Esther Rantzen and Rebecca Wilcox Celebrity Antiques Road Trip


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Esther Rantzen and Rebecca Wilcox

Television presenter Esther Rantzen challenges her daughter, and fellow presenter, Rebecca Wilcox in a competition for antique glory in and around Reading.


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Transcript


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The nation's favourite celebrities.

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We are special, then, are we?

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Oh, that's excellent.

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Paired up with an expert...

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We're a very good team, you and me.

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And a classic car.

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Their mission, to scour Britain for antiques.

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-I've no idea what it is.

-Oh, I love it!

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The aim, to make the biggest profit at auction.

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Yes!

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But it's no easy ride.

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-Oh!

-There is no accounting for taste!

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Who will find a hidden gem?

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Who will take the biggest risks?

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Will anybody follow expert advice?

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-Do you like them?

-No.

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There will be worthy winners and valiant losers.

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-Are you happy?

-Yes.

-Promise?

-Ecstatic.

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Time to put your pedal to the metal,

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this is Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.

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Yeah!

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We're in the Thames Valley for a celebrity road trip with TV aristocracy.

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Oh, look, there it is.

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Presenter Rebecca Wilcox and her mum, the iconic Esther Rantzen.

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It promises to be the mother of all contests.

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I am so competitive that I have actually made myself sick

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playing Trivial Pursuit.

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Do I get that from you, or do I get that from Dad?

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I think you get that from yourself, Rebecca.

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I don't think on this occasion you can blame either parent.

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-I am horribly competitive.

-You are.

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I'm not, I just effortlessly win things.

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MUSIC: Theme tune from That's Life

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Esther Rantzen has been effortlessly gracing our

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TV screens for over 40 years.

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Most famously in That's Life.

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She always combined fun with being the consumers' champion.

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We get a great many letters every week on this

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programme from people complaining...

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But, perhaps, her greatest legacy is ChildLine,

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the ground-breaking service for children and young people.

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Today, Esther's a rather nervous passenger.

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Keep your eye on the road.

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My eye is on the road!

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In a 1985 Mercedes convertible...

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You will tell me if I'm heading off into a ditch, won't you?

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Yes, darling, I will.

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The child of Esther and her late husband documentary maker,

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Desmond Wilcox, Rebecca's forged her own career in front of the cameras.

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No problem.

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On consumer programmes like Watchdog, This Morning

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and Your Money Their Tricks, for her presenting

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is as easy as falling off...a sofa.

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Ouch.

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But, when it comes to antiques hunting,

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she defers to Mum for advice.

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Go for what you think is chic and stylish

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and that you would want to live with in your home.

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How do I know that you're not trying to give me misinformation?

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Because I'm a warm and caring mother.

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THEY LAUGH

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Esther and Rebecca each have £400 to spend in a battle to create

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profits from antiques. They're going to need trustworthy advice.

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Sounds like a job for experts, David Harper and Will Axon.

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So as far as Esther's buying habits go,

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do you think she's going to be looking for the ridiculous?

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I know what you're going... I know where you're going.

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Is she going to look for a piece of pottery in the shape

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of a rude bit - a carrot!

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That's the one. A misshapen spud.

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Well, it would be the first on the show.

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Auctioneer and valuer, Will, specialises in conventional pottery and furniture.

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David pairs up specialist antiques with buyers and auctions.

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He's also into classic cars,

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preferably bigger than this 1966 Mini Cooper.

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It's a good job we're both slim chaps.

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Slim and trim, Will, slim and trim.

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Today's road trip begins on the outskirts of Reading in Berkshire.

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It nips briefly into Hampshire

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and wanders through the Thames Valley in Oxfordshire

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before heading to an auction at the village of Send,

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near Woking in Surrey.

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-Hello, how are you?

-Hello.

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Hi, Rebecca, David. Nice to meet you.

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Lovely to meet you.

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How'd you do, I'm Will, nice to meet you.

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As the celebrities arrive, it's time to declare the teams.

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-I see you are in your cyclamen?

-Yes, thank you.

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Nice to meet you.

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-We're sort of matching.

-We complement each other.

-We do, don't we?

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So, that's the pretty in pink team sorted.

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What do you think of the cars?

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I think you two are perfect for that little thing

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and we are perfect for this rather stately one.

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I feel slightly judged but I think that's great.

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I think that's much cooler.

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It's decided, Rebecca and Will will be zipping about in the Mini

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while Esther and David cruise in the Merc,

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their first stop will be in the centre of Reading

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and the short journey is a chance to assess the opposition.

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-We'll fight them to the death.

-Oh!

-To win.

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-Oh, my God!

-So I have said that I'm not competitive,

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-I'm not competing with her.

-OK.

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Is that because there's no point in competing with her?

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-Well, it's because I want to disarm her.

-Ah.

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-Trap her into confidence.

-Good.

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And then see if I can win in spite of her.

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Devious... And what about shopping style?

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It's very difficult to judge who's going to be in the auction, etc.

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I think the only thing to do is to go for things

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that you would buy yourself.

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It's a clear strategy.

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The first place to test it is at Fanny's.

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It's home to about 20 dealers with an eclectic mix of wares.

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Today, Will's the man keeping an eye on it all.

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-How do you do?

-I've watched you for many years.

-Aw.

-Oh.

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How sweet you are.

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Ah, and there's a lot to look at.

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Do you do this, do you wander around places?

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I haven't done this since my husband died.

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-We used to do it a lot.

-Did you?

-Oh, yeah.

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Did you do it like a hobby thing, or did you...

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It's just when we had a lovely day out, we would go to

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an antique shop and pick around, find something

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and then that would always remind us of the day.

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Esther's soon back in rummaging mode.

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I've got to get me glasses.

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And going for what she likes.

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Oh, look, wait a minute, there's a pig.

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-Now I'm very partial to pigs.

-OK.

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What is it that you're drawn to, though?

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Well, it's got lots of animals.

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DAVID CHUCKLES

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God! There are animals everywhere I look.

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It's another animal!

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We've got a bit of an animal theme going here with Esther.

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-What is that?

-It's a nut cracker.

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With anything to do with animals, she's in there.

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Stick your nuts in there.

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I won't. Stick your own nuts in there.

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It doesn't matter whether they are brand-new, or any age at all.

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Look, I've found an elephant stool.

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Now I need to try and turn this round and start focusing

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on something with age and quality and distinction.

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It could be an uphill battle, David.

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Fortunately, it looks as if Esther's taste extend beyond animals.

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Do you want me to help you there?

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If I knock everything off this shelf, will we have to pay for it?

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-Yes, well, you will.

-Thanks.

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-Right.

-Oh!

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That's lighter than I thought it was going to be. Well, well, well.

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-OK, a piece of glass.

-Yeah...

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-Signed...

-Yeah.

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Hand blown.

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Do you like glass?

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-Some glass, I like that bit.

-OK.

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-Do you speak French?

-Oui.

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Can you pronounce that beautifully?

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-Alors, qu'est-ce qu'on dit...

-Was that German?

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Jean Noel Bouillet, Objet D'art Signe.

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She's tres sophisticated!

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This piece of Art Glass was made in 1999 by Frenchman,

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Jean Noel Bouillet.

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Ah, il y a quelque chose...

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It comes with a signature, a certificate of authenticity

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and a £55 price ticket.

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I love it because all Art Glass is individual.

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There is only one of these objects in...

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It's a bit like you, Esther Rantzen.

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There is only one Esther Rantzen in the whole world.

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-You may say, "Thank the Lord!"

-I never said that.

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-And there's only one of them.

-I think it's rather gorgeous.

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-How much would you pay?

-£15.

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-Would you?

-Yes.

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You're very hard, aren't you?

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-You know, I've never haggled in my life.

-Really?

-Never.

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-Seriously?

-What do you think we could...

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-I think that would be 20 to 30 in auction.

-Do you?

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I think it's very, very stylish.

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-Shall we get a price on it?

-Yeah.

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The Art Glass vase is a strong contender for Esther's first buy

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but only if the price is right.

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Esther, this is your opportunity to try, for your very first time,

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some negotiating. Go for it.

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25?

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That's 55, that's about 60% discount.

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Well, I'm... I've never...

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I think we need a little bit more than that

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but I think we could go...

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-35.

-You've weakened him nicely.

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Somewhere in the middle, 30?

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-30. £30.

-You've done it, you've done the deal.

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-There we are.

-That's it!

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Well, you're wonderful, thank you very much.

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-Deal done.

-Thank you!

-Our first purchase.

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With a reduction from £55 to £30, Esther's bagged her first bargain.

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It's modern but there's not an animal in sight. Phew!

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Out on the road, antiques novice, Rebecca,

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has a confession.

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I'm the most indecisive person in the world!

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-This I do not like.

-No.

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We are going to have to make quick decisions today.

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Rebecca and Will are heading 11 miles south

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to the Hampshire village of Eversley.

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It's the home of Eversley Barn Antiques,

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a 16th century barn, filled with antiques and collectibles

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from furniture to porcelain.

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-Oh, my word.

-There's a lot here.

-I don't know where to start.

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You have to start somewhere.

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A first peek in the cabinets yields a possibility.

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"Three pieces", it says.

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Yes, he would stand on top of that, which is

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where you'd put your little flowers.

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Then you've got the bowl underneath,

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which is quite stylish on its own.

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-Do you like that?

-I don't know.

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-You did say you were indecisive.

-I'm completely indecisive.

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-Well, you're not indecisive about that?

-No.

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"I'm completely indecisive!"

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I don't know what I like.

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I know that I don't know but I don't know what I know.

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So, just to clarify, that's a known unknown.

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-That's quite sweet.

-That's nice quality, actually.

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-Is that painted, or printed?

-Erm...

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Painted...

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Printed...

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Painted... Stop me when I'm right.

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Well, it looks as if the lid on this glass tankard

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uses a combination of both techniques.

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It was probably made in Bohemia in the late 1800s.

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With a ticket price of £30, could it provide a rhapsody?

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I mean, it doesn't... It doesn't set my world on fire

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but...

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I don't want it if it doesn't set your world on fire.

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So it that a decision?

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Are we saying no to that?

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-We're not saying no.

-We'll keep it in mind.

-Keep it in mind.

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Ah, a decision not to make a decision.

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Back in Reading, Esther's still working on the principle

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of buying what she likes, no matter what it is.

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I have a two-year-old grandson...

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-Oh, how he would love that.

-OK.

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That is brilliant...

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in so many ways

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and then abominable in another.

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-£65.

-OK.

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It is new and probably made in China.

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I don't care.

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On the day this was made, they also made 48,000 of them

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in the same factory. For your grandchild...

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Stick it on the floor down there.

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-What am I, blinking Arnold Schwarzenegger?

-Yes.

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Well, yes.

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It's that cyclamen shirt, you see.

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Now, hang on.

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Jump on, then. Let's see...

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You're not going to, are you? You are.

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I can't believe it!

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Wait a minute.

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-Oh!

-Oh, I say!

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-Hang on, hang on.

-Esther, you'll never get out.

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You're right.

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I'm there forever.

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How's that?

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Well, it's not a sensation that I would do very often for fun.

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You know, my life is complete.

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Let's not go there, eh?

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-Ow!

-Do you want a hand out?

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-Call a doctor.

-Argh.

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A little more searching turns up something

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that really floats David's boat.

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Something finally with a bit of age.

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-Hang on. Esther?

-Yeah!

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Can I introduce you to something that we call in the business

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-an antique?

-Yes, go on, then.

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Would you like to try it out? It's this chair.

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-Yes.

-It's safe but it does rock, so be prepared...

-Yeah.

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..to rock.

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This American rocker dates from around the late 19th century.

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The upholstery has seen better days

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but the frame is made from durable beechwood.

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-Tell me what your thoughts are?

-I think it's hideous.

-Ah!

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Excellent, I'm loving that attitude.

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-OK, it does get better.

-It would have to.

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-I'm removing that.

-Yes, OK.

-It's just a super piece of kit.

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-Is it?

-Oh, yes.

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-I'm not convincing you, am I?

-It's just I think it's ugly

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-but that's just me.

-What do you think it's worth?

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I think it's worth about 35/40 quid.

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-OK, would you pay that for it?

-Never!

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Unimpressed, Esther carries on browsing.

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Undeterred, David tracks down Will.

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Right, Will, the old American rocker there,

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needing a little bit of restoration.

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What's the absolute double-death best price?

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The death on that would be £25.

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-25?

-Mmm.

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-That's really...

-No, that's fine.

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OK, leave that with me for a moment.

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Right, there you are. OK, so you were meant to stay with the chair,

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lusting after it.

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-I'm sorry, darling.

-Yes.

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-Japanese?

-Japanese, yes, definitely.

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-Very pretty.

-Very pretty. I like that.

-I like that.

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-That's Imari.

-If someone gave me that as a present, I'd be thrilled.

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-So you actually like it?

-I actually like it.

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-Oh, oh!

-I really do like it.

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-And, guess what?

-What?

-It's an antique.

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Goodness me!

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It's got no animals, it's genuine 19th century

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and with a ticket price of £22, it's a possibility.

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But, first, David has unfinished business with the rocker.

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You said you would pay, if you went mad one day, 35.

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-What if I said we can get it for 25?

-Done.

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-It's a steal.

-Great.

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It may be hideous in Esther's eyes

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but at £25 even she can turn a blind eye.

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All that's needed now is a deal on the Imari plate,

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ticket price £22.

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Erm, what could that be?

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Bearing in mind, we've bought the chair - big spenders.

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-Can it be ten quid?

-12.

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-Done!

-I'm happy.

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My gosh, we're on a buying fest!

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It's a buying tour de force, no less, with the rocker,

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the Imari plate and the Art Glass vase,

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all snapped up for a total of £67 in Esther's first shop.

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Wow!

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Over at Eversley Barn, indecision is the name of the game.

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Rebecca hasn't ruled out the Bohemian glass

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and Will's diverted to another option.

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They're very simple.

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-Is that the style?

-Yeah, very much so.

0:14:320:14:34

I mean, they know who it's by, Keith Murray,

0:14:340:14:36

and it helps us that you can turn it over

0:14:360:14:38

and it tells you exactly who it's by under there.

0:14:380:14:41

-Keith Murray for Wedgwood.

-Is that somebody I should have heard of?

0:14:410:14:44

Well, Keith Murray was a very influential

0:14:440:14:47

architect and designer who worked at Wedgwood in the 1930s.

0:14:470:14:50

He's known for his very restrained take on Art Deco style.

0:14:500:14:55

-Whoa!

-How much is it?

-£135!

-Yeah, but look.

-Wow!

0:14:550:15:01

It was £195.

0:15:010:15:03

It has come down to £135 because, obviously, they can't sell it.

0:15:030:15:08

What do you reckon? Get it for 70?

0:15:080:15:10

I think if we could get that for £100, we could stand a chance.

0:15:100:15:14

Got to put the face on, got to put the face.

0:15:140:15:17

Rebecca's on the brink of a decision.

0:15:170:15:19

-Hold that.

-No, please!

0:15:190:15:22

But it all hinges on her haggling skills...

0:15:220:15:24

Nobody get in my way!

0:15:240:15:26

..and how dealer Hillary reacts to them.

0:15:260:15:28

-What would be your best price?

-OK, let me see.

0:15:280:15:32

100.

0:15:320:15:34

What about 75?

0:15:350:15:37

I'm tempted. 80, and then...

0:15:380:15:41

-80, as it's you?

-77?

0:15:410:15:43

Oh! She's good! I haven't even had a word.

0:15:430:15:45

-It's all your own work, this.

-Would you go for a nice even 77?

0:15:450:15:48

-77. We've got to, haven't we?

-OK.

0:15:480:15:51

-Amazing!

-Have we bought it?

-Brilliant!

-You've bought it.

0:15:510:15:53

-Good work. Well done.

-Thank you so much!

0:15:530:15:56

It's an impressive haggling debut with the Keith Murray set

0:15:560:15:59

reduced from £135 to 77.

0:15:590:16:02

On a roll, Rebecca decides to try for the Bohemian glass tankard, too.

0:16:020:16:06

-What's the best price?

-It's only got £30 on it.

0:16:060:16:10

-I know. It's not a lot to start with.

-25.

-You are going to go for 20.

0:16:100:16:15

He's thinking 20.

0:16:150:16:17

22 and I will. Don't push it.

0:16:180:16:20

She's playing you at your own game now. I think you should say yes.

0:16:200:16:23

77 and 22. That makes a lovely 99.

0:16:230:16:26

-Pay me 100 if you like!

-77, 22, 99.

0:16:260:16:28

-Love it.

-It's in the stars. Shake hands.

-Thank you very much.

0:16:280:16:32

With the Keith Murray set at £77 and the Bohemian glass tankard

0:16:320:16:36

reduced from £30 to £22, Rebecca and Will have two decisions made.

0:16:360:16:42

-Thank you.

-No, thank you. It's been good fun.

-Thank you.

0:16:420:16:46

Out on the road, Esther is itching to find out how her daughter

0:16:460:16:50

and opponent is getting on with her purchases.

0:16:500:16:53

She says she's only brought a Faberge egg and a Rolex.

0:16:530:16:56

-Several Rolexes.

-I like your style, Rebecca!

0:16:560:17:00

Esther and David are taking time out from shopping to find out more about

0:17:000:17:05

a subject close to Esther's heart - children going through tough times.

0:17:050:17:08

The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading has a collection

0:17:080:17:11

devoted to the upheaval endured by child evacuees during World War II.

0:17:110:17:16

-Hello.

-Hello. Martin Parsons. How do you do?

0:17:160:17:20

Professor Martin Parsons has studied their experiences.

0:17:200:17:23

Between September 1st and 4th 1939,

0:17:250:17:28

Operation Pied Piper evacuated 1.5 million children

0:17:280:17:31

thought to be in imminent danger from bombing of British cities.

0:17:310:17:36

They were only allowed to take the bare minimum.

0:17:390:17:42

"Boys - one vest, one pair of pants, one shirt and collars,

0:17:420:17:46

"one pair of trousers or shorts.

0:17:460:17:49

"Girls - one vest or combination..."

0:17:490:17:51

-You know what combinations are?

-I haven't got a clue.

-I can remember them well.

0:17:510:17:55

"One pair of knickers, tunic and blouse or dress.

0:17:550:17:58

Those children whose parents thought,

0:17:580:18:00

"You're going to need more than one change of clothing,"

0:18:000:18:03

decided to dress them up in two layers of clothing

0:18:030:18:06

when they got on the train with a gabardine mac.

0:18:060:18:09

-And that weekend was notoriously hot.

-Gosh.

0:18:090:18:12

Also, they were given a 48-hour ration pack and of course,

0:18:120:18:18

some of these children were going down to Cornwall

0:18:180:18:21

and they were on the trains for nine, ten or twelve hours.

0:18:210:18:24

If you're sitting there with a bag of food, you're going to eat it.

0:18:240:18:27

-You're not going to say they threw up?

-Yeah, they did.

0:18:270:18:29

And so some of these children got to the other end and they were in a hell of a state.

0:18:290:18:33

Poor little things!

0:18:330:18:35

The journey was only the first part of a radical change

0:18:370:18:40

in the children's lives.

0:18:400:18:42

-So, was it a happy country holiday for...

-No.

-It wasn't?

0:18:420:18:46

We have this romantic notion that these working-class children

0:18:460:18:49

from the cities were taken in by middle-class people

0:18:490:18:51

in the countryside but that's actually not true.

0:18:510:18:54

The vast majority of people taking them in

0:18:540:18:56

were the labouring classes, the agricultural labouring classes.

0:18:560:19:01

And so what you get is a culture shock for the people

0:19:010:19:04

-who had come down from the cities.

-Would they have baths?

0:19:040:19:07

No, they would have had a tin bath in front of the fire

0:19:070:19:11

on a Friday night.

0:19:110:19:14

They would have had a privy at the bottom...earth privy at the bottom of the garden,

0:19:140:19:18

and they would have had candlelight.

0:19:180:19:20

For some children, the distances and the culture shock were even greater.

0:19:210:19:26

19,000 were sent overseas through private arrangements or by the government.

0:19:260:19:30

The museum has a particularly fine collection relating

0:19:300:19:33

to a young girl called Margaret Banyard who was placed with

0:19:330:19:37

-a prosperous South African family.

-How old was she there?

0:19:370:19:40

-She's 11.

-Here's a telegram dated 3rd October 1940.

0:19:400:19:46

So, she had sent a telegram from South Africa?

0:19:540:19:56

Yes, to say she had arrived.

0:19:560:19:59

And this is her five years later...six years later,

0:19:590:20:01

-when she comes back at 17.

-Right. And was she happy?

-No.

-Oh, lord.

0:20:010:20:07

-And did it change her life?

-It changed her life completely

0:20:070:20:10

because until recently, she wouldn't even talk about her experiences.

0:20:100:20:15

Margaret's hosts looked after her physical needs

0:20:170:20:21

but through her formative years she got no emotional support

0:20:210:20:24

and felt like a stranger in the house.

0:20:240:20:27

The headline says, "Haunted for life by the loneliness of war years

0:20:270:20:30

"away from her family".

0:20:300:20:32

-Is that about her?

-Yes, that's Margaret.

0:20:320:20:35

Margaret completed her school matriculation in South Africa

0:20:350:20:39

and had a long wait to be reunited with her family.

0:20:390:20:42

14th of January 1946. "Thursday. Cheers! Meet in Waterloo station.

0:20:420:20:48

-"Love, Daddy."

-Aw!

-That's a reunion.

-That's gorgeous.

0:20:480:20:51

Although there were difficult experiences both abroad

0:20:510:20:54

and within the UK, there were many happy ones, too.

0:20:540:20:58

It's not insignificant, the number of ex-evacuees who have now

0:20:580:21:05

retired back to where they were evacuated to during the war.

0:21:050:21:09

-Well, that's a good thing.

-It's a good sign.

0:21:090:21:11

That's a very happy ending because that means that it's associated

0:21:110:21:14

with good memories for them.

0:21:140:21:16

That's lovely. Well, that's brilliant.

0:21:160:21:19

Thank you very, very much.

0:21:190:21:21

-I feel very privileged to have seen them all.

-You are very welcome.

-Yeah.

0:21:210:21:24

We've learned so much, Martin, in such a short period of time,

0:21:240:21:28

-and it's been fascinating.

-Fascinating.

-Fascinating.

0:21:280:21:31

On the highways of Hampshire, Rebecca is explaining to Will

0:21:330:21:36

what it's like forging a career in the shadow of a famous mum.

0:21:360:21:40

I never used to tell people that she was my mum so I used to lie

0:21:420:21:46

and say she wasn't my mum and if somebody really pushed

0:21:460:21:48

-I'd say that it was Joanna Lumley.

-HE LAUGHS

0:21:480:21:52

-Nice!

-Which sometimes people believe, which is quite nice.

0:21:520:21:56

There is something, yeah, there's something of the Patsy about you.

0:21:560:21:59

-AS PATSY:

-Sweetie, darling!

0:21:590:22:02

I met her once, actually, and I said,

0:22:020:22:03

"I use to lie and pretend you were my mum." She looked horrified!

0:22:030:22:07

Rebecca and Will are making the three-mile hop

0:22:070:22:10

from Eversley to the village of Hartley Wintney

0:22:100:22:14

where they are hoping to find more booty at White Lion Antiques.

0:22:140:22:17

It's a centre offering everything from antiques to jewellery

0:22:170:22:20

and shabby chic.

0:22:200:22:22

With lots to look at, Rebecca and Will split up to search.

0:22:220:22:26

But Rebecca's not sure about going solo.

0:22:280:22:31

I'm a bit overwhelmed. Don't know where to start.

0:22:330:22:37

This place is enormous. Look, it goes on.

0:22:370:22:40

I have to make decisions.

0:22:400:22:42

Denby. Denby. I've heard of Denby.

0:22:420:22:45

Haven't I heard of Denby? Denby's good, isn't it?

0:22:450:22:47

CHORD SOUNDS

0:22:470:22:49

Is it supposed to do that? OK.

0:22:490:22:51

I'm so musical(!)

0:22:530:22:55

Mum's probably doing brilliantly by now.

0:22:580:23:01

She probably bought everything in one shop

0:23:010:23:04

and she's haggled down the price.

0:23:040:23:06

It's as if you've known her all your life!

0:23:060:23:10

Whoo! £395!

0:23:100:23:13

Bamboozled by all the options, Rebecca ropes in Will for advice.

0:23:140:23:19

Are you trying to suggest that I'll be your monkey while you grind it?

0:23:190:23:22

-Yes! You're my organ grinder!

-DISCORDANT MUSIC

0:23:220:23:25

That's the only problem with it.

0:23:260:23:29

-It's quite dramatic, isn't it?

-I think it's a horror movie.

0:23:320:23:35

It's made in Spain so it could be a well-known flamenco number.

0:23:350:23:38

-Oh, really?

-Yeah. How is your offbeat clapping?

0:23:380:23:41

DISCORDANT MUSIC

0:23:410:23:43

-Oh, sweet Mary!

-I really wish I hadn't done that.

0:23:430:23:45

Ole! Will's rummaging has turned up a textured Art Deco style vase.

0:23:450:23:52

-I don't know. It just had a funky sort of finish to it.

-Look at that.

0:23:520:23:55

It's weird, isn't it? It's not signed, that's the only thing.

0:23:550:24:00

I'm wondering where it could be from.

0:24:000:24:03

-I mean, if...

-It could be an anonymous gem.

0:24:030:24:06

It's got £68 on the ticket.

0:24:060:24:08

-You need to get that for, like, £20, really.

-OK. Wow! £20.

0:24:080:24:13

-I can do that.

-I've seen you in action.

0:24:130:24:15

-If anyone can do it, the Becmeister can.

-I like the name!

-Go on!

0:24:160:24:20

Go on, the Becmeister!

0:24:200:24:22

The Becmeister will be pitting her haggling skills

0:24:220:24:26

-against centre owner, Jerry.

-We'd like to pay £20 for that.

0:24:260:24:31

-Ow!

-You hurt him! I felt that from here.

0:24:310:24:34

I mean, it's been there a while. It's very dusty.

0:24:350:24:38

-It's an antique!

-Tucked away in the corner there, unloved, it was.

0:24:380:24:43

-It's not signed.

-Well, it's up for 68. Why don't we say 50?

0:24:430:24:47

-Can't do that.

-You're not trying?

-No, I know.

0:24:470:24:50

I told you the truth. My upper limit was 20.

0:24:500:24:53

She's tough.

0:24:530:24:55

-30?

-25?

0:24:550:24:58

-25, and that will be...that is it.

-27.

0:24:580:25:01

-25.

-25.

-Shake his hand.

-Thank you! Thank you!

0:25:010:25:05

Having parted with the vase for £25,

0:25:060:25:09

Jerry sees an opportunity for another sale.

0:25:090:25:11

He has an Art Deco sterling silver dressing table set

0:25:110:25:14

with a mirror, hairbrush and clothes brush at £125.

0:25:140:25:18

-There's the mirror.

-That's not a sight anyone wants to see!

0:25:180:25:22

And I will give Will the hairbrush cos he'll be able

0:25:220:25:25

to see the hallmarks.

0:25:250:25:28

It's got something about it. It's not English.

0:25:280:25:30

-Do you like it?

-I do. I do think it's beautiful.

0:25:300:25:34

-What would be your best price on that?

-What about 85?

0:25:340:25:38

-75.

-75?

-Would you do 75?

0:25:380:25:42

-You get the better end of the deal at 75, Rebecca.

-Oh, my days!

0:25:420:25:45

-You are a lovely man.

-Is it sold?

-It's sold.

-Thank you!

-Good work.

0:25:450:25:49

Well done. She is good, isn't she? I told you.

0:25:490:25:51

Rebecca is a natural, landing a £50 discount with ease.

0:25:510:25:56

It's been a busy day and there's another one to come

0:25:560:25:58

so for now, teams, night-night.

0:25:580:26:01

It's a new day and Esther and Rebecca are comparing notes.

0:26:040:26:08

-I'm getting my eye in. Are you OK?

-Really? I feel like I know nothing.

0:26:090:26:13

I severely regret some purchases.

0:26:130:26:16

Now, funnily enough, I don't regret any of mine.

0:26:160:26:19

-I'm rather pleased with mine.

-You're sounding really supremely confident.

0:26:190:26:24

Some might say smug.

0:26:240:26:26

Well, let assess who's entitled to feel smug, eh?

0:26:260:26:30

Yesterday Rebecca had trouble deciding on anything.

0:26:300:26:33

-Do you like that?

-I don't know.

0:26:330:26:36

But in the end, she and Will spent £199 on a glass tankard,

0:26:360:26:40

a Wedgwood jug and tankards designed by Keith Murray,

0:26:400:26:44

a vase and a silver dressing table set,

0:26:440:26:46

and it leaves them with £201 still to spend.

0:26:460:26:49

Go on! Go on, the Becmeister!

0:26:490:26:51

Esther made a beeline for what she likes.

0:26:510:26:55

-What is that?

-It's a nutcracker.

0:26:550:26:57

-Hunting through modern, mass-produced goods.

-Wow!

0:26:570:27:00

I have a two-year-old grandson. How he would love that!

0:27:000:27:06

Eventually she and David compromised, buying a modern

0:27:070:27:10

Art Glass vase, a rocking chair and a 19th century Imari plate.

0:27:100:27:15

-And guess what?

-What?

-It's an antique!

0:27:150:27:18

They spent just £67 so they have a whopping £333 left to spend.

0:27:180:27:24

-I like that jacket, that's very smart.

-I like that shirt.

0:27:240:27:29

Mum has scared the life out of me. She's supremely confident.

0:27:290:27:32

-Come on, Esther! Put 'em up! DAVID:

-Good, good.

0:27:320:27:35

-And how are you feeling then, today?

-Not confident. Sorry.

0:27:350:27:38

-WILL: Thanks(!) Love you too(!)

-Shall we hit the road?

0:27:380:27:41

Let's hit the road, come on!

0:27:410:27:44

David is wondering how Esther got into presenting.

0:27:460:27:49

I was 28 and it was a programme called Braden's Week

0:27:490:27:54

and I was the researcher and the producer decided

0:27:540:27:58

-to put the researchers into the programme so there I was.

-Wow.

0:27:580:28:02

So it was a shock, then? It was a surprise to you?

0:28:020:28:04

-And it was never planned.

-Never planned.

0:28:040:28:07

Esther and David are starting their second day shopping

0:28:070:28:11

after a short drive along the Thames to Goring.

0:28:110:28:15

It is a pretty village on the Oxfordshire bank of the river

0:28:150:28:18

and the local scenery was the setting for

0:28:180:28:20

The Wind In The Willows and Three Men In A Boat. Speaking of which...

0:28:200:28:24

Esther and David have no time for such literary diversions

0:28:250:28:29

as they are heading for Barbara's, home to 25 dealers

0:28:290:28:33

and everything from antiques to bric-a-brac.

0:28:330:28:35

Esther's still set on buying what she likes

0:28:350:28:38

and now she needs help from owner, Mandy.

0:28:380:28:41

I've got a two-year-old grandson and my theory is that people who go

0:28:410:28:46

-to auctions have grandchildren.

-Yes.

0:28:460:28:49

So, if you have anything that might appeal to a grandparent,

0:28:490:28:53

this grandparent would be delighted.

0:28:530:28:55

So, what's here that's suitable for a grandchild?

0:28:550:28:59

£2.50?

0:28:590:29:01

I'm irresistibly... "Present from Morecambe".

0:29:010:29:04

-I'm irresistibly drawn to crap.

-Oi! Not that then.

0:29:040:29:08

A set of pictures looks far more appropriate

0:29:080:29:11

but it's hard to tell whether they are originals or prints.

0:29:110:29:14

I'm thinking it's a watercolour. I can see the pencil underneath.

0:29:140:29:19

Actually, I think I'm with you.

0:29:190:29:21

I think they're proper watercolours. And very, very sweet.

0:29:210:29:25

The pictures date from around 1930s

0:29:260:29:28

and depict a sequence of nursery scenes.

0:29:280:29:31

-The set of four is priced at £75.

-Baby Bunkins.

-I think they're fun.

0:29:310:29:35

They would be lovely in a nursery. Wouldn't they be lovely in a nursery?

0:29:350:29:39

I think they're gorgeous. I think they are gorgeous, actually.

0:29:390:29:42

-Oh, my God.

-I know. I can't believe we are agreed on something.

0:29:420:29:44

-This is amazing. Alleluia!

-Don't get too enthusiastic.

0:29:440:29:47

-Because we've got to beat them down.

-Listen, we really don't like them.

0:29:470:29:51

Enthusiasm is a strategic error but at least they are agreed.

0:29:520:29:57

-Now it's all down to price.

-So, what are you thinking?

0:29:570:30:02

OK, I'll take £30 off. That's it.

0:30:020:30:04

-So, that'll be 45.

-For all four? 45?

0:30:040:30:08

Well, you know what? You pay...

0:30:080:30:11

How did that happen? I think we've just bought them. Well done.

0:30:120:30:16

-This is a new method of negotiating.

-Well, look, it's tenner each.

0:30:160:30:21

-It's a tenner each.

-Brilliant.

-Hooray!

-Hooray!

0:30:210:30:25

And thrice hooray! That's four pictures reduced from £75 to 45

0:30:250:30:30

and a priceless outbreak of harmony between Esther and David.

0:30:300:30:35

Meanwhile, Rebecca's still rueing yesterday's shopping.

0:30:350:30:39

I hate the glass tankard with the enamel that I made us buy.

0:30:390:30:44

I have no idea why I did that.

0:30:440:30:47

It was some weird possession of some nutty, bad taste spirit that got me.

0:30:470:30:52

Do you know what? I bet that makes the biggest profit.

0:30:520:30:55

Soothing words, Will. Happily, there is another distraction at hand.

0:30:550:30:59

Romance.

0:30:590:31:01

Rebecca and Will are off to the University of Reading archives,

0:31:010:31:06

which has a collection of material relating to publishers Mills and Boon.

0:31:060:31:10

In the UK, one of their romance novels is bought every five seconds

0:31:100:31:14

and Rebecca is well qualified to enjoy them.

0:31:140:31:17

Well, I do have a Masters in English literature and language

0:31:170:31:20

and, of course, Mills and Boon

0:31:200:31:22

is superlatively wonderful literature(!)

0:31:220:31:24

Actually, I have read a ridiculously revolting number of them.

0:31:240:31:27

-Have you really?

-I used to try and write them with my sister.

0:31:270:31:31

All this about the stable boy who was in lust

0:31:310:31:33

-and love with the manor lady.

-Lady of the manor.

-Yes.

0:31:330:31:37

-Hello. Are you Judith?

-Yes, welcome.

0:31:370:31:40

Rebecca and Will's guide is Judith Watts,

0:31:400:31:43

a PhD student who is researching the archive.

0:31:430:31:46

Do you think they are unfairly disparaged?

0:31:460:31:48

-That they are actually high literature?

-No.

0:31:480:31:50

I wouldn't say, and I don't think the authors would claim,

0:31:500:31:53

and the publishers didn't say that it was high literature.

0:31:530:31:57

It was always entertainment.

0:31:570:31:59

The company was launched as a general publisher

0:31:590:32:01

in 1908 by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon.

0:32:010:32:05

When sales slumped in the Great Depression,

0:32:050:32:07

it hit on a winning formula of producing books cheaply

0:32:070:32:10

through tuppenny libraries

0:32:100:32:12

and focusing on escapist romances for women.

0:32:120:32:15

The readers took them very seriously.

0:32:150:32:17

Some of the readers you read about walked or went 60 miles

0:32:170:32:21

to buy a new copy.

0:32:210:32:23

They would go without a pair of nylons, there's kind of

0:32:230:32:25

in the readers' letters, to go and buy one.

0:32:250:32:28

So people were taking them very seriously, the writers took them very seriously.

0:32:280:32:31

I think what Mills and Boon were wanting to do was to publish the best romance that you could do.

0:32:310:32:36

The company always encouraged and nurtured female authors.

0:32:360:32:40

As the decades passed, the novels and the authors themselves

0:32:400:32:43

reflected the changing role of women in society.

0:32:430:32:47

When we reach the 1950s,

0:32:470:32:50

the women are starting to kind of have more professions.

0:32:500:32:54

So, this is a kind of really good example of an author writing then.

0:32:540:32:58

This is Betty Beaty. She was actually living the dream.

0:32:580:33:01

She went to Leeds University, she then trained as an air stewardess

0:33:010:33:05

and, of course, she met her husband, who was a very handsome pilot.

0:33:050:33:09

There were also a lot of other women who had dreamt about writing a novel.

0:33:090:33:14

Someone like Violet Winspear, who started writing in the 1960s.

0:33:140:33:18

Violet's first novel for the publishing house

0:33:190:33:22

appeared in 1961 and her books

0:33:220:33:25

earned a reputation for passionate stories and exotic locations.

0:33:250:33:30

She was actually unmarried and lived at home with her mother

0:33:300:33:33

but had strong views on what romance should be.

0:33:330:33:36

In some of the letters she talks about,

0:33:370:33:39

it shouldn't be like bacon and eggs on a plate.

0:33:390:33:42

She says that romance should be caviar and not cod,

0:33:420:33:45

and that's her view of it.

0:33:450:33:47

She was very kind of worried that in the '60s lots of realistic things

0:33:470:33:51

were creeping into romance and she really did believe in the...

0:33:510:33:54

-The fantasy side.

-Fantasy side.

0:33:540:33:57

For many readers,

0:33:570:33:59

the permissive society of the '60s changed what was acceptable.

0:33:590:34:02

Violet tried hard to give readers all they wanted, but not too much.

0:34:020:34:07

She sent a questionnaire to Alan Boon,

0:34:080:34:11

which was wonderful because she asks things like,

0:34:110:34:14

are heroines still to be virtuous?

0:34:140:34:17

There's a lot of questions about the bedroom door

0:34:170:34:20

and how far it should be kind of left ajar, or should it be closed?

0:34:200:34:24

Whilst the business of writing was taken very seriously,

0:34:240:34:28

the publishers did allow themselves a bit of fun, too.

0:34:280:34:32

This book is really an equivalent of outtakes from the novels

0:34:320:34:34

and they've been a bit cheeky, the editors and the publisher,

0:34:340:34:37

because they've taken some of the things out of context.

0:34:370:34:40

But they are very, very amusing. One of my personal favourites is,

0:34:400:34:45

"I have never been intimate with a bear," she said with a sniff.

0:34:450:34:49

"There's always a first time."

0:34:490:34:51

So it's just full of wonderful things.

0:34:510:34:54

-I have no idea what that means.

-Me neither.

0:34:540:34:57

"These lips are my sacramental wine," he murmured.

0:34:570:35:01

At least they drank it and made certain vows

0:35:010:35:04

that not even the blade of an espada may sever.

0:35:040:35:07

-A bit of Spanish in there as well. Romantic.

-Shivers!

0:35:090:35:13

That's quite enough of that.

0:35:130:35:15

Can I just say, it's been very informative and good fun.

0:35:150:35:18

-And as a fan, I loved it.

-Thank you for letting me share it with you.

0:35:180:35:21

It's great.

0:35:210:35:23

As our dashing hero and beautiful heroine

0:35:230:35:26

head out into the golden sunset of Reading,

0:35:260:35:29

Esther and David are making a slightly more prosaic journey

0:35:290:35:33

from Goring further up the River Thames

0:35:330:35:35

to the Oxfordshire town of Wallingford.

0:35:350:35:38

Back in 1135, it was an important place in the struggle

0:35:380:35:42

for the throne between Empress Matilda and her cousin, Stephen.

0:35:420:35:47

Nowadays it's more likely to witness a taste war

0:35:470:35:49

between Esther and David.

0:35:490:35:52

It'll be played out at Lamb Arcade,

0:35:520:35:54

an antique centre with over 40 shops and showcases,

0:35:540:35:57

where Siobhan is one of the dealers.

0:35:570:36:00

-I'm Esther. Hello, how do you do?

-Nice to meet you, Esther.

0:36:000:36:03

Esther and David still have £288 to spend.

0:36:030:36:06

That is a treasure trove, is it not?

0:36:060:36:08

After a little rummaging, David strikes gold.

0:36:080:36:12

Isn't that just gorgeous?

0:36:120:36:15

-That is one of the most...

-Yeah.

0:36:160:36:18

..hideous pieces of china I've ever seen in my life!

0:36:180:36:22

This is the chalk and cheese team.

0:36:220:36:25

Perhaps Esther is better off finding her own treasures, hey?

0:36:250:36:29

-LID CLATTERS

-Here we go!

0:36:290:36:31

-Perhaps not.

-Everything is collapsing!

0:36:310:36:35

She is feeling the pressure.

0:36:350:36:38

-The fiendish desire to win.

-Exactly.

0:36:380:36:41

-Overwhelming me.

-The competitiveness is now coming out.

0:36:410:36:45

The real Esther Rantzen has arrived.

0:36:450:36:48

The real Esther Rantzen needs help, David. So, what do you suggest?

0:36:480:36:52

Here we have a cigarette case.

0:36:520:36:55

I know it's not that PC but it could be used as a card case.

0:36:550:37:00

Silver, hallmarked,

0:37:000:37:03

but that's the interesting thing.

0:37:030:37:05

-RAF.

-RAF.

-Wow.

0:37:050:37:07

-Gilded interior and it's hallmarked for 1939.

-Wow!

0:37:090:37:15

-That's interesting.

-That's more than interesting, that's brilliant.

0:37:150:37:18

-It is quite brilliant, actually.

-I love it.

-Do you?

-Yes.

0:37:180:37:23

At last - unity.

0:37:230:37:24

It's got a fantastic history.

0:37:240:37:26

This is a Battle of Britain pilot,

0:37:260:37:28

aged 19, you know, with probably his little self-rolled cigarettes.

0:37:280:37:35

You're absolutely right.

0:37:350:37:37

-And because it's 1939, the beginning of the Second World War...

-Yes.

0:37:370:37:42

-..it more than likely saw action during the Second World War.

-Yes.

0:37:420:37:47

The case seems promising, but it's not priced.

0:37:470:37:50

What kind of figure can you do this for?

0:37:500:37:52

I could do that for £60.

0:37:520:37:54

50?

0:38:000:38:02

Five.

0:38:020:38:03

-Two?

-No, I'll do 55, and I think you'll do well.

0:38:030:38:06

At £55, it's tempting,

0:38:060:38:08

and for Esther, it's not all about profit this time.

0:38:080:38:11

I have met Battle of Britain pilots.

0:38:130:38:16

I have sat next to them at dinner

0:38:160:38:19

knowing that this man at age 19 had gone out on mission after mission,

0:38:190:38:24

losing friends each time,

0:38:240:38:26

and I'm Jewish, and I wouldn't be here if they had lost.

0:38:260:38:30

If that battle hadn't been won, I certainly wouldn't be here,

0:38:300:38:34

my family wouldn't be here.

0:38:340:38:36

-Oh, my gosh, well...

-So they mean a heck of a lot to me.

0:38:360:38:39

Well, I think we have to go for that.

0:38:390:38:42

That is so powerful that we have to have this.

0:38:420:38:44

So we've done it. That's our final object.

0:38:440:38:47

-Siobhan, please shake my hand.

-Yes.

0:38:470:38:49

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

-Esther.

-I'm thrilled with that.

0:38:490:38:53

-That's our best object.

-That's our best object.

0:38:530:38:55

It's been a bumpy ride for Esther and David,

0:38:560:38:59

but at £55, their final lot is secured.

0:38:590:39:02

Rebecca and Will have emerged from between the covers of their

0:39:030:39:06

"romantic interlude" in Reading to meander down the river to Henley.

0:39:060:39:10

Of course, it's famous for rowing, but there's no time for posing

0:39:100:39:14

in straw boaters and stripy blazers today.

0:39:140:39:16

Rebecca and Will have £201 left to spend.

0:39:160:39:20

Tudor House Antiques could be the place to do it.

0:39:200:39:22

It may look tiny but it's packed to the rafters,

0:39:220:39:25

and Dave and Patrick are on hand to help.

0:39:250:39:28

-Hello.

-Hi, how you doing, all right?

-I'm Rebecca, hi.

0:39:280:39:31

-I'm Dave, pleased to meet you.

-Hi, Dave, I'm Will.

0:39:310:39:33

Adopting a divide-and-rule strategy,

0:39:330:39:35

Will scours the back yard while Rebecca searches indoors.

0:39:350:39:38

This is quite cool. This...

0:39:380:39:40

..coal scullet...skillet thing?

0:39:420:39:45

Ooh, it's got a... Oh, how nifty!

0:39:450:39:47

I think that's old. I'm going to get Will.

0:39:480:39:52

Will?

0:39:520:39:53

Gosh, a new decisive Rebecca!

0:39:530:39:55

-Yeah?

-Come and have a look at this.

0:39:550:39:57

-Oh?

-Not sure.

-Yeah.

-Don't get your hopes up.

0:39:570:40:00

-Oh, a little purdonium.

-A purdonium

0:40:000:40:03

is a type of coal scuttle named after its inventor, Mr Purdon.

0:40:030:40:07

This one is £85.

0:40:070:40:09

I'm just thinking, a saleroom...

0:40:090:40:12

-Bit of brass...

-In the middle of summer...

-Let's think about it.

0:40:120:40:16

It's a possibility.

0:40:160:40:18

As you were. No decision.

0:40:180:40:20

Let the rummaging continue.

0:40:200:40:22

SHE GIGGLES

0:40:260:40:27

That's a quirky item, isn't it?

0:40:290:40:30

ACCORDION PLAYS

0:40:310:40:33

Well, I was just thinking,

0:40:350:40:37

there I am telling Becca not to look at coal purdoniums

0:40:370:40:39

because it's high summer, and what am I looking at? A sledge.

0:40:390:40:43

If I give Will another musical item, he'll lose all faith in me.

0:40:470:40:51

But not any old sledge.

0:40:510:40:54

This is what they call a flexible flyer.

0:40:540:40:56

It's an American company that make these sledges

0:40:560:40:59

and they've got some great steering at the front there.

0:40:590:41:02

For me, that's a great thing,

0:41:060:41:08

but I don't know. How's she going to take it when I tell her?

0:41:080:41:12

Seasonal.

0:41:120:41:14

-There's no time like the present to find out.

-Oh, dear.

0:41:140:41:17

Have you ever seen...

0:41:220:41:24

..a sledge better than that?

0:41:250:41:28

You're not impressed, are you?

0:41:280:41:30

Can't say I'm feeling it.

0:41:300:41:33

It's a proper bit of American folk art.

0:41:330:41:38

You genuinely think we can make money on it?

0:41:380:41:40

I've seen them make the money,

0:41:400:41:41

-but it's just whether the market is there in Woking.

-In Woking in summer!

0:41:410:41:45

In summer, for a sledge.

0:41:450:41:47

No, we'll leave the sledge.

0:41:470:41:49

-I can tell you're not enamoured by the sledge.

-No! I'm not NOT...

0:41:490:41:52

If not, there is a lovely little box that I saw, a lacquered box.

0:41:520:41:55

Crikey. Rebecca's struggling to decide between two items

0:41:550:41:58

and Will's introducing a third?

0:41:580:42:01

This is it, look.

0:42:010:42:02

Hmm.

0:42:020:42:04

A little Japanese lacquered box.

0:42:040:42:07

-OK.

-Look at the quality, look at the workmanship.

0:42:070:42:10

-That's all done by hand, you know.

-Is it?

-Yeah.

0:42:100:42:13

The box probably dates from the 1920s or '30s, and it's £22.

0:42:130:42:17

Why don't I like it? What's wrong with me?

0:42:180:42:21

I think this at auction, if it's picked up by the right person,

0:42:210:42:27

could easily make 40, 50, maybe 60 quid.

0:42:270:42:30

Really?!

0:42:300:42:32

OK, well, this is hard

0:42:320:42:34

-because now I really like the sled in comparison with that.

-Really?

0:42:340:42:37

-And what about your coal bucket?

-No, I've gone off that.

0:42:370:42:40

HE LAUGHS

0:42:400:42:41

I'm fickle.

0:42:410:42:42

Let's be clear. Rebecca has decided against the coal scuttle

0:42:420:42:45

and doesn't like the lacquer box,

0:42:450:42:47

but there's still trouble reaching a decision.

0:42:470:42:50

We're in a dilemma, aren't we?

0:42:500:42:51

-You said you were indecisive.

-I'm so indecisive.

0:42:510:42:54

See, I would never buy the box.

0:42:540:42:57

But now I would buy the sledge. I wouldn't have before.

0:42:570:42:59

-You wouldn't, would you?

-No. I was like, "What? Rubbish!"

0:42:590:43:03

-Oh, let's throw caution to the wind and buy the sled.

-Oh...

0:43:030:43:07

-Flick a coin?

-Let's do the sledge!

0:43:080:43:10

Yeah? Go on, then. You stay here, I'll go and get it.

0:43:100:43:12

Now, there's still the crucial matter of the £48 price ticket.

0:43:140:43:17

-Hello.

-Hi.

-Hi.

-Find something?

0:43:170:43:21

-Yes.

-I think so.

-Right.

-Oh, that's the best item in the shop.

0:43:210:43:24

-Is it?

-I knew you'd say that.

0:43:240:43:26

But, it's the height of summer. We're trying to sell a sledge.

0:43:260:43:31

What's the best price you can do?

0:43:310:43:33

-I could do it for 40.

-Oh...

0:43:330:43:36

I was thinking 30.

0:43:360:43:38

I've played this game.

0:43:410:43:42

35 and we've got a deal.

0:43:420:43:45

Go for 33 and you'll make me really happy.

0:43:450:43:48

She's good, isn't she?

0:43:480:43:50

Well, I'll tell you what.

0:43:500:43:51

Half of this item belongs to my colleague here,

0:43:510:43:54

so what do you think?

0:43:540:43:55

-33, then.

-33!

0:43:550:43:57

-WILL: Oh! Good work!

-You're a sucker for a pretty face!

0:43:570:44:01

Rebecca and Will have clinched their fifth and final purchase,

0:44:010:44:05

reduced from £48 to £33,

0:44:050:44:07

but will the scrutiny of Esther and David provoke fresh doubts

0:44:070:44:12

as the teams reveal all?

0:44:120:44:13

Talk them through it, Becca.

0:44:130:44:15

So, beautiful vase, possibly 1920s.

0:44:150:44:18

-I like that, yeah.

-This is a Keith Murray for Wedgwood.

0:44:180:44:22

-OK.

-And we paid for that...

0:44:220:44:24

-75...

-77.

0:44:240:44:27

-77. Really?

-(That's a fortune.)

0:44:270:44:30

-Then this is all Becca's doing.

-Yes.

0:44:300:44:33

I see, you're passing the blame already, Will. Well done.

0:44:330:44:36

-I like your tactics.

-This is the one that's giving me nightmares.

-Why?

0:44:360:44:39

Because it's not particularly beautiful and it's not worth much.

0:44:390:44:42

Did you pay much for it?

0:44:420:44:43

We paid, for that, £22.

0:44:430:44:46

- Oh, dear! - Then, down front...

0:44:460:44:49

-Ooh...

-Da-da-da!

0:44:490:44:51

It's a sledge!

0:44:510:44:53

-It is!

-Oh, that looks good fun!

0:44:530:44:56

It's an American piece and I have seen them make good money.

0:44:560:44:59

Could I just make a point?

0:44:590:45:01

Esther Rantzen is so quiet, this is unbelievable.

0:45:010:45:04

-She thinks we're nuts.

-She's in shock.

0:45:040:45:06

-I know that expression.

-Do you?

-She's pulled that face

0:45:060:45:09

when I've brought certain men home. It's not good!

0:45:090:45:12

-Not suitable?

-Not suitable!

0:45:120:45:14

Come on, Esther, pass judgment on our treasure.

0:45:140:45:16

I think you've tried really hard.

0:45:160:45:18

-She's so polite.

-No, she's not!

0:45:180:45:21

-We all know what she really means.

-That's really quite rude.

0:45:210:45:23

Just take the opposite meaning of everything she's saying

0:45:230:45:26

and there's her honest truth.

0:45:260:45:28

I'm glad that is a well-known name

0:45:280:45:29

because otherwise I might think they were exceptionally dull.

0:45:290:45:33

I've no idea who madam is. But, but, I could be completely wrong.

0:45:330:45:37

-Yeah, it's time to show yours.

-Come on, then.

0:45:370:45:39

Get ready to be criticised now.

0:45:390:45:42

The gloves are off. Oh...

0:45:420:45:44

Oh, look, they went for art!

0:45:440:45:46

They've bought art.

0:45:460:45:48

What have we got down there?

0:45:480:45:50

-Military cigarette case.

-Even I'm impressed when we unroll this.

0:45:500:45:53

- OK, so... - Talk us through it.

0:45:530:45:55

Now, this, every picture tells a story...

0:45:550:45:59

And they're original, obviously, watercolours, and I took the view

0:45:590:46:04

there would be quite a lot of grandparents at the auction

0:46:040:46:08

and they might like to decorate a nursery and it would be perfect.

0:46:080:46:11

I think it would look lovely in your nursery, actually.

0:46:110:46:14

I'm supposed to be nasty, I'm supposed to be, "Oh, it's horrible!"

0:46:140:46:17

-That is a cigarette case but it would double as a card case.

-Yeah.

0:46:170:46:22

It is sterling silver.

0:46:220:46:23

-60 quid.

-Yeah, bang on, 55.

-Yeah.

0:46:230:46:27

Well, I think it's a really eclectic, interesting mix of stuff.

0:46:270:46:30

-And we are now in the hands of...

-The gods.

-..the auctioneer.

0:46:300:46:33

Crumbs.

0:46:330:46:34

With no punches pulled in public, what will they say in private?

0:46:340:46:40

ESTHER: The sledge would be fine in a hotel...

0:46:400:46:42

-DAVID:

-In Switzerland.

-Yeah, or in Scotland,

0:46:420:46:45

-but Woking?

-Woking, in the summer - excellent news.

-Not so brilliant.

0:46:450:46:49

-The tankard was peculiar, wasn't it?

-Wasn't me.

0:46:490:46:52

-I hate the tankard!

-That was your work.

-It's all my fault.

0:46:520:46:55

Would you swap all of their items for all of your items?

0:46:550:46:58

-No.

-Good.

-Absolutely not.

0:46:580:47:00

Oh, come on. Fist bump it out.

0:47:000:47:02

Yeah, man. Pow!

0:47:020:47:04

Loving your work!

0:47:040:47:05

Can't carry that off. Not street.

0:47:050:47:07

As auction day dawns, Esther's raring to go.

0:47:090:47:11

I am so excited about the auction. I absolutely adore auctions.

0:47:130:47:17

When your father and I used to go to charity events

0:47:170:47:20

and there was an auction, he had to hold me down and handcuff me

0:47:200:47:24

because I would bid for everything. How are you feeling about it all?

0:47:240:47:28

I've never been to an auction.

0:47:280:47:29

-It's huge fun.

-I am quite excited.

0:47:290:47:32

Our teams are travelling from the Thames Valley

0:47:320:47:35

down to a village called Send

0:47:350:47:37

near Woking in Surrey.

0:47:370:47:39

-It suits you.

-Hello again.

0:47:390:47:41

Happily, David's taste in trousers doesn't send the celebs running,

0:47:410:47:45

so it's on with the show.

0:47:450:47:47

-Are you an auction...

-Never been.

0:47:470:47:49

This is your first time?

0:47:490:47:50

Anxious, because I fidget, I'm going to accidentally bid on something.

0:47:500:47:54

-Oh, don't! You've got to sit on your hands and don't blink.

-Don't blink?

0:47:540:47:57

Because if you blink, you spend money.

0:47:570:48:00

-Anything can happen. Come on.

-So very true.

0:48:010:48:04

The place where anything might happen today is Ewbank's

0:48:040:48:07

auctions which holds quarterly antique

0:48:070:48:09

and fine art auctions as well as a range of specialist sales.

0:48:090:48:13

Tim Duggan is the man wielding the gavel

0:48:130:48:16

so what does he think might happen?

0:48:160:48:18

I think the sleigh is going to be of interest.

0:48:180:48:21

It's a novelty item, it's well displayed.

0:48:210:48:23

The glass vase, I quite like. It's got the certificate there.

0:48:230:48:26

If I had to pick a lot - I like the silver dressing table set.

0:48:260:48:29

It's very nice, very stylised, very Art Deco and I hope to get

0:48:290:48:33

that away, certainly it should make 50 or £60. Tankard, yeah.

0:48:330:48:37

It's a bit boring, £10 would be lucky.

0:48:370:48:41

Each of our teams started with £400.

0:48:410:48:44

Esther listened to David's advice then followed her own instincts.

0:48:440:48:48

Somehow they managed to agree on five diverse lots

0:48:480:48:52

spending a paltry total of £167.

0:48:520:48:56

Rebecca convinced herself she had bad taste

0:48:560:48:59

but with help from Will eventually managed to decide on her five lots

0:48:590:49:03

shelling out a much heftier £232.

0:49:030:49:06

As the auction gets under way,

0:49:070:49:09

Will is doing nothing to soothe Rebecca's nerves.

0:49:090:49:12

This is the arena.

0:49:120:49:15

-Are we gladiators?

-Yeah.

0:49:150:49:18

First up is the World War II RAF cigarette case that stirred

0:49:180:49:21

Esther's emotions.

0:49:210:49:23

-Esther, this is us.

-Good luck, David. Good luck, Esther.

0:49:230:49:26

-RAF cigarette case hallmark for Birmingham 1939.

-£20.

0:49:260:49:30

It's a gift from a proud mum to a 19-year-old who has just

0:49:300:49:35

joined the RAF in 1939 - just before the Battle of Britain.

0:49:350:49:40

-This is a very important lot.

-You sold it!

0:49:400:49:42

You weren't expecting that, were you?

0:49:440:49:46

I was!

0:49:460:49:48

Should I say "That's Life!"

0:49:480:49:51

LAUGHTER

0:49:510:49:53

At 35, 40, 45, with you, sir, in the doorway.

0:49:530:49:57

-Good, come on.

-65 and 70.

0:49:570:50:01

75. 80. 85. £80 in the doorway.

0:50:010:50:05

Standing. Looking for 85.

0:50:050:50:06

At £80 for the last time.

0:50:060:50:10

Aw! £80. It is a trickle.

0:50:100:50:14

Thank you for the trickle.

0:50:140:50:16

I call £25 profit a very reasonable start for Esther and David.

0:50:160:50:21

I can't believe you did that.

0:50:210:50:23

I tried to pull her down but almost got her trousers!

0:50:230:50:25

-That would have been brilliant!

-For the bids.

0:50:250:50:29

The second lot of silver is Rebecca's Art Deco brush

0:50:290:50:32

and mirror set fancied by auctioneer Tim.

0:50:320:50:35

£30 for it. £30 bid. And five.

0:50:350:50:39

45 now. 45. 50. 55. 60. 65.

0:50:390:50:43

Surely on the internet...

0:50:430:50:45

At £60. Are we all done?

0:50:450:50:49

-It's not as bad as you thought.

-Much better.

0:50:490:50:54

A classy choice but an unlucky debut for Rebecca.

0:50:540:50:57

Are you enjoying your auction experience?

0:50:570:50:59

No!

0:50:590:51:01

Will and Rebecca's Keith Murray for Wedgwood set is next.

0:51:010:51:05

Will the bidders rate it delightful or dull?

0:51:050:51:08

£100 for it.

0:51:080:51:10

Don't bid! I thought you were bidding.

0:51:100:51:13

-30 if you like.

-Oh!

0:51:130:51:16

-It will go up.

-45. 50.

0:51:160:51:19

At 50. Looking for 55.

0:51:190:51:21

-60. 65 online, if you want it.

-It's online bidding.

0:51:210:51:26

60 in the room. At 65.

0:51:260:51:28

-Get the hammer down.

-Come on, £70. Worth it. 75 online.

0:51:280:51:34

75 online if you want it.

0:51:340:51:36

It's gone quiet online now. At £70.

0:51:360:51:39

We've made a loss!

0:51:390:51:42

Yes, another small loss and a bumpy start for Rebecca.

0:51:420:51:46

But this still plenty of time to turn things around.

0:51:460:51:49

It's a bit of a loss, not much.

0:51:490:51:51

But we haggled hard for that.

0:51:510:51:53

Next up is the 19th century Imari plate found by Esther.

0:51:530:51:58

£10 for it.

0:51:580:51:59

-Go on, go on.

-It's Japanese. £10 for it.

0:51:590:52:04

He's working on their side.

0:52:040:52:07

-10 for it.

-Come on. Esther, do something.

0:52:070:52:11

15, I've got. And 20, madam.

0:52:110:52:14

-What?!

-And 25.

-Come on! That's better.

0:52:140:52:18

-What did we pay?

-30.

0:52:180:52:21

-25. Battle of the ladies.

-Come on, you miserable lot.

0:52:210:52:25

At £25. With you, madam.

0:52:250:52:28

Selling to the room at £25.

0:52:280:52:30

As Esther and David consolidate their lead,

0:52:320:52:35

Rebecca has realised she's on the back foot.

0:52:350:52:38

It's because people love you. They don't know who the hell I am.

0:52:380:52:42

Rebecca and Will both liked the glass trumpet vase.

0:52:420:52:46

Now they need the bidders to feel the same.

0:52:460:52:49

You could use it for a hospital sample.

0:52:490:52:52

-You'd know.

-It looks like it already has.

0:52:520:52:56

£20 for it. Bid me ten.

0:52:560:52:58

You're bidding!

0:52:580:53:02

Come on, surely £10 at the back. 10 is bid, I'll take 15.

0:53:020:53:06

-This is criminal.

-Period.

0:53:060:53:09

£10 at the back.

0:53:090:53:12

It's beautiful.

0:53:120:53:14

-Wrong!

-Calm down, calm down.

0:53:150:53:20

The right people just weren't in the room, Rebecca.

0:53:200:53:23

Whoever bought that, you might get a quick profit in the car park.

0:53:230:53:27

After a series of losses comes the lot that worries Rebecca most.

0:53:290:53:33

-The Bohemian tankard she chose.

-£30. 10, if you like.

0:53:330:53:37

For goodness' sake!

0:53:370:53:39

-It's a nice thing.

-It's beautiful.

0:53:410:53:45

25 online now. Battle at 30.

0:53:450:53:48

You've got a profit.

0:53:480:53:50

35. Looking for 40.

0:53:500:53:53

45 online. Want 50. You are out...

0:53:530:53:57

-I feel sick.

-Told you.

0:53:570:54:00

-At £45.

-Yay!

-Change of tune.

0:54:000:54:05

Yes!

0:54:080:54:09

Rebecca's supposedly tasteless tankard comes up trumps

0:54:090:54:13

-and turns around her fortunes.

-Back in the game.

0:54:130:54:16

It's good now, isn't?

0:54:160:54:18

Ester discovered the French studio glass vase.

0:54:180:54:21

Will it be a oui or a non, from the bidders?

0:54:210:54:24

-£10 for it.

-Come on, come on.

0:54:240:54:28

25 now. 30 bid. 35.

0:54:280:54:31

Just a load of...

0:54:320:54:35

At 45, selling at £45.

0:54:350:54:39

Formidable!

0:54:390:54:41

Magnifique!

0:54:410:54:43

Esther and David's profits are rising slowly but steadily.

0:54:430:54:47

-We are trickling all the way.

-We are leaking all the way.

0:54:470:54:51

Don't fret, Rebecca.

0:54:510:54:53

It may be summer in Surrey but Will has high hopes

0:54:530:54:57

-for the American sledge.

-£100 for it.

0:54:570:54:59

Come on, a nice item, this one. £100. 50 for it.

0:54:590:55:03

55, 60. 65. 70. 75.

0:55:030:55:07

Looking for 80.

0:55:070:55:09

It's a good lot.

0:55:090:55:11

Looking for 80 anywhere. At £75. The bids are out.

0:55:110:55:15

The back of the room, £75.

0:55:150:55:17

-Well done.

-We are pleased.

0:55:170:55:20

It's all right.

0:55:200:55:22

A spectacular £42 profit puts Rebecca

0:55:220:55:25

and Will right back in the running.

0:55:250:55:28

Now she's happy. Was she like this as a child?

0:55:280:55:30

Yes. Always.

0:55:300:55:33

Next up is the American rocker. Hideous, according to Esther.

0:55:330:55:37

-£30 for it. £30.

-Go on.

0:55:370:55:39

Don't be ridiculous.

0:55:390:55:41

You would have to pay me to buy that.

0:55:410:55:44

-Go on.

-£10. 10 bid.

0:55:440:55:46

-That was 20 he was bidding.

-10 bid.

-You were cheating.

0:55:460:55:50

He said 20. I heard him say it.

0:55:500:55:53

-Come on. Come on. Come on.

-At £30, it is with you.

0:55:530:55:59

He just said 40!

0:55:590:56:01

Cheats!

0:56:030:56:04

Someone get security!

0:56:040:56:07

Yes! Go on. You realise it has no cushions.

0:56:070:56:10

But how much will it be worth with cushions?

0:56:100:56:13

-Selling at £40.

-Well done.

0:56:130:56:16

Hm, not so hideous when you consider that is a decent profit, Esther.

0:56:180:56:22

-Well done.

-Well done, you.

0:56:240:56:25

-Wow.

-Believing in the American rocker.

0:56:250:56:28

Look at that look.

0:56:280:56:30

Esther is banking on doting grandparents like herself to

0:56:300:56:33

snap up the final lot, the four nursery pictures.

0:56:330:56:37

-Good and decorative. £30. You pay that for the frame.

-Go on.

0:56:370:56:40

Bid me 20. 20 bid. 25 behind you.

0:56:400:56:44

Come on. Come on. Come on.

0:56:440:56:47

35 with the lady.

0:56:470:56:49

Looking for 40. At £35.

0:56:490:56:52

Stop looking down.

0:56:520:56:55

-35.

-Our first loss.

0:56:550:56:58

I'm glad you had one.

0:56:580:57:00

Late in the day, Esther and David joined the losers club

0:57:000:57:03

-but only a modest 10 down.

-Share the pain.

0:57:030:57:06

I wish they had had more pain.

0:57:060:57:08

Good stuff, shall we hit the burger van?

0:57:080:57:11

-Yes, please.

-Let's do it.

0:57:110:57:13

Let's check the ratio of pain to profit.

0:57:130:57:17

After the agonies of indecision, Rebecca

0:57:170:57:19

and Will did well with the sledge and the supposedly tacky tankard

0:57:190:57:24

but after paying auction costs they made a small loss of £18.80p.

0:57:240:57:28

It leaves them with a total of £381.20.

0:57:280:57:33

Despite their taste war,

0:57:330:57:35

Esther and David managed to acquire some solid lots

0:57:350:57:38

and their profits climbed slowly but surely to £17.50 giving them

0:57:380:57:43

a total of £417.50 and victory on this road trip.

0:57:430:57:48

All profits, no matter how small, go to Children in Need.

0:57:480:57:51

It's not about the winning or losing, it's the taking part...

0:57:510:57:55

No, you always thought that, Becca, all the way through.

0:57:560:57:59

I was fine. I am not at all competitive.

0:57:590:58:02

No, we noticed(!)

0:58:020:58:03

I think if you buy what you love it almost doesn't matter that you

0:58:030:58:07

-completely crush the opposition and win...

-She's going to be intolerable.

0:58:070:58:12

-She's now an expert. Teeny tiny win.

-Intolerable forever now.

0:58:120:58:16

-You know that, don't you?

-I've got to get in the car with her.

0:58:160:58:19

ALL TALK OVER EACH OTHER

0:58:190:58:21

Thanks for your help, David.

0:58:210:58:24

-Thank you, thank you.

-Goodbye!

0:58:240:58:26

-It has been fun.

-I've adored it.

0:58:260:58:29

If somebody asked me to do a whole week of this, I would jump at it.

0:58:290:58:33

So, I suppose the biggest profit we made...

0:58:330:58:37

Oh, stop it!

0:58:370:58:39

Television presenter Esther Rantzen challenges her daughter, and fellow presenter, Rebecca Wilcox in a competition for antique glory in and around Reading. Rebecca delights in diving into much-loved romance novels and Esther hears the moving stories of British evacuees during World War II.