Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. Actor and charmer Nigel Havers and his canny ex-agent Michael Whitehall explore the West Country.
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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.
Today, we're in the West Country,
in the company of one of our most talented actors,
plus his old agent, who's a bit of a star in his own right.
-So, what are we doing?
-Do you not know any of this?
-Not really, no.
No, because you tell me what to do and I just do it, generally.
-It's Nigel Havers and Michael Whitehall.
We're going to these antique shops,
we're buying antiques that we like,
-but we're going to buy the best ones for the price...
..negotiate them down.
-Your negotiating skills aren't exactly legendary.
Nigel, star of the Oscar-winning Chariots Of Fire
and also love rat Lewis Archer from Corrie,
is sharing a Bentley with Michael, his old Mr Ten Percent.
-You've got what I haven't got.
Which is that you're a supreme actor.
"Supreme" - I like that, thank you.
You never know when you're telling the truth.
Some of your performances are breath-taking.
Having represented some of Britain's biggest actors,
like Colin Firth, Dame Judi and Daniel Day-Lewis,
Michael's also the father of comedian Jack Whitehall.
They've even appeared together in their own TV show.
He's already made a lot of jokes, of course, about antiques.
In fact, he said to me on the phone the other day,
"Have you two antiques gone off and bought these antiques yet?"
Those two were agent and client for over 30 years
and remain the closest of friends.
Nigel was even best man at Michael's wedding,
so they should make for a formidable combination.
I'm going to say, "I'm afraid, for me, that will have to be £400."
-How about that?
-You maybe need to be a bit more ruthless with it.
-I'm afraid I'm only going to give you £400!
-Take it or leave it! How about that?
-That's a bit over the top.
Fortunately, they'll have plenty of advice
from our sagacious experts in the TVR -
auctioneer James Braxton and dealer Margie Cooper.
I'm with Nigel Havers and you've got the very funny Michael Whitehall.
-Are you going to be swooning?
-I hope I don't come over all unnecessary.
Do you? Margie, I don't want to get between you and Nigel.
So, with £400 per couple, let's get cracking.
We've just got married. This is why we're in this car.
We took the ribbon off cos we thought it looked a bit flash.
-Here we are.
-Yes, and we're so happy.
-Right, so are you ready for the fray?
-What do we do now then?
-We go and find the shop.
-Do we? A shop?
Yeah, we're going to find a shop.
Buy ourselves a little wedding present.
-Such a shame to split you so early on.
I wonder how Margie's coping with her charming chum.
-I remember you from the massive Chariots Of Fire.
Of course, when we made the film, we didn't know whether...
-It was going to be a...
I went to see a little early screening and I thought,
"Oh, dear, I wonder who's going to be interested
"in these guys running around a track in 1924.
"I wonder if we've made a mistake."
And then we ended up in Hollywood for the Oscar night
and the winner of the Best Film is Chariots Of Fire -
we couldn't believe it!
And everyone said, "You've got to hang around in Hollywood.
"You're very hot." I said, "I can't.
"I've got to go back to tomorrow cos I'm doing an episode of Jackanory."
Consummate pro. Wither the Bentley boys then?
My boss, when I first became an actors' agent, he had a Bentley.
-And he had a very, very talkative chauffeur,
and I remember him saying to me...
And I made the most terrible mistake.
The first day my new chauffeur arrived,
he said I didn't shut the partition
and if you don't shut the partition on day one,
you're stuck with him talking to you all the time.
Well, whatever the social niceties,
I think the Bentley's definitely looking like the wiser choice.
Talk about chariots of fire!
We've got smoke coming out of the back.
Smoke's coming out of the back.
They're right, you know. Better pull over.
-Turn it off.
-I'm sure this doesn't happen on Nigel's usual productions.
-Oh, look at this.
-Oh, my Lord.
So, what would happen? Would it blow up?
It could do if it got really, really hot.
-Well, luckily, I don't think we're far.
-Shall we leave it there?
No-one's going to steal it. It's not going to go anywhere, is it?
Right, let's go. Come on.
I just hope it doesn't take too long
because they're supposed to be starting out in Bristol
and then motoring east
before eventually arriving in London and an auction at Southgate.
But first, that great city,
whose motto is "By virtue and industry".
And I'm sure it has more than enough of both.
Plenty of buses too.
Um, wait, hello, it's me. Yes.
Just to let you know, our car blew up.
We managed to get out before it exploded and we ran into a field.
And then we hopped on a bus, eventually,
and now we're going to work. Bye-bye.
Always call your agent, eh? Come on now, Nigel, break a leg.
-Hello, are you Steve?
-Nice to meet you.
-Lots of extras on set today.
Another orange man! Are you following me or what?
Amongst this boggling array,
there has to be something to suit our pair.
Margie, what is THIS?
This is brilliant because this is a reclaimers'...
Absolute wonderful place.
So, basically, anyone who's got rubbish brings it here.
These are places where you've just got to root
and try and find stuff.
You'll soon get the hang of it.
This is brilliant!
This colander - someone's converted it into a lampshade.
-Isn't that good?
-I'm absolutely speechless.
-But that's incredible.
You put that in a very smart place, it would look amazing.
That might be one of my extravagant and odd buys.
I'd give him a couple of quid.
-Maybe a fiver. Am I insane?
-We'll let you know.
-It's all up for grabs in here though.
-This is just sweet.
-There is a certain amount of age to it.
-It's wearing off.
It's wearing off.
But you've got to think about at the auction,
-when they hold that up...
-It doesn't look like much.
-Yeah, is that going to be a problem?
-Let's have a look from a distance.
-And we have lot number...
-It looks better from a distance!
Lordy! What can Margie come up with?
These would go in grottos, wouldn't they,
in the sort of 19th-century houses,
where they used to have furniture made with the shell back.
-Yeah, little seats in the grotto.
Is that a little weed growing out of the...? I'd like to keep that.
-I love that.
-What are the chances, eh?
-Yes, it is. It's a cockle...
-A cockle bucket.
-It's the real thing.
-That hasn't been altered.
-I do quite like that.
-Do you? Well, if you really like that...
Just for a second, here's your drawing room, here it is,
and you have that as a waste paper basket.
I think that's divine.
Nigel's definitely got a thing about those.
-Time to get Steve involved, methinks.
-We like the look of these.
-Shell grotto type chairs.
-Yeah, they're called screamer stools.
-They're from the 1890s.
-Really? Never heard of that!
-It's cos of the face on them.
-Big, screamy face.
-It's a big mouth there.
-What sort of money are they?
-They're very heavy.
-They're about £60 a go.
-Are you interested, Nigel?
-I am quite interested in that.
I'm also interested in this little baby here.
-Oh, just a plaque.
-It's a plaque.
-It came from one of the demolition jobs that we've been to.
-So whether it's old or new...
-It's obviously been outside, hasn't it?
Yes, but it's just a paint thing.
I'm quite intrigued by these
-and I've noticed there's another one at the back.
-Is that a pair?
-Yes, it is a pair.
You said £60 each but, obviously,
you'd be able to go a bit lower if we bought the two.
I'd come down to £100 for the two.
Not so scary. Now for Nigel's bucket and some baskets too.
You and your cockle bucket!
Yeah, I found a really lovely cockle bucket
-which has not been hacked about.
-If we put that, say, with these two baskets...
-There's a sort of cockles, bread...
-How much is the cockle bucket?
If you got it at what it cost me, it was £15.
-The bread baskets?
-These two... Can you not ease it a bit more?
We're just gambling, aren't we?
We're in a London auction that we don't know, Stephen.
I'd have said if you were in London and you were selling those,
-you'd get £80 each, easy.
-Yeah, I wish I hadn't said that now.
Ha-ha, quite, Margie. Time to have a bit of a team talk, I reckon.
-Right, this cockle bucket...
-We've thrown out the baskets.
We've thrown the baskets out.
I think we should go for the SCREAMERS!
I could have another tap at him.
-Have another tap and maybe the cockle bucket at £10.
-£110 for the two.
-Right, and if he says no, what are you going to do?
-"OK, £500! Whatever you want!"
-We've come to, um, I think, a wonderful conclusion.
Which is that we'd like the SCREAMERS. I think they're fun.
-And the cockle bucket.
-And what if I said £110 for that lot?
-I'd say yes.
-Thank you very much.
So, with Nigel off the mark,
it's time to find out what their opposite numbers are up to
elsewhere in Bristol, in a car that still works.
My first big client was Kenneth More.
Reach For The Sky, Genevieve and all those films.
He was such a sweet man
and his great friend was a man called Michael Havers,
who was the Attorney General, Lord Chancellor.
I was in the Garrick Club with them both and Michael Havers said,
"My boy is looking for a new agent.
"The chap he's got at the moment is absolutely useless."
And Kenny More said, "Darling, you must take him on.
"He's such a sweet boy", and all that,
so I trusted Kenny and took him on
-and, as it turned out, he was a huge success.
Those two are headed for a very different sort of gentlemen's club
because tucked away in Bristol's city centre is a secretive spot
that should suit art lover Michael down to the ground.
-We're now walking into the Wigwam, which...
..is probably like no other wigwam you've ever seen.
-It's modelled on a Gloucestershire barn.
This is the headquarters of the Savages,
a Bristolian artistic institution for well over 100 years,
as curator Mike Newstead can explain.
The club, as we know it, was started by Ernest Ehlers
and he was a Bristolian of German extraction.
And there's a long tradition of groups of Bristol artists
And one night - it was 18th February, 1904 -
he decided to form a society,
and they decided to call themselves the Bristol Savages.
No-one knows exactly why they adopted that particular moniker,
although the Edwardian fashion for all things Native American
may have been an influence.
The club came here to the Wigwam in 1920,
with their somewhat eccentric methods already firmly in place.
The artists meet on a Wednesday night, about six o'clock,
and paint to a subject set by Chairman for the evening.
So the artists don't have an apple or a model?
It'll be whatever the Chairman thinks,
as a sentence, a word, a catchphrase
which might tickle his or their fancy.
They have no prompts, they have to do it inside the studio.
-In two hours.
-In two hours.
It can be quite a challenge,
although would-be Savages have to pass a stiff audition
before they're entitled to wear the red feather,
while the so-called lay members,
who turn up later to enjoy the fun, wear green.
The club, which still insists on remaining gentlemen only,
has had many talented artists amongst its closed ranks.
This picture here, In Sunshine And In Shade,
was painted by an artist called Bartram Hiles and as a young man,
he lost both his arms in an accident on Hotwells, run over by a tram,
but he learnt to paint by using the brush in his mouth.
And that's a portrait of Captain Robert Falcon Scott.
In 1910, he came to our annual dinner and he gave a speech there
and we had a collection which came to five guineas,
which was sent to Captain Scott for him to use
to buy a pony for his expedition. And there is one of the ice picks.
I wouldn't mind having one of those
-for when my son, Jack, misbehaves.
And in 1937, his son, Peter Scott,
came and painted with the artist members in the studio upstairs.
-And in our archive, we have the very painting that he did.
-Did he do a bird?
Well, he was an ornithologist, I suppose.
I'm sure he'd easily have won his red feather.
I wonder what our two will create when put to the Savage test.
-Do we have a title?
-Yes, we do. I've written it on the board.
The board, by the way,
is the original board that's been used since 1907.
I think the link with me with the Antiques Road Trip
will be very spurious.
-On your artistic marks then...
-The clock is ticking.
MUSIC: Theme from Take Hart
So much concentration going into that.
Bear in mind that I was doing this cartoon in about 1945
when I was five.
That's stuck with me as the only thing I could do.
-Have you finished?
-How have we done?
Well, I think there's a new "ism" coming on here.
You should phone the London galleries.
You may struggle to get into Savages at this stage,
but it is only the first audition.
I think that's what they call
letting them down lightly, don't you?
Now, let's get back to the shopping, still in Bristol,
where Nigel and Margie have reached their next shop.
-Here we go.
-Here we go.
Gird your loins.
-I remember you.
-Yes, from last time.
-Jay, nice to meet you.
-I just spied this, um, this top hat here.
Do you mind if I..? Thank you.
-That suits you.
-I do like a top hat. I went to Ascot on Tuesday.
-Did you really?
-It rained all day.
It's sort of too big for me.
Do you remember that comedian called Parrotface Davies?
They may well have appeared together in panto.
-I like these flags.
-I do rather.
-Here we go.
Well, we'll see if anyone salutes it, shall we?
-There are a couple of moth holes in there.
-I don't mind.
-That's good, moth holes.
-Where's the price, Jay?
-It can be £15. Cheap.
-What year do you think that is?
-I would probably say '50s.
-It might well be.
-Shall we make it that?
-Let's make it '53!
Just think, when you've just won Chariots Of Fire.
I'll do that in slow-mo.
Wouldn't you just love to run round, having achieved a gold medal?
If we're having a dinner party or something,
-they'd put this in the middle of the table like that.
-Or a burial at sea!
-So, it's what? £10?
-£15. It's cheap as chips, that is.
Have you got anything similar to go with it?
Good plan. What can our Jay find?
-Are those all for sale?
-Yes, they're all for sale.
There's a tin there with a view of something.
-Oh, that's Fortnum & Mason.
-That would go with it, the flag.
-Could we get that tin down?
-Yes, let's have a little look.
-Do you want to squeeze past me?
-Jay, this is what you do for a living.
Climbing up furniture.
So, we want to have a look at this bottom one here.
So, we've got that one there.
Is that Tower of London? It's old London.
-That's the Tower, isn't it?
-I like it.
-That's where you went through if you were in big trouble.
-Was it that one there you were looking at?
Ah, Crawford & Sons. Delicious!
Original ring on the top.
-I like that.
-OK, these two tins appeal to me.
-Do they appeal to you?
-Everyone loves biccies.
Let's look at this one.
-Job lot of tins - is that where we're going?
-Looks like it.
Let's just talk money for a minute cos we've got to be...
They've got no prices on, so...
-I was going to say I'd do the lot for £15.
-I think that's pretty good.
-It's a bit like an old-fashioned sweet shop, this.
-While you're at it, I'll have a KitKat.
-She looks like a...
-Macfarlane Lang. I remember them.
-I think she's great. We're having her.
-Any danger of a deal, do we think?
-Union Jack was £15.
-Yeah, and these are £15.
-These were £15.
So, can we lump it all together?
-The word "Lump" is what I like.
-It's £30 for the two lots. That's cheap.
-Thank you very much.
They're certainly buying in bulk.
Right, let's try and get out of this hole.
But how does Margie reckon it's going?
I think we're buying some really funny and interesting things.
-I'm not sure about his cockle bucket.
But he's a very attractive man. And he's lovely as well.
He's lovely with it. So, yeah, enjoying it immensely.
Margie, what do you think of this?
-Is that old?
Say what you like about our Nige, he certainly puts a shift in.
You have to really learn to look up, cos quite often,
things are up, up... Oh, there's an aeroplane up there.
Lots of things remind me of my childhood here.
Lots and lots of things, including this sledge.
Look at this! This is great! That's a two-seater.
I loved to go sledging. It was fantastic.
Of course, it used to snow a lot more in those days.
I'm quite interested in that.
So, with Nigel poised to buy the entire shop,
our other pairing have still to part with as much as a penny.
Michael, are you a collector?
I have sort of crazes of collecting things.
Um... So, I suddenly start buying commedia dell'arte paintings
-and I ended up with far too many pictures.
-Are you quite tough?
-Are you a tough negotiator?
-I am a tough negotiator.
My problem is that I do have slightly weird taste.
The sort of thing that appeals to me
very often doesn't appeal to anyone else.
Yeah, that's not helpful.
They're on their way, via a somewhat circuitous route,
to the same shop that Nigel and Margie are currently hoovering up,
so let's hope Michael isn't too bothered about flags,
biscuit tins or model planes, cos they've all gone.
-OK, I want you to look up...
Going to be a lot of money, isn't it? So, it has flown?
-That would have flown at some point, yeah.
-But when you say it flies...
-How do you land it?
-I wouldn't have a clue.
-I just know how to stick it up there.
-I beg your pardon!
-How much is it?
-I knew it would be.
£150? Just to get it out of the way.
Yeah, actually, it sort of already is.
-Well, if you're interested, ask for the best price.
-So... So, Jay...
-What's the best price for that, please?
-That WAS the best price.
-Perhaps the sledge will go down better.
Whoops! Don't worry about that. Look at that.
-The runners are still there.
-Yeah, they are.
-See? Any brakes on it? No!
-There don't seem to be.
-I had one with brakes on.
-You would, wouldn't you?
-Yeah, yeah. What's the best price on that, Jay?
It's £35 priced up, isn't it? A nice gentleman like you, it's £30.
-That's not even 10%.
-Over 13, actually.
-I don't think that's going to be a goer for £30.
-Nor do I.
-What are YOU thinking?
-I was thinking 20 quid.
I could split the difference with you there. £25.
Don't look at ME. You found it!
-£25! Yeah, £25.
-Done it now.
-In this together, eh, Margie? Hang on, there's more.
Look, Coronation souvenir book, 1937.
-Oh, that's lovely, to go with your flag.
-Jay wanted £5, but I got it for £3.
-There, is that the Koh-i-noor diamond?
-That must be so heavy on her head.
-That's why she's like this.
£58 then, for that little lot - a flag, seven tins,
a book and a sledge - all cunningly concealed from our late arrivals.
This isn't a bus shelter, you know. That's out there, the bus shelter.
-We're waiting for our limousine to take us home.
I thought it was the 175C. We'd better do some shopping.
-We'd better get on.
-Good luck. I hope it isn't cancelled, OK.
Time to see Michael in action.
Here's the proprietor, Jay. Michael.
-How do you do, Jay?
-Nice to meet you, Michael.
Bit late, perhaps, but definitely spoilt for choice.
Michael, take that in your hands.
When you hold something like that, what happens? Initial nerves?
-Can I get a tune out of it?
-It reminds me of my friend Elton John.
-He has a quite elderly tambourine player in his group.
He's had him for 30, 40 years, right back to the old days.
-But he is really very old. He's even older than me.
And he's beginning to run out of his...whatever it is you need
to play the tambourine.
-Your oomph. Or your smack, is it?
-My son is a comedian, as you know.
And in the old days, comedians, when they told jokes,
would say something and then they'd go...
HE BANGS TAMBOURINE
..at the end, just to let the audience know that the joke's there.
So, for example, you'd say, "I sent my wife to the West Indies."
-No, she went of her own accord!
HE BANGS TAMBOURINE
Keep smiling, Jay. They are getting there. What does this owe you, Jay?
-That's cheap for that.
-Think of the amount of fun you get out of that.
-He's still smiling.
When somebody's still smiling, they're not upset, are they?
-Well, I've said a fiver.
-That'll have to go back on the shelf.
-That can't be a fiver.
-Careful, James, you'll wear it out.
-How long have you had that up there?
-About ten days.
-Ten days and nobody's bought it!
-Nobody's bought it.
Are you beginning to feel nervous about that price?
You've just got to wait for the right punter.
That's what you've got to wait for - the right man to come in for it.
I tell you what I would be prepared to do,
-because I know you like it and I like it.
-I would be prepared to go to £8.
-Best I'd do is £12.
-My final word. £9.
-So it's either £9..
-He's on a roll.
-Thank you, sir.
-Well done, well done. Voila.
-So, there we are.
-What a nice young man.
Now, with our two friends back together again,
it's down to business.
You know at the end of all this, when we do the auction,
because of our relationship,
I think that I should take a percentage of what your things make.
-Obviously, that would have VAT on it.
Ah, good to see the TVR's back on song. Let's hope it lasts.
We bought, as Michael said, a bit of nonsense.
I heard him say that he reckoned he was the oldest thing in the shop.
I think he was!
-I have made one purchase though,
-that she completely and utterly doesn't understand.
It's made of metal and it's got holes in it.
-That's all I can tell you. What about James? How was he?
Very good man, yeah.
Actually, he drove the car beautifully and there was a moment
when I wished I was sitting in the back reading the paper,
cos he'd make a lovely chauffeur.
Just as well, because there wasn't a lot of actual shopping
done by Michael and James yesterday,
with just £9 spent on their tambourine, man.
£9 or "Nein", we go!
Leaving them with an awful lot to buy and almost £400 to do it with.
While Margie and Nigel bought heaps, including that bucket,
a flag, a book, several biscuit tins,
-a wooden sledge and a pair of grotto chairs, or...
But they still have well over £200 left for today's purchases.
Hang on - looks like we're about to go off-road.
Thank God this Bentley's four-wheel drive, that's all I can say.
Yes, when I watch this programme,
they're sort of roaring along roads,
the sun's shining and there's sort of cornfields,
but I've never seen one where they're stuck
-in a muddy track in pouring rain.
He's obviously not watched for a while then.
Later, they'll be making for the capital
and that auction at Southgate,
but their next stop is in Somerset at Frome.
I think it might be brightening up, you know.
-What a lovely day.
-It is a lovely day.
-Are you going to go?
-I think we should go.
-Are you going to drive?
-Do you want me to?
-I'd love you to have a go.
-Because it's such fun.
-I must be ever-attending.
-There could be a job in it for me later.
I might be able to see my way to something for you.
Ah, still running smoothly, I see. Almost as smooth as Nigel.
Do you quite like playing, you know, the bad guy?
-The bad guys are much easier to play.
-Yeah, I'm sure.
And they're a bit more fun.
-Do people come up to you afterwards and tell you off?
-Yes, they do.
When I was in Corrie, I was queuing up in the supermarket
and people would say, "You owe Audrey 40 grand, you nasty man!"
We all love a banter.
Michael, I was very impressed with your haggling skills.
-Oh, that's kind.
I mean, I've spent most of my life
sort of haggling for actors, you know.
What is the tip? Were you a king of the pause or silence?
I did the silence quite a lot.
And then the other one was walking away from it
and then you'd ring the actor and the actor would say,
"But what happens if they offer it to somebody else?"
I'd say, "Well, that is always the chance you have to take."
Nerves of steel, eh?
Rather ancient and very picturesque,
the town of Frome hosts an annual cycle race
up some of its steepest streets, called the Cobble Wobble.
-Oh, hello. I'm Michael.
-Nice to meet you. I'm Sophie.
-Sophie, this is James.
-Hello, very good to see you.
-What a lovely stock, isn't it?
Spoken like men with exactly £391 between them.
Anything Sophie would especially like to big up?
-This is the lovely bronze.
-That's very good, isn't it?
-Nice sort of weight to it?
It's all there. A lot of tapping.
-It's always good to tap and ring.
-It's not another tambourine!
-It's quite a modern piece
but I still think it's got a lot of quality.
What have you got on this, Sophie?
The bronze is £6,000 at the moment.
-Right, well, we've got an idea of pricing structure now.
Mmm, maybe something a bit more modest.
So, we've got a very terribly smart biscuit box here.
-This is by Huntley & Palmers, based on sort of Wedgwood.
And priced at a mere £5.
You can't all buy biscuit tins! Look again.
Sweet little enamels, aren't they? Ballooning.
People are quite potty about ballooning, aren't they?
Bristol's a great centre of ballooning.
They have a big ballooning festival. I rather like that.
-How much is that, Sophie?
-It's a whole £15.
Well, that's a start, Sophie, well done.
I think we're going to think about that.
There are plenty of pictures in here too.
But what will tempt our boys?
I just noticed this.
When you're looking for something,
you want something that actually has a bit of craft about it.
-This has actually been painted, this one.
-Rather than been transferred.
-And the scene?
-Er, Don Quixote, isn't it?
-Don Quixote, yes, it is, isn't it?
-And the windmills, Spanish.
This is earthenware, so this is Hispano-Moresque,
so it's a sort of tin-glazed earthenware of Spain.
Probably a holiday purchase, would you think, from somewhere?
I think so, but a man with more substance,
because he could have bought something six inches, couldn't he?
-And he said, "No, darling, we'll go for the 12."
-Go for the 12.
-Yeah, but you know what they say about size.
Don Quixote. I always forget this fellow.
-I think he was called Sancho Panza - is that right?
-So he was like a sort of... He was his man, wasn't he?
-In Bentley terms...
-..that would be me and that would be you.
Yeah, Braxton on the mule.
Time to sally forth.
If I may give that to you, sir. There you are.
-And I think this was the other thing.
-That was the other thing.
So, this is marked at £15 and this had on it...
-£20, I think it was.
If Sophie was Lew Grade there,
now how would you approach the whole thing?
I would probably say, I would pay for this plate, £20,
-provided I could take that with me too.
I mean, I don't like to be ruthless this early in the day.
I think he DOES, you know.
-I couldn't squeeze you up a little bit?
-Not even to £25?
As you are such a lovely person and, obviously, YOU are as well...
-Well, I'm only the chauffeur.
-Sophie, it's very nice...
Thank you very much, it's very nice to meet you.
-He has his uses though, like lugging the lolly.
-Thank you very much.
-For you, Sophie.
-Thank you very much.
We'll call that £17 for the charger and just £3 for the beaker.
But while they head off in their trusty steed...
..the sometimes temperamental TVR is also in Somerset,
on the road to one of Nigel's favourite cities - beautiful Bath.
-Nigel, do you know Bath well?
-I do, I know Bath very well.
I've done many shows at the Theatre Royal
-and I do think it's a magical city.
-Oh, look at the view there.
Although Bath has been around since Roman times,
it was spectacularly reinvented during the 18th century
as a fashionable spa resort.
Nigel and Margie are here to find out
about one of the Georgian city's prime movers
from historian Dr Amy Frost.
-I'm standing outside my favourite theatre in England.
-Before this was a theatre, in the early 18th century,
it was one of the houses where Beau Nash lived,
and he was the Master of Ceremonies of Bath
and a great performer for society,
so this is where he spent a lot of his time.
I imagine, was Beau a sort of nickname?
Yes, so his name was Richard and he sort of adopted this nickname
as he began to sort of brand himself quite early in his life.
He starts organising entertainments and he starts corralling society,
making them have things that they can go to,
-things that they can do and...
-Putting Bath on the map.
Yeah, well, he sort of gets invited to come down to Bath
to kind of build up the reputation of the place.
Amy credits Nash, along with Ralph Allen,
the man who owned the Bath stone quarry,
and the classical architects John Wood and Sons
as the men who made the city a must-visit destination.
So, Amy, what did they do for fun?
Well, I mean, you told people you were here to take the waters.
-That was the sort of polite explanation.
-Oh, right, yes.
But, of course, people would go shopping.
Bath became THE place for luxury goods.
Balls twice a week, musical entertainments, card games,
card parties, the theatre...
So, there was quite a lot for you to do,
but it was all entirely built on pleasure.
-This is where he lived originally.
He gets up in the morning, he has a huge breakfast, I imagine,
-and then says, "It's time to go to the baths"?
-To the baths, yeah.
Society would be at the baths first thing in the morning
and then they'd be done with their bathing
by nine o'clock in the morning.
And then he would have a full day
of orchestrating what they did for the rest of the day.
He was that important?
-Yeah, yeah, he called himself the King of Bath.
-So wherever he went, everyone would follow.
-Shall we go and do a simple tour?
-Let's follow him.
-Let's follow him.
Although the Romans got there first, building these fine baths,
fashionable folk began flocking to take the waters
after Queen Anne took a dip in 1703.
-It's a warm bath.
-Yeah, you can feel the heat.
But bathing was just the beginning of Nash's very strict social whirl.
He created a set of rules for assemblies,
so there were two balls a week which were referred to as assemblies,
and he encouraged someone to set up an assembly room
that they would take place in.
And then he publishes these rules
and they're rules to be observed when in Bath.
And it's things like, um...
"Elderly ladies and children must sit around the edge of the room
"in a ball because they are beyond or not yet come to perfection."
Ladies are not allowed to be seen wearing a white apron.
Duelling and carrying a sword around town was frowned upon.
-And did people abide by these rules?
Nash, meanwhile, was quietly making a fortune
from subscriptions to the society's venues
to an awful lot of gambling.
He's completely on the take,
so whatever is being made at the gaming tables,
he is being paid a percentage of what people are taking.
-Cos you can't really guarantee to make money out of gambling.
-But you can guarantee making money...
-Of what the house makes.
-And the house always wins.
With the famous pump room at the hub of social life,
the King of Bath reigned as the city's MC for over 50 years.
Would they have food all day or was it...?
No, I mean, originally, actually,
it would have been empty of tables and chairs,
-other than chairs around the outside.
And you would come here to look at the visitors' book
to see who'd arrived in the city and did you know them.
And then you just walked in a big circle,
so you would just walk around the room and you would walk,
making new acquaintances,
saying hello to people, gossiping with people.
-So, you just sort of circulate.
Yeah, and it's still a fashionable place,
still doing its original function.
It's a place where people come almost entirely for pleasure.
Although this particular pump room was erected after Nash's death,
he's still honoured with a statue.
So, looking back on Nash's life, we have to respect him, don't we?
-Yeah, I think so.
-And I think we should give him a...
-For all his faults.
-Give him a quick...
-Give him a quick...
Well done, old Nash - even though you are an ugly old bugger.
And speaking of which...
So, Michael - sorry, Mr Whitehall -
how do you think my chauffeuring probation's going?
I think probably listen more than talk
would be an early note I would give you.
I like the name. James is a very good name.
Or Braxton is a good name. In fact, I'd slightly veer to the surname.
You'd have to sort of smarten up a bit.
Those two have now motored over to Wiltshire and the town of Devizes
where, in the shadow of the tower brewery...
-It's a proper antique shop, this one.
-I'm Michael. How do you do?
-Hello, I'm James.
Michael, hat off, please. Umbrella down.
-Let's go antiquing.
-That is very nice, isn't it?
-I like that.
That reminds me of Alfred Wallis's paintings.
-Do you know Alfred Wallis?
-I don't, no.
-He was a very elderly man.
I mean, he was in his sort of mid-80s and he lived in St Ives
in this funny little broken-down house,
and he started painting on bits of driftwood
and then any bits of stuff, rubbish, he could get hold of,
-and now his paintings are worth millions of pounds.
Do you think he might have worked in a different medium?
-He might have done. It looks a little too sophisticated.
But I like it and I like the look of it. It's very decorative.
-How much have you got on this?
-£75. That's not outrageous, is it?
-It's not, no.
-And if it turned out to be Alfred Wallis...
Sorely tempted. Back in Bath, Nigel's saying it with flowers.
-So, this is going to go into the cockle bucket.
-To liven it all up?
-To liven it all up.
-Push the sale.
-How much have you spent though?
-Oh, that's all right.
-Yeah. I really hope it brings you luck.
-Thank you very much.
-You might need it.
-You've always had a thing about that cockle bucket.
Oh, well, never mind,
you've still got one last shop to look forward to.
This is more like it.
Yes, and with almost £200 left, they could have some fun in here.
-Look at this. "HRH".
-AS THE QUEEN:
This is an incredible thing! I didn't expect them to have that.
-Do you like it?
-I do like it but I've just seen the swing ticket.
-£220, but it's a really good one.
Hey, here's a tin-plate reminder of Bath's past.
Nice and substantial, isn't it?
Shopkeeper Alex should be able to extol its virtues.
-Beautifully made. Accurate.
-Even the wheel rims are of steel.
-It's got brake pads too.
-Got brake pads, it's all there.
There's a bit of age to it. What do you think? 50 years?
-I'd say not much more than 50.
-I do like it but I've just seen the ticket.
-Go on, make me an offer.
-Well, go on then.
-I look at you immediately.
-The door is right behind you.
-Something in the region of £70.
I think it's going to be a little bit over £70,
-but can I just go away and...?
-Think about it.
-Course you can.
Now, there's a coincidence.
A little coach in Bath and that primitive boat in Devizes.
Anything else in this old house?
-Sort of goes on forever.
-It's a bit like the Eiffel Tower here, isn't it?
-This is amazing.
-Amazing, isn't it?
-Very Dickensian feel to it.
This was the children's nursery area, do you think?
I think it was, yeah.
This is nice. I like this.
-That's sort of Chinesey, isn't it?
-Very pretty, this.
-Look, we've got a thing for a shelf, so this...
-..that shelf there, isn't it?
-The door doesn't close now. There we are.
-Steady on, Braxton.
Bit worried you're going to demolish it before we've even bought it.
You can see I'm a natural for the self-assembly, can't you?
A natural something, certainly! John, the proprietor, is on his way.
-Just as well!
-Ah, I'm glad you've come up.
James is about to demolish this very elegant little cupboard of yours.
-Is that the shelf for it, John?
Why didn't you ask him in the first place? I think that's very pretty.
-Do you? It's obviously very well-made, isn't it?
-Well, it was!
-It WAS, yes.
-And has it got any age to it?
-Not a great deal.
-It's more a decorative piece.
That's what they're about in North London, aren't they?
-Yeah. And is there a price on it?
-Um, I think probably £95.
-Time to devise a deal.
We've got the after Alfred Wallis,
then we've got this after Chinese dynasty.
What's the best, John, you could do for those two pieces?
-For the two items.
-We got buy one get one free in the last shop, didn't we?
-Yeah, we did.
-That's not caught on round these parts.
I was thinking £110, weren't you, for the two?
-I could do the two for £150.
-What do you think?
This is the moment where I remain silent, Michael.
What about £130 for the two?
I couldn't possibly, it would break my heart.
-So, what is your final price then?
£145 for the two items.
-For the two items carried downstairs.
-OK, let's go.
-Do you think so, Michael? Are you sure?
-Yeah, I'm happy with that.
-They got there.
But elsewhere, there's still work to be done. Now, that's familiar.
-There you go. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.
-And underneath, it says...
So you'll be pleased about the one you picked up yesterday then!
-These little decanters here...
-Are they Georgian?
-They are Georgian.
-I thought they were.
-And they were probably once in a little stand at one time. £85.
-I do like them.
-Yeah, they're very nice. A lovely pair!
-Can we just put those down here?
-Nice little stoppers on them.
-What can we do on these?
-They're lovely, aren't they?
-Let's sort of suggest maybe £65.
-It just shouts Georgian, that...
-It really does.
-I think they're divine.
So far, we have the tin-plate coach
and those decanters under consideration. Anything else?
This green bottle.
-It's a lovely colour, isn't it?
-It's a nice big carboy, yeah.
Oh, gosh, I don't know. We're in a right old pickle now, aren't we?
-How much is it?
-I could do that for £25.
Let's bring it out. So that's £20 for that.
£25, I think he said.
-AS THE QUEEN:
-I'm just going to get the carriage.
-Still in character, I see.
-Getting the carriage, I'm on my way.
-And this is our dilemma.
-Georgian decanters, we have the coach...
-50 years old, roughly, but very decorative.
-Really cheap and cheerful.
-Cheap and cheerful.
But in my opinion, as silly as it sounds,
as utterly stupid as it sounds,
that will probably be more saleable than that.
-So, let's take those out of the equation.
-Then there were two.
So, how much was this in the end?
-You said we had to come up a bit in price.
-How about £80?
-We've got to get £100 to make a profit.
-How about £100 for the two?
-Yeah, £100 for the two?
-OK, £100 for the two.
Yes, but they're almost as excited by what they DIDN'T buy.
-What about that tin caddy, that tin...?
-£75! We had how many?
-We got seven for £15.
-Is that good for us?
-It's got to be good for us.
Hey, slightly embarrassing celebratory rituals completed,
it's time to take a peek at what our teams have bought.
-Shall we show them the spring of our jive?
-One, two, three.
-Oh, that's wonderful!
-That's a very nice collection.
-You could have furnished a bedsit with this, couldn't you?
-I think you've done really well.
-What is that?
-A beaker, a small beaker.
-It's a little beaker.
-An English enamel beaker.
-Decorated with balloons.
-Oh, how sweet.
-Love your tambourine.
-Love the tambourine.
-I've had it retuned, listen.
-MICHAEL TAPS TAMBOURINE
-Is your tambourine old?
-Yes, it's quite old, isn't it?
It's got what's known as a bit of age to it.
And your little oriental cabinet there, quite sweet.
-That was our most expensive item, wasn't it?
-It wasn't an easy guy, that one.
-£75 for that.
-I think it's absolutely charming.
I like the little boat, too, I have to say.
-The boat is very you, I thought.
-Not bad for a steamer, single funnel, is it?
I think we basically got one, two, three, four, five extremely good...
-I agree. A little round of applause for that.
Curtain up. Time for Act II.
-We just take this off like this.
-Look at that!
-There we go.
-Look at that!
-You could furnish a garden centre with that!
-Quite a lot going on here.
I love that sort of carriage, the stagecoach. What a lovely model!
-Tell them about the chairs there.
Well, those stone chairs, to me, are called sort of grotto chairs.
-They are grotto chairs, aren't they?
But the guy came up with a funny name.
-He called them SCREAMERS!
There's a man on the front going like that. There's a pair.
-Just the weather for it.
-We thought that was it.
-Moving into summer.
-But it's rare to get a tandem sledge, ie, a double.
-You can get two people on that sledge.
-That's very friendly, isn't it?
Moving over here, if you may. Of course, it's the Queen's birthday.
We have this collection of tins and goodies.
A particularly good tin there.
-And a coronation souvenir book of 1937.
-It's a royal theme.
-Isn't that lovely?
Well, I think we've all done really well.
-We've all done very well.
-I've really enjoyed it.
-May the best couple win.
-May the best couple win.
Now for some backstage backstabbing.
-What do you think?
-I know Michael very, very well
and he was expecting me to go,
"I don't believe you bought all that junk!"
So, when I said, "That was brilliant," he was taken aback.
They certainly didn't get any of that stuff in an antique shop,
did they? I mean, some sort of bric-a-brac place.
If you were being unkind, what would you say?
I'd say they paid a little bit too much for the ship
-but people love things in glass cases.
-I think their saving grace is their seats. I love their seats.
-They're good, aren't they?
-And a pair.
-Yes, a pair.
-A pair is always very good.
-I always like a pair.
After beginning back in "Brizzle",
they're now on their way to an auction
at the London suburb of Southgate.
Regrets? Well, one or two.
If I was an auctioneer and I was wanting to sell sledges,
I probably wouldn't do it in June or July.
-And in a completely flat town. Not a hill to be seen.
Come on, Nigel! Improbable sporting triumph?
Heroes and villains? Just like the movies!
-I'm a little nervous, but we'll be fine.
-Don't worry, it'll be fine.
-It'll be fine.
Let's go to work.
Nigel and Margie have spent £278 on five lots,
including a few joint ones,
while Michael and James have parted with just £174, also for five lots.
I wonder what auctioneer Andrew Jackson makes of their spoils.
The tin-plate coach, I like that. Arguably the best item.
It seems to be, er...homemade, as it were.
It's a very elaborate tambourine, I'm bound to say.
You could use it. I've tried it myself and it seems all right.
I'm not keen on the little boat, I'm afraid.
Very rustic, naive sort of thing. It's barely O level, is it?
Eh? O levels? Are we sitting comfortably?
-So exciting. Ooh, here we are.
Well, just contain yourselves, because we're starting out small,
with Michael and James's most modest purchase.
Nice little beaker. Start me at £25 here.
-£20, little enamel beaker.
-It hasn't got a bid yet.
15, go on.
10? Start me off at 10. Come on. Nice little thing. £10?
I don't think we've caught anything yet.
£5 anywhere? £5 here?
-Well done, that man.
Thank you, sir. 5 I'm bid.
8, if you like. At £5 in front. 8 anywhere?
I think it's captured the imagination, hasn't it?
-£5. Thank you, sir.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
-A £2 profit is not to be sniffed at.
No, quite a handsome return really.
-Any profit is good profit.
Nigel's... Nigel's smiling.
I mean, if you make a couple of quid on that bucket,
good luck to you, is all I can say.
This is more like it.
Nigel and Margie's bit of tin-plate Bath elegance
and the auctioneer's favourite too.
Thank you, sir. 85 I'm bid.
-90 then? 85 bid.
-Is this your lot?
90 anywhere? Last time then.
-85 it is.
-Oh, come on!
-We've made £15.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Well done! That was YOUR choice.
It's not quite a chariot, but certainly on fire.
-Wow, that was your choice.
-Did they get the wrong lot number or something?
Cheeky! Will they be tilting at windmills
with this Don Quixote charger, I wonder?
We were thinking of taking it to Madrid
-to a sale there but we just didn't have the time.
-I like Moresque.
Very decorative piece.
-Start me off at 20.
I like the way there's quite a pause.
20 I'm bid. 25 anywhere?
-£20 on the right.
-Is there 5?
20 I'm bid. Last time then.
-£20, my word, you two! You're a success story.
-All done now? Thank you, sir.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
-Known as a maiden bid.
-A maiden bid, well done.
And a £3 profit is still a profit - just!
Now, who can hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme?
Tambourine with black japanned and gilded walls.
-At 25 now.
-This is the tambourine?
-Is this ours?
-Thank you, sir. On the internet. 30.
-Mick Jagger's here, you see. Mick's on the phone.
-30 bid. 5 anywhere?
-30 in the room. 5 now?
-I knew there would be music lovers here.
-Are we all done then? At 30.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Southgate's lapping it up.
-We've not lost a penny yet.
-It's very good, isn't it?
We should almost take this up professionally!
-I think both of you two should.
Actually, I know a few people in your business,
if you'd like me to have a word.
Have a word - that's very kind.
Time to go back to Nigel's childhood, his rosebud moment.
I didn't know that London was the centre
of sledging in this area.
-You've got Primrose Hill.
-Not far away.
-People, I don't think at this time of the year,
-are in the mood for sledging.
-Think ahead, think ahead.
Right, 50 now.
40 then? 30? It's a good make,
lovely condition. 20, start me off. £20?
You'll be sorry you didn't buy it in December.
5? Oh. 10, sir?
Jolly good. 15, sir? 10 bid.
-Oh, go on!
You'll make a profit if you can hang onto it for a couple of months.
-Are all done then at 10?
-I'd say you're done.
-All done now? Thank you, sir.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Well, it seems some lucky sledger's got quite a bargain.
The cockle bucket is next.
Yeah, I think you're going to run into trouble
with that cockle bucket.
Don't forget the flowers and the one green bottle.
Somehow, in that funny shop where we bought the cockle bucket,
to now, is a big step forward really, isn't it?
It makes me feel a little insecure.
An Edwardian cockle bucket.
-Together with Continental green glass globe.
Right, 30 here.
-Do you think cockles...?
-Oh, God, we're going down.
20? £20. Start me off with £20.
-You need a maiden bid now.
-And the vase.
-15 - the bid is going down.
-What about the glass?
-£10 now. Cockle bucket.
-He's not mentioned the glass.
Ah, there's three 5s.
-We've got three 5s!
10, madam? 10.
-There's a green bottle with it.
-There's a bottle with it.
15 bid. 20 anywhere? 20.
-Yeah, they know that.
-They're doing quite well. £20.
20 bid. 5 anywhere?
-There's a bottle with it!
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Sometimes, gilding the lily doesn't pay.
But I think James was right about those dealers from Morecambe.
If they'd been here that would have flown off the shelves.
Something else with a salty tang - Michael's possible masterpiece.
At 25 here.
Cute little lot.
15 then. I'll take 15 here.
You're better off with a cockle bucket!
What comes...? I say, what comes before 10?
I suppose it's 5, isn't it?
Ah, 5 I'm bid. Thank you, sir.
-That's another maiden bid.
-5 I'm bid.
-Don't stop, sir.
10 now? Are we all done then at £5?
HE BANGS GAVEL
I shouldn't laugh.
-Bit mean. I do feel a bit mean laughing, but...
Well, we are quite a long way from the seaside.
Ah, it looks like time for another of Nigel's collections.
Where's Nigel gone?
I think he's gone to wave our Union Jack
that we bought with our biscuit tins.
I think he's probably gone for a wee.
-Oh, here he is.
-I've rearranged it.
-You've rearranged it. Terrific.
-It's all about display.
-People were quite disinterested around it.
-Then I said, "Look." And they went, "Huh?"
I knew Nigel when he could go a whole afternoon
without going to the lavatory, and now it's all changed.
I was rearranging my tins!
-How many, sir?
-55! Nigel, well done!
-60 then? 55 bid.
60 anywhere? No fivers here, eh? At 55 I'm bid.
Anywhere at 60, ladies and gents?
-Last time then at 55...
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Whatever he did, it seems to have worked.
Come on, Nigel, you go off back there somewhere
and then you come back and then somebody shouts, "55".
-You know, come on...
Ventriloquism has always been something you wanted to do.
How about horror movies?
Presenting their screamer grotto chairs,
if they avoid a scary loss, they could well pip their rivals.
Had you ever seen one of those chairs then before?
-At Chatsworth House.
I'm surprised you didn't get that in the catalogue.
80 to start. Interesting.
40? Start me off at £40.
£40 on these? 30?
-Oh, come on, guys.
20 at the back. Thank you, sir. Here we go. 20 bid.
Is there 25 anywhere? 25, sir?
-Shout "Chatsworth" suddenly.
-This is better. You've got a bidding war.
-30 on the right now.
-I don't believe it!
-What you're getting for 30 quid!
-Are we all done at 30?
All done now? Nothing on the internet, no?
-No? Thank you, sir.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
That's bound to encourage the others.
I don't know what to say about that except I'm deeply disappointed.
Finally, that cabinet, which somehow survived James's attention.
There are people with a lot of taste here.
-It'll add enormous tone to any home.
Right, 70 now.
-I may even bid something.
-Go on, just throw that voice.
-Get them going.
-Throw it, Nigel.
40? 30 then? £30? Got to be worth 30, surely.
Nice little bookcase. 30 bid.
-There you go. You've started.
30 I'm bid. 35 now?
-35 on this.
40. Thank you, sir.
-All done then at 40.
-All done now.
-HE BANGS GAVEL
Clearly, we've not smashed any records today
but it's certainly a close thing.
-I was never very good at maths at school.
-No, you weren't.
-However, I think...
-I mean, I'm not great.
I can work out 10% of anything
but otherwise I'm not that brilliant.
But I have a feeling that we might have just clinched it.
-I thought you charged 12.5.
-That was a special rate.
Nigel and Margie started out with £400 and after auction costs,
made a loss of £114.
So, they finished up with £286.
While Michael and James, who also began with £400,
made a slightly smaller loss, after costs, of £92.
So, with £308 left, they are today's top team.
-We were cautious.
-I'm so, so sorry. Margie, darling...
If only you'd been on MY team,
it would all have been so different for you.
-Oh, go on!
-Hogging the camera?
Now, what was Nigel saying about playing the cad?
-I'm keeping this car.
-I just think it's rather me.
-I think it suits you, son.
-Yes, I do.
Actor and charmer Nigel Havers and his canny, deal-making chum (and ex-agent) Michael Whitehall explore the West Country. Travelling by Bentley and TVR, they have £400 each and expert advice from Margie Cooper and James Braxton.
But what will do best at the auction - Nigel's old cockle bucket or Michael's tambourine?
And there is a trip to see some Bristol Savages and bit of Georgian elegance with the story of The King of Bath.