Actors Frances Barber and Phil Davis put their scripts aside and pair up with antiques experts Catherine Southon and Thomas Plant for a celebrity buying spree around East Sussex.
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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 post card.
And auction for a big profit further down the road.
Who will spot the good investments? Who will listen to advice?
-Do you like it?
-No. 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!
We're in 1066 country for another epic battle.
Two fresh celebrities each with £400 to spend
and making their first foray into the world of oddities and curiosities.
It's fellow actors and buddies Phil Davis and Frances Barber.
So, Phil, do you think Battle was named before or after the Battle of Hastings?
Well, my guess would be it was named after the Battle of Hastings.
Unless they thought, "Let's attack there because it's already called Battle,
-"and that would be convenient!"
We've known each other ever since the Battle of Hastings, haven't we?
Shortly after the Battle of Hastings. Late '70s.
A friendship forged on the set of numerous TV shows,
this award-winning duo most recently shared the screen
in the BBC's gritty courtroom drama, Silk.
But it all started in the '70s for Phil,
when he landed the role of teenage mod Chalkie in cult movie Quadrophenia.
He's since carved a career playing the sneering villain,
the Dickensian baddy and the not-to-be-messed-with cop.
Everybody says to me, "Did you keep the parka you wore in Quadrophenia?"
I wish I had. It would be worth a fortune.
-I know nothing about antiques.
-I don't know anything about antiques, either.
Except I am one!
Frances got her break in the '80s movie Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.
In her lengthy stage and screen career,
she's famous for playing fabulous, feisty females
as everything from Cleopatra to Doctor Who's eye-patch-toting Madame Kovarian,
hell-bent on his destruction.
# The female of the species
# Is more deadly than the male... #
-Do you have a strategy? Tactics?
-I think high camp. It's all I know!
Yes. Well, I'd better go for farm implements.
Working men's stuff!
Unless I could try and contact my feminine side!
You've got a feminine side.
I have, yes. It's at the back!
Frances looks every bit the glamorous leading lady
being driven around in this 1974 MGB convertible.
Our thespians are on their way to rendezvous with two treasure super-sleuths,
Thomas Plant and Catherine Southon.
I'm taking you to the seaside!
A very famous part of the world.
The Battle of Hastings.
It's a bit like us, really, together these next two days.
-You have got no chance.
-I don't think I've got any chance at all.
They've gone all continental in their 1985 Citroen Deux Chevaux,
or 2CV, to you and me.
But it's proving to be a bit of a handful.
I think I'm in fourth.
You can drive it, it's easy.
Don't make out it's easy, Thomas.
I know what's going on in that mind!
What? My mind is simple!
I know that!
Check out this dashing young man.
At home on the rostrum with a gavel in hand is Thomas Plant.
With an eye for sparkle, he knows a thing or two about silver and jewellery.
I'm like a pig in the proverbial, when it comes to things like that.
But he can be a bit of a fuddy-duddy.
I really like mother-of-pearl.
It's sometimes a bit old-fashioned.
Are you saying I'm a fusty old-fashioned man?
The blonde bombshell is Catherine Southon.
She knows exactly how to get her own way.
You've got lovely eyes. Has anyone ever told you that?
One of her specialities is maritime works of art.
If she can ever make up her mind!
I'm a ditherer. I really like something that you look at
and you've got absolutely no idea what it is.
You can't go wrong with a bit of novelty silver.
Well, this should be interesting!
The forage for fortune takes a route
from Hastings on the coast of East Sussex
through the home county of Kent,
finishing at an auction in Chiswick,
nestled on the meander of the Thames
in the London borough of Hounslow.
They're kicking off in the historic seaside town of Hastings.
I think Frances is going to be hot.
She's going to go in there and see what she wants and she'll buy it.
-So what about Phil?
-He's a lad, isn't he? He's a bloke.
-He might not be so into...
-I wouldn't call Phil Davis a lad.
-He's a gentleman. You're a lad!
I'm just going to go with what I think I might buy someone who I thought liked antiques.
-So, Derek Jacobi and his partner, they love antiques.
Her Christmas card list must read like the credits of a Hollywood movie!
If I was buying them a present, I'd go, "Derek would like that."
You see, you're already up on me!
Not only do I know nothing about antiques,
I don't even know people who do know things about antiques!
I'm at a severe disadvantage, here.
Oh, dear! Did someone say disadvantage?
The Deux Chevaux is misbehaving already!
Go on, give it some welly.
See what's wrong.
Oh, blow on it. That'll do the trick.
Frankly, they haven't got a clue.
-Come on. We'll have to walk.
Yes, walk. You've got flat soles on.
They've found out who we are!
Yeah, they've done a runner!
What time do you call this?
-Very nice to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you, too.
Sorry for being late! Thomas killed the car.
So I think we're going to do battle of the sexes.
-The girls are going to stick together?
I'm very happy to be with Frances. I think she'll be very feisty
and she'll be fabulous.
The problem is, I don't know much about antiques.
-We're antique virgins.
We ARE antique virgins!
-Let's get in. Come on.
-They're cheating already!
-That's not on.
We're going to find the biggest antiques, the bestest antiques, cos of that!
Not very chivalrous of our gents,
who are making a quick getaway in the only car that works.
Philip, is this your first foray into the antiques world?
I'm a junk shop aficionado,
but I don't know the value of anything.
But you do, so between us, we'll have it all covered.
-There'll be a good cop/bad cop thing going on, I think.
How do you think the girls will get on?
I think they'll get on famously.
-They had their arms around each other when they walked off!
They did. It was very moving.
Left without wheels, the girls are hot-footing it to their first shopping stop.
But as Hastings is packed with antiques shops up these little cobbled streets,
they've got the advantage.
No, not in the least. I'm just going to be led by you, Catherine.
I was hoping to be led by you, cos I thought you'd have a very strong idea of what you wanted.
The shop is aptly named Browsers
and with £400 burning a hole in their pockets,
the girls are ready to spend. The owner Pete has a couple of assistants on hand
to help sniff out the best deals.
-This one is Hugo, and this is Hattie.
Let the ladies in.
Let the bargain buying bonanza commence!
Gosh! Where do we start?
This is where you'll see I'm not very good at bartering.
I once was held hostage in Morocco
and they held me hostage to buy a carpet!
They wouldn't let me go until we bought the carpet!
-I hate Persian carpets, as a result!
Darling, how awful!
My nan had something like this.
It's quite ugly, actually. It's depressing, isn't it?
There's something about the colour that makes me feel it's not authentic.
It's just too...
As soon as you go in, she's, "I like this, I like that."
And I knew she was going to be like that.
She's really looking and finding some fantastic pieces.
Looks like a death trap!
That looks nice, Catherine.
Look out! Frances has spotted another little thing of interest.
You've got good taste.
It's an Edwardian oak roll-top stationery holder.
It's like, you know like one of those roll-top bureaux?
-Does this work?
-The timber front, yes.
It works lovely.
That's very sweet, isn't it?
It is nice. Would you put your stationery in there?
Do you get a lot of fan mail?
Yes, I do, from Doctor Who, actually.
So I don't think I could fit those in.
But as a piece of furniture, I think it's really pretty.
There's no ticket price on it, so what kind of money is Peter talking?
-I could do it for...
-Could you be very kind?
Not very kind, then!
What about if you did that for 40,
and then the other one for free?
Crikey! She's added a Georgian table top desk to the deal,
but she hasn't even looked at it! She's keen!
Both of them for 40.
-Look at her...
She's got such a cheeky smile!
Keep smiling, cos it's working!
I think she's one of these ladies that gets what she wants!
I don't think we ever argue with a woman like this!
I don't think Peter's going to even put up a fight!
-She's good, isn't she?
-You're a very good man.
Here we go. There we go.
She's very, very good.
Two for the price of one, eh? Top dealing, and they've not finished yet.
Catherine's now spotted something that floats her boat.
A beautiful ship's clock.
-Does it work? It's like a bulkhead clock.
-He's got a smile on his face!
Never trust a dealer when they say it definitely works!
This brass ship's bulkhead clock is circa 1920.
I wonder who might buy a timepiece like this at auction?
I know someone who'd love that. Tim Spall, for his boat.
Have you seen his programme where he goes round in a barge?
-But we're not selling to him!
-I know we're not selling to him!
Wind him up, then. Give me a demo.
The clock has a ticket price of £170 on it,
but it's seen better days and Catherine knows it.
It is working. If this was in tip-top condition,
it would be worth about £200.
It's not in tip-top condition.
This is like a mould.
-And this has all been repainted.
A horrid green colour.
So you'd have to strip all this back.
I can feel a really bad bid coming on!
You're not the only one!
So, with that in mind,
I'm going to let you have a go, because you're quite feisty.
What about 99?
-I thought I was doing really well!
-No, you're not!
It seems not!
25 and I'll walk your dogs!
I'm not happy about that, and they're definitely not happy!
Try the cheeky smile again!
What is your very best price you can do on that?
I'll do £100 and you give the dogs a walk.
Well, I never!
Hold on, who's taking who for a walk, then?
I've got the wrong shoes on!
Take care of them - they're priceless!
With the help of man's - or in this case, woman's - best friend,
they've secured three items of treasure for their truck,
purchased for the princely sum of £140.
Now, if Frances would only return the prized pooches,
they can get on their way!
Bucking up at their first shop,
it's time for Thomas and Phil's antiquarian "bromance" to begin.
They're in London Road, where shopkeepers Nick and Jill are ready to do a roaring trade.
Is there anything you're passionate about, you two?
Phil, relaxing into his latest role as an antiques expert
has already got something in his sights.
-Do you know the way to tell if these are in good condition?
Look down each monocular the wrong way round
to see if they're all in line.
Yeah, they're both in line.
Lieberman and Gortz.
Lieberman and Gortz was a brand name used by a Brixton-based company
called H&G - Headquarter & General Supplies.
Successful in the late '40s to '60s,
they sold optical items and army surplus gear.
Got 22 quid on it.
-That's a possibility, isn't it?
We could build up quite a nice lot, actually.
This is quite a nifty thing.
Oh! I like that.
You could buy the binoculars and put it with them as a little lot.
What for the racing?
It's midway between a seat and a shooting stick.
Are you going to try it out?
-Well, you know...
-You could do that.
The buttocks are not suffering unduly!
It's always a worry!
Do you want to do some negotiation?
-No, you do it. I bet you're really hard.
-I'm not. I'm not at all, I promise!
It's all an act. He's a pussy cat, really.
The twitching or racing set have a combined ticket price of £37.
But Thomas is only offering £25.
I have to say 25.
-25 is absolutely fine.
-Is that all right?
First deal of the day done in double-quick fashion.
But this shop is full of enticing items,
so the men are browsing on.
-Do you play cribbage?
-Yeah, I used to.
It's quite a nice collection.
This one is rosewood with satinwood in there.
-And it's on a mahogany base.
-That's where the pegs would live.
This is a 19th-century one.
And that one is fantastic. Look at that.
You've got the suits. I think they're rather fun.
What would you feel if we bought the lot?
How much will it come to?
About 100 quid?
Nice try, Phil. More like £128.
They are interested, but they're searching on.
I think he's pretty hot.
He seems to know his stuff, and this idea of taking disparate items and putting them together in a lot
I think it is a good one.
I feel like I'm in a foreign land!
Where I don't speak the language!
Thomas has trotted off around the shop and found not one but two more items.
A 20th-century riding crop and a tribal leather swish, no less.
-That is lovely.
-It is lovely.
Good antler handle, here.
In the right sort of shop,
that would be 50, £60.
-What's it on for?
And then the tribal fly swat for your chief.
This is probably zebra. Look at the leather in there.
-The toolmanship. That's a good thing.
-Together I think that's a good lot, actually.
The lads are quite taken with the whip and the swish. Ooh, I say!
And they also want the cribbage boards.
So it's time to find Jill and strike another deal.
-We'd like the lot.
-Have we worked out how much they are adding them up?
A dealer owns the boards,
so Jill will need to make a call.
But the whip and swish are hers to negotiate.
They have a combined ticket price of £27
but what will she let them go for?
-I thought 20 for those two would be all right.
-And ask her about the cribbage...
-I'll call her on the cribbage boards.
Let's hope Jill's back with good news
that won't make muggins out of them.
What's the news?
£60 buys them.
-Well, let's do it, yeah?
-Yes, do it for 60.
Do it for 60. Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
-I think our shopping's done, here.
The chaps have kicked off their shopping spree in spectacular style
on the sporty set of treasures.
Field glasses, a folding stool, a plethora of cribbage boards,
a riding crop and swish, all for £105 of their £400 budget.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much!
We're along here, somewhere.
Catherine's taking our leading lady off the beaten track
to a museum and working shop
internationally renowned for producing artificial flowers and leaves
for multi-million-pound movies and theatrical productions.
So this should be right up Frances's street.
-And you are?
Brenda, nice to meet you.
Hello. This is Frances?
Brenda has one of the largest collections of flower moulds in the UK,
consisting of 10,000 different species,
so it's no wonder she's in high demand.
I'm a bit mesmerised at the moment, by all of these flowers!
-This is incredible!
Her flowery creations adorn the sets and costumes of West End and Broadway shows.
She works regularly with Mamma Mia,
not to mention Andrew Lloyd Webber.
We're known in this country that we produce the best leaves in the world.
So what stage production is this for?
That's for Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber's.
I bet you've done The Winter's Tale a few times!
-Midsummer Night's Dream and Madame Butterfly, we specialise in.
Some of Brenda's film credits include The Iron Lady,
Reign of Fire, and Kingdom of Heaven.
But there's one spectacular scene in Ridley Scott's Gladiator
that most fans of the movie will recall.
Somebody told me that you did all the flowers for Gladiator,
when all the rose petals went into the gladiatorial ring.
And the brief for that was that we had to cover 38,000 square feet with petals!
And it was filmed in Malta, I believe.
-I was there.
-Oh, you were there!
A friend of mine was in it, and I saw that scene being filmed.
-You saw them with all the...
-I certainly did.
I was trying to be one of the Vestal Virgins, but they wouldn't have me!
They wouldn't have you!
Brenda owns one of the largest collections of archive samples
and tools of the trade preserved in this working shop and museum.
Downstairs is where the magic happens
and where Brenda's extraordinary working collection of cutting moulds and machinery
are used and displayed.
-I'm sort of speechless, really.
-So am I!
Your faces are amazing, actually. Yes, it's lovely.
I had no idea these things existed.
Why would you? You wear costumes all the time,
-and you probably don't even give it a thought where some of these leaves have come from.
-Indeed I don't.
Brenda and her assistant Loretta
use the cutting machine and the various moulds,
some of which are over 100 years old, to cut out the leaves.
This is only part of the process.
Next door is a room dedicated to embossing or veining the many species Brenda recreates.
That's the job we've just finished. It's gone to the Met in New York.
They're so real, aren't they?
So the operator puts it in there. That's the top that goes on it.
It goes under there...
..and out it comes.
That is incredible.
-And that absolutely does look real, now.
So you can be a worker, and you can vein some leaves.
Have you looked to see it's going in the right way?
You haven't, have you?
But she's got it in there!
Now, I failed my Art O Level, I'm here to tell you!
-And then I put it back...
-Look at that, your first...
-My first veiny leaf!
Now, when you see these in the National Theatre...
I will know how much work and effort and love went into it.
It's been wonderful. Thank you so much.
And now I think we should drift off like leaves!
-Go and have a glass of wine.
Ambling to the next antique emporium are the chaps.
And, boy, are they starting to feel the pressure of the competition.
-I do want to win, don't you?
-We've got to beat the girls, yeah.
-They beat you at everything else in life!
Definitely! So this is our one chance!
This is our one chance to say who's boss.
Anyway, King's Road Antiques.
Feeling a little inferior, perhaps? Time to man up.
-Nice to meet you.
-Can we have a look round?
How much is the croquet set?
Another game? Oh, boys!
-150 on that.
Never played croquet. They say it's a terrifically good game.
-Let's check we've got everything.
-So you've got to get through the hoops.
And then you've got to end up almost like the flat.
-It's not the oldest thing in the world.
It's not an antique.
Do you know what the best is on that?
-It's only just arrived in.
-I need to have a chat with the trader.
-See what I can do.
-We'll look down here, as well.
The croquet set is made by Jaques of London,
one of the oldest manufacturers of games in the world.
The company may be old, but this set is definitely not.
What is his very best?
Can we do 130?
No, a bit less.
Let's get it down to about 120, then.
I was thinking more like a two-figure price.
That would be my preferred figure.
I'll have another word and see what the rock bottom price is that we can do for you.
It's a good thing, a wonderful thing,
but we're trying to make a bit of profit on it as well.
We would do, too.
Yes, I can see that. It does make two of us.
Actually, that makes three of them.
The dealer who owns the set is in the shop, now,
so Charles can consult him directly.
It's only just come in today. I always sell them.
-It's a lot of money.
-They should easily get that.
-Easily get it.
-There's a margin in it for them.
-He's a tough-looking cookie!
-He's a tough-looking...
-That's leather, that pork pie. I'm not going to mess with him. You'll have to negotiate.
Got something against hats?
See what you can do, Chas.
Chas, have you got bad news for us?
Bad news? No, I can move a little bit more.
-It's not going to be the two figures.
-No? What's it going to be?
-I can do 110.
-If you can't make a good profit on that, change the day job!
It's time to hammer home a deal,
and Thomas sees a final opportunity to try his luck with Charles.
And this is sure to work.
After all, us men have got to stick together.
WHISPERS: Charles, we've got to beat the girls!
£100. Come on.
-Everything at stake, is it?
-Bring back that...
-If they beat us, we'll be so humiliated.
-They win everything. Don't they?
-Except giving birth.
-Yeah. Well, they can keep that one.
-They can keep that one!
All right. 100 quid. Done.
-Thank you, Charles.
-We appreciate this.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do.
And that's another item of swag bagged.
Leaving them with £195 left to splurge before auction.
Meanwhile, these two treasure-seeking trail-blazers
are tripping the light fantastic
to their next port of call,
pondering their performance thus far.
-I'm happy with what we've bought.
-I wonder how they're getting on?
-Oh, I hope terribly!
I hope they've broken down.
No such luck, lovey. The girls are here today at a shop called Gone Tomorrow,
hoping to discover more precious oddities.
-This was my dog!
Ruff! Down, boy!
-Really? What was he called?
Smack? Why Smack?
Louis Spence named him. I was in a show with Louis.
A man about a dog. A dog called Smack.
Oh, he's lovely. But I wouldn't have anywhere to put him.
-We're not buying for you!
-I know! I forgot!
Right. I shall shut up.
Just a matter of the silly old auction to bear in mind, darling.
So you might just want to put that saucy little thing down, too.
One of the pictures is of somebody spanking another person's bottom.
-Oh, how fabulous.
-One of the reasons I bought it!
A woman after my own heart!
A-hem! The less said about that, the better!
These are nice. Aren't they beautiful?
Catherine's attention is on something far more appropriate.
A pair of wooden clubs with a ticket price of £100.
Why are they so much money, though?
Because a local businessman told me he thought they were used in the original Schweppes advert.
There was some guy in a suit, juggling these things.
Hmm. Likely story!
It reminds me of one of the pictures of a strongman in a circus.
In early Victoriana doing that kind of thing.
-Do you know what I mean?
Give me a pose. Show me what they do!
When they used to do those kind of things with their legs,
the strongmen in the circus.
-But what does that do?
-I don't know. I've seen photos of things like that.
-People holding things like this?
-I think so.
That's my best bet!
She's such a thespian!
-What would you do on those?
-Go on, offer me.
We'd probably go about 20, I think.
Cos it's a gamble. They're things that you just don't know about.
-I'm not getting any feedback from my partner.
-No, I'm thinking...
-She's being a silent partner!
No, I'm thinking that...
..that's very interesting.
Very interesting indeed.
Frances's theatrics have obviously left an impression on Catherine,
as she's desperate for more background to the unusual clubs.
-Who was the gentleman who...
-It was his great-uncle.
He was an engineer on the Titanic.
This is all I know, but I believe it to be true.
It's certainly a romantic notion,
but why let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh?
What's the magic number?
-Would you do 20?
-22.50 and I'll do it.
-I think that's very attractive.
Thank you very much indeed.
The girls' collection of curiosities is mounting.
And they still have over half their budget left. Good work.
The battle of the sexes has begun!
I know you want to beat the boys, but that's taking it too far!
So, with two bulging bags of swag,
our dedicated followers of fortune can wrap up today's buying blitz.
I think the girls may be off "clubbing"!
It's curtains up on a new day in sunny East Sussex.
The Deux Chevaux is back on the road
and before our teams take sides,
they're reflecting on their progress.
-How was your day?
-It was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
We bought some fabulous items!
Oh, we're gonna beat you!
You're trying to bluff, aren't you?
How mature, Thomas!
How did you get on yesterday?
As an antique virgin, I actually think we did really well.
I think we got three lots.
-We got four.
-You did not!
We got three in the first shop. I don't want to boast.
-Three in the first shop?!
-And I found one of them.
So, looking good for the boys.
Don't get too cocky, chaps!
Our foraging females have so far spent £162.50,
picking up a brass bulkhead clock,
a couple of table-top stationery desks,
and a pair of Edwardian exercise clubs.
They have £237.50 left to spend before auction.
So far, the wheeling-dealing men
have forked out £205 on field glasses, a stool,
a crop and tribal swish,
a Jaques croquet set
plus enough cribbage boards to choke a horse,
leaving them £195 to splash out today.
The buttocks are not suffering unduly.
Staying in East Sussex,
the troops are heading north-west
to a little market town called Heathfield
which has its very own Doctor Who.
Tom Baker lives here.
What time do you call this?
Frances is still in the car. What's going on?
I'm not getting out. The girls are having this car.
I don't look good in that car. It's going to clash with my outfit. I'm not getting out.
You'd look good in anything, darling!
All right. OK. The women win.
This is the last time you're going to win! Bye!
Go, girls! Go, girls!
-Good luck, Phil!
-Thanks. And you, Frances!
They've won the battle, but they'll lose the war.
I think the girls might beg to differ.
The thing is, we've won a sort of moral victory anyway, because we've got the car.
-Which I think is only right because...
-They had it yesterday.
It's as simple as that.
But my worry is that when I get into the auction,
I will be very competitive.
-I'm not happy with that trait in my personality,
but I just know it'll be there.
Oh, crikey! Watch out, boys, this lady means business!
Right. Here we go.
Time for the men's pursuit of riches to continue.
By the look of things, they've come to the right place.
Oh, my God. This is like the Tardis!
Frances would be right at home!
Shopminder Caroline is on hand
to help with all Thomas's unusual queries.
-Is that a rollock?
-To put your oar in? Called rollocks, are they?
They usually come in pairs!
Rollocks, of course.
It's the chaps' final shopping destination,
and with plenty of plunder already purchased,
they can browse at their leisure.
What on earth has Caroline got there?
It's a sherry engine.
Obviously it does the job it's meant to do.
-It pours the sherry.
It's a very good price. I just thought you might want to think about it.
-I don't fancy this sherry pourer.
-I hate the sherry thing.
You could just pour it yourself with your hand!
I couldn't agree more, Phil.
Thomas loves a bit of silver, and he's homed in on a cabinet stacked with the shiny stuff.
Napkin rings. Silver-topped cut glass jar.
This is silver.
Not worth a great deal just as a piece of silver. Probably about 13 quid.
But as a glass jar, it's actually rather delightful.
Toasting fork, is it?
A toasting fork, quite right.
This is a Staffordshire porcelain handle.
Probably by Derby or somebody like that.
-Silver plate. Lovely handle.
-Lovely handle pattern.
I can feel a lot coming on.
I thought it was just the way you were standing.
You could put the cake basket with it. This is silver plate.
Too pricey, by far.
Get Caroline on the line to the dealer to negotiate for the whole lot.
The 19th-century silver cake basket, silver-topped glass bottles and toasting fork
have a combined ticket price of £116
but the chaps are pleading poverty.
-Explain the dire situation.
-We're very poor.
-That's quite a good lot.
-Happy with that?
-Yeah, I am.
I love especially the fork.
The fork is good.
I think we've established that they like the fork.
So what's the damage, Caroline?
It comes to 116, and his bottom dollar, I'm afraid there's no bartering, £65.
-I think that's really fair.
-That is quite nice. What do you think?
-I think we should go for it.
-I think it's a good lot.
-We'll go for it. Thank you, Caroline.
-Thank your friend.
-Right, we're done.
Hoorah! What a knock-out price!
And with that, the men's whistle-stop shopping trip is over
and they've £130 of their budget left unspent.
-I fell in love with the fork.
-You did love the fork!
It's the first time it's ever happened to me.
I'm a bit overwhelmed!
Come on, let's go.
There's no rest for the wicked, though,
which means Catherine and Frances better get cracking.
So do you have a particular strategy for today?
I'm thinking slightly smaller, value things.
-Unless we do see something that is so...
..so fabulous that we can't walk away.
I'm going to let you negotiate, because you are the best negotiator in the country.
-I've never been able to negotiate in my life before!
I'm a showing off pill, because I've never been able to do it.
Oh, I don't know. For a novice, you seem to have taken the lead role.
They've arrived at the treasure trove, and hopefully, Aunty's got a treat in store.
For the auction, Frances, for the auction.
You've caught me! I'm not supposed... It's rather marvellous.
That's lovely, isn't it?
She just can't help herself!
Right. I'll get something and then come back and buy it.
Off you go, then!
Catherine's drawn to a mahogany snuff box, circa 1800.
But these tiny bellows have an over-inflated price tag of £265.
So much for going for smaller value items!
Look at that. Miniature bellows. This is Georgian.
And it's just divine.
It's actually a little snuff box.
-Oh, it's a snuff box?
-On the back, that slides open, and you put your snuff in.
-That's just fabulous, isn't it?
-That is beautiful.
But who uses snuff boxes these days? Frances?
I know Pete Townshend from The Who. He's a friend of mine.
-I don't know if he still does it, but he takes snuff all the time.
-Would he have something like that?
-In the shape of a guitar, he might.
-It's beautifully made.
And it's got on it, "Forget me not".
It's the sort of thing you'd give to your loved one.
It's a proper love gift. All I ever got was a travel kettle as a love gift!
-Did you? That's quite sad, isn't it?
-From a French man.
But he did say, "The kettle is a love gift", but it didn't make it any better!
Sacre bleu! With such a hefty price tag of £265,
Catherine needs to get her negotiating head on
and speak to the dealer direct.
210? You wouldn't go to 200?
Thank you very much. Thank you. Bye.
I think 210 was her best.
-210 is too much, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
£210 is a huge sum of money. Too much to risk.
Upstairs, Frances spots a set of decorative horse brasses, called hames,
priced at £90 for the pair.
These are the weirdest things. They're vintage harnesses.
For a carthorse with a mark from the manufacturer, I suppose.
-No, it says "solid brass".
-I haven't got my glasses on!
At least one of you can see what's going on.
There's an incomplete pair of hames downstairs at only £26
and owner Nigel is happy to be drawn into a discussion over the price.
Frances is throwing in some familiar moves. Look out!
-I can hold them like the Indian clubs.
-You're amazing! Amazing.
How much are they?
Smile at me nicely.
She's got the best smile on television!
Go for 15 quid for them.
He "hames" to please! Sorry.
-Happy with that?
-Yes, I am.
She's really got the hang of this negotiating lark,
but there's still a little something playing on their minds.
The snuff box.
-Your very shrewd instincts.
-I don't like the way you call them "your".
-It means you're having nothing to do with them!
I'll tell you exactly why. You've never seen one like that.
-And I think that is a very shrewd...
-I love novelty things like that.
-I think we should do it.
-It shouldn't... It should not make a loss. It shouldn't.
The dealer wants £210 for it. To be sure of a profit, they need a considerable discount.
Stop umming and ah-ing, and make your mind up, girls.
If it all goes wrong...
I'm not going to blame you in the least. Not at all.
Go on, Catherine. Knock 'em down on price, girl!
No, it has got to be 210.
Yes, go on, go on.
-Go for it.
-That was quick!
Blimey! What a big price for such a tiny object.
They've really taken a risk on that snuff box!
Oh, my gosh. Look.
Oh, Lord, what now?
Oh, they're lovely!
You're terrible, aren't you?
Watch out, Nigel. She's fixing you with that winning smile!
These 1930s nickel-plated binoculars
The girls have £12.50 left.
I'll do them for nine for you. How's that?
-Shake on nine. Thank you very much.
-You're a lovely man, Nigel.
Hey presto, they've spent almost their entire £400 budget.
They've got £3.50 left to get them to the auction.
I can't believe we've spent so much money.
I always spend everything I've got!
-You're a bad influence!
-I've never gone shopping and come home with change!
Now she tells us!
Not sparing any horses,
the chaps are taking the Deux Chevaux north into Kent.
They're heading to Chiddingstone Castle.
Phil, how did you become an actor?
I've wanted to become an actor from a very young age
when I was about eight or nine.
Before I'd ever seen a play or been to the theatre or anything like that.
It's been a long haul.
But as I've got older, the range of parts that I've played have spread.
But the first film that was a big success
This was a film that everybody wanted to be in.
We were all great Who fans.
Riding round Brighton on the scooters. Absolutely hoot.
The shopping trip is at an end,
but the learning curve for Phil continues here
at Chiddingstone Castle.
It was once home to eccentric bank clerk turned antique collector
Jailed for attempted murder,
his unusual story tells like a gritty drama that Phil might play the lead in.
-Hi, Phil. Very nice to see you.
-Come on in.
The castle still houses his eclectic collection
of Japanese, Egyptian, Buddhist and Jacobean artefacts
and trustee Margaret knows a thing or two about them
and the extraordinary man who lived here.
Did he have plenty of money?
He didn't. That was the amazing thing.
He began life, his working life, as a bank clerk.
And he used to go from branch to branch because he was always slipping off to auctions
and so they kept moving him on!
Bower left banking, opened an antiques shop in London
and became a very successful dealer.
In the 1950s, his shop lease ran out,
so he decided to buy a castle
where he could house and exhibit his collection.
His Japanese collection is one of the largest outside Japan
and includes an extensive range of lacquer objects, armour, helmets and swords.
Look at this - a Samurai outfit.
That's so rare, isn't it?
-It's not metal, is it?
-It's probably a lacquer.
A papier mache with lacquer built up and fabric and silks.
They were meant to stop an arrow, all those layers in there.
-He's got swords coming out of his ears!
-He has, hasn't he?
Bower was a Buddhist and believed he was the reincarnation of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Which was one of the reasons for his keen interest in the Jacobites
and the history of the Stuart line.
He wasn't completely mad, was he?
No... I mean an eccentric.
So extensive and intimate is Bower's Jacobean collection,
he actually acquired the "parts" of King James II.
The little heart here, silver heart,
that holds some of James II's heart.
A piece of it, which apparently was quite common in those days
that after the death of a king, people would be able to take a little bit of it
as a souvenir.
Rather gruesome, picking up little bits of the king!
-Bits of his heart.
-A bit of liver.
-A bit of pancreas!
-No, just heart, actually!
Bower was an obsessive collector
and somewhat obsessive in life.
To learn more about the man, Margaret's taking them to Denys's study
for an extraordinary tale.
He was something of a womaniser.
He had been married twice, briefly,
and then when he was 50, he met a young woman of 19
who purported to be a countess from Monaco.
And she kept up this pretence for over a year
and he became engaged to her.
She wasn't actually a countess from Monaco.
She was the daughter of either a Peckham bus driver or cab driver!
-A good actor!
-A very good actress.
-A woman in my line.
What became of them?
Well, she broke off the engagement and he was devastated.
Denys took a revolver from one of his collections,
went to the woman's lodgings
and told her, "If you're going to leave me,
"I'm going to shoot myself."
I don't know exactly what ensued,
but she got shot and he then attempted suicide.
He was obviously a lousy shot or it was a lousy gun, not sure which,
but he ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks.
He was arrested for attempted murder
and attempted suicide.
-Must have been a big scandal at the time.
-A big scandal in the 1950s.
He went to prison. He was tried and given a life sentence.
In the end, he spent only four years in Wormwood Scrubs.
The sensationalist press coverage
caught the interest of a solicitor
who'd met Bower once in London
and considered there to have been a miscarriage of justice.
He took up his case and won.
-What a story!
-Thank you very much, Margaret.
-Thank you very much.
Denys was released and returned to the castle.
On his death in 1977,
he bequeathed his life's work to the nation.
The ladies are also on their way to Chiddingstone Castle for the grand unveiling,
giving them time to chat about Frances's glittering career.
This girl's worked with everyone who's anyone.
Gosh. I went to university with Danny Boyle.
Whatever happened to him?
We were girlfriend and boyfriend, actually, at Bangor University.
And I worked for Mike Leigh.
Then I did quite a lot of movies with Stephen Frears and Peter Greenaway.
Do you know, they're going to need a longer journey!
But now it's time for our crusaders of curiosity
to unveil their wares.
-Oh, what a surprise!
-Look at that!
-Are they for juggling?
-They're for beating people around the head?
Yes, we're going to beat you!
-They're actually Indian callisthenic things from a gymnasium for exercise.
You've no idea what they are, have you, Thomas?
The most interesting thing on here which I want to pick up
is that lovely treen bellows.
So this is... Oh, it's a little snuff.
-It's a snuff box!
-Isn't it sweet?
So this might have been made by a blacksmith going off to war.
-Except it's wooden.
-I know, but still.
- £100? - Oh, shut up!
No! You know it's not worth that!
How much was it? £45?
You know exactly what it's worth.
We know what it's worth. But what did you pay for it!
That's worth a couple of hundred pounds.
- £120? - No. It was £200.
Actually, Catherine, it was £210.
We've got to make a bit of a profit.
More than a bit!
Then you've got two writing slopes.
-Da-da-da! There you are.
-Oh, you keep your envelopes and things in there.
-I couldn't agree more.
-Very nice. Well done.
Actually, not very girly.
-No. I expected glassware and jewellery.
-Why should we go for girly things?
-Cos that's what we've got!
-We've got girly things.
Are you ready?
- This kind of has a theme. - A sporting theme.
-A bit of sport.
-Guess what these are?
-They're matchstick "crabbage"...
-You don't play cards, do you?
-A game called cribbage.
-This is a cribbage board.
And we seem to have acquired several hundred of them.
How much did you pay for that lot?
For the whole lot, £65.
There's a huge profit. Some of these, you'll pay £60 for on their own.
-Who did you rob?
-We didn't rob anybody. We tied them up and gagged them.
-And we beat them.
-We beat them.
-Beat them with the horse-hair whip!
-It's a fly swatter.
-A fly swatter.
-A fly swatter.
-It's what Idi Amin used to use.
They're all the rage with dictators!
-This is pretty rubbish, though.
-No, it's not!
THOMAS: It's a good set of binoculars!
-So this is a cake...
-Swing-handled cake basket.
What will they think of Phil's beloved tasting fork?
-It's a bit feminine.
- What do you think? - Do you think quality here...
- And... - Dross over this side?
I think you should be congratulated. You've done extremely well.
- Well done, Thomas. - Well done.
May the best team win!
I think they've been pretty honest, to be fair.
But it's amazing how a little privacy can bring out the truth!
I'm speechless. Catherine has spent all her money on those bellows.
That's the key thing, the snuff box.
I think they'll probably make their money, but it'll be really tight.
I wouldn't bother with the silver plate. Or the fly swatter thing.
I'm quietly confident. I think we've got our noses in front.
I hope so.
Do you think we're going to win?
There's an optimistic couple!
The battle lines are drawn and it's time to advance to the auction.
They're leaving behind the country for the big city.
Chiswick is a large suburb of London
and it's also seen its fair share of war.
The Battle of Turnham Green took place here in 1642.
So, Catherine, this is it. A very sad day. The finale.
No, it's not sad. It's going to be fantastic.
Whatever the result, we have had an amazing time. It's been a good giggle.
How are you feeling? Are you nervous?
Do you think you're in with a chance of making more money than you spent?
I have to admit that I'm slightly anxious
that we spent quite a lot of money on that little snuff box.
The snuff box is the dodgy thing.
-My croquet set, with weather like this...
-No chance, Thomas.
-But they may want to stay indoors and play cribbage!
The croquet set's not really an antique. It's younger than I am.
It's nowhere near 21, Phil!
We're going to walk out with our heads held high
holding our BAFTAs.
Or hopefully, plenty of cash!
Cash is more likely.
Busy Chiswick Auction is well established,
specialising in furniture, jewellery, toys and dolls
and Oriental art, to name a few.
They always draw a crowd.
-Here we go.
-How are you?
Mwa! Mwa! Darlings, it's time for auction.
-Are you quietly confident?
I don't care. We'll be fine. It'll be fun.
The gavel-wielder at the helm, expertly steering today's sale is William Rowse.
Has he spotted anything amongst the lots to tickle his fancy?
There are some nice lots in terms of the quality.
There's a lovely little snuff box.
Whether it's necessarily going to make a big profit, I couldn't be sure.
There are some that perhaps won't get much excitement,
for example the pair of rather ordinary binoculars,
which I'm sure will sell, but won't get any hearts racing.
I think Frances and Catherine are probably going to win,
perhaps by a small margin.
They have some of the more interesting lots,
whereas the other team have got more, maybe the phrase to use is "pedestrian".
It's not the phrase they would use!
Catherine and Frances all but maxed out their £400 budget,
spending £396.50 to make five lots.
25 and I'll walk your dogs!
Whereas shrewd shoppers Thomas and Phil only spent £270 to make up their five lots for auction.
I fell in love with the fork. The first time it's ever happened to me!
The most hotly contested battle of the sexes the antique arena has ever witnessed
is about to commence.
-I'm feeling really nervous!
-I am Mr Cool, me.
If we do really badly, I'm going to auction my ring!
Let's hope it doesn't come to that!
The men are first with the binoculars and stool.
Will this little sporty set get the bidders twitching?
What's it worth? £10 this lot.
-I'm bid ten. £10. 12.
-They've all got their hands up!
20. 22. 25. £28 there.
30 in the red here. 32.
-You were lucky!
-£40 in the red.
Are you all done for 40?
He's cocky, isn't he?
A neat little profit, despite earlier predictions.
It's time for the girls to get in the game
with the ship's bulkhead clock.
I think you should give them one of your stares if the clock doesn't do well.
And I'm straight in at £40.
-Please, more than that.
50. At £50. Anybody else?
Careful now. At £50. Anybody else want to bid?
Oh, dear. A rotten, stinking loss
and a disappointing start for the girls.
Don't you laugh!
-I'm trying not to smile, but I can't...
-You're an actor. You can try!
Time to stop sniggering and get your game faces on, boys.
It's your cribbage collection next.
It's very boring. You didn't choose them, did you?
No, they're very interesting.
To someone, maybe.
What's the lot worth? Start me. £30 for the lot.
30 I'm bid. Thank you, Chris. 30 I'm bid.
Are you al done and finished?
-That is ridiculously cheap.
Who's sniggering now, then?
The gamble didn't pay off and the chaps also take a nasty loss.
I thought they'd be worth a lot more. They were beautiful.
Next, it's the natty pair of table-top stationery desks.
The ladies really need a profit on these.
I'm nervous now cos we lost so much on the clock.
Don't worry. Don't worry about it.
This could be a bloodbath.
That's a way to raise the spirits, Thomas(!)
I've got two identical bids at £55.
-There. A £15 profit.
-60 in the room against a commission bid.
In the room at £60 against commission.
Anybody else, then? AT £60. It can be sold for 60.
-Well done. Congratulations.
- Yeah, but not enough! - Oh, shut up.
Not a profit to write home about,
but a profit, nevertheless.
Can the boys get a cracking price for the riding crop and swish?
I covet that myself. You're not allowed to bid for your own stuff?
No, you can't!
Not the done thing, old boy.
£20 for these two items. Surely worth £10 each.
22. 25. 28.
30. 32. 35.
£35 I'm bid there in the distance.
At 35. Anybody else, then?
-I can sell them. £35 and going.
-Give it a swish!
And the chaps cash in,
increasing their lead, marginally.
-You buy cheap things, don't you?
-Was that your idea, Phil?
Yeah. Keep it cheap and nasty, like me!
He's a big softie, really!
The girls are desperate to beat the boys, one way or the other, with these clubs.
-How do you feel about the clubs?
-Have you ever done that form of exercise?
Of course, every morning!
I'm straight in here with a bid of £20. At 20. 22.
32 in the room.
£32 in the distance.
Selling then, for 32.
We knew, you see.
The chaps were close to getting one of those round the earhole
if they hadn't made a profit!
You didn't have any faith in those, did you?
No faith in them whatsoever.
-You liked them, though, Phil?
-What, the clubs?
Can we not have a post-mortem on the clubs. You've sold them. Move on.
And on we move to the boys' dazzling array of silverware
and Phil's favourite fork!
We need a plant.
You've got a plant. Or is he a fruit cake?
I've got a mate who'd be perfect.
He's strange-looking, wears a straw hat.
Is he talking about me?
He'd fit in beautifully.
-Start me at £20, a mixed lot.
-Oh, here we go!
20 I'm bid there, the lady. 22. 25.
-Just keep going.
-It's a good lot.
-All done and finished. 42 it goes.
-It's a disaster.
-A disaster. All that hard work.
The boys aren't laughing as they take another hit.
It's a complete... She's so pleased!
But will she still be smiling after this lot?
It's the brassy harness and leather-bound binoculars.
There we go. What's it worth? Start me at £20 for this lot.
20 I'm bid. Thank you, Chris.
22. Thank you. 25.
£30. With my original bidder at 30.
Wiped the smile off your face!
£30, it's gone.
-Sees a profit.
-It's very healthy.
Profits are small and losses are large for both teams.
With only two lots to go, it could go either way.
-It all lies on the last two lots.
The boys' big pricey lot is their last item.
Will they strike it lucky with the croquet set?
THOMAS: I've just seen the world's champion croquet player walk in.
If he is the world champion, he might already have his own set.
I'm bid £75.
-With me at 75.
75. 80. 85.
-With me at 95.
100. I've got 105 as the last bid. With you at 110.
-There will be a sale.
Anybody else? At 110, it will be sold.
Bus fare home, then.
Are the bidders getting younger, or am I getting older?
With such a small profit, there's no clear leader.
Everything rests on the last lot.
The greatly anticipated snuff box.
-It's make or break.
-As you love our little snuff box so much,
would you have spent £200 on it?
It was £210, Catherine.
I'm bid £80 for this. Thank you.
-£80 I'm bid.
-What do you think?
-I can't bear to listen!
-£100 it is in the doorway.
-It's got legs.
160 in the hall.
-Anybody else, then?
£160 for the bellows.
160 all done? 160.
Oh, God. That is just so irritating!
The girls' chance of success snuffed out, in the end,
by the miniature bellows and the boys are rubbing it in!
Look at his face!
Not very sporting.
So our celebrities started with £400 each.
Catherine and Frances shopped till they dropped
and after auction costs, they made a crashing loss of £124.26,
leaving them with only £275.74.
Thomas and Phil only did slightly better,
and after costs made a loss of £55.16,
leaving them with £344.84.
Any profit made on the Road Trip, no matter how large or small, goes to Children in Need.
Except there isn't any today.
We've both lost money, but we've lost slightly less.
Which means the boys are the winners!
But we both made three profits.
-Absolutely. Let's look for the positives.
We had a moral victory.
I think Phil's quite a good dealer. You've got a good eye.
-I've got a wet head!
-You're getting wet hair, yes.
-Go on, get in that car.
It's time for the final curtain. Take a bow, teams.
It's been wonderful, hasn't it? It's been great fun.
Do you want to get into acting, now?
No, I have done my bit.
I started off this thing saying I didn't know anything about antiques.
And I've just realised that I still know nothing!
I've really enjoyed it, though. Have you?
Yes, it's been fun, driving around in this lovely old car.
-We had a laugh, actually.
-Yeah, so did we.
We had quite a good one.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Actors Frances Barber and Phil Davis put their scripts aside and pair up with antiques experts Catherine Southon and Thomas Plant for a celebrity buying spree around East Sussex. Armed with £400 and a classic car, each team aims to buy antiques to sell at auction in London for a profit. Their road trip also takes in a gripping tale of eccentricity and attempted murder.