Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. Journalists John Simpson and Martha Kearney kick off the series, travelling through Hampshire towards Itchen Stoke near Winchester.
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-The nation's favourite celebrities...
-We've got some proper bling 'ere!
..paired up with an expert...
..and a classic car.
BOTH SHOUT AT ONCE
Their mission, to scour Britain for antiques.
All breakages must be paid for.
This is a good find, is it not?
The aim, to make the biggest profit at auction. But it's no easy ride.
Who will find a hidden gem? Who will take the biggest risks?
Got my antiques head on.
Will anybody follow expert advice?
I think it's horrible!
-There will be worthy winners...
-This is better than Christmas!
..and valiant losers.
Time to put your pedal to the metal.
This is Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
Breaking news - today's road trip
features two heavyweights of British broadcasting,
fearless journalists Martha Kearney and John Simpson.
Are you terrified, Martha, to be with me?
I'd be more terrified if I were doing the driving.
We haven't stalled yet.
Famous last words, John?
-Oh, you found the indicator!
-I found the indicator.
-No need for hand signals.
-OK, that was good.
Oh, dear, their dashing 1961 Ford Zephyr was manufactured before
seatbelts were mandatory, which is why our celebs aren't wearing any.
And with two veterans of front-line reporting hitting the road,
there's no room for small talk.
What were you doing in Kabul?
The first time I went I presented a Woman's Hour from there,
which is very...
-God, that's really good stuff.
-Where do you stay when you're there?
-I stay in the...
What's it called,
the big hotel, the one that's always getting attacked?
-Oh, yes. Is it Serena?
John and Martha are old friends from the BBC newsroom.
I followed in your footsteps and put on a burka, but I always
wondered how you got away with it, because you are quite a tall man.
-Yes, I was.
-You in a burka must have been quite a sight.
I was the tallest woman in Afghanistan. With the biggest feet.
Speaking of which, multi-award-winning journalist
John Simpson really will go to any lengths to get a story.
He's been at the forefront of breaking news
throughout his career, spanning the last five decades.
Well, this is it.
We're walking into Kabul city.
Fearlessly confronting the world's most terrifying dictators.
It's amazing the company you keep on trips like this.
And reporting from the depths of war zones as events unfold.
He's in good company today,
for Martha herself is no stranger to danger.
I'll be reporting from Afghanistan.
She was nominated for a Bafta for her work
reporting on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The guns are out and blast bombs are being used
in places like here in Carrickfergus.
Known for her fearless approach
whilst asking probing questions.
In essence, aren't you losing the propaganda war?
I don't think we're losing it, but I think we've got to go out and fight it. Of course we have.
Huh! Today, she's well-known for the incredibly popular
World At One on Radio Four.
Your programme is one of my absolute favourites.
When I'm not travelling, I'm home mostly,
so I can listen to whatever I want to listen to.
Oh, well, that's lovely to hear.
Armed with £400 each,
how will this pair cope battling it out on the antiquing trail?
Do you want to beat the bejesus out of me?
-Well, you know, journalists are very competitive.
-We are a bit, aren't we?
But in a way you have to have that competitive spirit.
You have to want to be the first with the story...
-You do in our business.
Two such intellectual titans deserve only the most cerebral of experts.
Auctioneers Natasha Raskin...
We have got some erudite guests.
..and, um, Phil Serrell.
-What did you just say?
Astute, clever, intelligent...
Come on, Phil, keep up!
Yeah, keep up, Phil.
They're powering along in a 1965 MG Midget.
These are tiptop BBC journalists we're dealing with here.
I'm in awe of people like that, seriously, because they are...
-Yeah, you know.
You think of all the different things they've had to report on.
-Martha for the peace process in Ireland...
On this Road Trip we're travelling through Jane Austen country,
otherwise known as Hampshire,
ending up at an auction in the village of Itchen Stoke.
Today's journey begins in Hartley Wintney.
That's a cool car. I want to drive that car.
I'm going to go and let Martha out. I'm going to get my partner.
I feel as though I've been in a can of beans or something.
-Very nice to meet you.
-I'm looking forward to this.
-How are you? This is exciting!
-Well, the only tip I've got is to try and beat these two.
He usually does!
It looks like we've decided who is working with whom.
Yeah, we naturally migrated towards the opposite sex.
Boy, girl, boy, girl, yeah.
-It's got to be done.
-We need to sort these cars out.
-Yes. I quite like the one you're leaning on.
I think that's quite cool. What do you reckon?
Well, this was the first car I ever owned.
I wanted an MGB but I couldn't afford it.
-Are you going to be able to fit into it, John?
-I'm not sure I can.
This could be good!
-Only because you're so tall, that's all I'm saying.
-How nice you are!
-I'm going to...
You never lose it!
He's off! He's off!
-He's dumped you!
-That's not a very good start, is it?
No, he's off again.
-Shall we just sneak off? Let's steal the march.
-It's Brands Hatch!
-Yes, let's steal a march on them.
-Don't leave me alone!
If John ever comes back, our celebs are sharing the shop floor
this morning in White Lion Antiques Centre.
So, Martha, what's floats the Martha boat?
I've got very wide-ranging tastes, actually.
-I love Arts and Crafts furniture.
I've got a few things by the mouse man...
-Yeah? Robert Thompson of Kilburn.
-Yeah. I love those.
I quite like kitschy '50s things.
So what we want is something vintagey kitschy
that's Art Nouveau with a mouse on it.
Exactly! That'll sum it up pretty well.
Good luck with that, Phil!
I wonder if John has such a clear game plan.
Are you looking for anything in particular or are we just
going to amble along and see what strikes us?
That sounds terribly kind of purposeless, doesn't it, but it's
my way of approaching everything, really - just see what there is.
-Without any purpose whatever.
So, with two very distinct approaches in play,
let the shopping commence.
How are you on boxes and trunks, Martha?
-Yes, I do like trunks very much.
Shall we have a look at that one over there?
-Oh, and I like this, actually.
What I love is the idea that somebody has stored things in this.
And look at this beautiful, beautiful wood.
The thing with trunks and boxes is, you get two types of trunks
and boxes - dome-top trunks
and you get flat-top trunks, and by and large a flat-top trunk is
always worth more than a dome-top trunk,
because you can't put anything on top of a dome top trunk.
Oh, so this could be a coffee table or something as well as a...
I can see that as a coffee table, a TV table...
-Is it all the same piece?
-You're good, aren't you?
-If you open that up...
-Because this seems much older.
Well, what do you think that would make at auction?
I would think about... 60, 70 quid?
I think you're on the money.
Its ticket price is £125, though.
-So it's at least half, we need to get it down to.
It's the kind of thing I would buy for myself...
Martha, if you would buy this for yourself, then I think...
Let's just...leave that there.
Let's go and have a quick look around and we'll come back.
I like this girl, she speed-shops.
Well, this is going swimmingly so far. How are their rivals getting on?
I mean, this is my kind of stuff.
This is a Candara carving.
-So a Shia deity.
And it's from Afghanistan.
It may be, but it's also way out of budget.
I did clock something over here.
And forgive me if I'm wrong,
but I have a sort of vision in my mind...
-I thought isn't that a very 1970s - a diplomat's item?
-Did you encounter a lot of diplomats?
And this makes me think of diplomats maybe on their beautiful dresser
they would have had this filled with ice, and a decanter by the side...
-It's actually quite nice.
-It is quite nice, yeah.
If my wife came back from a sale
with that I'd be full of congratulations,
instead of the usual, "Where did you get that tosh from?"
I'd say that's a pretty big thumbs up.
The ticket price is £55.
-Nice and thick.
-They are nice and thick, yeah. They look good.
-I quite like the set.
-I think you're absolutely right
and I trust your instinct on this, if we can get them down
to the kind of level that, you know, where we can sell them.
Now, what's Martha up to?
Load of cobblers?
Straight from the serious business of shopping, eh?
Perhaps dealer Jerry can help.
What about that?
-It's a VINTAGE blowtorch!
It's a blowtorch, Martha, it's a blowtorch.
What does it say there? Primus or something?
So presumably this is from the same maker as the Primus stove.
-And you pump it up...
-And then it blows up!
It's priced at £38.
I think these are very fashionable.
These kinds of things are coming into their own now.
Worryingly, I'm not going to argue with you.
It's the sort of thing that I would buy, but you've got to buy that.
-It's only 15 quid. You want to bring that with you?
Martha knows exactly what she likes.
As does our Natasha.
I don't know how you feel about jewellery, but I absolutely
love this micro mosaic brooch - the bar brooch style.
Really intricate, isn't it? Really lovely.
And trying to theme it with your career,
-it's got a sort of Moorish appeal to it.
-It has, yes, you're right!
I know nothing about these whatsoever.
I mean, who...who makes it? Where does it come from?
Well, they tend to have been tourist items made in Italy.
-Made for the tourist trade.
-Made for the tourists.
And the Brits going over to Italy and coming back with
-wee trinkets. Look how wearable that is today.
That would jazz up this outfit instantly. Even yours, even yours.
I think it would be good on both of us at three quid.
-Yeah? Good on anyone.
-You think I'm a bit of a dreamer.
-Let's get that.
Ticket price is just £6.
This is the first test of John's haggling skills.
There's a sort of '70s glass set of six glasses and an ice bucket,
and then there's a little brooch, very small brooch. Nothing.
-You could throw that in and not even notice.
Hm, smoothly done, John!
The two items have a combined ticket price of £61.
What would be great for us would be half price.
30 for the two?
Can't do 30.
I could take a chance at 40, to help you out.
Well, I would have said 34.
-Well, let's say 35.
-35 sounds great. Thanks, John. Nice to meet you.
John is no stranger to haggling, it seems, so that's two items
in the bag - 30 for the drinks set and £5 for the brooch.
Now, what has Martha unearthed?
-What have you found?
-It's this old...chair.
It's a little bit...
rickety, but there's something about the wood that I rather like.
-You can feel that somebody has sat in that chair over time.
Well, very often if you have a look at the back of these things
it tells you more than the front.
-And if you look there...
-It's been mended.
-That's been broken.
-And that bit of wood has been let in there.
But this thing just wants a polish and some love, really.
So, that's now three items of interest for Martha -
the chair, the trunk and the blowtorch.
Their combined ticket price is £338. Time for some serious negotiation.
Is there any possibility
we can buy the thing somewhere between £100 and £140?
-What, all of them?
-I could probably deal at 180.
Hm... That's quite hard for us, isn't it?
No, because we'd lose on that.
I'd really like to buy three things here if we possibly could.
It would be nice, wouldn't it?
-I don't want you to buy things from here and not earn a profit.
-So, let's do the deal...
-..and let's get it done.
-Thank you so much.
-You've been really kind to us, thank you.
-That's really nice. Thank you so much.
-Thank you so much.
I'm delighted. We won't use the blowtorch on you now.
-That was our secret weapon.
Fantastic! Thank you so much. Pay the man, Martha, pay the man.
Well, thankfully, Martha's charming smile
and Jerry's generosity were enough to secure the blowtorch for £20,
the trunk for 50 and the saddle chair for £70.
Their rivals, though, have once again hit the open road.
Is there one moment in your career
that really sticks out as a particularly proud scene?
There's one, which I've never really told anybody about.
After Nelson Mandela got let out of jail in 1990,
I started to get to know him a bit
and he was very friendly and very, very nice.
And then he was, of course, in 1994, he was elected president.
And we were allowed onto the platform,
-right beside him.
Oh! I mean... I'm...
It's a wonderful memory of a wonderful man.
He looked at me...
-and gave me a big wink and a thumbs up.
And I just thought, "Oh, life holds nothing better than this."
That's quite a story.
John and Natasha are on their way to Keogh Barracks in Ash Vale.
John's no stranger to being a civilian on the battlefield
and he's here to learn about some very different non-combatants,
who played a decisive role in winning the war.
OK, shall we?
Let's do it.
Today, they're meeting with Captain Pete Starling.
Well, Natasha, John, welcome to the Army Medical Services Museum.
Preparing for war involves a huge amount of planning.
Incredibly, it was only after General Haig suffered toothache
at the start of the First World War,
that any provision was made for our soldiers' teeth.
Prior to this, huge numbers of soldiers were withdrawn from battle
due to teeth issues, so this wasn't a problem
they could afford to ignore any more.
There were thousands of soldiers suffering from toothache,
broken dentures and were ineffective as infantrymen.
And this happened right throughout the war.
In the early days of the war, almost all dental treatment
for British soldiers was carried out by civilian practitioners.
By 1918, there were 850 dental officers in the Army.
By the outbreak of the Second World War,
the Army Dental Corps had been established.
So 1939, then, the Army mobilises again, but there have been
great developments in the Army Dental Corps.
We had this organisation called The Field Ambulance.
This was the unit that treated the casualties,
as they came back from the front line.
Being at the heart of the action
left them vulnerable to attack and capture.
Like their Medical Corps counterparts,
a substantial number ended up as prisoners of war,
because they remained with the sick and wounded.
One such military dentist was Captain Julian Green.
One of those captured in northwest Europe
was this dental officer, Julius Green.
And he was captured at St Valery,
with 152nd Field Ambulance.
And, throughout the war, he remained in captivity.
As well as surviving the perils of the prisoner of war camps,
Green played a vital role in the war after a meeting
with a British commando that would change his life forever.
Now, in one camp he was in, he was taken to see a commando,
who was very seriously ill.
And this chap was working for the intelligence services.
And what he was doing, or what he had been doing,
is he had been sending letters back to his parents with code in them.
Green was asked to take over from the commando and become a spy.
He was taught a secret code to communicate with MI9,
who were responsible for aiding Allied resistance fighters
in occupied territories.
The code was hidden within letters to his parents.
The letters were then intercepted by the British intelligence service.
We've got here on the table a translation of how you interpret
the code here, which is quite difficult to understand,
because it's all to do with so many words in one line
and then you take the second word or the third word.
The code consisted of a grid system,
where individual letters or words could be picked out of
specific sentences to make up phrases.
Oh, wow. It's amazing. And quite interesting that you say that.
-It says "decoding the letters is quite simple".
-And that's what happens.
But then, tellingly, "Once you know how".
-"Once you know how", yeah.
Green proved to be the ideal candidate to spy on people.
As a dentist, he was asked to treat German officers,
as well as other prisoners.
And, as he wasn't a fighting soldier and had an affable bedside manner,
people spoke surprisingly openly to him.
The smaller one is a letter from the intelligence services.
-It's to his father,
telling him to ignore certain phrases in the letter.
that he won't understand anyway, but please don't question them.
So "please pay no attention to the reference
"to letters from Lorder and Philippa Outram
"and do not mention them in letters to your son."
It's quite a lot of pressure on his family. Saying here,
"You will no doubt appreciate the necessity for maintaining
-"absolute secrecy in this matter."
You can just imagine how he would have felt.
He would have been shaking reading that letter,
thinking people were watching him.
-But, more importantly, what happened if his son was...
-you know, caught.
-What would happen?
Incredibly, after all Green had been through,
he survived and returned home at the end of the war.
And, amazingly, went on to play yet another pivotal role
much closer to home.
I have a little bit of a secret to tell you.
-This is the man that my father used to call Uncle Julie.
There's no blood relation, but he was the best man
at my father's wedding and my father was the best man at his wedding
and Julius' son Alan was also a dentist in Glasgow.
-You've kept very quiet about that.
-An amazing story!
I didn't think it could be true, to be honest with you. It's just...
It's too bizarre, but my dad tells a nice story of, every morning,
Uncle Julie used to come down and do militarily inspection
-before they went to school!
So, he must have been through
-so much in these prisoner of war camps...
..and remained a really light-hearted gentleman,
-which is an amazing story in itself.
What an incredible man, whose bravery will have saved countless lives,
both on the battlefield and at home.
Back with Martha and Phil,
who are driving just under a mile down the road from their first shop.
Out of all the people you've met and talked to and interviewed,
were there any that you really felt nervous about beforehand?
When I was a junior reporter, I was sent to interview Margaret Thatcher.
-She was visiting a craft fair.
And my editor said, "Go there, ask a few questions about the craft...
"and then ask her about the teachers' strike," so I went, "OK!"
She was very nice to me at first and explained to me
-why she liked the Dartford Crystal or whatever it was.
And then, I said, "And what do you think about the teachers' strike?"
And she GLARED at me with those bright eyes
and turned on her heel and walked off!
And I remember, I felt absolutely, you know, awful that I'd, er...
I felt I'd done something very wrong.
Something tells me Martha's going to have no problem
keeping Phil in check today.
-Oh, this is rather pretty, isn't it?
-It's lovely, isn't it?
Looks promising, doesn't it?
Talking about the shop?
Hopefully so, as they still have £260 left to spend.
-And how much is that?
We can leave that there a bit longer, I think.
What about this vicious-looking fellow?
I can't imagine having him around the house.
-Well, that's 950 quid.
I'm not sure there's anything in here for us.
-£950 for a stuffed fish?!
So far, it's not looking good.
Now, I'm a keen cook, so I like these.
These are for kind of making little sauces and things.
I think they're probably French and you can pick them up, really,
for next to nothing in the markets.
-Have you done any of the celebrity cooking programmes?
-How did you get on?
-I did Great British Bake Off.
-So what sort of cake have we got tomorrow?
-Presumably, you've rattled something up for you?
It's back in the car!
There are many lovely objects on offer here,
but there's nothing that tickles their fancy.
Ooh, lordy, where's Phil off to now?
OK, the baker's.
And now the pub!
-I wasn't after a quick pint...
-You say that!
-Well, yeah. I just sneaked off.
-He said he wasn't after
-a quick pint, but do we believe him? I dunno!
-Sort of moderately quick.
He does look a bit rosy-cheeked, the old rogue!
They picked up some great items earlier,
so rest up, chaps, there'll be more shopping tomorrow.
It's a new day and today's headliners are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed
and all set for reporting for duty.
-So how are you enjoying the shopping?
-Well, very...very much.
I mean, the thing is, I never go shopping for that kind of stuff,
so it's a bit of a mystery to me. I imagine you're more used to that?
I do like, um, poking about in old junk shops and antique shops,
but I've really enjoyed doing it with Phil.
I mean, he tells it like it is.
I go over and say, "Oh, these lovely saucepans!"
He said, "20 quid in France, don't bother!"
-So he's very direct.
-Doesn't try and nurture my feelings.
Yeah, that's our Phil!
With Natasha, she spots things that are just
sort of hidden by other things that I'd never even noticed.
Our celebs aren't the only ones enamoured with their pairings.
What I think is interesting about these two,
of all the people we've worked with and the rest of it,
-they've put themselves on the edge, haven't they?
-On the line, yeah.
-Martha in Ireland...
-..John across the world.
But, yeah, they really...
-They know no fear.
-Until they met you(!)
You know, being shot at, and all that sort of stuff,
-it just pales into insignificance...
-When you get into the saleroom!
-..to a mahogany chest of drawers.
Speaking of which, yesterday, Martha and Phil made a great team.
She showed a keen eye for antiques, knowing exactly the style she wanted.
I think these are very fashionable.
They spent £140 on three items in their first shop -
a brass blowtorch, a pine trunk and a Victorian saddle-seat chair.
John was mostly interested
in historical artefacts from his travels.
-I mean, this is...
-..my kind of stuff.
He let Natasha take the lead on his two purchases, spending just
£35 on an Italian micro mosaic bar brooch and a 1970s hi-ball drink set.
-Look at that!
MARTHA: I'll try not to crash into your car!
Ooh, I've stalled. Well, that's a good way of stopping, isn't it?
-You go and get...
-It's the only way to stop!
-The only way to stop!
-Good morning, John.
-How are you, my love?
-I'm very well.
-How are you?
-Lovely to see you.
-Isn't this gorgeous?
-This is exciting!
-We're going to win!
-Let's go tease these two.
-Good morning, sir.
-Hello, how are you?
-Very nice to see you.
-Hi, Tash, how are you?
-Are you well?
-I'm very well indeed.
-Can I just say,
don't get too close to the enemy.
-We're not the enemy. Look at us! We're all friends here.
This... This is a war zone.
Psych 'em out. Well, we...we've got the most amazing "objet", haven't we?
-Oh, yeah, stunning!
-Objet?! Oh, my goodness!
-We've just got a couple of objects.
-'A bit more competitive this morning, I see.'
Back on the road, heading to Wickham,
and John is telling Natasha about his own fallout with a prime minister.
It was my very, very first day as a reporter.
My boss said, er, "There's a lot of stuff in the paper,
"Harold Wilson's going to call a general election" - it was 1970 -
"Why don't you go down to Euston station...?
"He's going to travel to his constituency. ..and just ask him?"
He comes down the platform, smiling at everybody,
everybody's smiling back,
so I stepped forward with my trusty microphone
and said, "Excuse me, Prime Minister,
"but, you know, I've heard of rumours that you might be going to
"call an election - is there any truth in it?"
I got as far as saying, "Excuse me, Prime..."
when he...went berserk, punched me in the stomach...
SHE GASPS AND LAUGHS
..and tried to wrestle the microphone out of my hand.
Hopefully, there'll be no such conflict at Warwick Lane antiques.
The money's burning a hole in my pocket!
Yes, me too, let's go spend it.
They've still got £365 left, so where to first?
-Shall we separate and, er...?
-Keen for a separation this early?
-Oh, no, no, it's....
-I'm up for that, OK, you go one way, I'll go the other...
..and see what we come up with.
Natasha took the lead on day one,
but it looks like John's keen to branch out by himself today.
Lordy, what's he gone and found?
IT WINDS DOWN
How about that?
I've started my own air raid.
-This is great!
Absolutely lovely. No home should be without one.
I'm not sure about that, but John certainly seems right at home.
It's kind of my... natural habitat, this, you know,
stuff from the Second World War, shell cases...
Actually, to be really honest, I don't have this kind of stuff
at home very much, but, um, it's the sort of thing I'm interested in.
Natasha's back to see how he's getting on.
-There's a thing there, which is just up my street -
a letter to the German people from the British occupying forces...
-..about how bad the war was
and how good the Brits are going to be to them
and how the Germans ought to be quiet from now on,
-handed out to, you know, hundreds of thousands of locals.
-That's just my cup of tea. I love documents...
-..that are real.
John has found a British propaganda pamphlet -
translated into English from a German one -
that would've been airdropped during World War II.
Ticket price - £35.
I can't believe anybody else in the world would be interested in it,
-Oh, no, I think you might be wrong.
I have another letter to show you, if you want to have a look.
I think you'll find it interesting.
It sort of mixes wartime with decadent living?
-Quite interesting. Shall we have a look.
-That sounds like my life!
Nothing decadent about the letter's price tag, though, as it's just £12.
-It's such an unassuming little brown envelope, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
-And it's been sent to this hotel in a Yorkshire address.
-And the first telling sign of...
-From France? From Reims, yes.
-..excitement is "Lanson".
House of Lanson Champagne has been around since 1760.
It's one of Champagne's oldest houses
and has been the official supplier of the British court since 1900.
So a little touch of class and fizz.
"For the first time since many years..." Nice French English.
"..we find again the opportunity of writing to England
"and telling you how thankful we are to your armies
"for their magnificent efforts." Isn't that lovely?
And now, he's saying, "Despite the numerous and terrible bombardments
"of your towns, you and the members of your house are safe and well...
"Wines are in good condition. Stocks pretty fair.
"Vintages 1941, '42, will be very good."
The letter was written on Boxing Day, 1944, to a hotel in Yorkshire,
encouraging them to start buying Lanson Champagne again,
in preparation of the liberation.
-So, I thought to myself, as soon as you showed me that letter...
..maybe we could put them together?
I think World War II ephemera, surely!
The two letters are owned by different dealers.
First up, it's Julia.
-Isn't this lovely?
-It's gorgeous, isn't it?
-It's just such a fascinating letter.
-Sort of a moment of history.
-France just opening up again.
-Did you have a figure in mind?
-We had £12 on it. I can...
-You wouldn't take eight, would you?
-Can we afford nine?
-I'd be lying if I said no!
-I would be lying. What do you reckon?
-I'd be happy with that.
-Well, thank you.
-Thank you. Thank you.
-That's all right.
-I'm really happy with that.
-I'm really pleased.
-It's a delight.
-Thank you so much.
So, that's one letter signed, sealed and delivered.
And one more to go.
Gil, I'm really interested in that little document there.
I love documents, I love this kind of thing.
Always, whenever I've been in the places where air forces have
dropped the leaflets, I'm always out there,
if I can be, you know, chasing around, picking them up.
Strong pitch, John, but how low is Gil willing to go?
I'll do it for 22.
I suppose, I ought to say, would you take 21?
I'll take 20.
-You're a great gentleman...
-..and I love you for it.
Good man, Gil! And, with that, their shopping here is complete.
I have to say, I'm very sad to be walking away from the siren.
-You'd be amazed how many people have looked at that.
And it's only been in about four days.
I could do a very good price on that.
OK, so what was your full price? Ticket price is 290?
I could knock nearly a third off that price.
OK, so we're talking...?
-I'd knock £80 off for you.
-OK, so we're still over 200.
-And there's no scope for sort of £150?
I would do two for you, because I like John.
-And I'll throw that letter in.
-Oh, so that's all in?
And that was originally 20?
-We could be saying 180?
-So essentially asking 180.
-It's a gamble! It's a big gamble!
-It is a gamble.
Surely not for the man who's regularly in warzones?!
-Are you going to try it?
-I think you've got a sale!
-Brilliant, thank you.
-That's so kind!
-Thank you very much!
John really has come into his own this morning
and found three items of historic interest for £209.
Meanwhile, Martha and Phil are back on the road again
and heading to Lyndhurst.
So you're an apiarist, aren't you?
That's a beekeeper to you and me!
Yeah, I was, I was given, um,
a beehive as a wedding present about 15 years ago
-and I built up to seven hives over the years...
..and I, you know, I love bees!
I've got many, many bee-related items in my house!
-Old beehives, old skeps...
Nature lover Martha is in for a treat,
as they're visiting a jewel in the crown of the south-west.
Covering more than 90,000 acres, the New Forest is
Britain's smallest national park and famed for its iconic ponies.
Ruthlessly cleared of its local population,
to create a playground for royalty, it is still governed by a unique set
of ancient laws handed down over the last 1,000 years.
To tell them more is Jonathan Gerrelli.
-How are you doing?
What a fantastic day to be in the New Forest, isn't it?
-Welcome to the forest. Yes, it's lovely.
-And the ponies as well!
Yes, we have ponies here. They're here grazing away quite happily,
catching a bit of breeze and keeping the flies off.
Now, it's called the New Forest, but obviously, it's not at all new?
No, "Nova Foresta", um, but of course, it's not very new,
as you say, um... It was designated, created, became
a royal hunting forest made by William the Conqueror in about 1079.
With his royal capital in nearby Winchester,
the king made a controversial land grab,
declaring 150 square miles of land as his own personal hunting ground.
What happened to the people who were living here
when William the Conqueror decided that this was going to be
his very own playground, a hunting forest?
When he came here, there were already people living,
working, farming, keeping animals on the forest.
These once-peaceful lands became scenes of carnage and destruction
as the King systematically cleared villages
and burnt down churches to make way for his new royal hunting ground.
All he was interested in was protecting his deer
and protecting the habitat that the deer lived in.
Strict laws were enforced
and illegal poaching was punishable by mutilation or death.
After much discontent, it was eventually recognised that the
forest folk must be allowed some use of the land in order to survive.
So he created a number of very Draconian forest laws to help
control those people, manage this area.
A system of rights were established, which remain in place today,
allowing commoners to graze their animals on the land
but under strict supervision.
Whilst the majority of the New Forest is still referred to as Crown land,
it has not been used to hunt deer since 1997.
To carry out, and make sure those rules and regulations were
adhered to, he created the Verderers and the Verderers' Court.
They employed Agisters to go out and do the work on the ground.
And, because I'm a top-notch journalist,
I can see that you yourself are an Agister.
What does that involve?
Well, an Agister... If you look up the word "agist" in the dictionary
it means to take in animals for payment.
All these animals are owned by individuals.
We refer to them as commoners,
but they pay a fee to put these animals out here.
The Agisters collect that fee on behalf of the Verderers.
It helps pay the running costs of the Verderers' Court, pays my wages,
so I'm always very keen to make sure we get all that money in.
It all sounds still quite medieval.
It very much is, yeah.
Yes, it is very much a medieval system,
but it is very much relevant today and still in practice today.
It is these ancient rules that protect the forest
and manage the livestock, including the world-famous ponies,
whose ancestors have been roaming free here since the last ice age.
So how do you keep track of how many ponies there are here?
Well, all the ponies have owners, as we've said.
They all carry their individual owner's mark.
Every autumn we conduct what we in the forest refer to as drifts,
round-ups, if you like.
During drifts, the ponies are rounded up
and checked over for any health problems.
This annual event is governed by the laws of the forest,
all of which are upheld in the Verderers' Court.
-Right, come on into the hall.
-This is a very nice space, isn't it?
Looks pretty ancient.
You've got quite a few antlers on the walls here.
You don't have any spare ones, do you?
-She's good, honestly.
-Yes, very good.
Not on me at the moment, but I might be able to track some down.
Has Phil met his soul mate in Martha?
True to his word, John has managed to hunt down some antlers...
..so they're off to see a man about a deer head.
Just 30 minutes down the road near Sway, they're meeting Martin.
-Hello, how are you?
-How are you doing?
-I'm afraid we've been calling you "Antler Man".
-You are, yes.
-This is Phil.
-Nice to meet you.
-Hi, there. I'm Martha. This is Phil.
-How are you?
-Good to see you.
-So you sell these things?
They're cool, aren't they?
It's all deer by-products. Natural.
Obviously some of the deer have been culled
humanely as part of population management.
Unfortunately, the big one was hit by a car and we had to put her down.
Yeah, obviously a lovely set so we kept the head, basically.
We'd probably be more interested in the antlers, rather...
I think more interested in the antlers.
The skins are very pretty but, yeah, these are big antlers, aren't they?
Yeah, these are two fallow deer.
One big one and a medium-sized one and some little roe deer.
And how much do you sell these for?
The roe deer go for £10 each,
the medium for 30 and the big one for 60.
-What do you think?
There's choice at least.
This is clearly the most impressive one, isn't it?
I don't know what that would make at auction.
-Would that make £40-£60?
-I'd have thought.
-Would it make more?
I would say so, yes. I don't know.
-I should think you should get £100 for it or so at auction.
-Yes, I would say so, yes.
-What about if we gave you 60 quid for those?
Say 65, yes? Is that a deal?
-I think so, don't you?
-I think that's a deal.
-Thank you very much.
-Antler Man, put it there.
Thank you very much. Very good.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea,
but Martha and Phil are leaving with three of the four deer heads.
Back with John and Natasha,
and they're making their way to Winchester, England's ancient capital
and the former seat of King Alfred the Great.
I reckon we'll find it here.
John's got just over £150 left to spend in the Jay's Nest.
That, John, is bang on trend.
Even the colour of the upholstery, which is so ghastly,
is bang on trend, because it's Scandinavian, it's simple.
No, I think it's horrible!
-Is that a fiver, yes?
-All you do is persuade me of two things.
One, I shouldn't be involved in furniture in any way.
And, two, I'm not really suited to the modern world any more.
Fear not, John, there's plenty more in here.
So we found this lovely wood block.
The Japanese are right into their wood block prints, aren't they?
-I've been collecting.
We have about 50 at home
and I keep bringing them down but the best ones are at home.
-And this is one of your husband's ones?
-My husband's, yes.
It's another object of historic interest to John.
An early 19th-century Japanese wood block print
depicting a new year's ritual.
Got that lovely lacquered furniture
-presenting that lovely motif in the background.
We've got these gorgeous girls.
We've got all these nice motifs,
so it all must have an auspicious meaning, doesn't it?
Mmm, a new year's meaning, I think, yes.
We know who the artist is, which is so important.
Its ticket price is £75, but will Jocelyn be tempted to take an offer?
-I mean, that is a good price.
-Is there any scope for a wee bit of haggling?
-No, not on that.
I've given you the bottom straight away
because I know he had about 75 on him.
-Yeah, what do you think, John?
-Well, I love it.
It's the period before anybody had, kind of, quotes, discovered Japan.
It was a closed society
and would remain that way for another 50 years or something.
-Everything about it is beautiful. Jocelyn, 50 quid?
-50 quid, OK.
-My husband will be delighted.
-Let's do it.
Thank you so much.
So that's their final item in the bag.
I'm really, really chuffed.
-Am I allowed a kiss?
What a smooth operator, John!
Thank you so much. Take care.
Back with Martha and Phil, on their way to Southampton,
the departure port for the Titanic.
They are visiting Cobwebs Antiques and meeting dealer, Peter.
The Ship Shop.
Do I have a sinking feeling or what?
-Nice to meet you.
-I love all this marine stuff. It's terribly romantic.
I went on an ocean liner when I was a little girl
and, ever since then, I really enjoy these things.
Martha still has £195 left to spend.
But what has she spotted?
Would this be called like a bulk-head light?
-Yeah, it's a ship's navigation lamp.
-Why do you like that, Martha?
I like these heavy industrial-feeling things.
I don't know, there's something very strong and interesting about it.
Martha is once again quick to find something of her own personal taste.
-So how old is that?
-Probably 1950s, 1960s.
-Peter, what's the ticket price on that?
SHE INHALES DEEPLY
She's good, isn't she? She's absolutely on the money.
She knows very quickly.
She's also quick to spy another item of interest.
This I rather like. What period would that be from?
That's Edwardian. It's a desk lamp.
I had that on my own desk actually for a while.
My own taste, I prefer this one,
but I don't know which you think would do better at auction.
Well, like everything else, it's down to price, isn't it?
That one would be 35 and the other one would be 70.
If we offered you 50 quid for that one, you'd tell us to go away,
-Very politely, yes.
-And what would you tell us to go away on this one?
-For me, that's ticked the number one box.
The number two box is I think that's a better buy.
-Lovely, OK, I'm going to go for that.
-Is that a deal, 30 quid?
-Thank you very much indeed.
Swift business, eh?
So, with her final purchase sorted,
time now to hotfoot it over and join John and Natasha for the big reveal.
-What have we got here?
-This is a ship's navigation lantern
and this is a vintage blowtorch.
-For waking your husband up in the morning?
-Attacking the opposition.
-And then that's an old desk chair.
Which is surprisingly comfortable,
and I thought that was almost like an old newspaper man's chair.
Yes, it is a bit, isn't it? Yeah, lovely.
And then, of course, the piece de resistance...
-..the biggest one
-was actually killed in a road accident.
They took the horns from it, and it's just magnificent, isn't it?
John, what's your sort of reaction to this stuff? It's quite different to ours.
-Really impressive, and I think...
..and I'm pretty certain they're going to win.
We went the kooky way, didn't we?
-Yes, you do the honours.
-There we go.
-God, this is quite a range.
This is the propaganda leaflet that the British dropped over Germany
to say, "We're going to win the war."
-It's accompanied by this really interesting letter.
-Oh, this was sent in 1944...
..to say, "Thanks to your wonderful armies,
"France is now liberated and we should let you know
-"that the latest..."
"Vintage of champagne is really good, so any time you want it..."
-"..yours sincerely, Monsieur Lanson."
-How much was that?
-£29 all in for the two letters.
That is cheap.
I'm intrigued to know about your woodcut,
cos they can make a lot of money.
It's a beautiful little thing, about 1810, 1820.
But then, our piece de...
-Can I just tell you?
-Can I do it?
-I love that. How much was it?
-It was 180...
-I'll give you 190.
-I'll give you 190.
-You love it.
I do, I think it's absolutely...
John thought it would be a good way to call his son to dinner.
-It's the absolute business, I love it.
Do you know what we should do?
-What should we do? OK.
-Let's go and...
-..fill these somewhere.
-Shall we have a toast?
-Let's have a wee toast.
-OK. To the auction.
-To the auction, best of luck to you both.
-May the best team win.
-Yes! Thank you!
Hang on, chaps, before you start celebrating,
what do you think of each other's items?
-I love the range of the things they've got.
Especially the air-raid siren, hilarious!
Well, who could not of thought, "I want to own that"?
I could write a novel in that chair, I think it's absolutely gorgeous.
I'm not sure I would swap anything...
I like what we've picked, I do like what we've picked.
That'll do me.
How very cordial!
Will the competitive juices
en route to the auction
in Itchen Stoke?
-I don't think I'm going to beat you at the auction...
..I think you're going to win.
I think those stags' heads are absolute winners...
I do think you probably had the most beautiful thing
-out of all our objects and that's the...
Japanese woodcut. I, you know... I would like that.
That's something I can imagine at home.
Today we're visiting Andrew Smith & Son Auction Rooms,
where our celebs' wares are going for sale online, on the phone
and in the room.
Our guy with the gavel is Andrew Smith.
The deer antlers are quite magnificent.
Some people find them a bit gruesome,
but the actual antlers themselves are good quality items
and really of much interest to interior design people these days.
So, they should do well.
I think my favourite item must be the air-raid saxon.
It's a fun item and it's of local interest as well,
being a Hamble item.
-How are you?
-I'm very well.
-Good to see you, Martha.
-Hello, my darling, how are you?
-It's all go, I'm very well. Mwah! How are you?
-Are you nervous?
-Uh... I think I am.
Despite having NO game plan, John did unearth items he loved.
He spent a total of £294 on five lots.
Martha, however, knew exactly what she wanted
and bought five lots that reflected her own personal style.
She spent £235.
Yes, good luck to you, yes.
Good luck indeed.
The first item is the brooch that Natasha found
and John fell in love with.
A tenner? £10, surely?
£10 I have, thank you.
At 12. At £10.
15. 17 we have now. 20.
At £20? Anyone else coming in?
-At £20, going the last time...
-Oh, well, that wasn't bad.
-Good, well done. That is fantastic. That's very good.
-That's very, very good.
-quadrupled your investment.
Up next is Martha's blowtorch.
£20. A tenner?
-Start the car, Martha, start the car.
£10, well done, sir.
-That's good money, he's worked hard, hasn't he?
17. 17, is there any more?
All done at £17,
the very last time...
-At least somebody paid money for it,
I'm quite relieved about that.
-He did well for you there.
That's the spirit, Martha! Only a small loss.
Let's hope John's 1970s drinks set, a la diplomat, fares better.
I'm going to start the bidding at £25, is there seven in the room?
-At £25 and selling...
It does seem cheap, doesn't it? 27.
-These people are blind!
-Is there five? At £32.
All done at £32 then?
Last time at £32...
-Aw, there's no profit in that.
-Can I suggest?
-Can I suggest that on the way home you get a lottery ticket?
It's a profit!
-You're on a winner.
-They've got a bargain, though, they've got a bargain!
-Martha, you're on my side!
-Oh, sorry, sorry.
Will Lady Luck be shining down on Martha's bit of maritime nostalgia?
-I'm going to start the bidding at £50.
At £50 and selling. Is there five?
At £50. 55.
-Hey! There you go.
-60. And five.
-(Come on, come on!)
At £70, any more?
Last time then at £70...
-What a girl!
-Yes! Brilliant. Very pleased.
-Yeah, very pleased about that.
With good reason. Martha's more than doubled her money there. Good job.
I can see Martha developing a new career here.
Look out, Phil, the next lot is John's Japanese wood block print,
which he adored!
£40? 20 then?
-£20? £10 then to get it going?
-£10 we have, thank you. Eye for a bargain there, sir.
At £10, is there a 12?
At £10, and we will sell, make no mistake, at £10... 12.
-15. Suddenly we have an auction!
-It's all go.
-At £20, any more?
-It's beautiful, it's beautiful!
Eye of the beholder! At £20, any more?
All done at £20... Last time?
I think that was very unlucky, I think that was really unlucky.
-Uch, do you know what?
We put our name to something beautiful and with age to it...
I can't believe that people can't recognise quality
when they see it, no matter what...
-You know, it's...
-But I mean, I suppose you see this all the time?
-It does happen.
Bad luck, John, somebody really did get that for a steal.
Next up, Martha and Phil went slightly off-piste
and came back with some antlers.
I'm going to start the bidding at £50,
is there five in the room?
At £50 and selling, is there five?
55, 60 and five?
70. And five. 80.
And five? 90.
-Yeah, you are doing... I knew it!
MARTHA AND NATASHA LAUGH
And £85. Still a good buy at £85. Are you sure?
At £85, and selling...
If you're all done? At £85, very last time...
-We're in profit.
-You still made a profit!
-I'm very pleased with that.
-That is two pretty healthy profits.
John, do you think you appeared with the wrong experts?
No, my dear, no, no, no, never!
Can I just get this in? Can I just get this in?
You don't think they were a little DEAR?
He's on fire today. Good result, though.
John and Natasha loved their World War II letters,
fingers crossed the buyers do too.
Start me at £50.
£50? £50? 20 if you like.
-Who's bidding? Someone's got to bid.
£20? A tenner? £12, well done, thank you, and 15?
At £12 and selling, any more? At £12.
-At £12. 15 on the net.
-17. At £15 on the net...
-No, that was a no.
..is there 17? At £15 then.
The last time at £15...
Someone online has got a wee bit of history there...
-..for nothing. For nothing!
Do you know, I...
They were two incredible finds of John's...
But there's still time for a comeback.
Next on the agenda is Martha's pine trunk.
I'm going to start the bidding off at £60,
-is there five in the room?
-Are you in profit?
-At £60 and selling, 65 at the back there.
-There we are.
-70 and five.
80 and five.
At £80, commission bid, is there a five?
-At £80, any more?
-Martha, you are the cat that got the cream!
Look at that face!
£80, last time...
-Well done, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Well done you, well done you, well done you!
-That's great, isn't it?
Martha's on a roll today!
But auctions can be won or lost on just one item.
Next it's her Victorian saddle seat chair.
I'm going to start the bidding at £20, is there two in the room?
-Yes, of course there is.
-..25, 27, 30, 32.
-What? Who leaves £30 on commission for that?
-Here we go.
32 in the room, is there a five? 35, 37... 40, 42, 45, 47, 50...
Are you sure? 50.
At £55 and selling then, if you're all done?
-And it's 007 again.
-Oh, we love you... We love you, Mr Bond!
-He stole your blowtorch and he stole your seat, how dare he?!
I thought it was BLOFELD, not blowtorch, isn't it?
That small loss for Martha is good news for John.
It's the final lot of the competition, John's big gamble,
his World War II air-raid siren.
He could be up for a big loss, but equally, a big win
to put him back in the running.
No bidding from you now, Phil.
-Can I give it a whirl?
-You can give it a whirl.
But I have to say this is...
This is only a practice, don't evacuate the room.
-Here he goes!
SIREN WHIRS AND BLARES
How good is that? I think a round of applause...
-The sound of the Blitz.
Well done! Well done.
Air-raid siren as ably demonstrated there...
-We have a commission bid.
I'm going to start the bidding at £50, is there a five in the room?
-At £50, 55, 60...
..60 and five. 70 and five. 80 and five.
-Commission bid's out.
-It's got a long way to go,
-it's got a long way to go, John.
-£80, £85... And 90? 90, and five.
-We have three figures!
Ooh, this is tense, come on, John!
That's £110, is there 120? At £110, in the room then, and selling...
-I love that.
-I'd have bought that.
-You did so well!
I really thought that that was going to go higher,
but at least you bought something you loved, John.
We probably need to go and do the sums, don't we, to see who's won?
-Um, yeah, it might take...
-I don't think we need to worry too much about...
-I'll get the abacus, you get the calculator...
-Come on, let's...
-I'll take my shoes off, count on my toes.
Let's go and have a look.
No need for that, chaps, that's my job.
Both couples started this trip with £400 each.
John and Natasha made a loss of £132.46,
leaving them after auction costs with £267.54.
Doesn't sound too bad if you say it quickly.
Martha and Phil, however, are the victors of this road trip,
making a profit - ha-hah! -
after costs, of £16.74,
leaving them with a grand total of £416.74.
All profits, of course, go to Children In Need.
-That was great.
-It was fantastic fun, wasn't it?
Well, it was real fun.
And, actually, I have to say, without being smarmy I hope,
that the most fun was being with you three.
-NATASHA AND MARTHA:
-That's really kind.
-We did have a laugh, didn't we?
Let's face it, I just lost money on the rest,
so there's bound to be more fun...
-You are a gentleman, sir, gentleman.
Thank you, Martha, it's been a pleasure.
-An absolute laugh.
-And thank you for your great company!
-Can I have a kiss?
-Of course you can. Mwah!
-John, thank you so much, that was wonderful.
-I'll not be left out.
-We're good at losing money together.
-Aren't we a bunch of luvvies?
-Cos it's not like this in the newsroom, is it?
-Don't tell them!
No, when I see you next I shall blank you and walk straight past.
Really enjoyed it, I mean,
it's been such a wonderful contrast with the day job.
In three days' time,
I'll be in Libya covering the civil war there
and I'll look back on this with real nostalgia, actually.
I'm sure you will. Safe travels to the pair of you.
Award-winning journalists John Simpson and Martha Kearney kick off the series in style.
While John finds war-related items that remind him of his years on the front line, Martha scours the New Forest to find some objects for auction.
Their trip takes them through Hampshire towards a decisive auction in Itchen Stoke, near Winchester.