ian.
Come on in, Annie!
-Hello. I'm Annie.
-I'm Ian. Nice to meet you.
-Paul. Good to see you.
-Along with Cheryl and baby Isla.
-Hi there, both!
Ian specialises in house clearances,
so this large warehouse is stuffed with large boxes and boxes full of items.
What we're looking at is the content of houses.
This sort of place is exactly where they might find a hidden gem,
but combing through the stock is a daunting task.
-I know. It's impossible, isn't it?
There's so much stuff!
I don't know where to start.
Ooh, look who it is -
another of Anne's Dinnerladies colleagues.
-Is that Thora?
point us in the direction of something really good, please, darling.
Thank you. I remember that hat.
Shortly, Paul spies something.
We've got some old magic lantern slides.
It's a fair big quantity.
It is a big quantity. What sort of subject matters do we have?
-Cracking label, isn't it?
They're slides for a late Victorian magic lantern,
bearing the images of engravings
that would be projected onto a wall or screen.
-This is what they had instead of television.
Let's all three of us hope they don't make a comeback, then!
Have we found anything...
How are you working the prices on these?
I haven't actually had the time to go through them all,
but for the whole lot, I'd want 200,
or we can come to a price on a few boxes.
Can you slaughter your price or are you going to give me paltry little discounts?
-Make me an offer.
-I'll give you £50 the lot, easy as that.
I'll take 100.
70 quid cash and we've got...
I'll tell you something else - as a sweetener,
I promise we'll buy something else off you today.
Annie, work your magic. Look the man in the eyes!
-Help me here!
-No, he doesn't look like I'm his type!
Try, woman, try!
Shall I sing you a song to persuade you to come down?
£70 here on these,
and I assure you, we will make another purchase before we go.
-Oh, go on, then.
-Good man! Thanks, Ian.
-Thanks for the support there, compadre!
The magic two-hander of hard haggling and star power does it again!
And sheet music enthusiast Anne has spotted some keys.
SHE PLAYS DISCORDANTLY
Oh, it's a bit out of tune!
What about the vertebrae?
There's no age to that, but it's quirky.
Oh, gosh, no!
Fear not, dear viewers, it's only plastic.
Vertebrae! Who wants a vertebrae?
Let's hope they've got the backbone to keep on hunting!
But there's something elsewhere that might spin them a profit.
Oh, there's a spindle. Look at the spindle.
-A spinning wheel, yes.
-A spinning wheel.
That's quite unusual.
-Do you like?
-Yes. I just think that's so unusual.
How much is that going for?
That would have to be £80.
-But, of course, Paul has another figure in mind.
At 40, I think it's there or thereabouts, from our point of view.
The best price I could do on it would be £50.
-It's a big, striking object.
-It stands out.
-I would do that, too, really.
-Are you shaking Ian's hand?
-Thank you very much, Anne.
Deal done, and it's time to be off.
Meanwhile, Thelma and David are also all bought up
so they've travelled onwards to the environs of Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire...
-It's a bit tight.
-..where they're visiting a centuries' old local landmark -
the atmospheric Jacobean home Chastleton House.
A National Trust property, Chastleton is an incredible time capsule,
transporting visitors back to its 17th-century origins.
As Thelma is a keen gardener,
they're definitely going to take a tour around the house grounds.
But first, they're going to learn a little bit more
about what makes it so unique.
They're meeting Sebastian Conway, the house steward.
-Welcome to Chastleton.
-Are we going inside?
-Please do come straight in.
-Thank you very much.
Do come into the Great Hall.
-The Great Hall.
-The Great Hall.
-Gosh, it is a great hall, isn't it?
The same family owned the house for 400 years.
You can't believe this is just for a family, can you?
The chap above the fireplace is Walter Jones.
He purchased the estate back in 1603,
with grand ideas that he'd marry his children into very good local families
and perhaps the estate would continue to grow.
What did he do? How did he get his money to do this?
We're told he inherited quite a large fortune from his grandfather.
They were wool merchants.
But sadly, the family's prosperous times were not to last.
Walter dies in 1632,
to be sort of, er, succeeded by his son and heir Henry.
There seems to be a sort of marked decline.
Over the subsequent three centuries, the family have really struggled to keep the house,
the estate has always shrunk.
But remarkably, this meant that the house was preserved
almost in its 17th-century state.
The last lady who lived here, Mrs Clutton-Brock,
she had a wonderful saying - poverty was a great preserver.
The fact that didn't have the money meant that there was no other option to altering it.
So when the National Trust became involved with the house in the early '90s,
it really presented with us this fantastic time capsule
which had been unaltered since the early 17th century.
Remarkable! Now a special treat for green-fingered Thelma -
Sebastian's going to take them outside to see the gardens.
Do come through.
Sebastian is handing them over to his colleague, volunteer gardener Julie.
-Hello, Julie. David Harper.
-Nice to meet you.
Lovely to meet you.
Beautiful, beautiful garden!
This garden layout, like the house,
is a gently faded echo of the estate's cash-strapped past.
It was laid out in the early 1600s, probably by the architect of the house,
and it then never really changed much.
The topiary shrubs here were once fashioned into precise shapes.
Like a ship in sail,
a tea cup,
a milk jug, a horse,
but over the last 50 years the family lived here,
they got a bit big and out of shape.
-You're trying to get them back to...
-We can't get them back because they're too old,
but we like to give a hint of what they looked like.
Can David and Thelma guess what they were?
-That one, to the right of the arch.
It's a... It's a... It's a, erm, a bust, a head, on a plinth!
I was going to say a monster head.
-No, it's a horse!
-It's a horse!
-Of course it's a horse! Thelma!
Yes, tut-tut, Thelma! Of course it's a horse!
-This, for you, is fantastic, isn't it?
Look how serene it is. It's just lovely.
-Do you spend plenty of time still in the garden these days?
-Oh, yes, I do a lot.
As you say, it's healthy, you're getting fresh air
and you're being creative, which is another great thing.
Indeed it is.
And the grounds have one other big claim to fame -
the rules of croquet were codified here in the 1860s
by a chap called Walter Whitmore Jones.
So, how about a game on the croquet lawn to round off the visit?
I don't know the rules!
You've never let that stop you before, David!
Oh! Almost! That would've been fantastic.
-# We're proud of the stately homes Of England #
You've either got it or you haven't.
-And I haven't got it!
Lordy! Anne and Paul have caught up with them at Chastleton
and it's time for our duelling teams of mixed doubles
to reveal their items to each other.
First up, Thelma and David.
Oh, dear! PAUL LAUGHS
They look... impressed?
-It's a box with a lift-up lid.
-It could be a seat.
-It could be a seat.
It could be just something a bit unusual.
It's a bit bonkers.
TIM: 'I'm not sure they're sold on that one.'
What is that?
-You'll love this, Anne.
-This is what we call in the business
a chest expander.
-DISCORDANT NOTES Oh, I love it!
-I knew you would!
I want that! I'll have that.
-Isn't that just utterly delicious?
-Go for it.
Late 19th century, Marquetry inlaid.
-I think you press one of these.
Have you been teaching Anne some naughty tricks? I know you!
Sorry. I didn't know I was supposed to press a button.
-Press the buttons. If you don't mind, do it quite gently.
-Press one of those?
-And pull gently.
-And that one?
ACCORDION-STYLE MUSIC # La! #
'At least they're in tune with you on that buy. Lovely!'
What else did you buy?
-We've got a collection of silver.
-That's the prettiest thing you've ever seen.
-Is that silver, the purse?
That's silver-plate or white metal. The rest of it is silver.
-All hallmarked, apart from that item there.
We spent roughly £20...
-90 for the silver collection.
But I think this is truly the star.
'Thelma's the star! But at £35, the flutina is pretty good, too.'
-So that's us!
-'Now for Anne and Paul.'
We're still all right!
-I'll roll the drums now.
Here we go! Here we go!
Oh, look! Totally different, isn't it?
OK. I can see a nice piece of pewter.
-A pewter plate.
That was my choice. I picked that out.
-Is that a spice dish?
-It's quite old.
-It's pretty... It's got, er, initials on.
-What date? 200 years old?
It's 18th century and it could be mid or early,
-but it's 18th century.
-I think 250 years is a safe bet.
How much was that?
-And what's here?
-The biggest and most interesting collection of magic lantern slides
-I've seen in many a moon.
-I paid £70 for those.
-OK. That's possibly cute.
That could make a £10 note off several hundred!
Only making a tenner? You're prayers are answered!
'Maybe. But what's behind you, David?'
-I thought that was a prop!
-I thought it belonged to the house!
I think there's going to be some profit here, both sides.
-'Well, let's hope so.'
-Shake on it, darling!
'Everything's very friendly when they're face-to-face.
'But do the gloves come off behind closed doors?'
-I would never have thought of buying those slides.
-They wouldn't appeal to me.
-What else did they have? The pewter plate.
-I love that.
-Ah, it's a pewter plate!
Is there anything on their table you would swap for something on our table?
No. Absolutely not.
-Even the daft carp?
-Come on now, don't be so koi!
I thought that box was...
You'd really have to be a specialist to want that.
I loved the little handbag and the little card case.
-I like that.
-And the squeeze box was...
-I would like that.
-What an exquisite little object.
-I'm quite confident.
-Are you feeling good?
-Yes, I am.
Sounds like everyone's primed and ready for battle.
Let's get at it!
Our pair of tussling twosomes have travelled from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire,
to end up here, in Penkridge, Staffordshire.
The ancient market town of Penkridge seems a fine place
to set the scene for some selling.
They're pulling up at Cuttlestones Auctioneers & Valuers.
Here we are! There's plenty of people, Paul!
Plenty of people!
I'm going to get my lady, you get yours.
-Good morning. How are you?
-I'm raring to go.
-Show time, Annie.
Just follow me. Ignore these two. They're of no importance.
Huh! Someone's getting a little big for his britches.
Auctioneer Dave Eglington holds our teams' fates in his gavel hands.
Before the off, what does he make of their lots?
The Egyptian carved box could struggle a little bit.
Nice little pewter spice dish, but it's a nice utility piece and it fits in with today's styles.
With the rosewood accordion - no musicians in my family -
but there will be one or two in the crowd today.
So it might be going for a song.
Thelma and David began the road trip with £400.
They spent quite a modest £165...
# La! #
..and have assembled five lots for today's sale.
Anne and Paul also began with 400 smackers.
They spent £220 of that...
-Certainly! It's a done deal!
..and also have five lots to show for it.
-No? HE COUGHS THEATRICALLY
It's almost time for curtain up. On your marks...
I can feel the pressure building now. Can you feel it?
- Do you feel the pressure? - I'm very pressured, yes.
I think I'll have to go. I don't think I can stand the strain!
First up are Anne and Paul's many boxes of magic lantern slides.
Will they light their way to a profit?
Fantastic bids here. £20 bid.
Oh! Low start...
..22. 24. 26. 28. 30. 32. 34.
Any advance on £34?
Are we all done? I shall sell at £34.
That definitely puts them in the shade.
Ouch! Ouch, ouch!
Now, the first for Thelma and David,
as their entirely eccentric Egyptian-style box is up.
-It's rare. Really rare.
14. 18. 20.
-More than that!
-Any advance on £24?
-It's a bargain! Go on!
-You'll never see another one like it!
-You'll definitely never see another!
-There might be a reason for that!
Yes! There's a fresh one! That's more like it!
-I shall sell for £38.
It's a tidy profit. Anne is feeling the pressure.
I think acting is much less stressful!
I think I'd happily play Hamlet rather than go through this.
To be or not to be... a profit on Anne and Paul's pewter dish?
-Straight in at £22.
It's gorgeous! I chose it!
It was my choice. It's 1700-and-something!
-24. 26. 28. 30. No?
-Oh, go on!
Crikey, it's not flying!
-At £40, all done?
-It's beautiful with fruit on it! Lovely!
And they'll have to subtract auction costs from that.
Another chance for Anne and Paul to rack up some profit
with their Edwardian magazine stand.
Fantastic bids in here. £20 is bid on the magazine rack.
22. 24. 26. 28. 30.
30 away. At £30.
Are we all done? I shall sell for £30.
Sadly, the punters' brass stays in their pockets.
I don't know what we did, but it must've been very, very bad!
Now it's Thelma and David's expertly assembled job lot
of silvery trinkets.
-32. 34. 36. 38. 40. 42. 44. 46.
-A long way to go.
48. 50. At £50 with me. £50. 55.
-60. At £60.
-At £85 in the corner. £85. Any advance on 85?
-Am I all done?
-Selling for £85.
That lot really should've sparkled.
There's another chance for Anne and Paul to shine now
with the silver-plated tea service.
-Bids in here at £10.
-10 bid. Any advance on £10?
12. 14. 16. 18.
-£20 with the lady. £20. 22.
-£22 in the far corner.
-Any advance on £22?
24. 26. 28.
-It's so pretty.
36. Fresh money.
All done at £36.
Phew! That finally serves up a steaming cup of profit.
It's the carved carp next. Will it leave them swimming in dosh?
-Bids in here at £8 only.
-£8. 10. 12. 14.
-16. 18's with you, sir. 20.
-26. 28. 30.
-Has somebody got a restaurant they can...?
-At £32 with the lady.
-Any advance? With you at £32.
All done and selling at £32.
Did I tell you the one about the profit they caught?
It was this big!
What do you think of Mr Carp now, then, Thelma Barlow?
-Mr Carp's maybe a little bit better than I thought.
-Yeah. Aye, aye!
Now it's the 19th-century contraption for Anne and Paul.
-But will it spin them a profit?
-£20 is bid.
At 20. Any advance on 20? 22. 24.
26. 28. £30 with you, sir, at £30.
Any advance on £30? To my left, 32. 34.
-46. Fresh money.
-Get to the 50s!
-This is better.
PAUL: You'll regret it!
65. He's determined.
-Any advance on £65?
After a woolly start, they do get a profit.
Now it's the silver-plated egg cruet set for Thelma and David.
-Here we go! Here we go! This is ours.
-Bids in at £10.
-£10 bid. 12. 14. 16.
-20 is with you. 22. 24.
-People of taste, obviously!
-£24. Any advance on £24?
-26. Fresh money. £26.
No? At £26...
All done and selling for £26.
A smashing little buy for that team.
Next it's the lovely flutina - Thelma and David's star lot.
Oh! Hang on!
# Are you going To Scarborough Fair? #
Lovely! But that's enough of that, thank you, girls!
£30 is bid. At 30.
Any advance on 30? 32. 34.
-36. 38. 40. 50.
-60. And five.
-70 with me. £70.
-No? At £70!
-Oh, go on, please!
-Any advance? 75.
-At 85 in the far corner.
-Get bidding! Never mind that!
-Yes! Come on.
-A lady of taste!
-Ooh, it's climbing!
-Thelma, tell him!
130. She's determined. At £130.
-140. Are we all done?
-I shall sell for £140.
Our lovely showgirls lead the saleroom a merry dance
and earn a win.
-Are you a musician?
-No, but I'm going to learn!
No insult, but it couldn't be any worse!
Everyone's a critic.
And with that spot of audience participation,
-the curtain falls on this performance.
Understudies Anne and Paul started this trip with £400.
After paying auction costs,
they made an unfortunate loss of £51.90,
leaving them with £348.10.
Bad luck, you two.
But Thelma and David are the undisputed stars.
They also started with £400
and managed to secure a handsome profit of £98.22,
meaning they finished the road trip with,
let's do the maths now,
All the profits generated from the auction will be donated to Children In Need.
Don't worry, we made up for your failings, so it's all OK!
-Doesn't he put things nicely!
-Stop looking so smug!
-Always a pleasure, David.
And you two have been just angels. Thank you so much.
It's been great fun.
it's been a blast!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Anne Reid and Thelma Barlow, two veteran actresses and stars of the BBC comedy dinnerladies, team up with antiques experts Paul Laidlaw and David Harper for a whistle-stop celebrity road trip around Oxfordshire. Armed with a classic car and £400 each, the two teams compete to buy antiques to sell for a profit at auction in Penkridge, Staffordshire. And a trip to see wartime artwork conjures up fond but emotional memories for Anne.