Actors John Nettles and Barbara Flynn search for treasure around Devon and Dorset. John also hears the harrowing story of a D-Day training exercise that ended in tragedy.
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The nation's favourite celebrities...
We are special, then, are we?
Oh, that's excellent.
..paired up with an expert...
We're a very good team, you and me.
..and classic car. Their mission?
To scour Britain for antiques.
I really want to get ahead.
Oh, I love it.
The aim? To make the biggest profit at auction.
But it's no easy ride.
There's no accounting for taste.
Who will find a hidden gem? Who will take the biggest risks?
Will anybody follow expert advice?
-Do you like them?
There will be worthy winners and valiant losers.
-Are you happy?
Time to put your pedal to the metal,
this is Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
We're in the beautiful West Country for a celebrity road trip
with stage and screen stars John Nettles and Barbara Flynn.
Do you know the last time we were in a car together...on film?
It's many, many years ago in an Austin A7.
And we were about to get married in a series of A Family At War
-and you didn't drive.
-No, no, that's true, that's true.
I had to put my leg over and do the gear and the clutch at the same time
-That's it. I do remember that.
-It was hysterical.
We'll have none of that on this programme, thank you.
John Nettles received unorthodox driving lessons
as Barbara Flynn's love interest in A Family At War.
And was a memorable Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders for many years.
But he'll perhaps always be best known
for playing Jim Bergerac, the handsome Jersey detective
who drove a 1949 Triumph Roadster.
Our celebs are in a 1965 Mark 2 Jaguar.
This is a lovely thing.
Isn't it just? Though it looks more Morse than Bergerac.
Since falling for John Nettles in A Family At War,
Barbara Flynn has carved out a distinguished career
on stage and screen, including The Beiderbecke Trilogy,
A Very Peculiar Practice, Cracker, Cranford and the film, Miss Potter.
Barbara and John each have £400 to spend
in the battle for antique glory.
It is one of my favourite things, looking for things.
-Are you good at haggling?
-No. Do you like..?
I am a complete coward. I'm very English.
"Oh, I'll pay the price." "Everybody be nice to each other."
"Not going to argue about it."
I'm not sure our experts will stand for that.
But they're jolly excited about their 1949 Triumph Roadster.
Now, this car, I believe was the car that Bergerac had in Bergerac.
So it's going to be a great surprise.
Well, I hope so. Yeah. I mean, what a treat.
Auctioneer James Braxton loves anything old,
if it's got great quality and design.
While Christina Trevanion specialises in antique jewellery,
but claims no expertise on John Nettles.
I hear your mother is a fan.
I'm afraid I rather blame John Nettles
for one of the worst family holidays, when we went to Jersey,
hoping to get a glimpse,
and I was a fairly stroppy teenager at the time
and poor old mum had to go solo in search of John.
Today, our celebrities and experts start their road trip
in Chudleigh and meander the highways and byways
of South Devon, before nipping into Dorset,
finishing at an auction in the cathedral city of Wells in Somerset.
The small market town of Chudleigh will be a delightful starting point
for a happy reunion between John and that lovely Triumph Roadster.
The worst car I ever drove on screen was the Triumph Roadster,
the Bergerac series.
And it's the worst machine in the world to drive.
There we are.
Look! He looks absolutely ecstatic.
-This is his car.
-No, no, no!
I better not sit on it.
-I take back all I said.
-How do you feel? This Is Your Life.
I take back all I've said about it, it's a wonderful car.
-Good morning. How are you?
-I'm all the better for seeing you.
-Do you recognise that at all?
-I do recognise that, yes.
A lot of my DNA is on that, I would think.
It's very nice, I love it to pieces.
Have we thought about who's going with who and what we want to..?
-I'm going with you. There's no question about that.
Tradition means there's no question about who drives the Roadster.
The car predates seat-belt laws, which is why John and Christina
aren't wearing any as they head straight down memory lane.
-Did you have to do a lot of driving?
Didn't have much of a script. 10 series of Bergerac, three scripts.
-10 series? Gosh.
-So we had a lot of car shots.
You'd never catch us doing that, John. Much...
But it was unbelievably popular.
-It was a fantastic series, wasn't it?
John lives in Devon these days, so he knows this patch,
but what about the world of antiques?
Not a... A tiny little bit.
-I like silver work and so on.
I know what I like,
but that's quite different from what is valuable in the auction room.
So, John has definite tastes and admits he's rubbish at haggling.
I wonder how that'll work out?
So, what have we got here?
Devon Metal Detector. This is our first shop. This looks good.
The name's a tad misleading.
It's also a second-hand shop
with all sorts of interesting bits and bobs.
-I say... Oh, hello! Lurking behind the cabinets, Phil.
-How are you? Are you well?
-Very well, thanks.
-You're looking terribly tanned. Where have you been?
-Just come back from Mevagissey. Brilliant.
Oh, John's from Cornwall.
-Indeed I am. The unfashionable part - St Austell man, myself.
-Down in Mevagissey, eh?
-Pentewan, as well.
Now, I thought when you're in Cornwall, it was called Snozzle.
It is called Snozzle. Down Snozzle, yeah.
Crikey, I'm not even going to ask.
On with the shopping.
You take that end, I'll take this end. Let's go, get rummaging.
OK, but no Snozzling, please.
John is keen on military history and even wrote a book
about the Channel Islands during World War II.
He is quick to find a military item.
-What have you found?
-These are from the Great War,
which declares itself to be "The Great War For Civilisation.
"1914-1919." What do you think? Have a look.
Well, the key for medals is that they have to be in good condition.
And these look like they're in absolutely mint condition.
Look, these ribbons have barely been touched,
they're still incredibly fresh, aren't they?
You have the miniatures over there, as well.
So these would be your dress ones which you would wear
-instead of the large ones.
-I see, yes.
-If we look around...
Can I give you those for a second?
If we look, what should happen...
They are actually named, as well.
"PTE," which is Private, "WHJ Blake, Devon R."
-A Devon boy, was he?
-He was a Devon...
Certainly a Devon regiment.
And they suffered enormous casualties in the First World War.
-Yes, particularly at the beginning of the war,
the demands on... The suffering was great.
So that's...particularly poignant, that.
I wonder whether he survived. That would be certainly interesting
and I think that's the key for medal collectors.
That there is something for them to research,
they've got that historical aspect as well as having something tangible.
They've got something to research, as well,
so I think that's why the market is really quite popular.
Yes, it's got a huge emotional resonance.
The document that comes with the medals
has few clues about Private Blake.
-I think they're interesting. Shall we go and ask how much?
-I think we should.
So, Phil, we were interested in... We've got some medals here.
-Do you know where they came from?
No, only what's on there.
-I do have something else here which might interest you.
It's to do with the First World War.
It's a picture of the Royal Engineers Riding Squad.
"1st Riding Squad, Royal Engineers, Aldershot, 1918."
-Last year of the war.
-Yes, right at the end of the war.
And they still have some horses left.
I don't think they're related, whatsoever,
but it could be an interesting...
Combination, a composite set.
Yes, exactly. So, Phil, what are we talking about for the group?
Obviously, we've got the medals
and now we've just introduced a picture.
85 and 35, 120.
-So, 85 for the medals...
-..and then 35 for the picture.
-But we could do a really good deal.
-..for the lot.
-That's an absolute steal.
I wonder what John "Let's Not Haggle" Nettles thinks.
I think it's a reasonable price. I'd quickly steal it.
Can I squeeze you any more?
Oh, watch and learn, John.
-We said 70... Well, we said 50!
-No, you did not!
-I'll do you 70.
So the first lot's agreed at £70 with Christina's help.
I think that's terrific.
Meanwhile, Barbara's comparing notes with James.
I like well-crafted things, no matter what they are.
-The shape and form...
-Quality of materials?
So, classy things for a classy girl.
I think these two will get along fine.
Cos you're sitting next to a Leo, I don't lose easily.
-You're sitting next to a fellow Leo.
-First of August.
I'm the fifth. Well, that's all right then, we're on the same page.
Barbara and James have left Chudleigh
and they're heading 10 miles down the road to Ashburton.
Ashburton's a place full of traditions,
most notably its ale-tasting ceremony,
which goes back over 700 years.
Apparently lots of beer has to be drunk,
in order to test its quality. Of course.
Barbara and James aren't distracted by such things, though,
although you'd be forgiven for wondering...
-It's nice, where are we?
-I don't know... Ashburton.
Top marks, team.
They're straight into Etcetera Etcetera,
which has five rooms full of wares dating from the Georgian era
to the 1980s.
Looks like these two have spotted something already.
-Is that Newlyn..?
-That's very nice. Arts And Crafts.
It's not detailed enough for Newlyn, is it?
-Onwards and upwards.
That's quite an oriental-looking handle on it.
That looks pretty lightweight to me.
This lady knows her stuff.
What will her eagle eye pick out next?
-That's very nice, isn't it?
I got rid of one a long time ago and I think I really regretted it,
because it's that little book
-that you don't want to lose in a big bookcase.
And you've got them handy on a desk.
It's a bit of a bargain, isn't it, 28?
Talk of books makes James wonder how Barbara learns her lines.
-Do you learn it visually or not?
-Yes, I sometimes write it out.
But if it's well-written, it's easier to perform.
But it's all different. That's really why I love it,
-because it's never the same.
-Never the same.
I love variety and I love to stretch and do different things.
I've been so fortunate, I've done a lot of comedy and tragedy.
They're very close. As we know. As we know in life.
But it's... Oh, I've got a great job.
So far, Barbara's playing the role of antiques hunter
with the greatest of ease!
It's quite honest.
-It's quite stable, it's not at all rickety.
-Put some books in.
-Just perfect, isn't it? I like that.
-That's a possibility.
Sounds positive for the book trough.
Back in Chudleigh, Christina has found some silver,
-Whilst you were hunting over there...
-You were hunting over here.
..I was hunting over here and this is probably a little bit girlie for you.
Oh, no. What are they? Are they buttons?
They are buttons, yes, exactly right.
They are little buttons.
Originally, there would have been six.
Unfortunately, we only have five.
But these are some of the nicest buttons I've ever seen.
They are solid silver.
They've got a maker's mark down here, and also a nice hallmark
which tells us they are Birmingham and they date to 1901, so Edwardian.
-Brilliant. They're very pretty, aren't they?
-They are pretty.
-Silver, is it?
-Solid silver and there are button collectors
and I just think these are really rather dinky.
Then I also found these,
which I think are basically the poor man's version,
which is in silver plate, but still very sweet. Have a look at those.
It's all gone a bit floral, hasn't it?
-We've gone from warfare to flowers.
-That's all right.
This is very sort of Yin and Yang, isn't it?
Teamwork will get you far in this game.
If we put those buttons with those buttons,
how much could you do those for?
£20 and I'll give you those.
-How about that?
-You are a star.
-I've also got this that might be of interest to you.
-I thought maybe a sponge went in there for...
-Oh, very possibly.
-Could have been.
-Yes, very possibly. For...
-In the bathroom?
-A damp sponge for stamps.
-Oh, for stamps!
To have it on your desk. For the bathroom!
I can imagine this sitting on the side of the bath.
Do carry on.
It's only easy when you know.
This chunky little piece was made by Sanders and Mackenzie of Birmingham
in 1930 and the interior is silver-gilt.
-So what's on that, Phil?
-That's marked at 20.
Look, how about if I did you 20 and 10?
£30 for the three.
-Couldn't ask for better than that, could we?
-What do we think?
No, he's never going to make a haggler.
I think that's brilliant.
With the two sets of buttons and the silver pot at £30,
and the medals and the army photo at £70,
John and Christina have their first two lots in the bag.
-That's a round hundred.
-Pleasure doing business with you.
Back in Ashburton, Barbara and James are still at Etcetera Etcetera.
The book trough's already a hot favourite
and James has his attention on something else.
-Talking about something well made, feel the weight of that.
-Feel the weight of that lid.
-Isn't it lovely?
-It's just a really lovely item.
-It has a key.
It's got a lovely weighted lid. Look, this is gorgeous for a start.
That's a lovely detail, the wood is in lovely condition.
James has found a George III mahogany tea caddy
dating from around 1780.
It's had a little restoration and a replacement key.
The lock and key were vital in the days
when tea was a precious commodity. Ticket price is £95.
An object of beauty, isn't it?
But it should be about 50 or 60 quid.
Ouch! That's going to take some haggling.
Will dealer Robert prove to be a soft touch?
And I had to buy it off a little old lady who needed the money
to feed her children.
Not a soft touch.
With that little old lady in mind...
-So we've got 95,
so...I think it's going to have to be £75.
There's not a lot of leeway in that.
-And then the trough?
-It's very, very cheap, isn't it?
-Always could be cheaper.
Oh, yes, I think so.
-You know, one would have to have a very brown furniture...
-So it's a bit of a gamble, really.
-If you fill it with coloured books,
it'd look fantastic in any house.
-Don't worry about the brown malarkey.
But not everyone knows that, you see, not everyone knows that,
that's the trouble.
-Seems Barbara's no soft touch either.
So far, the book trough's down from £28 to £20
and the caddy's reduced from £95 to £75, making a total of £95.
John would have shaken hands long ago, but not Barbara.
I don't know whether maybe 80 would be in any way discussable?
-I don't mind a discussion...
I'm not sure about the outcome.
Nor am I!
Shall we call it £85 for the two? How does that sound?
-It's better, isn't it?
-Well, yeah, not for me, but...
Gosh, she's good.
In an auction situation,
-would be rather lovely to see it...
-Go on, Robert, can we do 80?
Be rather lovely. Go on.
It would be a lovely round number, if you could possibly see your way.
-OK, we'll do it for £80 for the two.
So, in a haggling tour de force,
Barbara's secured her first two items -
-the book trough for £15 and the caddy for £65.
-Bye-bye, thanks a lot.
That was fun.
Was, wasn't it?
John and Christina are back in the car, though,
heading 30 miles south to Slapton Sands.
John's knowledge of military history should stand them in good stead
in this area.
In 1944, it played a pivotal, but little-known role
in top-secret American training for the D-Day landings at Utah Beach.
But dreadful Allied errors resulted in more casualties
than on Utah Beach itself.
Local man Dean Small is John and Christina's guide.
Dean, what exactly happened here?
This beach was used as part of the practice landings for D-Day
in a big operation called Operation Tiger.
This being the beach chosen to simulate Utah Beach in France.
It had been planned for many months.
Thousands, 30,000, I believe, acres of local land were evacuated,
farmland, homes, etc.
On the 27th of April, 1944, British forces bombarded the coast
with live fire in order to simulate real battle conditions.
The plan was to stop firing just before the American troops
practised their landings at Slapton Sands.
-The bombardment was to soften up the coastal defences.
-And after that, the troops should come ashore.
So the landing craft came round that point, up to the beach,
and what happened then?
At a certain time,
they would have arranged for the bombardment of the shoreline
and the hills in the distance,
but, at the last moment, they changed that time.
That didn't filter down through to the men
that were landing on the beach,
so unfortunately the first wave of men that landed on the beach
were landing on a beach that was under fire. Yeah.
Oh, my goodness me.
The exact number of casualties isn't known,
but in another phase of Exercise Tiger,
tank-carrying vessels assembled along the coast
in Lyme Bay and disaster struck again.
The early hours of the morning, about 2am,
radio frequencies were confused and the Germans picked up on it
and a flotilla of E-boats were attacked
in the early hours of the morning.
The vessels were poorly protected
and three were hit by the German enemy boats.
Many of the troops on board were drowned.
Estimates of total casualties during Exercise Tiger vary,
but are generally thought to be well over 700.
-Was there any kind of enquiry into this?
-It was kept completely secret.
There was no doubt about it, they had to keep it secret.
They didn't want the Germans to know
obviously about the imminent D-Day landings
and so they were trying to protect that.
-And there were no leaks?
-No. Yeah, I mean, amazingly so.
Some lessons were learned and when D-Day came,
fewer Americans died at Utah Beach than had died during Exercise Tiger,
though of course casualties elsewhere were high.
Long after D-Day,
the tragic events of Exercise Tiger remained virtually unknown.
It was Dean's father, Ken,
who brought the story to the wider world.
He used to beachcomb on this beach regularly in the early '70s
and, during that time,
he came across bits of shrapnel, bullet heads, tunic buttons.
-All military things.
-All military things.
And he couldn't understand why, it didn't make any sense.
The finds prompted Ken to start asking questions.
Gradually, he pieced together the terrible reality
of what had happened.
He also made another find that was quite remarkable.
-Good Lord. So your father found this?
This is the ultimate metal-detecting find, isn't it?
It is quite amazing, isn't it? Amazing.
This is a Sherman tank, Duplex Drive,
so it was an amphibian tank designed to float in the water
and could be launched off a large ship either out at sea
or across rivers, lakes, etc.
The discovery of the tank resulted from Ken Small
chatting with a local fisherman.
He told him that there was this object on the sea bed
that they would often snag their nets on.
And he was... Dad was so curious,
eventually he persuaded this fisherman to go and have a look
and that's when they realised that it was a Sherman tank.
The 32-tonne truck was three-quarters of a mile out at sea
and 60 feet below the surface.
But, having uncovered the tragedy of Exercise Tiger,
Ken was determined it should become a memorial to the lives lost.
In 1984, it was salvaged.
There were no dead bodies in there, were there? Was there anything else?
Yeah, it was fully operational inside
-and this is the rangefinder from the tank.
-It's in good nick, isn't it?
It is in amazing condition, yeah. There were two of these,
the other one was given to the driver of the tank, who my dad met.
-His name was Horace Johnson and now his son has it.
Sadly, Ken died in 2004,
but thanks to his total dedication, lives lost in Exercise Tiger
are regularly commemorated and have a permanent memorial.
Barbara and James are hitting the road once more.
Barbara, any of your roles prepared you for this antique hunting?
Cranford, I suppose you could consider that we were...
Well, I suppose,
a lot of us could be considered to be rather antiquey, ourselves.
My parents loved antiques and so I've got a great fondness for it.
And a great respect for true craft.
They're heading for the sea, the resort of Paignton to be precise.
Paignton's residents are sometimes referred to as Pudden-eaters,
thanks to a centuries-old tradition of creating giant puddings
to mark the granting of the town's charter.
Once again, Barbara and James are not succumbing to local habits,
focusing instead on the stock at Pimlico Antiques.
Collectables, snappy dressers, you name it and Paul's the man.
-Welcome to Pimlico.
-Thank you very much, Paul.
-Welcome to Pimlico.
There's a lot to consider.
Quite useful, isn't it?
Like a travelling toilet mirror.
Doesn't go with our flash purchases so far.
Barbara's keeping standards high.
Eminently practical, these, aren't they?
They are. Gosh, I remember those, but I'm not sure,
-got some holes in it.
It's done a life already, hasn't it?
Try again, James.
-Barbara, did you play the violin?
-My sister did.
-It was deeply...
If at first, you don't succeed...
I like the glaze on that, I love the glaze of this one.
This is more that lovely eggshell. Sort of matte, isn't it?
The pottery charger features enamelled orange lilies
and there's a Japanese-inspired one, too.
They're priced at £25 each.
-£25. That's a good price, James.
Try telling Barbara.
Too much for us.
For the two, Paul, what? Tenner? 15?
Did they cost you a king's ransom
or were they part of a mighty house clearance?
No, James, they're not a king's ransom,
but for the two, I would let you have them for £20.
£30 off sounds good to me. But I am no Barbara Flynn.
-See, Barbara's been to Egypt.
-She's a top haggler.
This is not my... Could be...
-No, I like the better price,
the 18 that you suggested the first time.
I wasn't really concentrating then.
Oops! That could cost you.
The 18 would give me my money back.
-Would it? Really?
-For the two?
As I like you, £18. There you go.
-No need to kiss me.
So with another strong haggle,
the pair of chargers are reduced from £50 to £18.
Crikey! And Barbara and James have their first day's shopping
all wrapped up. Best to get some shuteye now,
because tomorrow is another day of shopping and haggling and fun.
It's a new day and John's acting confident.
-They can't be any competition.
-No, no, no!
You wait till you see what we've got.
-We'll give you a good run for your money.
-It'll have to be good,
I tell you, to beat us.
Well, let's assess the prospects.
Yesterday, Barbara and James set their sights on great craftsmanship.
-Feel the weight of that.
Acquiring a tea caddy, a book trough
and a pair of chargers for a total of £98.
-Barbara's been to Egypt...
-She is a top haggler.
It leaves them with £302 still to spend.
That was fun.
John and Christina did some yin-and-yang shopping
buying medals and a military photo, plus a group of pretty silver.
John was a less-than-tough negotiator.
Couldn't ask for better than that.
But, thanks for Christina, they secured their two lots for £100,
leaving the duo with £300 for today.
A pleasure doing business with you.
Whatever John's failings as a haggler,
Christina's rather smitten.
He is the most unassuming, most lovely,
-most modest person I have ever met in my life.
-He is just a delight.
And so knowledgeable. And how is Barbara to shop with?
-She's interested. Her mother was a great auction goer.
Down in Hastings, so she was always coming back
with treasures and bargains, as you do.
Treasures and bargains, eh? Follow that, James.
-Now that we're winning...
-Winning? Oh, you think? You wait!
John hasn't been winding you up about any purchases, has he?
A little bit.
-Just a little.
-But I'm staying cool.
As they cruise towards their first shop of the day,
James is curious to know what Barbara gets fired up by.
It's always the writing that I love.
I was very fortunate to work for Andrew Davies
in A Very Peculiar Practice playing a man-eater and a woman-eater doctor
in a very, very tight little white...
-I still get letters about that.
-Yeah, I do.
Yeah, and I'm still waiting for a reply.
-This is a beautiful Devon village.
It is picture-skew, isn't it?
Well, they're in picture-skew territory,
making their way north-east through Devon towards Honiton.
Unlike Ashburton, with its ale drinkers,
and Paignton with its Pudden-eaters, Honiton's ancient tradition
involves the gentry throwing hot pennies to the poor.
Well done, let's go in here.
Honiton's also home to Upstairs Downstairs and Lombard's,
adjoining shops with one owner selling just about everything,
from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
We're feeling the pressure now,
because we really, really want to get ahead.
Barbara dives straight in
with a dog's head carving on a walking stick.
That's a very fine dog's head, isn't it? Quite humorous. It's nice.
But owner Barry is keener to sell the stick stand.
The most interesting thing here would probably be the Coalbrookdale.
Oh, the stand we're talking about, is it?
The cast-iron stick stand comes complete with a drip tray,
and it's stamped Coalbrookdale,
dated 1843 and has a ticket price of £295. Cor!
For somebody who collects walking sticks
to have a signed and dated stick stand would be rather nice for them.
-It does add to it all.
How much are you selling that for, then?
I could let you have that for £200.
£95 is a decent discount, but not to Barbara.
Would you throw us out if we offered you 175?
-No, I wouldn't.
-You wouldn't throw us out?
No, I wouldn't, because you're very nice people.
So 175 you might consider?
I couldn't consider that.
-If you can squeeze another tenner...
-I'm not sure.
-..we can do it.
-I'm not sure. I think we should walk out of the shop.
-I think 185...
-Isn't that the Egyptian way?
-We'd better go.
Time's against us, isn't it?
-Time is against us.
-Time is against us.
-Oh, what a shame.
No deal. Time to find something else.
John and Christina have also made their way to Honiton.
-They're headed for Bel-Ami...
-Oh, how pretty!
..which has seven rooms packed with antiques and collectables.
They have £300 to spend,
so it might be Christmas has come early for owner Sue.
John, this is what I need for driving around in our car. Look!
-That's good, isn't it?
-Do you think?
-Oh, really good.
-Is it for sale?
-Oh! THEY CHUCKLE
John's staying focused on serious shopping.
-Oh, Christina, that's very pretty.
-What have you spotted, my love?
-Oh, that's pretty!
-Very pretty, that, isn't it?
Are you an art lover, John?
-I know what I like.
-And I like that very much.
Very much indeed. That's beautiful.
John's found an oil on board painting of flowers.
It's signed by the artist, but the name's not familiar.
And there are no clues as to its origins. It's priced at £45.
Are you drawn to sort of modern art or more traditional?
-I'm a figurative man, myself.
-A figurative man.
-I like this stuff.
To me, it looks very sort of Japanese,
or Aesthetic in style, that sort of very minimalist look.
Yeah, it's very spare. It's not got that Victorian sentimentality.
-No, it hasn't.
-It's a nice composition.
-Altogether, very pleasing, aesthetically.
-I do. I do.
-So, the painting's a definite, maybe.
And there's more browsing to do before decisions can be made.
A stone's throw away, art is also on the agenda for Barbara
-They've just come in.
-This is a good find, is it?
Well, I should think they would be an investment for the future.
-We're talking about tomorrow, Barry!
They're a seaside resort. They look sort of...
-Would you say West Country?
-Yeah, definitely Cornish, aren't they?
Look, look. All that sort of fishingy, don't they?
They are St Ives.
But they've got a lot of history on the backs,
-done a lot of exhibitions in different places.
-The artist, yeah.
Those oils, both on board, signed by Rod Pearce,
feature two scenes from St Ives, and the pair are priced at £285.
Rod graduated from Chelsea Art School in 1964
and his works hang in a number of private
and corporate collections, so these could make a good buy.
I quite like the way he's done the seagulls. Slightly Canaletto-ey.
And the light from that one...
Yeah, light's very good in that one.
At auction, I would expect these to make anywhere between 80
and 120, to be frank.
-How about £80?
-I would do them for your top estimate, your 120.
Looks like 80 every day.
-80 is good.
-I thought you said 85.
If you want to sell them to me at 85, I'll very happily give you 85.
-Would you? I'd give him 80.
-Ooh, she's tough.
So, I think we'll take them at 80, shall we, Barbara?
-Yeah, that's good. That's great.
-Thank you, Barry.
If you leave another 20 quid on the floor,
when you go, that would be much more appreciated.
I tell you what, ten.
-80 plus ten, and then you're in the money.
-That's 95, isn't it?
-Is it? 90?
-Are you happy with that? Yeah.
-Well done, Barry.
-Thank you very much.
I have lost a few little pennies, but I don't mind that.
-Cos you two are absolutely beautiful people.
So, cracking teamwork gets Barry's maths back on track
and a very generous reduction on the paintings, from £285 to...£90.
Wow! Fancy another go at the stick stand?
Come on, Barry. What can you do, eh?
-I think 150.
-Mentioned about 175, so...
-I was thinking 155.
-I wanted some more, so...
Now, because it was my fault because I said 175, could you be a
very forgiving man and make me
look better in the eyes of James Braxton by getting it for 100...
-Darling, I can make you look better.
-we're still 170, that's so nice of you, Barry.
-Yes? Oh, my goodness! I didn't ask your permission!
So, with the stick stand reduced from £295 to 170 and the paintings
snapped up for £90, Barbara and James's shopping is all done.
-Really good, eh?
-I'm really pleased.
-Why are we walking down here? The car's over there.
-I don't know.
Back at Bel-Ami, John's got his eye on something.
-Take a look at this.
What is this? Right, let's have a look at this. What have we got?
We've got a lamp. Oh, John, this is lovely!
You have got a good eye.
If you look underneath here, we've got
this wonderful Corinthian capital here
and it's got this lovely sort of fluted stem, very classical.
It looks to me like it's silver-plated, rather than silver.
But really lovely and it works as well, which is fantastic.
-So, what have we got on this?
Have you looked at the price before you've called me?
No, I haven't looked at the price. That's very naughty.
Prices and profits are key to victory, John.
£155, that's quite a lot.
Really, we want to get it for the region of £60 or £70,
in order to make a profit at auction.
But it's a lovely thing.
-Let's have a chat.
-We're going to have to haggle a little bit.
Do your best/worst.
John's in charge of haggling now. Stand by!
We're very fond, or fondish, of this.
We think it's a very lovely piece.
And it's er... And, but it's a little bit, if I may say,
beyond our budget at the moment.
I was wondering if you'd be ever so kind if you could...
He's terribly good, isn't he!
..possibly, possibly, erm...
..allow us a little?
Ha-ha! That's quite a performance.
Could still do with a little help from his expert, though.
What do you think you might be able to do us?
Bearing in mind he's played a policeman.
-He's got his handcuffs in his back pocket.
I could probably let it go for about 80.
Another fiver less than 80, do you think?
What's your absolute best on it?
Um, my absolute, absolute best?
I could take off another ten but I wouldn't want to go below that.
-Is that OK?
Oh, oh, oh! CHRISTINA LAUGHS
-Well, it's lovely.
-What are your thoughts?
My thought is, yes!
A team effort secures a hefty discount on the lamp
and shade, from £155 to £70.
But there's still the case of the £45 oil painting to crack.
And would I be really pushy if I said £80 for the two,
would that be completely out of the way?
Did you buy this with other things?
I did. And I've probably made my money so I'm going to say yes.
-OK. £80 for the two?
-For the two.
I know, I know!
-Thank you so much.
-Would you be happy to do it, £80 for the two?
-Yes, you can £80 for the two.
-Sue... I think I love you.
So do I! With a little help from Christina,
John, the supposedly hopeless haggler, has bagged
a total of £120 off the lamp and painting.
And he seems pretty chuffed.
-What a lovely lady.
-What a lovely lady.
-We're on to a winning streak here.
HE SINGS: We're going to win, we're going to win!
John and Christina.
I'm pretty sure we will have a battle on our hands.
We will have a battle, won't we?
Nothing wrong with that.
But first, Barbara and James are leaving Devon behind,
to step back in time in Lyme Regis in Dorset.
The town's at the heart of the Jurassic Coast,
and famous for its fossils since the early 1800s.
All thanks to Mary Anning,
a poor local woman who made discoveries which helped
transform scientific understanding about the age of the Earth.
To find out more, Barbara and James have come to Lyme Regis Museum
to meet Paddy Howe, museum geologist and fossil expert.
-Paddy, isn't it?
-Hello, James, hi. Very good to meet you.
Welcome to the Jurassic Coast.
She came from a very poor family.
This was really considered a slum area of the town.
But very keen, very observant, very driven.
Mary's family collected and sold shells and fossils
to help make ends meet.
And, in 1811, when Mary was just 12, she and her brother Joseph
made the world's first discovery of a complete ichthyosaur.
This is about 70% of the skeleton of an ichthyosaur.
-It's about the same size as one that Mary and Joseph found.
Joseph found the skull, and he showed Mary where to find
the rest of it the following year.
From that point, he wasn't really into fossils
-as Mary was.
-She took it over.
A huge tail. It must have swum pretty quickly.
Very, very powerful swimmers.
One of the most sturdy bones,
the biggest vertebrae are in the base of the tail.
The tail of the ichthyosaur is the engine, the tail.
So it's all powered from here.
And this, bigger than a big, great white shark.
A ferocious thing. You wouldn't want to be in the water with it.
Mary went on to discover and study thousands more fossils,
acquiring a detailed knowledge of anatomy.
Her finds include another first, the plesiosaur.
The fossils stimulated scientific and religious debate
about the age of the Earth.
And the gentlemen scientists of the day flocked to Lyme to see her.
Here is this woman who is discovering all these fossils.
And she brought it forward. That's an incredible thing.
All the scientists of the day were all working with her,
getting their knowledge from her, getting the information, getting
the finds from her, and using that to push the science forward.
So, she really is seminal in palaeontology.
Mary's contribution is widely recognised now
but, in her lifetime, things were very different.
As a woman, she couldn't join the major scientific institutions,
and many of the so-called gentlemen
were happy to take credit for her ideas.
Mary's private writings suggest she was all too aware of the injustice.
-This page, just titled, Woman.
-"And what is woman?
"Was she not made of the same flesh or...
-"The same flesh and blood as lordly man?"
It carries on.
"Yes, I am most destined, doubtless, to become his friend,
"his helpmate in his pilgrimage, but surely not his mare."
It's so biblical.
"For is not reason hers?"
So, I think, here, she is really expressing that anything a man can do,
she can do equally well.
And that she is as good as any man.
Mary Anning never knew how greatly she'd come to be admired.
But, today, Barbara and James are getting a chance
to follow in her footsteps.
Paddy's lined up some promising stones
for them to have a go at fossil finding.
So, quite ordinary, grey rocks there.
They're some of the most dull rocks you will see on the beach.
They're not round like most pebbles. They're quite angular.
Sharp edges or flat edges.
-A good skimming stone.
Look at that.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Wow. That's not bad, is it?
-Would you like to have a go?
-Go on, get bashing.
-You'll have to hit it quite hard.
Think you're Mary Anning, OK?
I'm not making...
Shall I have a go? I'm feeling lucky, Paddy.
-Remember, viewers, safety in the workshop, OK?
-Are you all right?
Go on, give it some welly, James!
-It's not as easy as it looks.
-It isn't easy, is it?
No, it isn't. Which is why Paddy believes in
the "here's one I made earlier" principle.
Hit it just there.
-Isn't that lovely?
And, at 65-million-plus years old,
the oldest antique yet on the programme.
John and Christina are still focused on shopping,
and they're tootling up the road to their next stop in Colyton.
Hey, look at that! We could... A fossil!
I think they've been fossil hunting.
We could take that and say we found it.
-Works for me!
Christina and John are at Colyton Antiques Centre
where Vera and George are masterminding operations today.
A variety of dealers offer everything,
from furniture to, well, bundles of fluff.
-Oh, Katie, hello!
-Oh, look at you, Katie.
-How much for this?
THEY ALL LAUGH
-Would you do a deal on the dog?
-Do a deal on the dog?
-But she's hardly antique.
Oh, Katie, do you want to come antiques hunting with us?
-What do you think?
Even without Katie's assistance,
Christina's quick to sniff something out.
John, what do we think about a milk churn?
-A milk churn?
-Do you remember these?
LMD, London Midland Dairy.
-That sounds good, doesn't it?
-Do you remember those?
-Would they have used those for deliveries?
We did, with glass bottles...
With cardboard tops.
-What do you think?
-Yeah, yeah, it's lovely.
I think we'd want to get it for £5 or £10. What's on it?
-Ah. But it's in the sale.
-So there might be some flexibility.
-So, is it haggling time?
I shall go and strong-arm George and see.
Looks as if John's embracing the art of haggling.
That is a milk churn.
You taught me last night, recognised that right away.
-Is it state-the-bleeding-obvious day!
-Yes, yes, yes.
-A slight profit.
The sale price, £32.
I'm not entirely sure it's that collectable
because it's a bit late for milk churn collectors.
What, 1960s? Is it?
I'm wondering. This is...
-Yeah, late '60s, '70s.
I don't know. You probably remember them slightly better than I do.
-Thank you! Thank you very much!
I'm not sensitive at all!
1960s, '70s before my time! Before my time.
We were hoping maybe £5 or £10 might buy it.
-What's your thoughts, George?
-I think 10 would be more likely.
-10? That's good, isn't it?
-What do you think?
-I think that's very good. I'd pay £10 for that.
-I'd pay more for that.
-No, no, no!
-No, John, shush!
-No, it's not worth £10.
I think £10 is very fair. Yeah.
In which case, thank you.
So, Christina's managed to steer John away from a haggling disaster
and, with the milk churn, their shopping is finished.
One good churn deserves another!
But will everything turn sour when they reveal all to the opposition?
-Well, that's rather...
-Oh, thank you.
That looks nice.
-That's a very nice tea caddy.
-That's very sweet.
-What did you pay for that?
-Very nice, I like that.
Some pictures in the front there.
Oh, lovely, little street scenes.
-St Ives, I think.
-Quality of life.
-It's nice, straight from the Tate!
That'll be news to them, John!
How much did you pay for your stick stand?
-We paid quite a lot of money for that.
-We did, we did.
-Oh, wow, OK.
-It's signed Coalbrookdale, and dated.
So you want two stick obsessesors to turn up and fight for it.
£170 for a piece of Coalbrookdale, that's very good.
-Well done. And are you pleased?
-It's very handy.
Erm... Delighted, delighted!
Your delight is delightful.
But what about John and Christina's buys?
There it is.
-Look at theirs!
This is an interesting ensemble, isn't it?
It is interesting, yes.
So, talk me through it.
These are medals from the First World War,
given to a lowly private, but nonetheless valuable.
Very, very valuable, you understand.
But these are special favourites.
What about your ghastly picture?
It's not quite the same as yours. It's a different school of thought.
-Do we need to see it from the front?
Very interesting. What did you pay for your pictures?
-They were really... It was...
-Guess how much we paid for our picture?
-No, that's terrible, no, no.
-We paid £10. OK, we feel we've overpaid now. It's beautiful!
The execution, the subject matter, the colour differentiation,
-the background colours.
-Good luck with that!
Crikey, that's crushing. So, what's the bottom line?
Would you swap or not?
Would you swap? I'm not sure I would, actually.
There's no need to be that snooty about it!
I'm not snooty.
I'm getting very attached to these things. They've been with us now.
-And, good luck.
-Yes, very best of luck.
-THEY ALL LAUGH
Well, it was gloves off in front of each other.
What will they say in private?
I didn't like the picture?
I didn't like the picture. I wouldn't give it house room.
I did love our things on the table, I thought they looked really classy.
-They looked handsome.
-Clean and nice and singular,
and instantly individually appealing.
I rather liked what they had, I have to say.
-Of course, not as good as what we've got.
-Of course not.
-I do like their stick stand rather a lot.
-Yes, I did too.
-But I think we will look forward to tomorrow with confidence.
-Isn't it awful to be so competitive?
-I know, it is.
-The name of the game.
You've hit the nail on the head, Barbara.
And, as auction day dawns, the celebs are still in fighting spirit.
I think we're away, I think we're flying.
In the final analysis, when push comes to shove,
and people have to put their hands in their pockets,
I think they'll pay more for our stuff than for yours.
Good luck, John, the best of British.
The result hinges on an auction
in the Somerset cathedral city of Wells.
Construction on the cathedral began around 1175.
But our teams are forsaking its glories
in favour of some auction action.
What a great car, isn't it a great car?
CHRISTINA: Hello, hello! Hello, guys!
Come on. Losers!
McCubbing and Redfern hold monthly sales of antiques and collectables.
Auctioneer Allen Meechen has the gavel today.
So, which lots look like winners to him?
I like the Cornish paintings, a pair.
It's a modern painter, Rod Pearce.
Some of his paintings have been known, a single painting,
have been known to go up to £1,000.
But we'll see how things take us in the course of the day.
The milk churn, you're in the land of milk and honey.
A lot of farmers here.
So, let's hope they turn up today and they're not sunbathing.
Each of our teams started with £400.
Barbara and James strove for
craftsmanship and style in their five lots.
And, despite some hard-core haggling, spent £358.
That was fun.
John and Christina's five lots turned out to be an eclectic mix of
militaria, girlie things, and more.
But they didn't splash so much cash,
a mere £190.
I think that's terrific.
Our experts and celebs are sitting comfortably, so let the games begin!
Yes, you too.
Here we are.
The best of luck, best of luck.
First up is Barbara and James's pair of St Ives paintings
which the auctioneer thinks have potential.
Rather nice ones, these, I've got plenty of bids on it.
Going straight in at £120. 130 I'm looking for.
130 I'm looking for. 120? Are we all done? All finished.
Where? Did someone say something then? No.
£120. I'm going to sell at 120.
-It's a profit.
-It is a profit.
It's not a grand, but it's a decent start nevertheless.
As far as I'm concerned, we're all on the same team,
so I would have loved you to have made a lot more money.
We feel the same...
Not a convincing performance, Barbara!
Now, how will John's much-ridiculed floral painting perform?
I've had two small bids here at £15.
Looking for 20.
-Oh, got £15 already.
-That's all right.
20 anywhere? At £15.
-So, that's £5.
-A little working profit.
-It's a little, yes.
-A little gem.
A fiver's not to be sniffed at.
-I'd be jolly pleased with 15.
-It's a warm-up.
Now, it's Barbara's book trough, her first find.
£18 I'm going in at.
-Hey, here we go.
-20 into the room.
At 20, 22, 24.
25, 26, 26 currently.
All done at £26, it would seem we are.
-Oh, we're happy with that.
£11 helps Barbara and James build a respectable pot of profits.
I tell you what, in this business, it's all about small gains.
How will John and Christina's milk churn fare now?
20 I've got, thank you, sir.
25? Any advance to 25?
25 bid. 30. Can I tempt you with 30?
People with taste, I like it. SHE LAUGHS
-The taste of milk!
Are we all done, all finished at 25?
-Well done, you.
John and Christina have more than doubled their money with that one.
There's money in junk, isn't there? CHRISTINA LAUGHS
That's the kind of unnecessary comment we can do without.
-It's a triumph.
-THEY ALL LAUGH
Barbara and James took a pricey chance on the stick stand.
Now is the moment of truth.
I'm starting the bid at 120.
Take 10 to 130.
At £120. 130, 140, 150.
Sir, I've also got 150 here.
So, it's 160? 160, it's in the room.
170 I'm looking for?
Fair and final warning at 160.
-No stick enthusiasts here today.
So, it's a loss of £10.
If it's any consolation, I think it was a risk worth taking,
because it was a good-looking thing.
The medals and military photos struck a real chord with John.
Will the bidders feel the same?
£60? 60 anywhere?
World War I.
40 anywhere? 30?
Yeah, 30 I've got. £30.
-30 is bid. We're looking for 35.
-Go on, keep going, go on!
£35. 30 I've got.
Fair and final warning.
Can I have a tissue?
We bought those with our heart.
Sadly, it was not to be.
-Our hearts were in the right place.
James liked the look of the pottery chargers,
but there's no knowing how they'll do.
At £45 I'm starting the bid on that?
-50 into the room.
60. 60 I'm out. 65 I'm looking for.
65, sorry. 70.
75. 80. 85.
No, 85, it's with you, sir.
90 I'm looking for.
I think we are finished.
-Fair and final warning.
That's really good.
That is an incredible £67 profit.
Well spotted, James.
-We're in the room, we're in the room.
-Back in the room.
John and Christina's lamp has classically good looks.
But can it command a handsome price?
Starting the bidding on it at £55.
At £55, come on, ladies and gentlemen.
Any? You must have seen it, over there.
-Right in front. There it is!
-There it is.
A lovely thing. Go on, go for it.
-Fair and final warning.
Oh! 60. Believe it or not, I'd go 65.
CHRISTINA: Ooh, go on!
Yes, it's beautiful.
At the moment, you've got it. 70 I'm out. 70 in the room.
75 anywhere else? At 70.
What a wonderful lady.
She is a wonderful lady.
Thank you so much.
I'll get John to sign it.
I'll buy you a plug. I'll get you a plug.
It was a valiant try, Good effort, team.
Barbara and James loved the craftsmanship in the tea caddy.
Will anyone pay a premium for it, though?
Straight in at £45.
50 into the room. 50. 55.
60, sir? It's in the room at 60.
65 I'm looking for. 60 I have.
65 I'm looking for.
65, new bidder.
-Yes, tea, tea!
Tea, you need it!
At £70, are we all done?
-Are you allowed to bid?
-No, I'm not bidding!
I'm not allowed to.
70... I'll take your bid, if you want?
I can't. I would.
At 70, are we all done?
It's all right. We ended up plus.
James. It's more stress. It's so stressful.
Stressful but worth it. That's another fiver for Barbara and James.
John and Christina's buttons in a silver jar make up the last lot
under the hammer. And they are hoping for a grand finale.
-I've got bids on.
-Ooh, he's got bids.
£25 I'm starting at. 30 into the room.
30. I've got 35, looking for 40.
-Got to be more than that.
-£35, looking for 40.
No buyers left in the room! SHE LAUGHS
Commission bids are out, 40 I have.
-All done? I think we are.
-Oh, he's bidding!
-45, new bidder.
-50, sir? Are you sure?
-Go on, they're lovely!
The wife's going to talk about you when you leave.
-45 over there, they are pretty.
-They're very pretty.
Go on, 50. It won't come again, I had to beg you.
-You, sir, Are you still bidding?
£50. At £50 here.
Seated at the front. Sold at 50.
Well done. They are lovely.
They're very lovely.
Boosted by a little extra sales patter,
the jar and buttons made a very useful profit.
But where does that leave our teams?
That was very close. Shall we go outside and do the maths?
-I think you can.
-Did you keep count? My brain's fried.
Well, a clear head and a calculator can reveal
that John and Christina's profits were up and down like a yo-yo.
But, after commission, they actually lost £34.20.
So end the trip with £365.80.
Barbara and James had their moments too.
But, thanks largely to the pottery chargers,
they're the victors on this road trip with profits of £20.02.
And a total of £420.02.
All profits, no matter how small, go to Children In Need.
-Oh, my goodness! That was full of highs and lows.
Incredibly good fun.
-I've done a bit of adding up.
-Have you? You've done the sums?
Yeah, and I can reveal that...
Christina and John are today's losers, I'm afraid.
BARBARA BURSTS OUT LAUGHING
Ohhh! Oh, I'm sorry.
It was cruel.
I'm continuing a long tradition, I'm sorry to say.
I knew it, you're a champ.
A valiant attempt. Valiant.
There wasn't a lot in it.
-Anyway, to your cars.
-To the cars.
Very lovely, weren't they?
-It's been very, very enjoyable, hasn't it?
-It has been.
Boy, are we lucky?
-And I've loved my driver.
-Oh, thank you very much!
It's been fantastic.
It certainly has!
Bergerac's John Nettles takes on actor Barbara Flynn in a search for treasure around Devon and Dorset. Barbara learns about the local woman who was a scientific pioneer. Military enthusiast John also hears the harrowing story of a training exercise for D-Day that ended in tragedy.