Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. Comedian Hardeep Singh Kholi and much-loved comedy actress Helen Lederer join the road trip.
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-The nation's favourite celebrities...
-Some proper bling, here.
..paired up with an expert...
..and a classic car.
-Pick your legs up!
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 to have 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.
Today's road trip has all the ingredients
of a right old carry-on,
as comedy icons Helen Lederer and Hardeep Singh Kohli
hit the antiques trail.
I've got my motor running. We are heading on the highway.
-We are searching for adventure and whatever comes our way.
-# Born to be wild... #
Cor! They are in a cheery mood.
We haven't seen each other since we shared a couch on breakfast telly.
Yeah, sharing the couch was good.
I thought we rocked it.
These old friends from the comedy circuit
will be competing against each other, armed with £400 each.
-Are you excited about today?
But I know you're going to be quite competitive. I just know it.
-Look, the only winner...
The only winner ought to be me.
Well, someone is confident.
I was telling a friend I was coming to work with you and they said,
"Oh, I've always liked her. What's she like?"
-"What's she like?"
-I found an honest moment
and I'll tell you what I said -
I said, "She's as mad as a box of frogs.
"But without the box."
-Do you know what I mean?
-That's quite an interesting analogy.
-I'm going to think on that.
-It's a complement.
If you say so.
Wordsmith Hardeep Singh Kohli
is a comedian, broadcaster and journalist.
He can be seriously serious.
I think we've lost that sense of accountability,
of knowing our politicians.
But also seriously funny.
Oh, yes, did I mention he cooks?
What are you going to do for us?
Well, I thought a braised oxtail curry.
It's kind of combines you as a chef, doesn't it?
It's kind of Scottish-Indian.
And quite fatty.
A finalist on Celebrity MasterChef,
he has recently opened a restaurant in Edinburgh.
Heating up the passenger seat next to him is comedy royalty.
Actress, writer and performer,
the "Absolutely Fabulous" Helen Lederer.
After breaking into the scene
at the iconic Comedy Store in the 1980s,
Helen became a regular face on cult comedy sketch show Naked Video.
So, I'm going to see my shrink. He's very trendy.
He's just moved in above the greengrocers.
Well, he's just starting out in mental health.
But he has got a lot of practical experience.
I'm told he used to be a patient, so...
She's also starred in some of Britain's best-loved comedies,
such as Bottom, Ab Fab, and more recently branched out
into children's entertainment on Old Jack's Boat.
We'll race you there.
Very well. But let me warn you, you will lose.
I'm very fast on my bike.
Yeah, here she goes, yeah. With the speed of light.
Today, thankfully, Helen's ditched the bike
in favour of the Triumph Herald 1967.
My dad had one of those.
You've got funny bones. Do people know that expression?
Right there, Hardeep.
-No - I...
You see, this is what happens, which is fine. It's fine.
-That's not my fault.
-No. It's just making its presence felt.
-It's the sort of car you would go courting in, isn't it?
Are we on the right side of the road?
Thankfully, help is at hand
in the form of auctioneers Catherine Southon and Mark Stacey,
who are enjoying life in a left-hand drive 1974 Saab Sonett.
-Do you feel like we are on a hot date?
-Do you think so?
-Do you feel like I'm your chick?
-You're a hot chick.
Are we excited about meeting some new travel companions, then?
Of course, I remember Helen Lederer from the '80s.
Well, yeah - you go back as far. Even further, don't you?
I'm with lovely Hardeep Singh Kohli.
We are going to have such fun today. He is going to make me laugh.
He is indeed.
I think Helen and I will have fun as well, actually.
I think...I think she might be quite wacky.
You guys will get on, then!
On today's trip, we are doing a good old tour of old London town,
ending up at an auction
in Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex.
But we begin in South Woodford, east London.
-Colourful, how colourful.
-How are you?
-I'm very well. Let me help you.
Yeah, we lost the roof on the way, sorry.
-You're looking very smart.
-You really are.
Difficult to get out. Well, I thought I'd best dress up.
-How are you, sir?
-You look fabulous.
-Thank you very much.
-Very nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, too.
-Nice to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you.
We've decided we're going to go boy-girl, if that's all right.
If he is for it, I'm for it.
Shall we nip in? We've got to go shopping.
-Left-hand drive, is that all right?
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
We can't hang around, I'm afraid. We've got shopping to do.
Remember, buy high, sell low.
I've watched you a lot on television,
-I've never had you down as a delusionalist.
I'm Scottish. It's in our DNA.
-Enjoy, but not too much.
-Are you loving this car?
-This is James Bond, isn't it?
Oh, yes. Every boy... It's got corduroy seats!
You've got moleskin on. That could be...
It's low down, that's for sure.
It's not designed for a turban-wearing man, is it?
No, no, it's really not, actually.
Not the most elegant of entries.
But, without further ado, they are off.
Do you have anything in mind?
Do you have any ideas of the sort of thing you would like to buy?
Really, I'm in love with Deco.
I'm in love with... the in-between the wars period.
I'm also quite obsessed with drinks paraphernalia now,
since...we opened the restaurant.
I think this is going to be great.
Catherine and Hardeep's first shop
is the eclectic Victoria Antiques - looks nice.
-Come. Enter the world of antiques with me.
Oh, yeah. Enter the Galleria.
They are meeting with dealer Michael.
So, Hardeep, what will you focus on first?
-Can I have a look at that?
-He's off already.
The clock? Deco clock?
Can you tell me about these paintings, out of interest?
-Oh, fine, forget that.
And what's this?
And that's an indenture dated... about 1870.
Perhaps not as focused as Catherine had hoped.
-Can read that? I don't have my glasses.
-I will need my glasses.
-Those at auction are £20 - £30...
-Ah, these are interesting...
He's not even listening. I don't know why I'm bothering.
Catherine, how much? I think we might get 20 quid for these.
I think Catherine might have her work cut out here.
Cocktail-y things, you've got... Ooh, and a coffee things, as well.
-You've got the moves.
It's like Tom Cruise in Cocktail, watching you do that.
This is plate, though. This is quite fun, though,
because this is actually a sugar shaker,
so it's for putting your sugar on your strawberries and whatever,
but in the form of a cocktail shaker,
because I suppose that was all the rage in the '30s.
And it's by Mappin & Webb.
-Ooh! Good name.
BUT it's just plate.
And nobody wants plate,
but then they might want plate if it's a bit of fun.
How much is it anyway, out of interest?
-This is exactly what Hardeep said he wanted.
Could Catherine have found an object that could hold his attention for more than two ticks?
There's nice wee glasses here.
Nope, spoke too soon. He's off again.
You're not interested in that, are you?
No, I can't buy something I don't aesthetically engage with.
Yet, strangely, I bought this overcoat,
so make sense of that, viewers.
-I'm with you.
-Is there much point in me actually having a look,
-cos you're not going to take any notice, are you?
-Yes, I am!
Maybe try the sugar shaker again, eh?
-I think that was good.
-I like it.
I'm fulfilling your needs. You said Deco, you wanted cocktails...
In the words of Karen Carpenter, we've only just begun.
In the words of Catherine Southon, focus, Hardeep.
I do like this though.
It's a bit of fun and people will be drawn into that.
I couldn't give you 18 quid for it though.
I will take this if we can agree a price.
-I heard 13 in my own internal dialogue.
-That's unlucky for some.
-Shall we agree on 14?
Brilliant. Nice one, sir. Thank you.
-You do like it?
-Don't you think?
-No, I love it!
Well, I listen to what you say.
Well, Catherine managed to keep Hardeep focused.
So, for just £14 that's one item in the old bag. Phew.
-Shake my sugar.
-# Shaking your sugar. #
Helen and Mark, meanwhile, take a route further into London
to Finsbury Park, where they're bonding over a biscuit.
Oh, go on, then.
It's the last one. Last one.
They do pick you up, don't they, a good Bourbon?
-Are you good at negotiating?
-You see, I don't think I am.
I think what we should do, we've got a good cop, bad cop.
-OK, cool, yeah.
-You can be the people-pleasing cop.
-I'm the people pleaser.
-And I can be the not-people-pleasing cop.
OK, and I praise the person's clothes and things like that.
-I say, "Gosh, I love your shoes."
-I wonder if we're going to get jewellery.
-I don't know.
I don't know what the shops are going to be like. Would you like to find a piece of jewellery?
-You know the magpie element of life?
-Anything that glitters.
-I like glitter.
-Good to know.
They're visiting Regent Antiques,
a veritable treasure trove of all things old.
-Can I just say something?
I think we should ask about that because it's in vogue.
There's so much in here. I mean, look at it all.
Good sidestep there, Mark.
-I have spotted something here, Helen.
Perhaps not the height of fashion but very collectable.
The nice thing with walking sticks is you have such a nice variety
-of handles. They can be very simple, just rustic carved handles.
-Are they collector's items?
-Very much so. Look at this one.
There are several to choose from.
Very nice qualities. Nice decoration to the head.
You've got the feathering.
Yes, Helen seems to be a willing student.
-It hasn't got any silver on it.
-Well, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
-But it looks like a totem.
-Well, this is what I would call Colonial.
Should I go and find out the price of those three items?
Yes, and everything comes in threes.
-Excuse me a second. Keep browsing.
-And you don't want the cake trays?
-No, I don't want the cake trays.
-Oh, so strict.
So, whilst Mark struts his stuff, Helen's left to her own devices.
I'm interested in the bling, I suppose. It's a shiny, pretty thing.
I could see it in, like, a Soho house, you know,
like trendy, just on a shelf and then somebody just goes up and goes,
"Hey, anyone fancy a tune? An Italian folk tune?"
And then they'd just play it on this.
But I think Mark might be agin it.
Helen's certainly got her own ideas.
Luckily, Mark's back with some sage advice.
-Helen, I'm trying to advise you.
All that glitters isn't necessarily gold.
Well, I'm quite superficial.
-You don't say.
Mark's also discounted the two silver-topped walking sticks
as they're over £200 each, but the tribal one is still in play.
-Have you found something?
-Well, the thing is,
I think this is a really beautiful thing.
This, you can't escape the 1920s, '30s, the jazz era.
You've got these wonderful birthday cake designs Chrysler Building,
and even around here you've got this, what we call, engine turning.
-Now you mentioned this other box as well,
which is more of a lady's box.
Gosh, this is heavy, isn't it?
You said "lady's". I thought that was quite plain, quite gentlemanly.
-What, with that sort of decoration there?
Now, Helen, which one do you prefer?
Well, I think...
there's more to this in that it's stylish,
although, as you say, that's heavier.
-Oh, so heavy.
-You've got some potential purchases here.
-All right, don't overact it.
Spot the actress. Perhaps time to call in dealer Tino.
Tino, I'm wavering between the two boxes.
-Well, they're both Art Deco.
-They're both Art Deco?
This one's 1933 and I think that one's 1938.
And so what kind of price were you thinking of?
-Well, this one is going to be 170.
-Oh, my Gordon Bennett.
And that one is going to be probably 300.
300?! You see, I was right to go for this one, was I not?
I have to say that both those prices are very reasonable
-for a retail price.
-Look at my face.
She's not happy. BUT they are both silver.
I think we can rule this one out cos I think that's...
And it's the wrong year.
-It's SO not in the fashion.
-It's not working for me.
And I think, Helen,
-you were quite interested in that piano accordion, weren't you?
-I was drawn to it.
-It's interesting, isn't it?
The accordion has a ticket price of £250
and Mark still has his eye on the tribal walking stick.
How can we meet? How can we even meet in the middle?
Well, how about 200 for both?
-200 for the...?
-The box and the accordion.
-And the stick.
-All right, and the stick.
-There's a lot of unknowns.
We'd have to go down to 150 for three.
-Tops. Or bottoms.
I can go to 180. I can't go to 150.
What about 160?
165 and that's it. That's it, honestly.
-What do you think?
-I'm closing my eyes till somebody says something.
-I think you've got to say yes.
So I'm now opening my eyes and I'm saying deal.
-Tino, you're a gentleman.
-Thank you, Tino.
-Your walking stick.
Wonderful indeed. Helen's not as bad at haggling as she thought.
So that's £70 for the Art Deco cigarette box,
25 for the walking stick
and 70 again for the accordion, totalling £165 for the three items.
-This pair make quite a team.
-Thank you very much, Tino.
-Thank you very much.
Back with Hardeep and Catherine as they head to Tottenham now
in the borough of Haringey.
You're a director, you're a chef, you work on the radio,
you work on the TV. Is there no end to your talents?
There's no beginning to my talents, in the words of Mrs Merton.
During the First World War,
this particular area had a high concentration
of conscientious objectors,
people who refused to be conscripted for military service
on moral grounds.
This almost taboo topic should appeal to politically minded Hardeep,
so they've come to Bruce Castle Museum to find out more.
They're meeting with curator Ben Copsey.
-Catherine. Hello, nice to meet you.
-Hi. Hardeep. How are you?
At the start of the First World War,
a wave of patriotic fervour swept the UK and men rushed to sign up.
The casualty rate, however, was much higher than expected
and it became necessary to introduce conscription in 1916,
which deemed all men between 18 and 41 to be a soldier.
It was a criminal offence to refuse to serve,
and those who faced formal tribunals became known
as conscientious objectors.
These men were not just socially ostracised
but some were also imprisoned for several years.
So, why were they refusing?
Was it mainly on moral grounds or religious grounds or a mixture?
-Oh, it was all three, really.
For a lot of men, whether they were religious or political
or socialist, Communist, anarchist,
whether they were artists or for any number of reasons,
thought that war, and all the death and killing that went along with it, was unacceptable.
We studied this at school in Glasgow
and a lot of these conscientious objectors were simply...
Their moral position wasn't understood
and they were just described as cowards,
and it's almost a little bit like the witch-hunts, in a sense.
Absolutely. They faced a huge amount of discrimination.
Not just discrimination but essentially criminalisation
because of their pacifism.
We have these images in 1914 of hundreds of thousands of men
all over the world wanting to join the Army,
and instead we have these 18,000 British people who said, "No."
It put them in a minority position,
a really, very difficult one to hold up to.
Of the estimated 20,000 conscientious objectors in the UK
it was not all bad.
Thousands were in the Home Office Scheme
and in the Non-Combat Corps, but not all were so lucky.
Several thousand conscientious objectors were court-martialled
and imprisoned for lengthy periods.
Here, they endured both physical and mental hardship.
One of these men was Charles Walker.
Charles Walker was one of a set of CO brothers who lived in Hornsey.
And they were some of the first conscientious objectors
from the area to be arrested for refusing to turn up to barracks.
Just the brutality here.
It says, "Dear Annie, This morning we were taken on parade
"and as we could not of course obey military orders
"we were pushed, punched, and hit on the hand and legs with a cane."
At least 100 conscientious objectors are known to have died
as a result of their brutal treatment in prison.
In spite of such hardship, they still found ways to continue to rebel.
This is interesting. There is an allusion here to hunger strikes.
Was that common amongst conscientious objectors?
It did become quite common, yeah.
It started off quite sporadically where some men would refuse
to eat, just as the suffragettes had done in the decade before.
And it became quite a widespread tactic but, unfortunately,
the British Government had practised how to deal with hunger striking
on the suffragettes, and used exactly the same tactics.
-They used the same...?
-Tubes down the throat.
As well as the physical hardship they endured in prison,
they were forbidden from speaking to each other,
which was a particularly cruel form of punishment.
In a Winchester prison, however, the inmates found
an ingenious way to continue communicating.
That is probably the best piece of conscientious objector material.
It's 1916 or 1917 and it's a prison newspaper.
It's actually made by conscientious objectors in prison.
So it's all written on the only things that conscientious
objectors had available to them in prison, which is toilet paper.
-So it's very, very delicate.
It's written with tiny stubs of pencils and with home-made ink,
all made out of Bible covers.
You put a bit of water on your Bible cover and push out the dye.
Or with a pen. It's called the Winchester Whisperer.
Prisoners would hide the newspaper on their bodies
and pass it round to other inmates.
Just looking at that sketch there,
there is a kind of dynamism, a movement in it.
There's real penmanship just with the simplest of tools.
The most vivid of images. It's quite incredible, isn't it?
Let me ask you a question.
Was life in prison any more taxing than life in the front line?
I think that's very difficult to answer.
Conscientious objectors were supposed to go through
what was called the principle of equal sacrifice,
where they had to suffer just as much as a soldier on the front line.
The issue of course is, there's no bullets flying around
and no shelling and no gas in prison.
Some of these men had sentences of ten years hard labour.
So facing ten years in complete silence is what ended up
with things like this newspaper.
Many remained imprisoned even after the war.
The last conscientious objectors were released in 1920,
two years after the war was over.
Shunned by society, imprisoned in inhumane conditions,
all for refusing to kill
or help others kill during the First World War.
Back with Helen and Mark...
Helen, I can't be in the car with you without asking
about one of the best-loved comedy programmes, Ab Fab.
I knew you were going to say Ab Fab even before you said it.
It was such a good role for you
and the characters you played before.
Yes, it was just a fun character to play.
A lot of people quote that line, "Chairs, some lovely chairs."
I go out and about and people suddenly go... How amazing!
That that is known, has been known to people, and cheered them up.
They're travelling to Stoke Newington.
It's only been a morning together but they're already best buddies.
Yes, because my name is Carol, that's handy!
A bit awkward, that! Best distract Helen with The Cobbled Yard shop.
Helen, this is such a contrast to the last shop we were in.
A lot of furniture.
All of this, it's much more, how can you say...
A little bit more cutting edge, a little bit sort of hip-hop.
-It's like things have been chosen.
Needless to say, Mark is feeling right at home(!)
You could imagine some grungy teenagers coming in here
wanting something for their bedroom.
-OK, a pander.
-It's a radio.
-Are we allowed to buy these chairs?
-No, we're not.
-You haven't even given me a chance.
-But these chairs are...
-Move on, Helen!
He's so bossy with her!
-Oh, idea, idea. Mark, Mark, hello!
If we're looking at strange, funky,
-you know, like, those posters of the weeping child...
..that used to be in Woolworths?
You're sighing and he's looking away. I'm getting the impression...
But that is kind of so off kilter.
You see, I was so impressed with you in the last shop.
I thought, "Helen's grasped this."
Moving swiftly on, please.
Red and wood, it's that kind of school thing. No?
You're not happy with the chairs? You don't like the chairs?
He doesn't like the chairs. OK.
Obviously not a fan of lovely chairs, then, Mark.
I'm sure there's something in here.
-It is a lovely, eclectic mix, isn't it?
-Yes, I love it.
-Is that a drum?
-No, I think it's a heater.
Gosh, it's tough going today.
What's she found now?
Well, it's a tin box.
"Tattis Potato Crisps, please replace lid.
"This is the property of..."
-But I've never heard of Tattis Crisps, have you?
-There's nothing in it.
-That's a shame.
I could do with a bag of crisps right now.
-If one had that as a kind of lot.
-I think it's great fun.
It's not a make of crisps, I think. Do you recognise it?
Never heard of it.
You see, it's had a bit of wear and things on it
so one would hope it was 1950s.
Time to call on dealer Carol, methinks.
40s, I would say.
-But you're the expert.
-Do you think it is?
Because it's got a great look to it, hasn't it?
I can see that in somebody's kitchen. Oh, yes.
Its ticket price is £20 but can Helen work her charm again?
-So basically, it's 10 or nothing.
Helen seems to be bad cop.
But has it worked?
Do you know, I've had it for a few weeks
-so, OK, you've got a deal.
-Carol, we love you.
-Oh, Carol. Thank you.
It's the right decision.
Well, you would say that.
Apparently tough love does work and for a mere £10,
Helen is now the proud owner of a 1940s crisp box.
They'll be ready for a snack themselves as it's curtains down now
on our first day's buying and night-night.
A new day has dawned and our celebs are raring to go.
Hardeep, tell me, how was your day?
Did you get anything really amazing, like strange?
No, do you know what was quite nice about my day yesterday?
-I sort of got something close to what I was hoping to get.
Yet unusual at the same time.
We have had a laugh, I tell you what.
We have had a laugh and we're quite strict with each other,
which we quite like.
Is he actively guiding you and encouraging you?
Because I feel I'm not making the most of Catherine.
But how does Catherine feel?
-He's only buying things he likes and that's it.
-How do you put your input in?
-He doesn't care about me!
Oh, well, he's not all bad then!
Mark! Such a charmer!
Yesterday Helen and Mark worked well together
with Helen discovering a new-found skill.
-I became quite bad.
-Quite sort of ruthless.
-Did you end up being a bit hard-core?
I wouldn't want to mess with you,
I wouldn't want to lock horns with you.
No. But it was only playing, I was only playing with the person.
It worked, though.
As Helen and Mark spent £175 yesterday...
On four items.
We should ask about that because it's in vogue.
An Art Deco silver cigarette box, a tribal walking stick,
a 1930s Italian piano accordion and a 1940s crisp box called Tattis.
They also competed in the ultimate face-off.
Hardeep and Catherine had a less successful day.
Oh, these are really interesting.
He's not listening, I don't know why I'm bothering!
They spent just £14 on one item that Hardeep loved,
a novelty 1920s silver-plated sugar shaker.
Our couples are meeting up this morning
in central London near Regent's Park.
-My lovely friends!
-How are you? Very well.
-How are you?
-Good, good, good. Allow me.
-Are you stuck?
-No, I can't get it open, I'm afraid. Mind the car.
I can just have a conversation like this.
You could do, you could sit there elegantly.
Yes, I'm trying to look sophisticated.
There's a thing you do with this. Push down there, you see.
You automatically want to pull it up, don't you?
Well, darling, you want to pull it up, down,
-any which way you can to get the young lady rescued.
How are you? I've missed you so much.
We've got a lovely visit to go to and you need to shop
because you haven't bought very much, have you?
You've bought four items?
-I think you'll find... You've got how many items?!
Well, I didn't tell him because I didn't want to upset him.
-Let's leave them to it.
-You've only got one thing left to buy?
Pick up some humility. Spend your money on humility.
We might buy a couple of items, you never know.
Hardeep and Catherine are travelling to the uber trendy area
of Marylebone. Bordering Oxford Street,
it's been at the height of fashion since the 17th century
and is a shopping Mecca which hopefully bodes well.
-So, I'm excited about this.
-There's a lot to cover here.
I'm more casually dressed today.
Hardeep and Catherine are heading into Alfie's Antiques Market
where they're visiting Beth's shop this morning.
That looks familiar.
Oh, my God, this is exactly the one we bought yesterday.
Mappin and Webb?
-Definitely silver plated?
-Yes. How much is it?
-Well, we paid 14.
-I'm not even joking.
-What did I say to you?
-You're so good!
Catherine's prowess proven again. They still have £386 left to spend.
-I love that purple glass.
-Is Whitefriars good?
-Yeah. Oh, it's a ginger jar.
What's nice about it is, it can be used as a vase,
which it originally was used for.
-So that potentially could be two separate pieces?
Have you looked this up?
I know its Whitefriars by the base, it's got a little ring round it
but it's also controlled bubbles.
Whitefriars is thought to be one of the most successful
and long-running glasshouses in the UK
although I'm not convinced this is the genuine artefact.
It could be in the style of.
-Shall I tell you what's interesting?
-It's a beautiful colour.
It's got a smoky quality to it.
Its ticket price is £135 but there are more pieces to look at.
I like the bowl.
-The bowl is the same sort of thing.
-I think the bowl is beautiful.
How much is the bowl?
A lovely shape. Unusual shape as well.
I love the shape of that, I really like the base of it.
They're very traditional Whitefriars colours
and all the really right vibrant yellows, the oranges, the turquoise.
The bowl is priced at £89 but which one will Hardeep go for?
-Is it too much to get two?
-Could a deal be done?
-120 for the two.
-Could I kiss you? Would that be out of the question?
-120 for the two is pretty good.
-Is there no way we could do 110 on these?
-Only because it's you and you smiled earlier.
-It's going to go up if you carry on doing that.
So, for £115, Hardeep now adds what he hopes
is two pieces of Whitefriars glass to his collection.
I don't really care what anyone spends on them.
I just think it's such a beautiful thing.
You're a wee smasher!
Is there anything else for him in here?
It is rather quirky but it is a good name.
-It's a WMF set. It's a strawberry set.
-Oh, is it?
What's nice is all the pieces are there.
You've got the tray, it's beautifully marked
and you've got the gilding.
-And the strawberries on it.
-This is lovely.
I just think the idea of strawberries and cream
in June in kind of... rural south-east England...
I think that's beautiful.
It's silver plated and silver gilt. Ticket price, £135.
WMF is a great name. It's one that people know. Art Nouveau.
-It's beautifully gilded inside. What's the best on that?
I'll do 80 because you've bought the other things.
-Your call, honey.
-I think, yes, yes, yes, thrice yes.
Hardeep has found another item that he loves,
making his total spend in this market £195.
Helen and Mark are in the affluent area of Hampstead
where there are reportedly more millionaires
within its boundaries than anywhere else in the UK.
Once a small village on the outskirts of London,
the area is also rich in culture.
Helen and Mark are here to learn about the tragic story
of one of England's greatest poets, John Keats.
They're at Keats House to meet with curator Vicky Carroll.
-Hello. How nice to meet you.
-Welcome to Keats House.
Thank you, I'm Mark.
-Nice to meet you.
-Shall we go in?
As well as writing her own comedy, Helen has a couple of books
under her belt so can understand the plight of the writer.
Keats' short life was one of great sorrow.
He and his siblings were orphaned at a young age when they lost
their father in a riding accident, and later their mother to TB.
His parents weren't wealthy,
but they wanted their children to have the best education.
Whilst Keats had always loved writing,
this wasn't actually his original career path.
Poetry was something he was interested in
from an early age, while he was at school.
He was initially destined to become a doctor.
He was an apprentice to an apothecary for five years.
He studied surgery at Guy's Hospital as well.
That was his intended career.
-A really clever man...
-..but then totally creative.
He passed his exams first time, which was very unusual at the time.
-Wow, very unusual.
-So he was a good student.
When Keats was studying to become a doctor, was he writing then as well?
Yes, he did start writing whilst he was studying
and he actually got a poem published in a magazine called The Examiner.
Keats loved living in Hampstead because it was a hotbed of artists,
musicians and actors.
He loved mixing with creative types.
He passed his final exams in 1816 but shocked his friends
by deciding he wanted to devote his life to poetry.
Crazy man. Crazy, crazy decision.
I mean, did he do well?
Did he get paid for his poetry while he was living here?
He never made an awful lot of money from being a poet.
His first work was really not particularly well noticed
outside of his circle of friends.
His second work was actually reviewed very badly by the press.
In spite of these knock backs, Keats persisted with his poetry.
Sadly, tragedy struck again
when his younger brother Tom passed away from TB aged just 17.
At the time, John lived nearby.
But to escape such painful memories, Keats moved into this house where
he went on to write some of his most famed works.
-Is that Keats in this very room?
So that is Keats seated in this very room, studying
-and preparing probably to write one of his poems.
-And some of his best poetry was written here?
He famously wrote Ode to a Nightingale here
in this house, seated under a plum tree in the garden, we're told.
He also wrote Ode on a Grecian Urn.
More happy love! More happy, happy love!
For ever warm And still to be enjoy'd
For ever panting And for ever young.
This is the house where Keats was happiest during his life.
One of the main reasons for that is it's where he fell in love.
-A certain Fanny Brawne actually lived
in the house next door and they met and a romance
between them blossomed.
Oh, how wonderful.
-But how convenient to have Fanny next door.
Keats had first met Fanny when he was nursing Tom.
A relationship later blossomed.
So I am now looking at a very pretty ring which I want.
Who did it belong to?
That actually belonged to Fanny Brawne,
who was the love of Keats' life.
Keats gave that to Fanny for their secret engagements.
Wow. That has got to be a love letter, hasn't it?
I would have thought so.
Keats wrote this letter to Fanny when he was too sick to leave
the house and too sick to actually meet with her.
Sadly Keats had also fallen ill with TB,
the disease which had claimed the lives
of both his mother and brother.
You mentioned it was secret. Why was it secret?
Well, unfortunately Keats and Fanny didn't really have the resources
that they needed to get married.
Also because he was starting to become very ill.
Unable to provide Fanny with a stable future,
their relationship remained clandestine, but Keats
and Fanny couldn't resist getting secretly engaged.
-Beautiful. It's so romantic, isn't it?
I fear the worst. What happened next, Vicky?
Well, unfortunately Keats' health continued to decline
and his friends decided what would be best for him
would be to travel somewhere with a warmer climate.
Keats went to Rome with his friend, the artist Joseph Severn.
-Very sad, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
Sadly, he never saw Fanny again as he passed away
on the 23rd of February 1821, aged just 25.
-I know. I feel quite sad, don't you?
It's really quite sad.
During his short life, Keats wrote about 145 poems
but sadly died thinking himself unsuccessful.
In later years his work was rediscovered
by Pre-Raphaelite artists
who produced a number of paintings inspired by Keats' poetry.
He is now thought of as a key figure in the Romantic movement
and one of Britain's most famous poets.
-It is so glorious.
-So we need, what, one or two more things?
Hardeep and Catherine are still in Marylebone
at Andrew Nebbett Antiques.
-I feel something special coming on.
-Do you? In here?
Hardeep has just under £200 left to spend.
Oh, look at that!
Let's hope there's something here to catch his eye.
-I would have that in my home. Would you?
-Yeah. 750 quid.
You can have it in yours, mate. I'll just come and visit.
It's nice but perhaps
look for something more in keeping with your budget, eh?
-I know you told me it is incomplete.
-Oh, the case.
-It is very much incomplete.
-It is a vellum case from the '30s.
-This is perfect.
-That is quite a large size, isn't it?
That could have been a tissue.
-No, no, no. It wouldn't have been a tissue.
-There would have been another thing here.
-Very funny, Hardeep.
This is clearly for ladies.
A little vanity case, a travelling bag.
You say that but we've got no proof.
It is a ladies' one, absolutely.
-Look at this.
-There is nothing in there I wouldn't use.
Nothing in there I wouldn't use.
-You wouldn't use those hairbrushes, for a start.
Catherine's demonstrating admirable patience today.
What I love about the deco era, the 1930s,
is how everyone used to personalise things.
They used to buy really special good-quality things, like this,
and then personalise it.
-Things like this would be treasured.
-They would, wouldn't they?
-They really would.
-Things lasted much longer then.
-They really would.
Hm. It's ticket price is £95.
We just have this engine-turned enamel on the top.
I like enamel that's been turned by an engine.
It makes me feel part of the industrial age.
Nothing I say is taken seriously.
I'm going to speak to someone who has intelligence.
Oh, cue dealer Tiffany.
We very much like this box but clearly it has...
It's not in A1-perfect nick.
And also I feel it's cluttering up the shop
and we are prepared to do you a favour and take it away.
Can we make you an offer? 50 quid.
I think we could go to 80.
Shall we just be very candid? 65 is probably...
We can't really go much higher than 65 because
-we'll lose money, won't we?
To go any lower, Tiffany needs to check with owner Andy.
Thank you, Andy. Thanks. Bye-bye.
Oh, that's fantastic. Well done!
-Oh, come here and shake my hand, Tiffany.
-Tiffany, thank you.
-Thank you, Andy. I'm glad you've got it.
Gosh, I wish he was here.
Helen and Mark have also made their way to Marylebone
and Alfies Antiques Market with their remaining £225.
The lizard brooch.
It's quite fun, isn't it? It looks, sort of, '20s style to me.
This sort of glitzy jewellery now is quite popular, I think.
It's got that good look.
It's bling but it's made in the shape of a lizard
and people are constantly needing lapel wear.
Yeah, nobody likes an empty lapel.
It looks lovely on you, actually, I have to say.
-On a jacket like mine.
-It's got a nice feel about it.
I like the fact you've got these three big stones in the middle here.
-It really is blingy, isn't it?
-I think for a piece...
-And you did want bling.
-The dealer does not want to be on camera
but informs Mark that the lowest she's willing to
take down the brooch is £25.
I don't think you're going to lose very much.
I personally don't think it is going to make that much,
but you don't know.
But Helen's inner magpie can't resist something glittery.
So that is one item down.
Mark is also keen to show Helen something else he's uncovered.
The thing I wanted to show you needs no introduction at all
to anybody who knows pottery.
-It's a vase.
-It's a planter.
Oh, a planter.
-But I'll accept vase.
But this is by the Moorcroft factory.
Moorcroft has been running for over 100 years.
In 1928 they were appointed as potter to Queen Mary.
This is very typically Moorcroft.
It's two blind decoration with...
I don't know what flowers are those, hibiscus?
-This is a difficult one.
I think this is probably circa anywhere between 1920 and 1950.
-It is hand done and it has got the symbol on the bottom.
-So that is quite marketable.
-It is quite big and
-marketable and it's Moorcroft and everybody knows Moorcroft.
Perhaps not everybody, Mark.
It's ticket price is a whopping £220
-but can Mark convince Helen it's worth a punt?
I don't like it at all.
It does absolutely nothing for me aesthetically.
But I am interested in making a profit.
You know when I said be honest? I wasn't quite meaning that honest.
-I would say, "What is the very best price on that?"
-And see where we stand.
-I would concur with that view.
So, Chris, what would be the very best price,
-bearing in mind we've got to put this into auction.
A good profit in that. £100.
Looking at the auctioneer, they would probably
estimate it at £80-£120.
So we are in the middle of the estimate.
I couldn't go above 80 for that.
Because that's what your beginning
-market was on the auction suggestion.
So I couldn't do more.
You've convinced me but I'm not the one selling it to you, you know?
There is just no way of knowing.
Done. I like this gentleman.
-Well done. £80.
-We got the Moorcroft for £80.
We got the Moorcroft.
That's an incredible discount from Chris.
For £105, then, that's Helen's final two items in the bag.
With their shopping complete, our couples reunite
on the roof to unveil their wares.
-Are you ready for this?
-We are going to reveal our items.
Helen, grab the end, lift it off.
Oh, my goodness! You bought loads.
Oh, that's not what I thought you would buy!
-Helen loved this.
-That is beautiful, though.
It's by Francesco's. It is all beaded.
I love this, sort of, marbled look on the side.
We have a lovely Art Deco solid silver cigarette box down there.
-That is nice.
This lovely tin which Helen loves.
-That is the sort of thing I would have bought, Helen.
I love this walking cane and Helen absolutely wanted
a piece of bling, so we couldn't go
without buying a piece of bling, could we, Helen?
That is a lapel lizard, I call it.
It just curls around the lapel.
-Would you like to look at what we bought?
-We'd love to.
-We're dying to see them.
-We've gone for Whitefriars.
You've never, ever seen a piece of Whitefriars like that.
No, I haven't.
Maybe because it's not Whitefriars.
But this is quite interesting.
-I love it.
-We paid £14 for it.
-Oh, it was cheap. That is a money-spinner.
You're going to make a lot of money on that.
What about your little travelling set?
This was... If you excuse the pun, a vanity purchase, wasn't it?
-You paid what, £20-30?
-We paid 60.
I think we should leave it there.
-Oh, listen, well done.
Yeah, probably for the best.
Helen's been unusually quiet. But is our favourite bad cop
-about to reappear?
-The shambolic thing with the bits missing,
I think that seems a lot of money to me because I don't
-think that's enamel. I didn't look at it.
-Who'd want that?
I loved that tin.
I would have bought that for £10. You don't like it.
Who's going to give more than £10 for that?
No, I think that could do, sort of, 20.
It won't make a huge amount but it will do £20 or £30.
People like those sorts of tins.
The ginger jar is... I have to say, I've never seen,
but they did pay quite a lot of money for them.
Altogether it looked pretty except for the silly old suitcase.
The auction is taking place in the village of Stansted Mountfitchet,
in Essex, just a few miles from Stansted Airport.
How are our celebrities feeling?
Have you ever been to an auction before?
-I don't think I have.
-Don't wave at anyone across the room.
-And don't say, "5,000!"
-Oh, right, as a, sort of, nervous tic.
-We have got such a mixed bag between us.
-Very, very cornucopic.
-Yes, and eclectic.
But more the word you said.
Yes, today at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, are lots
are for sale online, on the phone and in the room.
And our auctioneer is John Black.
Thank you very much.
The WMF strawberry set, good lot, well plated and well chosen.
The cigarette box, my favourite of the lots that were brought in.
I think that could do quite well. Up to £100 if we're lucky
but a good 1933 hallmarked... A good, sort of, deco lot.
-Here we are.
-Let me help you out.
-Thank you, thank you.
-Are you ready?
-I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready.
Helen and Mark formed their own comedy double act,
spending £280 on six items.
Hardeep and Catherine were also funny to watch,
but for entirely different reasons,
and forking out £269 on five lots.
Can Hardeep's heartfelt items prevail? Or will it be Helen
and Mark's teamwork that proves to be the winner today?
-First up is Helen's crisp box.
-I am excited now.
I've got a really good feeling about this.
Who'd like to start me at £30? 20.
Any bids now at £20? I am looking around the room. 20 there.
-He has bid at £20. On my right.
-We've doubled our money.
At £20. That is the only bid. I'm going to sell. Make no mistake.
-We doubled our money.
-We doubled our money.
-You did well.
-Doubled our money. We got £20 for it.
-They certainly did.
That's a great result and a great start to the auction.
Next it's another of Helen's items.
Her Moorcroft planter.
Oh, no. Here we go! Please, please!
We'll start the bidding here at £30.
-No, you're fine.
40 is bid on the net. 50, madam? At £50.
60 on the net if you wish now? At £50 the lady has bid in the room.
Are we all done? At £50. Make no mistake at 50.
-Thank you very much.
-I think that's quite cheap.
It does seem a bit cheap to me.
It went too quickly.
Someone's got a bargain there today.
Let's hope Hardeep's possible Whitefriars glass bowl
will do better.
-Here we go. Good luck.
-Good luck, you two. Yes, indeed.
We can start the bidding here at £25.
28 to bid if you wish now. At £25.
28 anywhere now? 28. 30. At £30.
Any advance in the room or on the net?
-Still with us now on commission. £30 only.
-That is terrible.
There is no justice.
I think we know it's not Whitefriars.
I think we know it's not, no.
Maybe it's not Whitefriars. Oh, well. Things can only get better.
Something else nice and shiny
that Helen really liked was her Art Deco silver cigarette box.
You could use it as a jewellery casket on your bedside table.
£50 is bid. Straight in 60, 70, 80. Here we go, here we go.
It's turning around.
Any advance in the room?
-100 on the internet.
-We've got 100!
All done? 130.
ALL: Yes! 130.
Internet bid now for £140.
-That's a really good...
Make no mistake at 140.
-You did really well.
-You doubled your money there.
Finally a decent profit and well-deserved for this lovely item.
Time for Hardeep's 1930s vanity case,
or sandwich holder, if you will.
-£20. Tempt you. Anyone for it?
Any bids now. I'm looking around the room. 20, thank you, sir.
At £20 only. All done and we'll sell.
Oh, for heaven's sake.
The only bid. Thank you very much.
He looked quite sad when he said that, though.
-I think he was sad.
-It was the only bid in a sad voice.
I think he recognised it was something a bit special
and I think it hurt him.
At least Hardeep loved it.
Now, surely someone will surely be
in the mood for strawberries and cream.
-This is us.
-Here we go.
-Is this it?
Oh, that's lovely!
30 is bid. Thank you. At £30.
35, 40, 45. The lady has bid in the room at £45.
-Here we go, here we go.
Any advance at £45? I will sell.
Make no mistake. At £45 in the pink, there.
What do we think? Is that good? It's more than 30.
-I know but we paid 80.
Yeah, good try there, Helen. Still, not a huge loss.
I've just done a quick calculation
and Greece are in better shape than we are.
So I'm going to have to go and speak to the IMF
to get us out of this.
Helen is certainly in the lead right now.
But all that can change on an item.
Time for her beloved Italian piano accordion.
There are accordion collectors out there. I'm sure there are.
And this is coming up now.
Who would like to start the bidding at £50 for the accordion?
Button accordion there.
-30 then to bid.
I am lowering the bid. Any interest now?
We will have to lower it. 20. Come on, anyone.
-Oh, come on!
-He can't sell it.
Thank you very much. At £20. Are we all done then? That's all we have.
At £20. I'm going to sell.
Make no mistake.
With you, not at you, Helen.
I think this is a strong ukulele room.
That will certainly help Hardeep catch up.
Next up, it's his 1930s sugar shaker. Fingers crossed.
We need £2,000 on this one
to make up the money we lost on all the others.
£30 on the net. Take it away at £30.
In the room or on the phone anyone?
The internet bid has it and I'm selling. It's a single bid.
-I'm going to sell at £30.
-£30 only. There we go.
-Still a bargain. You should have made a profit.
-£16 profit on that.
-That was such a good thing.
It's Hardeep and Catherine's first win of the day
and they have over doubled their money.
Can Helen's lizard brooch do as well? Old slinky.
I had to have it.
-I know that's bossy but...
-I liked it when you were bossy.
And we'll start the bidding here at £20. 20 is bid.
-Any advance on £20 now? I'll take 22 if you wish, madam?
On the net. Anywhere? At £20 only.
All done and I will sell on commission at £20.
-I'm upset now.
-It's a shame, actually.
I expected that do a bit better.
That's only a small loss.
How will Hardeep's ginger jug get on?
£30 is bid. At £30 straight in.
We need more. We need a lot more.
Any further interest in the room or on the net?
At £30 then. All done and we'll sell.
£30 for 290.
I'm disappointed for you. It should have done a bit more than that.
I'm disappointed for you because you really liked it.
I really like them. I think they're really nice things.
Hardeep seems happy enough just to have bought something that he loved.
Up next is their final item of the auction, Helen's walking stick.
We can start the bidding here at £20. Any advance on 20 now?
Any advance of £20? 30, 40.
At £40 we have the internet commission bid.
-A commission bid.
-We're in profit. We're in profit.
Anyone else if you wish. No?
£40 only. All done.
£50 anywhere in the room? Last chance.
-I thought it might be a bit more than that.
-We got 50.
-Did it make 50?
-It made 40.
-I thought somebody said...
-Congratulations. Well done.
£40 still means a decent profit. You can walk away happy with that one.
-I'm happy to take the profit.
I'm absolutely beyond thrilled that thick...
-Overall it's not been a great performance.
-It's been hard.
-It's been very hard.
-Do you know what? It's been great fun.
-Oh, it has.
-We've had a lovely time.
-We've massively enjoyed it.
-Shall we go and get a cup of tea?
Both teams started their trip with £400.
Hardeep and Catherine made a loss of £141.90,
leaving them after auction costs with £258.10.
Helen and Mark made a smaller loss of just £42.20, leaving them
after costs with a final tally of £357.80,
making them today's lesser loser.
I mean, overall winner!
-Well done to you.
-I can't believe it!
-I think antiques was the winner.
Well done on your road trip and you've learnt so much.
-We are going to let you drive off.
-Thank you, thank you.
Right, let's burn some rubber.
I'm going to burn some rubber, just as soon as I'm harnessed. Yes.
-Amazing, amazing, amazing.
-What a lovely way to spend a few days.
It's been a journey, hasn't it? It's been an odyssey.
-I wouldn't have missed it.
-I've had time out from my normal life.
-We've had a laugh.
-We've had a great laugh.
And so have we. Cheerio, chaps!
Comedian Hardeep Singh Kholi and much-loved comedy actress Helen Lederer join the road trip. Aided by experts Mark Stacey and Catherine Southon, they hunt for antique treasure around London and head to auction in Essex.