Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. Charles Dance and Geraldine James join experts Natasha Raskin and Will Axon on a trip round Wiltshire.
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The nation's favourite celebrities...
Ooh, I like that!
..paired up with an expert...
We've had some fun, haven't we?
..and a classic car.
It feels as if it could go quite fast.
Their mission? To scour Britain for antiques.
I'll do that in slow-mo.
The aim - to make the biggest profit at auction.
Come on, boys!
But it's no easy ride.
Who will find a hidden gem?
Don't sell me.
Who will take the biggest risks?
Go away, darling.
Will anybody follow expert advice?
I'm trying to spend money here.
There will be worthy winners...
..and valiant losers.
Put your pedal to the metal,
this is the Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
On this road trip, we're treading the boards
with two titanic British legends of stage and screen...
Charles Dance and Geraldine James.
So, when did we first meet, Gerald?
I think it was 1981...or 2.
When we started Jewel In The Crown.
These two indeed met as glamorous young thespians,
starring in the classic 1980s TV drama
of the British Raj in India, The Jewel In The Crown.
-I'd been in Gandhi the year before.
-You were a team leader, weren't you?
-I was boss.
-I remember, "Now we're going to go down to Janpath.
"Then we're going to go in the gardens
"of the Imperial Hotel and have tea."
But we were very lucky to be there for six months.
-Oh, hell, yeah.
-It gave us time. We saw so much of it.
It was a joy.
14 hours of high-quality film.
Indeed it was.
Since then, Geraldine has hardly been off our screens
as a leading lady in everything from star-studded drama
to classy, period pieces, and even the odd iconic comedy role.
Today, she's still at the cutting edge,
starring in the recent Emmy award-winning series Utopia.
Her CV is simply stacked with too many goodies to remember.
What was that play we did?
Over There, Over Here.
Turning to Charles,
he too has played down the years with impressive range and bearing.
He's portrayed dashing young bucks, stately patriarchs,
and bloodcurdling villains
with skill and relish to delight audiences everywhere.
He's recently been lauded for his terrifying turn
as the tyrannical Tywin Lannister in global megahit Game Of Thrones.
Today, these two are driving a marvellous 1965 Mercedes 220.
It was manufactured before seat belts were mandatory,
and hence they aren't buckled up. Got it?
-It reminds me of my wild youth.
-Oh, does it?
-Not having a seat belt.
Did you have a wild youth, Gerald?
-Some would say.
-You weren't thrown out of school, were you?
-Several times. Three times.
-Were you really?
-My father refused to have me home, so they had to keep me.
Joining these two troopers on this trip
are a pair of antiques auctioneers in full voice -
Will Axon and Natasha Raskin.
It's nice to meet a thesp, isn't it?
Do you think you'll refine your accent a wee bit?
Because I'm already doing it.
-You're already going Rada.
# La-la-la-la-la. #
Don't give the day job up, Natasha.
These two are piloting a 1970 Triumph TR6.
Oh, you're handling this Triumph beautifully.
-Thank you for saying so.
With £400 to spend,
we kick off today's shopping in Tetbury, Gloucestershire,
and aim for an auction in Rayleigh in Essex.
Now, here we are in south Gloucestershire,
-off to spend some money.
With that in mind, it's time for celebrities to meet ex...
What is happening? Oh, my days!
What have you done? I was saying you were driving it so nicely.
-I don't want to touch it.
-Hang on, I'm going to open it.
Right. That's the engine.
He's brilliant, isn't he? OK. Time for some shoe leather, I think.
We'd better start walking.
You lead the way. I don't have a clue how to get there.
What time do you call this?
Tash broke the car.
It wasn't me. Believe me.
-It wasn't me.
So nice to meet you.
-How do you do?
-How are you?
Nice to meet you as well.
Now they've finally united,
they've already decided that Geraldine will pair up with Will
and Charles with Natasha,
and the latter is nabbing the only remaining car.
I'm going to have to try and blag some alternative mode of transport.
-I saw a bus.
-A bus will do.
-Will, I feel so sorry for you. This car is lovely.
I'm sorry, Geraldine, to turf you out.
-That's all right.
-See you later.
Come on, then. We'll walk in their tracks.
So, Charles and Natasha set sail...
I've known Geraldine for quite some time now.
In fact, honestly, she's one of my oldest friends.
She's the most delightful woman.
..while Geraldine and Will are rather stuck in port.
Seriously? A Jag?
Yes, but we can't just get in a car.
Luckily, at the local crazy golf course,
generous Jag owner Peter will give them a lift.
They're finally on the road.
Meanwhile, Charles and Natasha have arrived
in the town of Tetbury and are ready to shop.
They're heading into Top Banana Antiques Mall...
Hoping it lives up to its name. Are you ready?
Well, as ready as I'll ever be.
..where dealer Julian will greet them.
-Aha! Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you too.
Shall we start on the shelves where we can actually pick some stuff up
and have a good fondle?
Very good idea, darling.
I'm going to get this open so you can fondle in here too, OK?
I knew we'd come to the right place.
-An awful lot of fondling is going on.
Hey! I say.
First they're going to scour the place.
Ah! Natasha's found something.
Having played so many wonderful, authoritative parts,
look what's behind you!
Look at that hat box!
It's wonderful. It looks wooden.
-Oh, it's tin.
-Hold my glasses.
It's pretty unusual, isn't it?
-Let's face it.
-Let's see. Is there a hat inside?
-It would be so nice if there were. No.
-There's no hat inside.
It's a tin for a naval officer's bicorn hat,
probably dating from the 19th century.
Charles is quite keen on naval history,
so that's piqued his fancy.
It's a quirky thing, isn't it?
It is, isn't it? You're absolutely right.
We'll come back to that.
-It's cool, isn't it?
Cool! They're off to a good start.
But what's that Charles has spied now?
Those silver blocks, what...?
These are just blocks of silver, then?
They're ingots, aren't they?
Just blocks that have been hallmarked.
They are quite wearable.
But as objects...
I've never seen these things before.
But then... Then again, I'm just an actor.
An actor with an eye for antiques, Charles.
It's an engraved silver ingot, hallmarked for 1977.
On the ticket, £24.
Polished up, they're rather pretty things, aren't they?
-Don't you think?
-They are rather smart.
I'm going to talk to Julian about them.
You do your stuff. I can't wait to see you in action.
-I'll talk to him now.
-Do it. Why not?
What's the best price you can do for me?
I reckon we'll do it for £18.
I was hoping you might do it for something like 12.
12! So, £15, we have a deal.
-He's playing hard.
-Thanks, Julian. Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much, Julian.
That's their first buy sealed.
This has all the hallmarks of a promising day's shopping.
Meanwhile, Geraldine and Will are being ferried
in generous bystander Peter's Jag.
We have landed on our feet.
Peter, you're very kind to give us a lift.
And Will's coming out as a fan
of one of Geraldine's recently celebrated roles
in dark conspiracy drama Utopia.
I mean, Utopia, it was an amazing piece of television.
I'd be interested to see how you, sort of, saw it.
It was extraordinary. For me, it all starts from the script.
I read that and was completely hooked by the writing.
It was so unusual and so mysterious.
All that is great. It's really good fun.
There's more fun back in Tetbury,
where Charles and Natasha are still combing through
their first shop's ample stock.
All manner of things in here.
But what's this Charles has alighted upon?
It's 100 years...
since the Battle of the Somme, 1916.
And we are rightly being reminded of that...
bloody, horrible battle.
It's a scrapbook containing photographs
of combatants in the First World War.
Charles is intrigued by it.
However, let us see what Natasha thinks about it.
She who must be obeyed.
What have you got?
Well, have a look at that.
OK. The Great War Press Cuttings.
Yeah. Well, no, there are no cuttings in it,
but there are these photographs.
Oh, look at these.
Hold on, are they actual...
-They are, it looks like...
-Well, they're photographs, yeah.
Whether they're photographs of photographs...
They could well be.
XXXI do, Charles.
It looks as though the photographs
might be commercially produced reprints.
The book probably dates from the inter-war period.
It's got £48 on it.
Indeed. Well, I think, you know, we'd have to...
we'd have to do better than that.
With one book set aside,
Charles is revealing himself to be a bit of a bibliophile.
I've no idea what this is...
..but it looks as if it might be rather lovely.
Ooh, look at that!
It's an illustrated copy of the epic poem Evangeline
by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This limited edition was published in the late 19th century.
Aesthetically, I think that's really rather beautiful.
When I was at art school I did typography and photography,
as a piece of book design, it's really rather lovely.
I bet this is probably an eye-watering amount.
Oh, I don't know. 40 quid...
Again, I'm going to talk to Natasha, I'm afraid.
She's my guiding light.
What catches my eye is that each book plate,
one of the really nice ones, if we get to this, by Frank Dicksee...
-Are you familiar with that name?
-No, I'm not, but I hope you are.
So proper Victorian artist, really...
Paintings like La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
Easy for you to say!
Really evocative, stirring subject matter
in a kind of Pre-Raphaelite style.
She knows her stuff, doesn't she?
That she does.
But they've now assembled a large pile of items they like -
the World War I scrapbook,
the edition of Evangeline,
and the bicorn hat tin they saw earlier.
So, with their heads set on a hard haggle, off they go to Julian.
Ticket price on all that is £173.
To cut not too fine a point on it...
..I'd like to leave this shop...
-With some pennies back?
-..with that, that, that...
..and I'd like some change from 100.
Oh, my God! Now, that is hard work.
Listen, I've been doing maths rapidly
and re-working and shaving and chipping and re-doing and re-adding.
I reckon 140 quid.
How about 115 and we leave the shop?
120 and we do a deal now.
Go on. Thank you very much, thank you.
With full use of Charles's trademarked steely gaze,
a deal is struck.
But while they're paying up...
Let's call it 130.
I could keep lunch in there, couldn't I?
You certainly could.
Meanwhile, in that lovely Jag,
Geraldine and Will have travelled about 20 miles,
and Geraldine is filling Will in on a little of her family background.
My parents were both in the medical profession.
They met in a hospital.
My mum worked at Guy's during the war.
As luck would have it, this morning, they're heading for a place
that can shed a bit of light on the fascinating early history
of British public medicine -
the Mechanics' Institute of Swindon's Railway Village.
They are indeed driving to the town of Swindon,
where they're meeting Daniel Rose,
chair of the Mechanics' Institute Trust.
The Railway Village here was built in the 1840s
to house the workforce employed in the huge Swindon workshops
of the Great Western Railway.
The railway was one of the grand marvels
of the Victorian industrial age,
designed and built by the most famous of our engineers,
Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Was this all Brunel's idea?
It was Brunel's design that laid out the Railway Village
that we see today and all of these buildings around us.
It was the GWR that brought the workforce to Swindon.
The railway brought the people.
That's right, and with all those people that arrived
to work in the railway works, they needed somewhere to live.
They needed facilities and recreational opportunities.
The jobs created by GWR's workshops attracted people
to this previously quiet area,
but the cottages of the railway village
were soon under great strain.
Hundreds and then thousands of workers descended on this area,
but there just wasn't enough supply of housing.
There was meant to be 300 cottages that Brunel was meant to build
in this area. People recorded in their diaries at the time
and started to vote with their feet the fact that
it was a pretty dull place and wasn't a very healthy place, either.
There was a real risk that Swindon would fail
and it was thanks to the efforts of the workers themselves
that saved the place and turned Swindon into a success.
The Mechanics' Institution was formed in 1844
for the benefit and enlightenment of those employed by the GWR.
In the coming years, it would provide all the necessary facilities
for New Swindon to become a thriving community.
Medical care, entertainment and education
were all eventually provided for the workforce.
Who funded all these community endeavours?
The workers themselves came together.
The Great Western Railway gave them the land,
but then they had to raise funds, so they sold shares,
but essentially the workers themselves built and paid for
and governed the organisation of the building.
-Did they have a theatre?
The theatre was upstairs in the Mechanics' Institution.
You can see it here today. It was built in 1854.
It's a beautiful building.
And that was really the centre of Swindon social life.
Today the building is boarded up,
but there are proposals to redevelop it.
Over the years, even greater facilities were provided
to the Swindon works employees.
Here, a medical fund society brought a level of health care
that had never before been enjoyed by ordinary working people.
So, all these little rooms, what are they?
Are they different treatment rooms?
Yeah, so there was a range of different therapies available
in this building, including the swimming baths
and the Turkish baths, but also a range of medical care.
There was doctors, there was a dentistry
-and there was also a range of other therapies.
-All for free?
Yes, all for free because people contributed
to the Medical Fund Society through their wages.
These innovations at Swindon continued into the 20th century,
and when the idea of a National Health Service was raised,
its architects knew just where to look.
Of course, it was then in the 1940s,
when Nye Bevan visited Swindon during the formation
and the ideas of the NHS,
that came here and studied the Medical Fund Society
and took inspiration from what happened here
as part of the blueprint that he put together
for a National Health Service.
So, the vision of the Mechanics' Institution
helped to provide universal care for the whole of the country
and this building is still caring for the people of Swindon today.
The building is still fully operational,
which is an amazing thing.
There are therapists in here,
so there are chiropractors and osteopaths and physiotherapists,
that kind of thing, along with just people going for a swim.
Now, Charles and Natasha are motoring to the town of Cirencester
in Gloucestershire. They're heading into Cirencester Antiques Centre,
a very cosmopolitan choice.
Here we are - Cirencester.
Change here for Moscow, Stockholm and Paris.
OK, you ready to buy some more stuff?
-OK, so am I.
And they're straight off and browsing.
What do you have?
Is that a wee frame? Oh!
It's a cute one for all the family.
It is, isn't it?
Oh, and look, it's actually quite theatrical
-because it's got curtains.
Let's see it up.
And then reveal to us...
-That's rather nice, isn't it?
-It is cute.
It probably dates from the early or mid 20th century
and has a ticket price of £42.
Hmm, we really want it for about 15-20.
We do, darling, we do.
Maybe even less.
But what has Natasha spotted now?
Maybe we could beef up our lots a wee bit,
that nice press cuttings folder,
maybe we could add a little bit of trench art to it, perhaps.
Trench art is work produced by soldiers in the First World War,
usually items crafted from materials readily available
on the battlefield, like these empty shell casings.
-So, they're quite naive and quite sweet and genuine.
And also they're cheap.
They are cheap.
They are, at £18 the pair.
So, they've certainly got their sights on those,
but there's another battle coming as Will and Geraldine are here too.
Go on, after you.
And look who's waiting in the wings.
-Have we been spotted?
Oh, that's a good question.
Look at him. Look, he's found something, he's found something.
Let's say hello, come on. Let's go and wind them up.
-What are you hiding?
-Are you staying upstairs, are you going downstairs?
Yeah, we've done downstairs. Have you been...?
We'll go downstairs, then, in that case.
That's a terrible limp you've got there, sir!
I know, it's such a shame. He's had it all day.
He did have something behind his back.
You two'd better stop spying on the opposition and get browsing.
-You like glass?
-I love glass.
See, that's a very interesting pattern on that.
-Is that Torquay Ware?
-Well, it must be.
-Isn't that unusual?
I've never seen that pattern before.
You do know your stuff, Geraldine. Impressive!
-It's quite pretty, isn't it?
-It is quite pretty. It's £8.
-It's got potential.
Shall we leave it here? Yeah, hide it behind a plate.
You're learning quick.
Leave it with me.
Why do I keep honing in on this stuff?
Is it just cos I know it?
-Well, I think we've got to buy a piece of Devon pottery.
Another piece of pottery from the West Country,
this one made in the Devon town of Dartmouth.
This jug could be paired with a beaker to make a job lot
from the sunny south-west.
They're building up quite a haul, these two.
But elsewhere, Charles and Natasha are still on the hunt.
-I don't know.
Is that some sort of...? Is that not for tickets on a bus?
-Is that a conductor's ticket machine?
Give him your money, the ticket comes out,
and I guess it goes like that and out comes your ticket.
The ticket machine probably dates from the 1960s,
and there's £69 on the ticket.
There's the ticket thing, look.
-Oh, look, it even comes with a spool of paper.
-That goes in there.
-Ooh, I say!
-Oh, that's cool.
Now, that's got my juices running, OK?
That's what I wanted to hear.
There's a thought.
These two also have the little picture frame
and the pair of trench art vases in mind.
Shopkeeper Will intends phoning the three dealers.
First on the blower, Nicky, who owns the £42 picture frame.
And I'd love to know what your very, very, very best price would be.
All right, that's a deal.
Thank you very much, Nicky, thank you.
-She must like you. She doesn't normally go that low.
Oh, how good is that?
Next up, Neil, who owns the pair of trench art vases
with a ticket price of £18.
What's the very best you can do for that?
How about half price, nine quid?
Is that Raj, did you say?
No, you're speaking to Charles.
Charles Dance, my name is.
You're a gentleman!
Thank you very, very much indeed, Neil.
Thank you. Bye-bye.
How good is that? Well done, Raj!
Yes! Yes, "Is that Raj?"
A case of mistaken identity notwithstanding,
that's another winner.
Now, what about the ticket machine, which had £69 on its own ticket?
Can I make you an offer?
Somewhere between 35 and 40.
Would you, really?
You're a gentleman. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Bye-bye.
-£40, well done!
Charles's mellifluous tones make that a phone haggling hat-trick.
We have got quite a swag bag, Charles.
A swag bag!
Hear him roar!
They've got that lot for a total of £79,
but Geraldine and Will are still on the hunt.
Listen to Charles Dance down there, bartering away.
I can hear him, you know.
I DEMAND I have this for nothing!
I think he's enjoying himself.
I'm enjoying myself, but I'm just feeling a little bit
that I should have committed my cash.
And on that note...
-Do you like silver?
-Yes, I do like silver.
I remember, in India, all the silver jewellery.
If we can find a bit of Indian silver,
perhaps we could go with that.
And dealer Brian might have just the thing to remind Geraldine
of her Indian adventures.
-Is that Indian?
-Yes, very Indian.
It's a little silver embossed box with a ticket price of £78.
I've dropped the price, just like Brian's going to.
Put that to one side for us.
-And we can always battle it out.
That's a possibility,
but elsewhere, there's one more exotic item.
-That's quite nice, that architectural carving.
What is it?
Mind your back. Mind your head.
It's an ornate carved lintel,
apparently hailing from a Moroccan riad, ticketed at £110.
Please stop picking it up, you're going to hurt yourself.
Well, I'm just having a look at it.
Yes, stop trying to lift that
and let's see if dealer Brian can lower some prices.
First up, the West Country pottery, ticketed at £41 combined.
Your very best price.
The very best, how about 30?
£30 for the two?
That's quite good, isn't it?
-It is quite good.
-It's not quite as good as 25 would be.
-That's not good, that's naughty.
-That's not good for you.
But, hang on, we had the little silver box as well
you've got behind the counter, didn't we?
Yeah, I kept that for you.
-In the catacombs I found this one, a lovely Chinese one.
-Oh, look out.
-And it's fine work on that.
That's a better finish, isn't it?
Now, that I like.
Yeah, more refined, better quality than perhaps the Indian piece.
I like the feel of that better than that.
-I like that.
-Do we have a price on that?
There isn't a price on it, which is slightly worrying.
That one's 85, but I can do it for 60 for you.
I think Brian has done us a good turn there,
so my part of the bargaining, I'm going to say yes at £60.
And what of the Moroccan carved lintel, priced at £110
and owned by a dealer off-site?
If he said it's 50 quid, I'd say we'd have it,
but that's a big ask.
That's a big ask, isn't it?
£50 is a big ask, isn't it?
Oh, wow, he's in a very good mood.
-Shall we go for it?
Let's go for it. We've got to, really.
Will you thank him very, very much?
Geraldine says thank you very much.
Brilliant, and Will.
So, those three lots combined are now offered for £145 in total,
but Will's got other ideas.
So, can we say 130 for...?
-Good heavens! Thank you.
-This man has been a godsend.
-Thank you very much indeed.
What a deal!
And they've got everything they need in this shop too.
Well, we'll revert to type now.
You pay the man and I'll go and get the heavy things.
And with that, the curtain falls on a fabulous first day
on this road trip. Nighty-night, darlings!
But these players are such stuff as dreams are made of.
The morning greets them on the road and ready for more.
Did you have a good time yesterday?
I felt like a kid in a toy shop.
I absolutely loved it. You?
I think it was OK.
Thank God for Natasha.
Have you bought anything that might be a tiny bit risky?
I think it's ALL a tiny bit risky!
You catch on quick, Charles!
And their devoted experts are moving too,
and in a replacement car.
Is that a 1970 Citroen DS20 I see?
I think it is.
Well, Will, bien fait, well done!
Where did you come across this French beauty?
So far, Charles and Natasha have amassed a whopping seven items -
the Great War scrapbook, the bicorn hat tin,
the volume of Evangeline,
the silver ingot, the pair of trench art vases,
the bus conductor's ticket machine, and the little picture frame.
They still have £191 left to spend.
While Geraldine and Will have gathered three lots -
the Moroccan lintel,
the Chinese silver box,
and the two pieces of West Country pottery.
They still have £270 in their pockets.
Oh, they look cool, don't they?
Look at that!
There they are.
OK, let's get this show on the road.
Where exactly did you get that car, Will?
Now, Charles is reminiscing on his time
making the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Action Hero.
I was sat in the make-up room with F Murray Abraham,
who was also in the film,
and we were having possibly a rather pompous conversation
-about European art films, do you know?
And Arnold came in on the back of it and he said...
-"You know, you need the money you make in my films
"to make your art films."
He said, "You're absolutely right, Arnold."
And talk has turned to Hollywood in the other car too.
I did a film, a small bit in a film with Morgan Freeman.
-And I was beside myself.
-I was playing his lover.
And we had to have a love scene in a pile of hay.
He's such a wonderful man.
This morning, these two are driving to Bath.
They've still got a whopping £270 to spend,
and they are strolling off to Bath Antiques.
How do you do? I'm Geraldine.
Niceties concluded, time for a plan.
Shall we go round together or do you want to split up?
No, let's go round together.
-You shout if you see anything that catches your eye.
We don't know what we're looking for, do we?
We just want something that we like.
Something to jump out at us.
What's this big old thing?
Will seems to have lost Geraldine, but what's he found?
This has just caught my eye,
really just because it's big and impressive.
But just trying to ascertain if it's got any age to it.
Well, there's plenty of dust.
Just having a look for...
any wear on the foot.
It looks to have a little bit of wear, you know.
I mean, it's a big, impressive lot.
It's got a big, impressive ticket price too - £95.
Not signed anywhere, though, that's a shame.
Let's call in Geraldine.
-Oh, I was looking at that early on.
It's obviously got a little bit of age to it.
Has it? Because that's what I...
I think so, because look,
do you see how you see these natural ripples
and then you've got these little air bubbles caught in it?
Time to talk money with Annette. Stand by, girl.
Well, I've gone from the cellar, right back upstairs.
-And right back down again?
And I've come back with this...
what I think is a rather nice glass centre bowl.
-It was tucked away upstairs...
-..covered in dust...
-..so it's obviously been there forever.
It's been there a while.
Price-wise, we would really need to be buying it
for as close to £20-£30 as we could.
OK, I'll phone Gill.
The vendor, Gill, isn't here today.
Fortunately, Annette has her on speed dial,
so over to you, Geraldine.
Hello, we've had a very good look round here,
and we're rather struck by your green glass bowl.
What are we asking?
-We're wondering if...
-..if you're prepared to accept 25.
'So I would say, 28 and a half, you can have it.
-'And I have £28.50...'
-28 and a half.
-28 and we sorted.
-I'm not faffing around with 50p.
We're sorted on 28.
Is that all right? Thank you, Gill.
An incredible discount on the dusty green bowl.
Well done, Geraldine.
I'll do the honours and carry the piece.
-Very nice to meet you, thanks a lot.
-Lovely to meet you.
-Thanks very much for your help.
Meanwhile, Charles and Natasha are aiming
for their first shop of the day.
I've got you at my right hand and I don't think we can fail.
That's the spirit!
This morning they are driving to Warminster,
but what are they going to find here?
Right. The object is to spend money.
Indeed it is. They're meeting dealer Laura. Hello.
Can I have a jelly baby?
Absolutely, go for it.
And with that little sweetener, they are on the hunt.
Intriguing, but who wants to buy it?
Sorry, forgive me.
Ha! There is one thing that has made an impression.
I haven't looked at the label, so I've no idea what this is.
It's very interesting, isn't it?
It's a bench that's been fashioned from a piece of farming equipment,
with a wooden top added.
The cast-iron base is Victorian.
1840s, circa 1840.
I think it says 1890s, Charles. You've forgot your glasses.
Honestly! If I believed you,
everything would be 50 years older than it was.
I know, Charles. The cheek.
I like it, I love it.
-It is so cool, I think it is exactly...
Do you like it at 349 quid?
No, I don't. But I like its style.
I'm not sure about...
..the iron thing.
The iron what, Charles?
I have faith in the material, is what I have faith in,
and the fact that the Victorians just cast everything in iron.
But more importantly, do you have faith that it will sell?
-Yes. I mean, it's a cool thing.
Oh, for sure it would sell.
That hefty ticket says it's owned by a dealer called Debs.
What man or a woman is Debs, Laura?
-Oh, that's Debs! That Debs, that Debs.
And while Laura has a confab with her mum, they search on.
Oh, it's open.
-When is a door not a door?
-I don't know.
-When it's A JAR.
Oh, the old ones are the best, Charles!
And this pair of hallmarked silver vases have some age too.
They're marked for 1904.
OK, let's have a look. These are typically Edwardian.
You have a look at that one and I'll have a look at that one.
At 160 quid.
-Reduced to 160?
-Reduced from 200.
These are not rare. These are stylish.
-Sorry, what did you say?
Speak up, Natasha.
So I'd be looking for about half price,
-and I'd be looking for you to work your magic.
Laura will try to contact the dealer who owns those.
But they've two pricy buys in mind and only £191 left.
It turns out Laura's mum, Debs, is in fact nearby.
Very close by, but hiding, yes.
Could she come out of hiding? Can I have a word with Mum?
-I'm sure you can. I shall go and see if I can pull her out.
Her mum, she's heard that Charles Dance is coming
and she's seen you playing these horrible villains,
and you've scared her into hiding!
No, I haven't, not at all.
-She's out there making herself a cup of tea.
-Treat it as a role.
Lull her into a false sense of security.
No, I shall lull her into a sense of security,
not a false sense of security.
-Oh, right, OK.
-I'll do my damnedest, anyway.
-Oh, there she is.
-There we go.
He doesn't bite, Mum.
-Hello, Debs, how are you?
-I'm Debs, pleased to meet you.
How very nice to see you.
God, he's smooth.
Time for a chat about that bench. Debs has priced it at £349.
I'm being really cheeky now.
Go on, then. Try me.
Can I have that for 85 quid?
You never straighten your hair, I hope, do you?
-Well, do you know, so many women do.
I know they spend hours with straighteners
getting the fantastic waves out of their hair, and you don't do it.
Don't ever straighten your hair.
I think that might have worked.
He is good, isn't he?
So, can we shake on 85 quid?
-As it's you.
-I owe you, all right?
I had a line in Game Of Thrones -
the Lannisters always pay their debts.
-Good luck with it.
-..you are indebted to Debs.
-I shall come back...
Thank you, Debs! Very kind.
But now Laura's got the dealer who owns the silver vases on the blower.
Hello, Heather, it's Charles Dance, how are you?
'Hello, I'm very well, thank you.'
What we're trying to do is leave this shop
with our shopping finished.
So I want to give you what we have remaining
in our hot little pocket, you see?
Am I pushing my luck to offer you 100?
You're an absolute angel, Heather.
Thank you very, very much indeed,
and thank you for being patient with us.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
'And you. Enjoy your shopping.'
All right, my darling, thank you.
Another devastatingly charming haggle from Charles
means they've spent all but £6 of their budget.
Isn't that fantastic?
May I? Thank you.
And they're wandering onwards.
I'm in complete awe of you, Charles Dance.
That was amazing!
Back in beautiful Bath, Geraldine and Will have just finished lunch.
All right for some, eh?
-That was delicious.
-Hang on a minute, what's going on here?
All right, lads?
What's going on here? You don't often see one of these
in the middle of the street. So what was the plan with this?
Well, I was going to put it in the office.
We've got an antique office... The antique office.
-It's an old office, but it's packed full of antiques.
And this works quite well in there, but unfortunately, it won't fit.
This sounds like an opportunity.
A 19th-century French escritoire...
..seems to be going begging, rather.
We're on an Antiques Road Trip
and we are looking for things to buy.
Jeremy here has got this grand beast from a dealer nearby.
-How much was it?
But since then... Which was quite good!
But since then, I've damaged the front...
-..by the front falling open, and also,
I think there's a little bit of live woodworm.
What do you reckon? We could help this man out, couldn't we?
Well, we haven't quite got anything like 700.
We haven't got 700 quid. Would you take 230 for it?
-Yeah, go on. Saves me packing it back in the van.
..French Empire stuff anyway. So, go on, then, go on. 230.
-What have we done?
-I wasn't expecting that.
-It's all right.
-It's a deal.
A most unexpected alfresco buy, or al-desko buy.
Pay the man.
Oh, look. I've actually left myself a tenner.
-We need that for...
-But I need that for this afternoon.
Check your pockets, Will, you actually have £12 left.
-That's absolutely amazing.
-Thanks for that.
I'm not sure I just did that, did we?
You jolly well did.
Now, whilst motoring to their next stop,
Charles is filling Natasha in on his childhood.
I was brought up in Plymouth.
I was brought up by the sea.
It's very much part of my blood, I need to be by the sea at times.
I actually thought about joining the Navy.
So, they are driving to the environs of the village of Ilchester
and flying towards the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm Museum...
-Look, they saved a space for us and everything.
..where they are meeting curator Dave Morris.
Hello. This is Natasha.
This enormous hangar houses an impressive collection
of over 90 aircraft, which tell the story of the Royal Navy's adventures
in the skies.
Although you might naturally think of our naval forces
as being sea-bound, the Navy has, in fact,
been developing aircraft and flying missions for more than a century,
and Charles, for one, can't wait to find out more.
Tell me, how and why did the Navy take to the air?
One of the great necessities at sea
is to be able to see over the horizon,
so the Navy's been experimenting with tethered kites
and tethered man-lifting balloons for many, many years
in a bid to try and get that advantage
of looking over the horizon.
How many years, though?
-From the early 1900s.
As soon as kites and balloons are being developed enough to lift a man
and think usefully about that,
the Navy starts to become interested in flying.
These early experiments with kites and balloons
showed the Navy what advantages aerial capability could offer
to the fleet, and in 1903, one great innovation
blew those possibilities sky-high.
The aeroplane comes along in 1903.
It's the first time a man has used powered, controlled flight,
and the Navy takes an immediate interest.
It can move away from the ship several miles and rove around,
pick up information, spot weather, spot landfall, use it tactically,
even begin to think about using it for search and rescue.
The plane behind them is a very early example of a naval aircraft.
Did a plane like that sit on the top deck of a battleship?
-Pretty much, yes.
But a plane like that needs
quite a lot of metres to take off, doesn't it?
Exactly. And this is what they were learning fast,
as they were beginning to look at taking aeroplanes
and using them for the first time -
the platforms, the structures, the takeoff platforms
-were incredibly small.
-Very precarious, very dangerous.
-And they were relying as much on the ship steaming into wind -
that would just about get an aircraft airborne
in a very short distance.
-I don't like the "just about", do you?
If I was a pilot on that plane and somebody said,
"Well, you can just about take off..."
-They were learning fast that flying from ships was possible,
-but very, very dangerous.
From the Navy's first hazardous forays into launching planes at sea,
they quickly began to develop more advanced technologies.
The experimental age is over,
aircraft are now needed and being used, of course, for war.
This is the beginning of World War I.
-This is typical of one of the Sopwith aircraft
that would have been used by the Royal Naval Air Service
during World War I.
And straight away, lots of things are changing.
It's got more purpose, it's got a better engine.
The whole design has become more compact.
Yeah. And these floats mean that it can land and take off on water?
-So exactly how large a role did planes like this play
-during World War I?
-Enormous. It was huge.
Aircraft changed the shape of warfare as we know it.
From World War I, you are no longer just dealing
with foot troops and cavalry, you can now get airborne,
fly around over the battle zone,
look down, attack from above.
I mean, it put a whole new dimension, literally, into warfare.
Over the coming decades,
the Navy's air fleet would continue to make brave leaps forward.
One of the great sea changes came in the period following World War II,
when they began to swap wings for rotor blades,
developing Navy helicopters, like this one.
Four years after the end of World War II,
we got this as the new technology, the new helicopter age.
-Am I allowed to get in there?
-Get in there, soldier.
Oh, my days!
There's not a lot of room in here.
You look great.
-Do I? Really?
Have you got the key, please?
Steady on, Charles.
Meanwhile, Geraldine and Will have motored the Citroen
40 minutes south-west to the village of Ston Easton.
Oh, two magpies.
-That's a good sign.
-Very good sign.
Let's hope all is joyful as they aim for the next shop.
The Somerset Shop And Reclamation looks interesting.
-Oh, my days.
-Oh, my word.
-Slightly wish we had a bit more money.
Quite. You've only got £12 left in your kitty.
-How do you do? I'm Will.
-Hello, Will. How are you? I'm John.
-Pleased to meet you.
You're a small lad, aren't you?
Around 6'4", if you were wondering.
-Hello, Geraldine. John.
Very nice to meet you, what an amazing place.
What an amazing place you've got here!
Well, with everything from clocks to cart wheels, statues to sinks,
you are spoilt for choice. And what's this?
I don't believe it.
Look at that!
Ring any bells?
Yes, this one's in better nick
than the one you picked up yesterday too.
No regrets, though, eh?
Look, don't even ask how much it is, because we'll only be upset.
But that's interesting, isn't it?
He's got a coffin!
Well, this is the most extraordinary place I've ever been to in my life,
and I love reclamation places.
But I think this will need a little bit of a...sort through.
How about a nosy outside?
Oh, yeah. They can be quite fun.
People use those as doorstops.
Yeah, we've got some more of those in the showroom.
They've spotted a cobbler's last,
a foot-shaped tool that, when slotted inside a shoe,
provides a stable block for when nailing on a sole.
-So we've got those there.
-And they're working,
they put their shoe on there and...
Yeah, that's right. Sometimes they have...
Right, here's this one.
I think my arm's about an inch longer from when I picked it up.
Well, that's definitely the most interesting one.
I was just thinking as a doorstop, something like that.
Slightly industrial sort of look to it.
Some of the original paint.
So they are 12 quid each, normally.
Can we do two for 12?
Hey, that's buy one, get one free.
Will John BOGOF?
Um... I think I would, yes.
-Well, you're a fantastic person.
-Tell you what,
let's shake on it and I'm going to say thank you very much.
How kind. That final purchase means Geraldine and Will have spent every
single penny of their £400. Congratulations.
-OK, there you are.
-That's the last of our funds!
-Thank you, John. Very nice to meet you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-An amazing place.
-All right, grab that one.
And I'll grab... Always left with the heavy stuff, aren't I?
-Thank you, John.
-But you're so good at it.
Shopping completed, it's time for our actors
to take a peek at what the competition's bought.
OK, let's do it. Shall we do it, Charles?
-Right, you get that end. Two cloths.
That's the provenance.
Worn by Napoleon. Just the hat tin, not the hat included.
Well, it's all very prosaic.
I think it's a lunchbox.
-It's not. It's a bicorn...
-It would make a fine lunchbox.
It would, wouldn't it? Be a good lunchbox, that.
-Has it got anything in it? Does it open?
It opens, but, unfortunately, there's nothing in it.
I reckon you paid 20 quid.
OK, times that by three!
-Sure, why not?
Charles, take the lead on this one, because you loved it.
Well, this is trench art, right?
OK. Made from old shell.
Empty shell cases, from the trenches.
-What did you...? Oh, trench art.
-And the book...
Well, it says an album of press cuttings from the First World War.
No cuttings, but there are these photographs.
-From the trenches.
-The First World War, from the trenches.
-There's a sort of interwar piece and...
And that's a bit of trench art.
-And that kind of goes with it.
-It does go with it.
-Time for act two. Curtains up.
-I wasn't expecting marquetry.
Quite jazzy, isn't it?
-Would you believe me if I told you
we bought that off a couple of blokes in the street?
-No, I wouldn't believe you.
-No, well, it's true.
-You're so lucky!
We just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Then the little bit of export Chinese silver, snuff box.
And knowing your luck, 50p or so?
Not quite. It was 60 quid.
Yeah. Well, now we're in the hands of auctioneers, so, guys...
-Good luck, good luck!
See you there. Good luck, Natasha.
-May the best team win.
-Do I mean that?
-I don't know if I do.
What do our thespians really think?
Time for some backstage gossip.
I think we've got them rattled.
-Did you see their faces when we revealed the cabinet?
-They thought it was a set-up!
Two guys in the street?
Excuse me! They bump into Steptoe & Son,
and they get a piece of Empire furniture!
Thank you, and goodnight.
After beginning back in Tetbury in Gloucestershire,
they're now on their way to an auction in Essex
and the town of Rayleigh.
So, are you excited?
I am excited.
-I'm intrigued, a little trepidatious.
I'm convinced that rather extraordinary piece
of Empire furniture that you got literally off the back of a lorry...
-..is going to do very well.
Let's hope so.
Well, here we are.
-And here THEY are.
-Here they are, indeed.
Let battle commence.
Charles and Natasha spent £394 picking up six lots,
while Geraldine and Will spent all of their £400 budget -
don't you love it? - also on six lots.
I wonder what auctioneer Mark Stacey
thinks of what our actors have acquired.
The silver vase is Edwardian, very nice.
The Chinese box, the star of the show.
It's a fantastic box, plenty of interest.
Time for our teams to take centre stage.
Isn't this cool?
Best seats in the house.
Indeed. We're starting with Geraldine and Will.
Is there a calling for Moroccan hardwood lintels in Essex?
Commission bid's at 20. 22, 25 against you, sir.
28, 30 I've got.
Bidding. One more.
Climbing, it's climbing.
38, I'm out. At £38 at the far back.
Any advances at £38?
All done, you're all finished.
Hammer's up at £38 and selling...
Not quite the flying start they were hoping for.
Listen, things can only go up.
-I thought it was going to go for far less than that.
How about your next lot, Geraldine?
It's your chance buy...
the street-found secretaire.
At 120, here with me.
130 online. 140 is bid.
-What did you pay?
-At 170 now.
-You're so close.
180 now. Internet bidding.
Surely someone in the room.
Coming in, sir. 190.
-He can see quality.
200 against you. 200, 210, 220.
Back online. 230 is bid, at £230 in the room.
At 230, 240 is bid.
250 is bid now.
260, 270 is bid.
-Internet is back in at £300 now.
One more, sir. Don't lose it.
310 now. 310 is bid.
310. All done, all finished at £310.
Hammer's going down...
First profit of the day.
Well done, well done.
Still cheap, though.
-How good was that?
-We made a little bit.
Next, Charles's agricultural bench priced originally at over 300.
At £20 now. Thank you, sir.
22, 25, 28, 30 against you.
Internet is coming in. £30 at the back.
35, thank you, bid.
At £35. 38.
Internet bidding at £38.
40 anywhere? £38 coming in on the phone.
Oh, the phone. Yeah!
Bid at £40 now.
Against you online. 42 is bid.
45 is bid.
45, coming back in online.
Thinking about it. 48 is bid.
£50 is bid.
50. Internet, 55, thank you. 55 is bid.
Savvy buyer on the net.
-£60 is bid.
Thank you, £60.
One more online. 65, thank you.
65 is bid.
-£70 bid, thank you.
Coming back in online.
-All done, then.
I'll sell at 70, fair warning. Last chance then, please, at 70.
Rotten luck, Charles.
-It could've been worse.
-It could have been.
Charles could certainly do with a profit
on his First World War photo book
and trench art vases together as a job lot.
At £20, advance if you wish.
2, 5, 8, 30 bid now.
At £30. 32, 35.
Thank you. At £35.
-38, 40 bid. At £40 now.
One more, sir. At £40 now.
All done, all finished.
Last chance, please.
It looks painful. At £40.
All done, all finished.
A profit of £1.
Still, a profit...
-It's a loss, it's a loss.
Next, Geraldine's two lasts.
What can these cobble together? Oooh!
£10 is bid. £10 now, at £10.
Where's the 12? At £12, now.
12 is bid. 14 now.
14 bid. Shaking his head.
One more. 14, 16 bid now.
Just behind at £16.
Second row bid. Are we all done at £16?
Another positive return.
-That's a roaring profit.
A few more like that, Geraldine.
Now, what can Charles's 1960s ticket machine do?
Interest straight in at £20.
Bid at 20. Advance if you like at 20.
Internet, 22, 25, 28, 30 bid now.
Come along. 32, 35, 38 is bid.
Commission bid's at 40 now.
One more. 42, 45.
At £45 now.
48, 50 is bid.
60 is back with me.
At £60. It's a commission bid.
Are we all done? Are we all finished?
At £60, last chance then, please, at 60...
That's the ticket. A healthy profit there.
Geraldine's job lot of West Country pottery is to go next.
Commission bid I have at £10.
10 is on the commission. 12 anywhere?
It's here with me at 10.
Any advances? It's a...
10, 12, thank you, madam.
14, against you.
16 bid. £18.
One more takes you. No.
£18. My commission bid, then.
All done, all finished.
Last time then at 18 on the commission.
Another little profit.
-They all count.
Very good, very good.
Job lot for Charles now.
The limited edition volume of
Evangeline and the wooden photo frame.
Straight in at £40.
It's here with me at £40.
Advance if you like. It's a maiden bid at £40.
Any advance? Coming in.
42, 45 is against you.
48 is bid and 50 now.
55, 60 bid.
At £60 on the commission, at £60.
Are we all done, are we all finished at £60?
Last chance, then, please, at 60...
He is slowly catching Geraldine.
It's fantastic, it's in great condition.
Next, Geraldine and Will's big green glass bowl.
Let's get going. 30 is bid.
Straight in at £30 bid.
At £30. Advance if you like.
At 30. 30, 32, 35, 38, 40,
all online. 42, 45 now.
45 is bid.
Any advances at £45?
All done? You all finished at £45?
Hammer's going down.
Big bit of glass.
-Very good, girl.
-That's all right, isn't it?
Now, if Charles wants to get ahead, he needs his hat box to sell well.
£20 I've got. 22 against you.
25, 28, 30 bid, 32, 35...
Someone has got a hat with no box.
Seated at £35. 38, anywhere?
All done, then. All finished at 35.
Ouch! Hats off to you for trying, though.
Sorry I showed it to you, Charles.
Now, only two lots to go.
It's a battle of the silver.
First, Charles' pair of vases and the silver ingot.
£80 on the commission.
It's a maiden bid. Any advances?
5, 90, 5, 100 now.
100 bid. 110, 120.
-At 120 now.
All done, then? All finished.
Hammer's up at 120.
Hammer's going down.
£5 isn't to be sniffed at in this game.
-I think that was a good price.
-You did all right.
We've come out with our heads held high from that one.
Now our teams' last lot and the auctioneer's favourite -
Geraldine and Will's Chinese silver box.
Straight in at £60. 65, 70 is bid.
75, 80 I've got.
Against you, sir. 85, 90 is bid.
At £90 on the commission.
-We're going out with a bang.
-Online coming in at 95.
100, back on the commission, is with me.
At £100. 110 is bid.
-120 I've got.
130 now online.
140 is back with me, commission bid.
-At 140 now.
I don't feel completely useless any more.
150 is now bid.
£150. 160 I've got.
£160 back with me.
170. 170 back online.
170. Commission bids are out.
It's online at 170.
-How good is that?
All done, then? All finished at £170.
Final time at 170...
The big finale has brought the house down.
-That's the way to do it.
-Very, very good.
That might have got us out of trouble.
Excellent. I think it has got you out of trouble with a vengeance.
I'd say that is the perfect way to end this auction.
Shall we head out?
Time to do the maths.
Natasha and Charles started out with £400
and after paying auction costs,
they made a loss of £78.30,
leaving them with £321.70.
While Will and Geraldine, who also began with 400,
made after saleroom fees a profit of £89.69.
So with £489.54 they are today's victors,
with all profits going to Children In Need.
-It's been a hoot.
-Oh, it's been such a pleasure.
-Thank you very much.
A standing ovation sees our marvellous players off. Bravo!
Well, enjoy the sunshine.
Thank you, it's been great.
-Thanks a lot.
-See you soon.
-Toodle-oo, you two.
Legends of stage and screen Charles Dance and Geraldine James join antiques experts Natasha Raskin and Will Axon on this road trip romp around Wiltshire.
Charles finds a pair of Edwardian silver vases he hopes will prove profitable at an auction in Essex. Geraldine, however, bumps into a chap in the street with a 19th-century French empire secretaire. It costs her a small fortune - will the gamble pay off?
A diversion from the shops sees Charles end up in the cockpit of a very old helicopter, while Geraldine learns how a small part of Swindon dating back 170 years influenced the creation of the modern NHS.