Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. It is a battle of the gardeners as Christine Walkden and Matthew Biggs shop around Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
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The nation's favourite celebrities.
We've got some proper bling here.
Paired up with an expert.
And a classic car.
Put your hands up, girls!
To scour Britain for antiques.
All breakages must be paid for.
This is a good find, is it not?
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?
I've got to have my antiques head on.
Will anybody follow expert advice?
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.
On today's show, we have a prized pair of gardening gurus
of British TV and radio,
Christine Walkden and Matthew Biggs.
So how long have we known each other?
Well, I've known ABOUT you for years and years.
People used to talk about Christine Walkden the compost queen.
Christine and Matthew will zoom about town and country
in a 1974 Rover P6.
Being in a car like this, you can smell the leather
and the sound of the engine.
I mean, she's sweet, though, isn't she?
She is, she's very, very good.
Christine is a regular gardening expert on TV and radio.
She famously opened her back garden to
millions of viewers on the BBC series Christine's Garden.
For a lot of people, when a plant goes absolutely down,
they pour gallons and gallons of water on it. It doesn't need it.
Now the temperature's cooler,
up she comes again.
Daredevil Christine has even taken to the skies in a hot-air balloon
for Glorious Gardens From Above.
Look at the walled garden.
Oh, the colour!
Matthew is a regular on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time
and trained at Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens.
Matthew first graced our screens back in the '90s
on The Really Useful Show.
Hot, sunny spaces, people often think you can't grow anything there
that's decent, but you can.
Lovely aromatic plants, because not only do you get a good shape,
say, from these lavenders...
-You must touch them. You must always stroke those plants.
-Can I have a feel?
And he's appeared with Christine at the Hampton Court Flower Show.
What do you have to do to become a collection holder?
You have to be absolutely passionate about the group of plants that you're growing.
In this competition, they'll be armed with £400 each
but how long will these good chums stay friendly?
How competitive do think we're going to be, Christine?
-I'm going to beat you.
I'm going to beat you, Biggsy!
Are you, now? Oh, really, really, really.
Watch out, Biggsy!
Keeping an eye on proceedings are today's experts,
auctioneer James Braxton and dealer David Harper.
They're behind the wheel of the 1965 Sunbeam Tiger.
-This is a throaty beast, isn't it, James?
-It is, listen.
I'm still in second.
Do you know about Matt and Christine?
I do. They're very well-known gardeners.
-Are you into gardening?
-I do, I love gardening.
-Tell me about your gardening.
Well, it's green and brown.
-Is that all right?
-That's exactly... That's where I am with gardening.
Whilst over in the sedate Rover...
I'm going to use my intuitive female skills!
To outdo you.
You've got your work cut out, Matt.
Our trip begins in the Northamptonshire town of Brackley,
moving northwards to the town of Northampton,
snaking south through central Bedfordshire,
towards that decisive auction in Greenwich, Greater London.
Good morning, hello, Matt.
We got here safely! Look.
I'm in one piece.
-It's nice, nice to meet you.
-James, how are you?
Christine's a self-confessed petrolhead.
It's inspection time.
Look at this!
'Ey, what a beast!
That is a proper engine.
Come on, let's have a look at this one.
This is unusual.
-Are we ever going to buy some antiques, or what?
-In a bit.
-She's smooth. Listen to that.
-This is very smooth.
Quite a different sound, isn't it?
-I've already made my mind up.
I am going with a classic racing-car green.
Looks like they've chosen their experts too.
And your jacket matches!
And them with their trousers.
Team Trousers. We're...
-Come on, let's go and find something.
Ahem... The bonnet?
Our excitable road-trippers are sharing their first shop of the day.
Brackley Antiques Seller is perhaps the largest
antiques centre in the Midlands.
Good luck dealing with this foursome!
-Look at this.
-Here we go, look at this.
-It's vast, isn't it?
-We should be able to buy something here.
-Well, we should hope so!
Hello, welcome to Brackley Antiques.
-Hi, I'm Christine.
I'm Matt, nice to meet you. Lovely to see you.
-I like your jacket, very resplendent in colour.
-Fuchsia, isn't it?
And what do we have behind? The best pair of trousers in the building.
-Look at this.
This is a man with style! Good to meet you.
-It's a shame you haven't got green on, then you could be a traffic...
You must be Marigold.
James and Christine are first out of the starting blocks.
Any Braxton top tips?
So the cheaper items are very often in the cheap seats in the back row.
OK, right. You're in the know.
Yeah, I am in the know. I've done it before.
Yeah, just a few times!
Here we are, look.
You could plant that up!
It would make a great hanging basket!
-Hang somewhere else, as well.
Can Debbie point them in the right direction?
-I spotted it this morning.
It's got a floral theme to it.
-Look at that.
What is that, papier-mache?
It's £20. I mean...
-Quite a few years ago...
-What, for all that?
Now, papier-mache, Christine, is generally made in Birmingham.
-So you know Birmingham was the sort of workshop of the world?
The Victorians loved papier-mache
and one of the top manufacturers
of the time was Birmingham-based factory Jennens and Bettridge.
I'll tell you what's nice about that,
-the colours are very bright.
I would say, Debbie, you have found us a winner.
Lovely hand-painted... Are these chrysanthemums?
-Yeah, come on...
No, Christine, we only want Latin, please.
-Yes... Oh, chrysanthemum.
That's what it is, mate!
On this occasion, it's chrysanthemum.
That shuts me up, doesn't it?
That shuts me up.
That'll be a first!
I think, are we going to...
I think we want to haggle.
Yeah, I think we could haggle.
Yeah, I could ask the dealer for you.
If you speak to John and say you've got this interesting
Northerner that's as tight as hell
that would like to sort of make an offer,
but it needs to be a really good, low offer.
Right, will do.
What will they talk about while they wait for Debbie to return?
Though we identify plants via the sexual part of the flower,
Hey, no, a bit of sex in the garden, mate.
You need to pull all the bits
and have a look at their sexy bits to really help get it right.
-You have to look.
That's good. How often does a female make you blush, these days?
Thankfully, here comes Debbie.
Here's our lady.
-I've had a word with the lovely John.
Does he appreciate he's got a tight-fisted Northerner?
-He does, yes.
He's come down to 15, which I think is...
-15, yeah, I think that's...
-I think that's fair.
-I think you've got a deal.
-You are really kind.
The first item is in the bag.
The 1890s papier-mache dressing set for £15.
What about David and Matthew?
I love the way things just jump out at you.
-It is quite extraordinary, isn't it?
-I don't know what you're looking at here.
A mass of artefacts but I'm looking at this.
-It's quite heavy.
-I'm not even quite sure...
Depending on which angle you look at it, is it a flattened hippo?
You feel the weight of that.
Soapstone being a stone but it is quite soft and
so it's very easily chipped and damaged.
That's the thing with it.
But easy to work.
Is it a hippo? Are you a hippo?
A don't think he speaks, you know.
It's actually stone, it's probably African.
The Shona people, particularly in Zimbabwe,
are incredible carvers.
I like it.
It's a very interesting thing. Shall we go and see the guys?
-You carry, because you're responsible.
-I think it ought to have a name, as well.
-We'll definitely name him!
First let's find Jim to talk money.
Jim with the pants. Hello, Jim.
-Good to see you again.
-Now, Jim, when I was walking through,
this beauty caught my eye.
Don't say too many nice things about him.
The ticket price is £28.
I noticed the price has been knocked down already
so you've done it already. I want you to knock it down again for me.
Can you do that, Jim?
I may have to ring the dealer and see what the best... offer we can get on it.
Matthew, have you done this before?
And, as for that all-important name,
Matthew's favourite tree, of course.
-So this is Jacaranda.
He says, for you, he will do it for £15.
15, you can't negotiate.
That's fantastic. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, that's great.
Come on, Jacaranda, my first purchase.
-And my favourite tree.
-A jacaranda tree.
It takes me back, happy days.
Jacaranda the soapstone hippo for £15. Well done, Matthew.
Now, dare we go back to Christine and James?
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho...
-Look at that.
-Is that any good? Robust fellow.
Look at that. You can't buy them like this, you know.
It's something we do professionally but that...
I think we need a bit of focus.
James, any ideas?
I like the bus-stop sign, as well.
We're going to London.
You've got to think trendy.
What have they got on it?
It might be somebody's lucky bus, mightn't it?
Does that do...? You've gone quiet, Christine.
Does that do anything for you?
Do you think we're going to make anything on it?
Not at 65.
If we spoke to the powers that be,
what do you think?
-I'll try for you.
What sort of price were you thinking?
Well, you know me.
You know me. I'm going to be cheeky and say 35.
I can put the question.
Do you think?
Or should I be bidding 45?
-I'll ask them first what their best price is and then...
Debbie finds out the best price from the dealer for the sign.
Have you spoken to the people?
And how does 45 sound?
45, how does that sound?
That sounds good to me. Yeah.
A pleasure doing a deal with you, madam.
The bus-stop sign for £45
and the papier-mache dressing-table set for 15.
-Look at that.
-There you are.
Careful with that, James.
David and Matthew are still having a scout around.
I saw this box and I think I noticed it because it says "corned beef".
What's the connection?
-I love corned beef, that's all.
-Is that what...? Right.
To me, my idea of a decent meal is corned beef or haslet sandwiches.
I also think people might buy a box with a bit of character.
Everybody has wine boxes, don't they?
There are lots of wine boxes around,
not many people have a corned-beef box and they might like it.
There might be a reason for that.
Date-wise, how old is it?
-It could be...
-Look at the text.
-That's true, isn't it?
-I think that's a bit of a giveaway.
I'm guessing '50s or '60s.
It's actually stamped into the wood. OK...
Have a look at the price label.
You've got to guess, how much do you think it is? What would you pay?
I'd probably say this is £20.
OK, it's priced at 25.
Now, where's Jim?
We bring a box.
How cheap is the box?
The best price we could do on this box would be £15.
That's a good deal, I think.
15 from 25.
It's a pretty good deal.
-Actually, that's all right.
-Are we happy with that? Shake his hand.
Jim, thank you very much.
It's a first, I can tell you.
The first corned-beef box I've ever bought.
A corned-beef box and Jacaranda the soapstone hippo
for a total of £30.
As for Christine and James...
I'm curious to know what that Biggsy has done.
Our Biggs. Our Matthew.
-Oh, Biggsy, sorry.
OK, I thought you were referring to an antique, then.
No, no... Well, he might be, but let's be kind!
Leave Matthew alone!
Our happy duo are having a rest from shopping
and heading to the village of Lamport in Northamptonshire.
Christine and James are stopping off at the splendid Lamport Hall.
This 450-year-old estate is a place Christine has always wanted to visit,
as it has some fascinating and quite peculiar stories to tell.
-Well, it's palatial, isn't it?
-It is very palatial.
-Shall we go and see who lives here?
Assistant property manager Neil Lyon is here to share the magic.
-Neil, how nice to meet you.
-Welcome to Lamport, Christine.
-Hello, James, hi.
-Look at this!
Lamport Hall has been home to the Isham family since the 16th century.
The eccentric Victorian baronet Sir Charles Isham,
who was born and bred on the estate,
was fascinated by the trend for fantasy and follies.
A passionate and innovative gardener,
he began work on one of England's first rockeries in 1847.
This garden, this alpine garden, is famous because of its time period.
We don't see rock gardens like this any more.
You can see some really nice plants on there.
I'm itchy, itchy, itchy! There's a fence.
When does a fence ever stop me?
But it was what inhabited the rockery that really took the world by storm.
We know that Sir Charles went on holiday, the 1850s.
He went to Nuremberg and he saw German miners taking little
terracotta figures down the mines as good-luck symbols.
He thought, "This is fantastic.
"They're just the thing I need to populate my rockery."
He brought a large number over
and they would inhabit the rockery behind us.
These little figures became known as garden gnomes.
Charles was the first to bring their like to Britain
and is responsible for creating a worldwide craze.
Today there are an estimated 15 million gnomes across Europe.
So why don't we see more of them today?
Well, I'm afraid there's a story to that.
They were all assassinated.
-All bar one, in 1903.
Sir Charles, you see, spent more time with his gnomes
than he did with his family.
And the story goes that as soon as he died the daughters went out
with their rifles and had a good old pop at them.
Fortunately for us, one hid.
One managed to escape, his name's Lampy
and he's still in the Hall today.
Lampy was one of the original 21 gnomes brought back from Germany.
He's made Lamport Hall his home for over 150 years
and is considered to be the oldest garden gnome in the world.
He's now kept under lock and key
as he has an estimated worth of around £2 million.
So here we are, here is Lampy.
This is Lampy.
-The world's oldest garden gnome.
-Perhaps not as tall as most people think gnomes are.
And no plastic.
Thank goodness for that.
But the detail is quite amazing.
It is, and sculpturally it's quite good, isn't it?
He's leaning forward.
It's a beautiful piece of work but the thing about Lampy is
that Sir Charles actually believed he came alive at night.
During the 19th century there was a growing obsession with fairies
and gnomes and a belief that they really did exist.
-The colour's stayed quite well, as well.
Was Lampy out? Presumably he was out on the garden for quite some time?
He must've been. Perhaps he was in one of the caves that Sir Charles
-built for the miners.
But he's a very, very lucky survivor and I always say to people
he's a great icon of gardening history.
Well, indeed he is,
because we haven't got many around, have we?
-Christine, would you like to hold Lampy?
-I would love to hold.
-I promise not to drop him.
-Well, thank you.
Look at his little happy face.
James, would you like to do the honours, as well?
-Don't drop him.
-Talk about being aesthetically compromised.
Here I am holding Lampy.
He's a very fine fellow.
-He is, indeed.
-It's been really interesting.
I think he's rather enjoyed being with you as well.
I think it's time for Lampy to go to bed. He's getting a bit tired.
Goodnight, God bless, sweet dreams.
Keep thinking of plants and keep that rock garden in order, mate.
Lampy lives on as a very famous resident of Lamport Hall
and keeps Sir Charles's passion for magical gardening very much alive.
Meanwhile, David and Matthew have also travelled northwards.
They're in the town of Northampton.
This smell, with the sort of leather and the...is it oil or...
-It's my aftershave, Matt.
-Just for me! Thank you so much.
The Old Bakehouse Antiques is their next shopping destination.
-Look at this.
-The TARDIS. Straight into the TARDIS. How lovely is that!
Let's see how Team Trousers get on in here.
What an extraordinary place. It goes back and back.
I think Matthew likes this antiques caper.
It's quite overwhelming, to be honest with you.
Stay there, stay there. I've just seen something.
-Move forward and wait there. OK, don't look.
-What are you up to, David?
-One hand out.
That's it. Oh. Have to feel the...
Feel the ends. It's...
It's an old garden sprayer.
-How on earth did you guess that?
It was either going to be that or a bicycle pump.
-But isn't it beautiful?
-Isn't that a gorgeous piece of kit?
-My! That is lovely!
-What exactly would that be used for?
They would have used it for spraying for insects.
To get rid of pests and diseases.
Generally, yes. Anything like this, particularly that was made...
-This is copper.
Copper with brass fittings. And it was just made to...
In the days when they made things to last.
The Victorians were proud of seemingly every piece of
handiwork, everything they made was made for the Queen and the Empire.
-And made to last.
-And made to last.
-They sound keen on the Victorian garden sprayer.
If you don't want that, there's something drastically wrong here.
-Do you want that, desperately?
How much is it?
It's £22, it's no money. It's no money.
And whatever he says, we're having it.
-We're going to have to have it.
My heart is just going crazy.
Matthew's giddy with excitement.
Their beloved Victorian water pump spray is a possible. What's next?
-And there is more.
Oh, yes. There's more to explore outside.
Is there something calling you somewhere?
I'm just seeing if I'm getting the urge.
-What a treasure trove this is.
-It's amazing. As a decorative object...
-That is great, actually.
-Do you like the camera?
-I do. I do.
-I do. It's a mantique.
-Have you heard the term?
-I love it!
-It's a mantique.
Every man has to have a man cave, doesn't he?
That's the kind of thing that falls into the mantique area
-for the man cave.
-It's something that...
It's never going to work, you don't know anything about it,
but you just love the way it looks, it's leather and it's wood.
-Incredible. I love that.
-Dare we look at the price tag?
It might be too expensive for us.
-What's it say?
-Circa 1890s, plate camera, £95.
It's starting to be one of those pieces that I've just got to buy,
because you look at it, you think about the history,
but the engineering in it and the brass...
The way the brass slider there...
And the combination of wood, crafted wood, lens...
It's just a magnificent piece of equipment.
I think in auction that's going to be £50 to £70, as an estimate.
If we can get it for 50 quid or thereabouts,
-we're going to stand a chance.
-One way to find out.
Shall we go and find a human being who can tell us
how much it's going to be? Yeah, come on.
That would be helpful. How about owner Steve?
-Are you the owner?
-Steven, David Harper. Lovely to meet you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you too.
-Marvellous. What a great, fabulous place.
-I love the idea of all the sheds.
Now, something has caught my eye and it is absolutely beautiful.
-It's a concertina camera, about 1890s, in the sheds.
It is a lovely piece, but it's £95.
-I think it's a designer's piece.
-That's what we were saying. Yeah.
As an interior...
If we were interior designers, and I think we could be, Matt...
-We're on our way.
-With trousers like this!
-We've got the trousers.
-We're halfway there at least!
Enough about the trousers. What about striking a deal?
-What do you reckon?
Oof. It has been around for a while and I know the dealer well,
so I think that's a fair price.
-That would give you a bit of movement.
-Have we done it?
-OK. First deal.
-You're welcome. 50, done.
Now, Steve, we want to run something else past you here.
-There is a Victorian gardener's spray pump.
-Do you know it?
Priced at £22. We've seen it. Matt is a bit of a gardener.
I've done a bit of gardening.
In his time.
And it's an interesting piece
and I know it wouldn't appeal to everyone, a gardener maybe, but...
-What can that be?
-Normally, it would be 10%, but I think you're getting there.
-Have we done it?
Again, they are, as you said, popular at the moment.
-But you've got to take it to auction, haven't you, so...
-I think it'll be a fighting chance at that.
-Have we done that?
-I think we're done.
-15, you've done it.
-All done. You've done it.
-Thank you. That's great.
-Thank you very much.
-Too easy. This is too easy.
That's £15 for the gardener's pump spray
and 50 for the 19th-century camera.
After all that, I think
you deserve a bit of a rest before you do it all again tomorrow.
How are our gardeners feeling this morning?
I'm not telling you what I bought.
-Are you going to tell me what you bought?
I just don't know. A couple of flying pigs and a white elephant.
I bought a giraffe.
You bought a giraffe?!
Fibber! What about our experts?
Did you have a classic buying day yesterday?
Yeah, we bought really well. Bought two good bargains.
-How are you finding Matt?
Matt has an infectious character and personality.
He's got such a warm aura.
Yesterday, our giddy gardeners went in all guns blazing.
James and the dizzy-with-excitement Christine spent £60 on two items -
the Victorian papier-mache dressing-table set
and the London bus-stop sign.
David and Matthew, the tough negotiator,
dished out £95 on the soapstone hippo, the corned-beef box,
the 19th-century camera and the gardener's pump spray.
The troops have assembled
now in the town of Kettering in Northamptonshire.
-Here they are.
-Morning, Christine. How are you?
-How are you?
-This is arriving in style!
-How are you?
-Look at that shirt! That is so cool!
-It's very horticultural.
-Yes, how many of the flowers can you name?
Very good, very good.
-Are you well?
-I will name none.
You will name none.
Now then. Yeah. Look at this.
That is marvellous.
-We've got shopping to do.
-We have got shopping to do.
We'll join David and Matthew later, but for now
James and Christine are powering towards their next shopping
destination in the town of Wellingborough.
Did you have a garden at home? How did you get into gardening?
I got into gardening by starting with a crocus bulb
and I started growing carrot tops on my bedroom window and mustard
and cress on flannels, which I made my dad eat.
And then I took over the wall between our house and next-door.
-I just thought this was Alice In Wonderland.
Absolute Alice In Wonderland.
What can James and Christine find in here for that all-important
-So, what have we got in here?
I don't know, hopefully antiques. Hopefully bargains.
Ha-ha! Come on. Let's hope.
Thankfully, Hunter's Emporium is fit to burst with all shapes
and sizes of curios.
-Hi, nice to meet you.
-Hi, I'm Nick.
-I hope you've got lots of goodies.
-There's a few bits knocking around, I think.
Have a good look round, see what you can find, cos there's all sorts everywhere.
-I can't keep track of everything.
-Come on, let's go and have a shufti.
Christine doesn't hang about and James is keeping the focus
I walked past this room
-and I saw something on the shelf that I think is London all over.
Where we're going. It's a very sort of decorator's thing and it's these.
-Oh, right. Stencils.
-But great for...
You could polish them up, spell the name of a restaurant,
-kitchens, whatever. Or even possibly use them.
-Right. Well, quite.
-Now, I was slow at school. How many should there be?
-..and a half.
-Right, shall we count them?
-Shall we count them?
-So I've got two, three...
-We'll be here all day.
The encouraging thing is it has no price on it either.
-I think this has got London written all over it.
-I think we might have found something.
I was just walking through that room,
we were looking in the cabinet and I thought, "I quite like those."
-They're fun, aren't they?
-Interesting little things.
You could do a lot with them.
-Yeah. I think we were thinking 15.
-How many of them did you want?
-All of them!
-All of them. All of them.
-Got to be worth a pound each.
-A pound each?!
-They've got to be.
-I don't think you could lose on that.
-A pound each.
That's quite a lot, isn't it?
Are you prepared to sort of, you know...
Bearing in mind that I'm a thrifty Northerner and I've got...
Look where my pockets are and look where my hand is.
It's a long way away and, if I've got to go digging,
it needs to be worth digging! So, now then, come on.
Erm...I suppose 20 would be the sensible number, wouldn't it?
-I don't think we go much better than that.
-Rings true, doesn't it?
-I think that's good.
-Deal done, sir.
£20 for the complete alphabet of brass stencils.
-That was all right.
-Now, what of their competition?
-What about you, then, Matt?
Are you more of a specialist or do you have a general knowledge
-with your gardening?
-I consider myself as a GP.
-If your apples have got a cold or problems with the lawn...
..or you need to know how to prune your roses,
then I HOPE I can help you.
They're still in Kettering and taking a break from shopping to hear
the incredible story of an inventor and pioneer.
They're meeting Charlotte Widgery to find out more.
-Good morning, Charlotte.
-Hello, hi, nice to meet you.
-Hello. David Harper.
-I'm Charlotte, lovely to meet you.
Charlotte, hello. I'm Matt. Nice to meet you. I used to come here as a child.
That's amazing. So many people say that.
Wicksteed Park was one of the first leisure parks in the UK.
It was the brainchild of Charles Wicksteed,
a 19th-century inventor,
largely responsible for inventing the children's playground,
which in turn has evolved into
the multi-billion-pound leisure-park business of today.
Charlotte, who was Wicksteed?
Wicksteed was Mr Charles Wicksteed and he was a local gentleman.
Not originally - he grew up in Leeds
and then moved down here to start his engineering company.
So, he was very much a mechanically minded sort of person.
He was one of these people that sees a problem and then thinks,
"Well, how can I fix it?" So his brain was always going.
Before Charles invented the world of playgrounds, he created
many everyday objects that we still use today,
like the automatic gearbox and the power drill.
Charles was well ahead of his time and, when his immense success
brought him great fortune, he wanted to give it back to the town he loved.
In 1913, he purchased some beautiful meadowland with
the intention of creating a green space for families to enjoy.
So Kettering was a very industrial town,
we had a lot of the shoe manufacturing here. So there was a lot of industry going on
and a lot of people on those low incomes who didn't really have very much green space,
but there was space for adults to play -
there were tennis courts, bowling greens, cricket pitches,
but Charles Wicksteed could see this was not fair on the children.
So, what was play like for children before he started the park?
Children obviously did play, but very much with
bits of equipment, with toys, with tricycles, with spinning tops.
There was no such thing as play parks prior to this.
There were no playgrounds. They simply didn't exist.
So Charles Wicksteed, again,
this was his inventor side of things - as he bought the land,
he immediately opened it up and said to children and families,
"Come here, come and use the land."
It's now impossible to think of a childhood without a playground, and
Charles wanted to make the children's time at his park as fun as possible.
So he put some bits and pieces together,
which then stayed up for a few days.
And so all the other local children came and played on them
and it became more popular,
so then he thought, "Right, let's see what we can do."
I've got some photos here.
-He put in some of these early bits of equipment.
-That's a slide.
And that is the slide there.
-With planks of wood down a hill!
-It's very simple.
I think I made something similar as a kid.
So these are teak, and they were polished to make it slippery.
But I can see adults playing here as well, which I think is brilliant.
One of the things that Charles Wicksteed really wanted
was for everybody to play together - young, old, boys, girls...
-It was amazing.
-He was so enlightened, wasn't he?
What an enlightened man he was.
But he changed the face of play.
The chutes and swings were a great hit.
In 1921, the park officially opened and became the very first playground.
It has now evolved into what we see today.
# Woo-hoo... #
The park was so successful that Charles became the first
manufacturer of play equipment.
Wicksteed Playscapes still operates to this day.
In 1926, he added a watery whoosh by creating the first water ride
in the world, which nearly 90 years later is still in working order.
Charles' legacy is, not only did he begin a new chapter
in the history of children's play
but he set up the first of millions of playgrounds worldwide.
Christine and James have snaked their way south to the village of Woburn.
I was selling stuff. I mean, from the plot, I used to
sell it to me schoolteachers, and the headmaster,
-I always used to put a penny mark-up on every single item.
One time, he got me in the office and he said to me, "You are charging
"me a penny more on every single item than the rest of the staff."
-And in a flash I said, "My dad reckons you can afford it."
-THEY BOTH LAUGH
Very shrewd, Christine.
The Antiques Association has been formed by over 30 dealers
and is housed in a rather lovely five-storey Georgian townhouse.
Oh, let's have a look in here, then.
-Hello, James, hi.
-This is very splendid, isn't it? An old townhouse?
It was a family house at one time
but it's been apartments and a shop for probably 40 years.
-So, Anna, will you show us the lay of the land?
-Come this way.
-Lovely, thank you.
Looks like a suitable room for Christine.
Ah, now, there, now, look here.
-What on earth is that?
-So, what do you reckon?
-You know, these days, that a lot of people go for these,
-and they'll trim...
-Yeah, for the box, yeah.
For the box, or for trimming. It's one-handed.
Right, you're taking one cut, one cut, one cut.
-Sounds very painful.
-Sounds very painful.
-Would you like to hold those, please?
Yeah, I'm with you there, James.
-Now, with this...
Four at a time!
-So the labour...
-Is reduced considerably.
And, actually, as a tool, that's quite nicely balanced.
You feel that, how nicely balanced that is.
You don't use hand tools do you?
Give it me back.
That's kind of obvious, Christine.
At 75 quid.
You got that out...the right way?
Do you think I'm mad, looking at this?
I think it's very interesting and I think you can add something to it,
because of your connection to gardening.
You know, bearing in mind, I'm a tight Northerner,
and I've got very deep pockets...
We've heard this before.
Now, are you prepared to chat to me, please?
Christine, I hate to seem to be wanting here,
-£55, I would maybe be pushed to, yes.
Can I push?
Can I seriously push hard?
Yes, you can.
-What a woman!
-Well done, well done. Hero.
-Thank you, Anna.
-Are you happy?
That is good. That is well engineered.
-I see what you mean about the balance.
-I like that.
-It's like a sort of crocodile of the garden, isn't it?
-I like it.
I'm not sure it'll sell
-but I think I like that.
-Don't tell me that now.
Best to keep that to yourself, Christine.
Can the lovely Anna tempt them with anything else?
Here's something that might be of interest.
-It still has its original price on.
Five shillings and ninepence.
Has its own key. Totally unused.
-There's a cash-book and a notebook.
-Oh, hey, cash-book.
Come on, profit and loss accounts.
There's one compartment for silver with its purse...
-Look at this.
-..inside, and one for gold.
It's a pretty box, isn't it?
I think, you know... What money?
Well, on the ticket price, it's 68 on,
but I think we could do a much better price on that.
-Let me go and ask the dealer to see if I could get...
-That'd be kind.
-Just remind them they're dealing with a Northerner.
-And you're very mean.
You're not that bad.
-Right, now I've had a word...
-Well, in my eyes, very good news.
He's willing to do it for £40.
Would you compromise on £35?
Done. You're a star, madam.
You're a star. Excellent.
The lethal-looking shears for £55,
and the red moneybox for £35.
-Really happy with these.
-Go on, have a...
I'm really... Hey, look.
Have a go at those prongs.
Christine's very handy.
Yeah. Yeah, I like them.
Back to Matthew and David,
making their way south to
the town of Ampthill in Bedfordshire.
So, do you think this antique bug might have bitten?
It has, look, I can show you the marks. I've got the fever.
-I've got the fever big-time.
The chaps are descending upon Ampthill Antiques.
-This looks very exciting.
-Shall I just let them know we're here?
Boys and their toys.
-Hello, hello, hello.
Whoa, look at this.
It's fantastic. How many dealers have you got?
I think there's about 56.
Lot of options, then, here, David.
-Lots of options.
-Can we go? Let's go.
And you've got exactly one hour to do your shop.
Blimey, Libby runs a tight ship.
-Oh, no! We might get shut in. We'll get shut in!
-Off you go.
Try to keep calm, Matthew.
-David, we're going to go big, right.
-I want something in your face, different, curious, wild.
-This is it. This is the big moment.
They've got just over £300 to play with, so...
shop, boys, shop.
David, David, over here, mate. Quick, come here, look.
Steady there, Matthew.
-Look at this.
-Oh, my gosh. OK.
This is right up my street. Tell me about it.
It's certainly very large.
Well, one of the things I like about it is that it's...
In one way, you could look at it as a great big pot.
But even though it's quite, sort of, chunky and robust,
-you've got this added elegance in the curves.
And those kind of curves, you would want in a garden as well.
-When you're cutting your borders, you would want those.
-And I like curves.
-I like curves.
-I'm seeking the perfect curve.
Are you? I think you might just have found the perfect curve.
But what exactly is it?
It's an exceptionally big wine pot.
-It's a wine pot?
-It's a wine pot.
We like a little bit of wine don't we, on occasion?
You can have a little lot of wine in there!
We could have a month's supply in there, you and I.
But that's feasting. That's proper feasting.
Feasting, celebrations - that kind of thing.
Huge weddings, huge parties - that's what it is.
This super-sized wine vessel is of Chinese origin,
and with a bit of muscle we can investigate further.
Blinking heck, that is monstrous.
Now, Chinese pieces are very often not marked.
I can tell there is some age to it.
It has no character mark, which is fine,
-because very often you can't believe a Chinese character mark.
They're often paying homage to old, past potters from earlier...
OK, David, but remember, it's heavy.
It might have been made in the 1920s or in the 1980s.
-It's got no fantastic age to it...
-No provenance, or...?
-..but it's a lump.
-It's a lump.
-I can tell you that.
-You want me to help you?
-I like it.
-God, I think that this is the one for me.
-I love it.
Well, I tell you what, thing is, we need to see how much it is.
It's not worth a lot of money, Matt, it really isn't.
-Yeah, but, as a feature piece, somebody might pay for it.
OK, let's get Libby. Let's get a price. Where is our lovely Libby?
And as if by magic...
-Libby, what do you think about that old pot?
-I think it's very nice.
It's a nice decorative piece.
-There's no great age to it.
Have you been filling that with wine and trying it out?
-Cos the handle's been broken.
-Was it you?
No, not at all. No, it wouldn't be me.
Mind your manners, David.
Ticket price is £125.
So, Libby, how much is it to us, trade?
-That would be 110 trade.
I would say, for this...
I was going to say 70.
-What do you say, Libby?
I would say 110.
Ha. Good on you, Libby.
I could do a phone call and I can ask.
-Go on, then, please. The bid is 80.
Hello, Alex, it's Lib.
They're interested in that great big blue...
They're offering you £80. Would you want to take that?
Hold on a minute. Could you do 90?
-We'll meet him halfway. 85.
-What's he called?
Alex, hi, it's David Harper. Thanks very much.
Would you... Can we meet you halfway at 85?
Good man. Thank you very much.
Cheers, bye. Bye.
-Oh, Libby, that's great.
-He said 20 quid, Libby.
-That's absolutely marvellous.
-No, he did not.
-No, no, no.
Honestly, David. £85 for the giant-sized Chinese wine vessel,
and that big beauty completes our shopping trip.
Now for a peek at one another's buys.
-Go on, look. Show us your things.
-Come on. Yeah, yeah, go on.
-Get it off.
-Matthew Biggs, look at this.
-Look at that.
-Hey, how's that for a collection?
-Hey, a greenfly-killer.
I think she likes that.
It's a water cannon for greenflies.
-I know, isn't it great?
-Isn't that lovely, James? What a tactile thing.
-This is nice.
And that planted up with beautiful plants and that...
I was fascinated by the box, actually.
I didn't buy it for any aesthetic reasons
-other than the fact that I like corned beef.
-You must be the only person.
-I like corned beef!
-All for me.
-A little piggy, piggy, piggy.
Actually, he's a hippo.
-Look at this.
-It's a big pot.
It's a big wine pot. That, full of wine, would be amazing.
Great. Great at a party.
Now, what about Christine and James's offerings?
-Well, just look what we've got...
-One, two, three, go!
-Oh, my goodness. Oh, yes.
-Whoa, I knew something...
What on earth are they? What do they do?
-Can I get short back and sides while I'm here?
-Don't go too near.
Yeah, keep your distance.
-They're lovely, aren't they?
-Aren't they lovely?
What did you pay for those?
-What did we pay for that?
-Quite a lot of money. £55.
Oh, gosh, I'd never seen anything like it before.
-This is our masterstroke.
-A London bus stop.
-Look at this!
-Oh, I love that!
-Oh, my goodness.
-I love that.
-I love that.
I really love that. How much was that, James?
-That's for nothing. I love that.
-That's great. Amazing.
-It's my favourite object.
And then we have this rather lovely... You look at...
Matthew, look at the detail.
Is it papier-mache or is it just...?
So, you know, and the five items.
That was a stiffer price.
It was 15.
You see, you see.
Don't be laughing just yet. Anything can happen in auction.
I am sure anything can happen, but, you see,
market, establish a market.
My gosh, you are mega-confident.
-Let's get out of here.
-See you tomorrow.
-See you tomorrow.
But what do they really think?
I am slightly unnerved by the bus-stop sign.
I have to say, I think that might be their ace card.
-I love that aphid sprayer.
-Would you swap it for the shears?
-No, categorically not.
-I mean, there's much more workmanship
and elegance in my shears.
The two lots that will be the best for them -
the bus stop and the shears.
-The shears. I love the shears.
So, we'll just see if I should be,
you know, diversifying into antiques.
If not, I'll just run back to my little green plants.
It's auction time, so we're off to Greenwich in London.
Christine and Matthew were bursting with excitement, as usual.
-So what are you looking forward to today, then?
No, you aren't. You haven't got a...
There's no way, with your lot.
James and David await their arrival at Greenwich auctions.
-Good morning, how are you?
-Good morning. Very well.
You're looking very bright and cheerful.
-Wonderful to see you.
-Did you have a good evening?
-Yeah, great. You?
-Are you well?
-We are, incredibly.
We're like little kids at Christmas.
Let's see if you're going to get what you ask for. Ha!
Today's auctioneer is Robert Dodd. What does he make of their offerings?
Are we all done on the bedroom suite? That's it!
My overall impression is they've bought some very, very
Some good, some not so good.
I think the bus sign is a good lot.
The nice thing is that there's a lot of people who collect
anything to do with London transport.
I mean, it's a big teapot,
but it's far better to say "drinking vessel", rather than a teapot.
Matthew and David were today's biggest spenders.
Matthew plumped for buying with his heart,
and was carried away by many waves of excitement.
They spent £180 on five items.
Christine and James were very different.
"Get to know your market" was Christine's motto,
but she was an even bigger whirlwind of excitement.
They spent £170, also on five items.
All quiet, the auction is about to begin.
15, I'm out. 12. 15.
Are you feeling anxious?
-Yes, very, very anxious.
First to tempt the Greenwich bidders is the papier-mache set
from Christine and James.
Lot 20. Absolutely stunning lot, this.
Papier-mache, five-piece dressing-table set, circa 1890.
Brightly painted with chrysanthemums, birds, butterflies..
-Lift 'em up!
Ooh, that's woken up the audience.
All of that. Straight in at £15.
Cheap at the price.
-Looking for 18.
-Are we all done on the maiden bid?
-18, I want. Where?
18, 22 I'm out.
What, for £2? You're having a laugh.
-You can't get a hamburger for that.
Come on, £22, I'm out. £22, there.
-Go on, go on!
-Looking for 25.
All done at £22.
We made a profit.
Blimey. Well, Christine's happy. Good start.
We'll allow you that,
-just to give you a head start.
-Allow that. Head start.
It's Jacaranda the hippo, next. Good luck, Matthew and David.
Lot 30, another stunning lot.
Jacaranda! Come on, Jacaranda. Do your thing.
Matthew's certainly full of excitement.
-Matthew, calm down.
-It's called Jacaranda. Come on, baby.
It ain't going to help you, Matthew.
I would call it Eric.
Bid's with me, straight in at £15.
Good, good start.
18, I want. 18. 19. £20 I'm out. £20 here.
Looking for £22.
I've got 20. I'm looking for 22.
-Come on, baby.
-Are we all done?
Last time, at £20.
Oh, that's all right.
- That's OK. That's all right. - Well, you made a profit.
You made a profit.
A small profit for Jacaranda.
Maybe you should have called him Eric.
Next up is Christine and James's London bus-stop sign.
They hope this will appeal to the London bidders.
Lot 17. Stunning lot.
You know whose this one is, don't you?
Straight in at £35.
38, £40, 42, five with me.
Take 48. I've got 45.
Eight, 50 with me. Looking for 55.
-I've got 50 on it.
Are we all done at £50?
-I thought it would make a lot more.
No, but it's a profit nonetheless.
Keep up the enthusiasm, guys.
We're sticking with Christine and James.
It's the luxurious Moroccan moneybox next.
And the bid's with me, straight in at £25 only on this.
Looking for 28.
-I've got 25. 28, £30. And two.
Five with me. Looking for 38.
£40 here. Looking for 42.
Are we all done on this box? Last time.
-Well done. Wow. We got away with it.
-That's very good.
It's still a profit, Christine.
You're ahead of Matthew, but only just.
And his corned-beef box is up next.
-Look at that.
Absolutely stunning, isn't it?
What the hell you'd use it for, God only knows.
-Straight in at £10 only on this. Looking for 12. 15 here.
-Looking for 15.
I've got 15. 18, 19, £20 I'm out.
-£20 here, looking for 22. Are we all done?
-Come on, beef box.
Beef box, come on!
A small profit,
but it helps you edge closer to leaders Christine and James.
-So, you made a 50%...
We need at least a 52% mark-up on the next item.
That's fast maths.
You'll have to wait, because it's Matthew and David again,
with the 19th-century camera.
We've got to start with a bid with me of £30.
32, I need. Anywhere on this?
I've got 32. Five with me. 38, I need.
You're not meant to shout for the opposition, Christine.
When are you going to see one of these this year on holiday?
£40, looking for 42.
Five here, looking for 48.
-I've got 45 on this.
Are we all done?
Last time, at £45 on the camera...
-Don't worry. It's OK.
-That is disappointing, I have to say.
And the team spirit didn't help.
Only a small loss for Matthew and David, though.
It's Christine's lethal weapon next - the gardening shears.
These are not just shears -
these are Astor shears.
-What does that mean, then, Bob?
-A set of four blades.
Danger... Oh, where are they? Get them out.
-Shall I model them?
-Can you get them out?
-Oh, Lordy, she's off.
Seriously, you need to see these.
May I model my masterpiece, please?
Is this going to make a big difference?
-Go on, hold them up, girl.
-No, it will make a difference.
And these have got to start with a bid with me of £28 on those.
Looking for 30. They're worth all of that.
-28, I've got. Looking for 30.
-You can't pull it out
unless you're taking it down Deptford Market.
A little bit more decorum, girl.
28, looking for 30 on these.
Are we all done? Last time.
-You come and collect them.
I think you may have frightened the room there.
That gives Matthew a chance to catch up.
Here comes his Victorian gardening sprayer.
-We've got international bids on this.
Yeah, Isle of Dogs.
It's got to start the bid with me on this pump at only £15,
and that is so cheap.
-15, looking for 18. 22, I need.
-He's got a telephone bid.
£22 anywhere? £22 I'm out.
-It's on the telephone.
-I'm looking for 25.
Telephone bid - now, that's a bit glamorous, isn't it?
Well done. Seven quid more. Well done, sunshine.
Another healthy profit. Hurrah!
It's the giant-sized drinking vessel next, from Matthew and David.
Look at this thing. Absolutely magnificent.
-Yeah, pick it up.
Someone said it was a teapot,
and I said, "Well, if you're going to invite anyone round,
"you could invite Poland round with that teapot, couldn't you?"
Sorry, that's nothing against the Polish. They're lovely people.
Straight in at £60.
-It's a start.
-Looking for 65.
-It's worth all of that.
-All of that.
65, 75, I need.
80. Five, I need.
85 I'm out.
All done at £85.
We've actually lost money.
That doesn't matter.
We've not lost as much as I thought we had. It's a result.
That's all right.
That's the spirit, Matthew. I admire your positivity.
It's their final lot of the day now.
Christine and James's brass stencils.
Good lot, this.
-It's got to start with a bid with me on the lot of £15.
18, I need on this lot. 20 with me, looking for 22.
-How much did you pay for them?
-£20, we paid for them.
Five I'm out. 28, I need.
-28 there, £30, 32. 35.
-Eight, I want. £38, I've got.
Looking for 42. All done? This time, with the lady...
Middle of the room at £40...
I think she liked that result.
Let's calculate the scores.
Who will be today's winner?
Matthew and David started out with £400.
After auction costs are deducted, they made a tiny loss of £22.56.
Their final total is £377.44.
Christine and James also began with £400,
and after paying auction costs they made a loss of £22.40.
Their final earnings are £377.60.
Incredibly, Christine and James are the winners by a mere 16p.
Oh, that was a close one.
-Go on, you two.
-Right, we'll leave you to sob.
-Take care. Lovely to see you.
-You too. Drive safe.
-Go on, Matthew, I'm going to drive.
Your doorman awaits.
-Come on, one last drive, Christine.
-Oh, look at this!
Take care. Enjoy the last drive.
I will. Cheerio. Bye!
-Go on. Happy gardening.
Do you think they'll stick to gardening or are they moving into antiques?
-No, I think they should stick to the gardening.
LAUGHTER James! So long, Christine and Matthew.
You've been an absolute delight.
Do you know, Matthew, I have loved the last few days with you.
-It's been great.
-Christine, it's been my privilege, pal.
It's been my privilege.
It is a battle of the gardeners as Christine Walkden and Matthew Biggs hit the road. With the help of experts David Harper and James Braxton, they shop around Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire and it is a nail-biting finale at their decisive auction in Greenwich, London.