Celebrities hunt for antiques across the UK. TV chefs Aldo Zilli and Ching He-Huang do battle on this road trip around south east England.
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The nation's favourite celebrities...
Ooh, I like that!
..paired up with an expert...
Oh, 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 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 really cooking with gas,
with two stars of the international culinary scene -
chefs Aldo Zilli and Ching-He Huang.
Oh, Ching, what a lovely day, isn't it?
It's gorgeous. Yeah!
-Driving around the countryside with you.
What more do I want in life?
These two have been chums for an age.
-I've known you for 20 years, I think.
-Yeah, I know!
-And we've never cooked together.
-I've never cooked with you.
She was three. I can see this competition heating up.
I am a bit competitive.
-The aim, for me...
The aim for me, here, is to make more money than you, really.
That is the aim of this game.
Aldo hails from central Italy, and rose to fame here in the UK
with his regular appearances as a TV chef.
Listen, they paired us up for a reason. All right?
Yes, we have lots in common.
Italian and Chinese culture.
We love to eat, we love to shop.
-We love to spend!
You've come to the right road trip, then.
Ching was born in Taiwan,
and her passion is bringing real Chinese food to Western kitchens
with TV series like BBC Two's Chinese Food Made Easy.
So, that's the beef done.
Out on top of the spinach.
Today, these two are driving a delicious classic car -
the 1972 Datsun 240Z.
This was one of the original Japanese sports cars.
Aiding Ching and Aldo on this journey of antique discovery
will be two Caledonian auctioneers at the top of their games,
Natasha Raskin and Paul Laidlaw.
We know these guys can stand the heat in the kitchen, Paul.
But do you reckon they'll be able to stand it in the auction room?
Yeah. That will be the test of them - their mettle.
These two are piloting a Triumph TR6, dating from 1974.
With £400 to spend,
our teams will start today's buying in the Sussex city of Brighton...
..journeying through the mellow meadows of south-eastern England
to end up at auction in Chichester.
And, on that score, it's time for celebrities to meet experts.
-Ah, we made it!
-Lovely to meet you.
I'm so looking forward to this.
Aldo, I'll go behind you. Nice to see you.
Well done for bringing the car!
-The car - you a Triumph fan?
-I love that.
-You love it?
I don't like it - I love it.
They've already decided that Ching will pair with Paul
and Natasha with Aldo.
-Good luck, Natasha.
-Do I need it?
Let's be triumphant!
Come on. Bye!
-All right, guys. Good luck.
Oh, look at you - just immediately going to the driver's seat.
I am driving this car.
-Good luck, guys.
-Thanks. You, too!
-Couldn't she find the first gear?
-Yeah. Go, girl.
She's found the first gear!
Follow that car.
Time for Paul to confess all -
he's a bit of a fan.
-I made one of your dishes yesterday.
For the first time. I'm ashamed to say, for the first time.
-Not for the last!
I made your take on beef and oyster sauce.
-With the wilted spinach.
He's made a good impression.
How are the others getting on?
So tell me why you were so thrilled to see this Triumph.
This car brings back so many memories.
This was like my first car in this country that I bought
for 900 quid. It was like...
-having nowadays a proper Ferrari or Lamborghini.
The sad thing about this car is that I crashed it four weeks later.
-Oh, you did not!
-And I lost the car.
-Oh, that is so...
-It was horrendous.
But this trip will give Aldo another chance to drive the convertible
of his youthful dreams.
This pair are heading to the seaside city of Brighton,
a delightful destination in which to start this summer's day.
And their shop is in Brighton Lanes, where they're meeting dealer Livia.
Hello. How very nice to meet you.
-Livia, Tasha. Nice to you.
Best start with a plan, right, Natasha?
Tell me about your shopping list. We've got to buy five items.
-We've got £400.
Anything you need to come away with, or are you open to all suggestions?
Well, I'm open to suggestion, but rings are a good idea, though.
-Cos people like rings, don't they?
-People do like rings.
-What do you think?
-I'm a fan of jewellery at auction.
If you can get a quirky bit of jewellery at auction,
it always gets the bidders going.
But, of course, it has to be the right price.
Quirky and cheap? Good luck(!)
There's plenty of quality stock in here.
What about these kind of watches?
OK. You've immediately gone for quite high-value stuff, Aldo.
I'm panicking, I'm panicking.
-How much are they?
-It depends which one you're looking.
-They're all 300 quid.
-Yeah. And above.
Which one absolutely jumps out to me straightaway?
-That one there.
-No, it's not that one.
That jumps out to you because it's £1,800.
I'll tell you what one...
I've got expensive tastes, mate.
I'll say. Time for Natasha to divert this big spender to another area.
It's obviously a wee bit cheaper in general this side.
Is there anything - and don't rush - that catches your eye?
Something that you've maybe not seen before - the style.
You don't honestly like that, do you?
Aldo's alighted on a man's ring.
Mark 925 silver.
That is kitsch.
And it's set with diamante.
Natasha's spied some sparklers all of her own.
These, Aldo. Tell me, would you wear these?
Me, not, but my wife probably would.
-Ah, come on! I can see you in these, rocking them.
-Do you like them?
Halloween. With a wig on.
I would only contemplate them
if I put them next to your ears and see what they look like.
Can I try them on for you?
These screw-back earrings are more to Natasha's taste.
They're paste, but they have got this amazing Art Deco look.
I'm quite obsessed with them.
Time to ask Livia to raid that cabinet.
I want to have a look at these screw-back earrings at the front.
I'm obsessed with those. Sorry, Aldo!
They're not particularly old,
but Natasha's keen on these mid-20th-century earrings.
-Can you screw it for me? Can you screw it on?
-I'll do anything once.
Right, here we go. Oh, careful!
It's only blood supply to my ear lobes.
-The condition is good, yeah?
Ticket price on these is £40.
25 quid, I'll buy them.
28 and they're yours.
27 and a half.
I wouldn't bid in your restaurant, would I?
Good point, Livia!
But Aldo hasn't forgotten about the Dad ring.
Ticket price for that beauty is £35. Gosh!
Now, Livia, this strikes me as something
you wouldn't normally have in your shop.
-It doesn't quite fit in.
Is it something you just want to get rid of?
I could do you a deal on that.
-We do like a deal.
-You're taking full responsibility for this one.
-That's all I'm saying.
Why don't we do...? Go on.
-40 quid for both.
-15 on that.
Only because I want to see the fun at the auction on that.
We've got 15 on this.
If we made that 25, could we do a deal for 40?
-That's what really...
-Go on, then.
Do 40 on that.
£40 for both the earrings and the Dad ring,
which even Livia's not too keen on - and she's selling it.
All my lovely stuff in this shop and he zoomed in on that!
I'm coming to your restaurant and ordering chips.
With cheese on top!
Nothing wrong with it. If you like it, I'll give it to you.
Well said, Aldo.
They've got a good deal there.
We're done for the evening.
Meanwhile, Paul's grilling Ching on what "objets" she has at home.
I have, you know, some Chinese silk tapestry.
I love Buddhas. I collect a lot of Buddhas, and vases.
I enjoy a lot of the Chinesey stuff.
Because I feel like I've lived in the West a long time
and I've lost touch with my heritage a little bit.
So... You know, it's like cooking.
For me, it takes me back to a part of my heritage.
Sounds like some Asian-influenced buys might be on the cards.
-Right, game on.
Game on indeed, heh-heh-heh.
They're heading for the town of Arundel in West Sussex.
This ancient market town also boasts one of the longest occupied stately
homes in England, Arundel Castle.
Paul and Ching's first shop of the day is Arundel Bridge Antiques...
-And this is it.
..where dealer Jane will be on hand to help.
-Good morning. I'm Ching.
And with that, they're off and browsing.
-Follow your instinct.
Oh, look at this frog!
Isn't he cute?
I could spend all day in here.
Well, we don't have all day, so they'd better get looking.
And soon enough, Ching spots an item that takes her fancy.
I really love it, though.
It's a Chinese porcelain bowl,
priced up at £55.
As strong as that.
Jade green is really...
It's a really lucky, auspicious colour.
It's the colour of money.
And it's round. Everything in Chinese culture should be...
It should have symmetry.
I see. It should be balanced.
Balance and unity.
You're selling it to me now.
But as Paul knows,
its value really rests on a mark on the on the underside.
If it's got no mark or a mark aping an early mark,
then people are going to... The sophisticate's going to go...
They will take a risk.
It's a late 19th,
early 20th century pastiche of an 18th century or earlier example.
But if it's simply marked "made in China",
it's certainly a modern reproduction and far less valuable at auction.
I'm going to get my jacket.
Rats. Modern reproduction it is.
Do you think people would know?
-Only the ones that can read.
So it's back to the drawing board.
This is much harder than I thought it would be.
Chin up, Ching.
What about this?
What is it?
That's quite cool, isn't it?
Is that a traditional well?
It's a French well bucket.
I find it really charming.
I think others would, too.
It's a good-looking thing.
It's a wrought-iron pail for drawing water from a well,
hailing from la belle France.
Shall we try and bargain, get this for, like, £10?
I think we've got to start trying.
I like the way you think, by the way.
You're smiling and it's all light and breezy, but it seems ruthless.
I've been known to haggle
where the buyer's said "no" and I'm still haggling.
Excellent. Time to talk money with Jane.
So we found something.
-A small bucket.
This gentleman, all his things come from France.
He goes to France a lot.
And the best on that is 45.
No room for manoeuvre?
I can phone him, but not much.
Every little helps, as they say.
Of course. I will try.
While Jane calls the owner of the pail, they'll browse on.
And it doesn't take long for Ching to find something.
I found it, Paul.
What is it?
Look, he's got a little lotus flower on his head.
It means he's enlightened.
And look how many lotus flowers there are.
It's a lucky cat.
There's no age to that.
It's a late-20th-century ceramic cat, again hailing from China.
It is modern, but priced at £28.
It's... It's a charming thing.
-What do you want to pay for that?
I would want to pay...£18 for this.
We're going to take a punt on the lucky cat.
Ching's determined, and that's now two potential buys in one shop -
maybe a chance of a better deal.
We'll try and haggle on this. If we get 50 for both...
Why not? Yes, let's.
-I like your style. Come on, let's do this.
Yes. We've got the cat.
And it's lucky.
We need some.
Back to Jane they go.
And Ching's straight into haggle mode.
I was hoping that this,
both the cat and the bucket,
would go for...55.
I can do the two for 60.
What do you think? Will you go for them?
-Yeah, let's do it.
-I think we're doing it.
We've got the cat.
Nothing can go wrong.
And it's lucky.
Famous last words!
That's the French bucket for £40 and the lucky pussy for £20.
That's the cat's pyjamas!
-Thank you so much.
-All right, you're welcome.
Natasha's keen to find out a bit more about Aldo's food philosophy.
So what made you stand out, then? What's your signature dish?
I think what makes me stand out is I try to keep it simple.
My ingredients do all the talking for my cooking.
I work with seasons.
I love being...creative with food.
They're heading for the environs of the village of Clayton, West Sussex.
In honour of Aldo's love of simple, traditional ingredients,
they're taking a break from shopping
to visit a local place that produced exactly that -
a site the locals have, for more than a century,
lovingly called Jill Windmill.
They're meeting Windmill Society trustee Simon Potter.
-Here we come.
-Here we go.
-Isn't that great?
Mulino a vento!
Beautiful place. Ciao.
Jill is a rare working 19th-century corn windmill,
which the society Simon represents
has painstakingly restored to full working order.
She's a magnificent example of the mills that were once a central part
of countryside life all over Britain -
and seriously profitable businesses.
Nowadays, Jill mills local organic flour,
which is definitely of interest to Aldo.
-Nice to meet you.
-Do you have windmills out in Italy?
Of course we have windmills. I grew up with these things.
And we make our pasta flour from these.
-How good is that?
Sussex grain from a Sussex windmill.
That's all I can think of.
You've lost him, Simon. You've lost him to pasta and pizza.
She's trying to teach me about antiques.
If I give you some flour, will you make pasta for us?
By the time I finish with you two today, you'll be making pasta.
At the height of the Victorian period, Jill was a busy working mill
providing this area with essential flour
for the bread that fed the local people.
At any one time, she was staffed by only two workers.
It would have been run by a miller and a boy.
The boy would start work at age eight
and he would not see his 40th birthday.
The main problem was the dust.
Like miners underground, they would get dust in the lungs
because he was on the floor, where the flour was ending up,
and he would have miller's lung very early in his life
and wouldn't last very long.
Miller's lung, so that's the inhalation?
The illness meant millers may have had a short life expectancy.
But whilst they were working,
mills like these were extremely profitable.
When this was commercial, this mill was bringing in
£2,500 a year in 1830, which is about 2½ million.
-So it was a good life, but a short life.
A good but a short life.
They always said you should marry a miller
because at 41 you'd be the richest widow for miles.
I'm learning more in two minutes here
than I've learned in 45 years in England.
But the huge profit mills could make was also increased by some
rather underhand practices.
There wouldn't be just flour in it in those days.
The miller would be making money by adding other nasties in it,
like chalk, ground bones.
-He would not?
I was just going to ask that - they must've added other things to it.
There was a lot of things. The best thing, actually, was called alum,
which is aluminium sulphate.
The reason for adding that - first of all, it bulks out flour.
Secondly, it absorbs water.
So for a given quantity of flour, you can get a larger white product.
So housewives got good at testing their flower for contaminants.
So the Victorian housewife would have to be almost a chemist.
She'd have books that say, "How do I test my flour to see if there's chalk in it?"
And they would have things like hydrochloric acid in the kitchen
to test the flour.
Nowadays, Jill occasionally mills small amounts of organic flour
made from local grain,
and the idea of that is enough to have Aldo straining to get inside.
I've heard enough. I need to go and see this place now.
This is awesome.
Look at this. It's like a living antique.
We are walking into an antique.
-This is my new house.
I love this.
This is amazing.
The mill works by harnessing wind power in the sails which,
if the wind is strong enough,
drives the mechanism to crush dry grain into flour.
-OK, so this is where it all starts?
-Yes. And you use a bag of grain.
-You do realise who's inspecting the grain now?
-It has to be good quality.
You can see it's much smaller than the normal grain,
-because it's organic.
-I want to eat it now.
Sadly, this grain is staying in the bag today.
There isn't a strong enough wind to mill,
but there might be for the sails to turn if they're lucky.
-Would you like to start our windmill?
-Yeah, because you need muscles for this, don't you?
Pull tight. Just keep pulling.
What do you reckon? What are the chances?
-I don't think so.
-I don't think so.
-It didn't look like we had wind.
-We have wind.
-Slowly but surely - there it goes.
She's a beautiful sight.
Jill is going rock and roll here.
I think it's safe to say Aldo's smitten with Jill the Mill.
This has been an amazing experience.
-Nice to have met you. All the best.
-You're a top man.
Meanwhile, Ching and Paul are heading towards the next shop.
-I'm feeling lucky.
I think you're going to be my lucky Scottish charm.
I'll take that.
It's because you're a Scot and you have bags of charm.
They're getting on swimmingly.
All the auspices are good
as they drive back to Brighton.
They're heading into North Lane Antiques and Flea Market
and meeting dealer Alan.
Bit of an adventure, huh?
It is. Good, isn't it?
-Hello there. How are you?
There's a Buddha.
You didn't even get to reception!
You are keen, Ching.
-Sorry, awfully bad mannered.
-How are you?
-Very well. Are you all right?
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Have a wee look around?
-Please do, yeah.
-Thanks very much.
They already have two lots for auction,
but they're determined to add to their haul.
Buying under pressure - I love it!
What are we going to go for?
Something that says...
But it's Asian antiques Ching's really keen on.
I did see something along here.
Yeah, look, that little Asian sort of ashtray.
Wee Satsuma piece?
That's what it is, yeah.
-Yeah, the detail on that is not bad, huh?
-I agree with you.
-It's not bad.
-Shall we have a look at it?
-You can ask, yes.
Looks nice. Oh, Alan!
-We scoured. There we are.
-That's our weapon.
A Satsuma dish.
-What is this?
-Satsuma. It's a Japanese...
-Oh, Satsuma butterfly dish.
Satsuma ware is a type of Japanese earthenware
which became very popular in the West
in the late Victorian and Edwardian period.
Look, it's not uncommon.
This is going to be...
late Meiji, Taisho, interwar,
and they're churning these out for Western consumption,
in all honesty.
-It wouldn't be for indigenous use.
-But it's an uncommon form.
Not unattractively modelled and decorated.
Ticket price is £15.
Yeah. It's, frankly, no money.
Yeah. Take a punt on it?
-Could he give us a good price?
If you fancy it.
I think Ching does, you know, Paul.
And Paul's eye has caught something else.
Now, I'm no great lover of Masonic material, if it's not early -
and by "early", I mean first half of the 19th century and beyond -
but that is...
..a lot of silver for your money.
This is a Masonic jewel -
a silver badge, denoting membership of a lodge of Freemasons.
£40 is no money.
£40! Really? I wouldn't have picked it up.
Nor I. This is head not heart, make no bones about it.
Yes, this is just a business.
This leaves me cold but that's a very fairly priced jewel,
by any measure.
Paul thinks that might be a good strategic buy,
as might the Satsuma-ware bowl Ching likes.
Game on, then.
Do you want to win this? Do you want to perhaps beat your buddy Aldo?
Listen, we're mates but we're not buddies.
So, you do want to beat him?
-We need profits.
And the only way to make those is to buy items.
That's priced up at £15.
-The wee Satsuma dish.
-Please can we have it for a fiver?
It's not mine to do that with.
-The best I can do, technically, is 13.50
but I'll get away with 12.
I know that sounds...
No, that's generous that you've gone beyond the ten.
£40 on the jewel comes down to...
-We can make it 36... 35.
-35 plus 12.
-I think it's well spent.
-Going to do it?
-Yes, going to do it.
-Shake this gentleman's hand.
-Thank you very much.
-And a pleasure.
So, they've got the bowl and the Masonic jewel for £47 all-in.
And that concludes today's shopping.
Both teams are back on the road.
I'm never worried about competition because I'm always winning.
Oh, that's no pressure, then.
The word "losing" doesn't exist in my vocabulary.
I say to my children, it's not about taking part it's about winning.
Chefs, notoriously competitive.
-And on it.
But this is going to be friendly competition.
At least on the surface.
-We'll keep smiling, no matter what.
But inside we'll have a game plan, yes?
With the gauntlet firmly thrown down,
it's time they all rest up
at the end of this fiercely fought first day.
But nothing keeps these competitive chefs off the road for long.
The next morning finds them raring to go.
-Are you enjoying this trip so far?
-I am. I love it.
It's just so much fun.
Especially with you because I don't have too spend
that much time with you!
The gloves are coming off and no mistake!
But how are the experts feeling about their celebrities?
So, as suspected, Aldo is indeed a hot-headed Italian.
It's great, a bit of Italian fire.
-Just what I needed.
-There is no stress in Ching's kitchen.
She is fun,
but there's a wisdom there.
Everyone is itching to start day two's battle proper.
-What a place.
-Back for day two.
What a place to meet!
-Hello, little Scottish lady.
I'm so looking forward to today.
I'm going to invest.
-I'm going to take risks.
-I think we have to shift up a gear.
-It's what we're going to do.
-Shall we go?
Time for them all to get moving.
But one team seems to be a bit quicker off the mark.
OK, let's hear it roar.
Oh, watch it go!
-How good is that?
-Come on, then.
-My key doesn't work!
Come on, you two!
So far, Aldo and Natasha have two lots -
the Dad ring and the Art deco-ish earrings -
so they still have £360 left to play with today.
While Ching and Paul have four lots -
the French pail, the ceramic cat,
the Satsuma-ware bowl and the silver Masonic jewel.
They still have £293 in their pockets.
There you go. Day number two.
-How are you feeling?
-I feel great.
-Yes, I'm excited.
I learnt so much from you yesterday. It was incredible.
You told me you were going to be a hardline haggler
and you were. We got money off.
Both teams are heading to the same shop this morning.
They're all driving to the town of Dorking in Surrey.
Natasha and Aldo are the first to arrive at Talbot House
but parking is around the back.
I like the way that you organised this...
..celebrity back entrance for me.
Yeah, VIP entrance, I think.
Well, I'm sure we'll find it.
Everything we need is right in there.
Dealers Wendy and Charles are in charge today.
-Lovely to meet you. My name's Aldo.
-Hi, nice to meet you.
Now for some browsing.
I just love a bell
because, you know, in the kitchen you have a bell, don't you?
-When your food is ready.
Oh, that's really nice.
What's Aldo found?
-I like this.
-You see, I really like this.
My mum used to have this and I quite like this kind of idea.
Oh, really? So, where would that be?
-In the house in Italy?
-OK, so the washstand...
-I grew up with this kind of stuff.
It's a washstand with jug and basin,
probably Continental in origin, and is fairly modern.
I'm thinking of a girl's point of view.
My wife would love this in her bathroom.
I think that might even be missing something
because there's a hole here.
Maybe this had some sort of extra pedestal on top.
-Yeah, it looks like it did.
-But I have to say,
together they do look the part.
There's no ticket price for the whole kit and caboodle,
but they'll take a note and browse on.
And Natasha is starting to feel the pressure.
I can't find a thing. Typical!
And the heat's really on because look who's arrived!
Those two had better get browsing.
We've got our jackets off now. We mean business!
Like we didn't before?
We really mean business.
If we roll our sleeves up, then it just gets ugly.
And I was joking.
I don't think Ching was, Paul.
The only place I've not been in the whole shop
is where Paul and Ching are right now.
They're hogging what looks to be the best area.
It's not like Natasha to be kept from a cabinet of goodies.
Guys, guys, could you stop hogging this section?
Look at you, you're in this beautiful cabinet section.
-I can't get in.
-75% sale sign. So, this is where we went first.
Do me a favour and wind things up.
I'm starting to perspire here.
OK? Wind it up.
But Natasha had better settle in - Ching seems quite determined.
Today will see a bonanza of buying
and she's in no mood to be moved on.
-I'm going to be...
-You're putting your foot down, aren't you?
You're being assertive.
Modern candles have self-snuffing wicks.
Hello. Paul's spied something.
Will his celebrity like it?
I see a silver inkwell...
..domed form, sat atop an Onyx pen tray.
1920 Assay marks.
-That is beautiful.
That's really beautiful.
Paul's hoping to build a job lot of silver,
including the Masonic jewel they bought yesterday.
And, on that note, he's seen something else.
That is a pencil and case.
It will be silver.
That little silver pencil also dates from the 1920s
and is designed to be worn on a fob chain.
On the ticket, £31.
-I think that's a charming object.
They've agreed these might be canny buys
at a combined ticket price of £65.
Time to speak to the dealer Charles.
Let me pitch an optimistic offer.
-God loves a trier.
-We pitch in at £40 and see what comes back.
Two purchases. We'd love to do some sort of a deal.
Let me make the call.
Charles will make the owner that offer
but, meanwhile, Chin's resolve to resolve to spend boldly
is only intensifying.
I want to walk out with something big.
OK. Be still.
One thing, at least.
At least one thing.
-One big and one small.
Stand by. Charles is back with a verdict on the inkwell and pencil.
£40 for cash is fine.
-What do you think about that?
-Fantastic. Thank you so much.
That's a terrific deal for those two.
But Natasha's fighting back.
She's commandeered a cabinet and found something she really likes.
What have we got here?
We've got some 1930s...
Look at these. Aren't these cool?
So it comes with its little stand
and then we have got these cork mats
that have all sorts of different messages on them.
Here's another. What does it say?
I just want to see them all. "Be careful, please."
"Dinner was made for eating, not for talking."
Well, Aldo likes both.
What about that?
"Choose thy company before thy meat."
He wouldn't have these anywhere near his restaurant
but maybe he'd like them for the auction.
Ticket price on the set of cork tablemats is £28.
But will Aldo bite?
Look how fun they are.
Look at this message, Aldo.
"Choose thy company before thy meat."
So much fun. What do you feel?
-I like them.
-I quite like them, too.
I like the fact that they're not very expensive, as well.
They're not expensive, they are super-kitsch.
Kitsch! And thrifty!
Sounds like that might be added to their shopping list.
But, nearby, there really is no stopping the opposition.
You know how we've got a cat?
Are we in denial about the cat?
We do have the cat, you're right.
I think we need a fish to complement the cat.
I thought you were going to say, to feed the cat.
OK. Complement I get. We'll run with "complement the cat".
It's a Japanese bronze fish, probably a carp,
from the Victorian or Edwardian period.
I think it's a lucky ornament to have in any house.
I think that's how we're going to sell it in the auction.
Is that an auspicious number, Ching?
Well, actually, nine means longevity, so...
But what does Paul think?
-I am looking for quality. OK?
-Simple as that.
And do you know what?
That's not half bad, is it?
I agree with you, to be quite honest with you.
-So, what shall we do?
-We ask, in this instance,
if Charles can get in touch with the dealer. And we won't make an offer,
we'll just say, "Look, what is the very least that can be
-"accepted on this?"
-Fantastic. I agree.
Charles heads off to make the call...
giving this pair one last chance to browse.
The very best is 75.
-We'll take it.
-I think we just took it.
-Thank you very much, again.
-Thank you, again.
They've hooked the fish with a £20 discount,
taking their total to five lots.
But with £178 still in her purse,
is Ching finished?
-Right. Feeling good?
Yes, but we still need a pair of vases.
Sorry, for a second, I thought you said we needed another lot.
We need another lot.
Because we need a pair.
-What's called a pair.
Pairs of items, and even numbers,
are considered lucky in Chinese culture.
So Ching thinks these might also bestow
good blessings on their buying.
-I'm happy with any happiness.
-Double happiness, double money.
-Double seems greedy happiness, to me.
It's not! This is gorgeous!
-Can I interest you in a pair of Japanese...
-Where did this come from?!
..gorgeous vase. Look.
You hold that one,
and I'm going to hold this one.
Actually, they are, indeed,
not a country mile off gorgeous.
The detail on this.
It's pretty. And look, it's not even brand-new, on the bottom.
Yeah... Good student.
Ching's right. There's no modern mark because they probably date from
the late Victorian or Edwardian period.
The ticket price is 165 smackers.
I'm going to ask Charles.
He's done really well for us. Third time lucky.
-How can I help?
-We really need this.
Yes, we do.
But what will they offer?
-£108 is the offer.
-108 is a very lucky number.
I'm afraid we can't do that.
-OK. That's fair enough.
-So, 115 is the very best that we can do.
-It's up to you.
OK. Could we round it up, just by £1.
-Rounding it up?
-Cos it needs to be...
So, it's 116?
116. Just so it's a nice even number.
Has that ever happened? Before?
-No. That's a... That's a first...
..and more than delighted to round it up to 116. Perfect.
-Thank you very much. Thank you.
A rather irregular haggle gives Ching
the even-numbered price she wanted.
And that team's mammoth buying session is over. Phew!
Meanwhile, Aldo and Natasha have cased the joint thoroughly,
and have decided they want the washstand with jug
and kitsch cork tablemats.
So, they're heading to dealer Wendy.
Look out, Wendy.
-We promised you we'd be back.
He found something.
The washstand belongs to a dealer off-site.
135, she quoted for the stand and the jug and bowl.
But there is a little part missing.
It's a mirror that sits on the back.
-We weren't sure.
-The dealer hadn't brought it in on the day.
That's an unexpected bonus.
Aldo's stepping up to the breach
to attempt to deal with owner Colleen.
OK, Colleen, stand by.
Colleen, are you ready for a call with Mr Zilli?
Are you ready, girl?
-Hi, is that Colleen?
-It's Aldo Zilli here.
-Hello. How are you?
-'How are you?'
-Very good, thank you.
-'I'm all right, thank you.'
We're very interested in your lovely washstand.
Do you have any idea of the best price you can do for me?
-'..I could go to 125.
-'How about that?'
-120, and it's all yours. Cash.
-Oh, Colleen, you're a star.
Thank you so much.
With a healthy serving of Italian charm,
they have a washstand and jug with mirror included.
But what of those quirky cork place mats?
They had on them £28.
-Which you loved.
-I love them!
They've got both those lots for £145.
Now, Ching and Paul have all their items for auction,
so they're in for a treat this afternoon.
There are worse ways to spend a day or two, are there not?
-Can't get enough of this fresh air.
Ching has always been a great animal lover,
so Paul is taking her to a famous nearby institution.
They're on their way to Horsham,
and the headquarters of the Royal Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
where they're meeting one of the society's top chaps, David Bowles.
-Welcome to the RSPCA.
-I'm David, yeah.
-Hello, I'm Ching.
-Hi David. Paul.
-I'm David. Good to see you.
The RSPCA is the oldest animal welfare charity in the world
and one of Britain's most beloved organisations.
It's been protecting the nation's animals since 1824,
and Ching and Paul are here to learn a little more about this society's
amazing history and about its founder Richard Martin,
a nobleman and MP of the Georgian period
and perhaps Britain's very first
animal welfare campaigner.
He used to walk to the House of Commons past Smithfield,
which was and still is one of the biggest meat markets
in the whole of the country.
And he used to see people beating their cows and their sheep
on their way to market.
Martin fought for a change in the law to stop people
mistreating their livestock.
At a time when cruelty to animals was commonplace,
he was widely mocked by his peers
and his bill was opposed by many
prominent parliamentarians of the day.
But he fought bravely on,
and the law was finally passed in 1822.
But he realised that nothing was happening.
And he realised that the only way you're going to get a law to be
enforced was to have people to enforce it.
But he set up the SPCA,
the Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, in 1824.
The newly formed SPCA employed inspectors
to patrol Smithfield meat market in London, enforcing the new law.
Their job was to educate,
but also, if the people couldn't be educated,
it was to take them to court.
How successful was the society when it started?
It was a struggle. They had to go into Smithfield,
and they were telling people about a new law
that they had no idea about,
and to tell them to stop beating or kicking their animals.
So, it was really, really difficult.
Of course, he needed to pay people to do the work.
And he employed two people to start off with.
But, obviously, all of that money had to be raised.
And in the first five or six years of the society,
it almost went bankrupt several times.
In fact, Richard Martin went into prison
because he couldn't pay the bills.
Indeed, Richard Martin ended up dying in France
because he had to escape from his debtors.
So, it's a really sad story of how passionate he was about animals,
that he would use his own money, but he had the foresight to create the
RSPCA, as we now know it.
As the years passed,
the society campaigned for more legislation
to control the then-popular entertainments.
Activities like dogfighting, bearbaiting, and cockfighting.
Times were tough for the society in the early years, but David's taking
Ching and Paul to their archive, to tell them about a new phase that
came about when a very prominent person took an interest.
For the first ten years, things were very precarious.
We didn't have much money. But, fortunately,
we had a new queen on the throne in 1837,
who was, obviously, Queen Victoria.
She was a great dog lover.
She had her own dogs and she loved dogs, and she loved the SPCA.
And she decided, of her own volition, in 1837,
to become a patron. And then, in 1840, she was so impressed
by our work, she gave us the "R".
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
-And that was a good turning point because it meant we had
the blessing of the monarch. We had recognition.
And, therefore, we started to get more money,
and that meant we could do more things and help more animals.
And ever since then, every monarch has been our patron.
So, Queen Elizabeth II, she is our patron.
And the society still has the letter they received from our
current queen after she ascended to the throne
What a legacy.
The society still runs around 70 animal shelters and clinics.
There's no shelter here at RSPCA HQ
but staff are welcome to bring their dogs to work.
And I think Ching's pleased to see them.
So, these are all rescue dogs
from the RSPCA or other organisations.
Some of them have had very, very dramatic and traumatic lives
-before they came here.
-And, obviously, that's what we do.
We rescue dogs from poor situations,
rehabilitate them and then give them good homes,
-and of these have all got fantastic homes now.
As you can see, they are all happy.
They are! Happy and healthy!
And very cheerful looking.
Aren't you all? Are you all friends? Are they all friends?
That's a yes! Just go. Go!
-Leave me here. I'm fine.
I'm very happy.
Can I steal one of these?
He's coming home with me. You don't know it yet.
Meanwhile, Aldo and Natasha are back
in the TR6, and they're motoring to their last shop.
They're aiming for the village of Godstone in Surrey,
where they're wasting no time heading straight to
Godstone Emporium, where dealer Claire awaits them.
-Lovely to meet you.
Natasha and Aldo better step to it.
I leave you for one minute and you find a new girlfriend.
-I just fancied a dance.
She's slightly small.
-She's not for me. She's not for me.
-Oh, she's not for you.
Some serious browsing's what's we need here, Aldo.
I want to see this chair here.
-Look at that chair. Have you seen that chair?
-Oh, I didn't see that.
Nice little corner chair. Reeded seat.
I haven't actually seen this before.
So, let's have a look.
-You got it OK? Is it shoogly?
-No. It's sturdy.
-No, quite sturdy?
Lovely corner chair.
I mean, certainly it's time from when people were smaller. Daintier.
-For a lady.
-Yeah, but my son would love something like this.
This Arts and Crafts corner chair is woven with a rush seat,
and dates from the early 20th century.
It's ticketed at £38.
Do we want it at half the price?
-I think so.
Shall we approach Claire with the corner chair?
Let's approach Claire with the corner chair!
OK, let's do it. I'm following your lead.
-Claire, we're coming to you, my love.
-You hit it off.
Once more, that silver-tongued charmer Aldo will negotiate.
-Finally, I've done some shopping.
The price tag is £38.
So, I'm prepared to pay...
less than that. So, you've got to give me some kind of indication.
What would you take?
And I need to make a bit of dosh.
-What would you say to 25?
25. We come down to 25.
I think, 22, I'll have it.
-There you go!
-I told you, you wouldn't know what's hit you.
Yes. That's hit me like an avalanche.
Pay for the chair, quick!
He's off. And I'm left to pay!
Aldo works his haggling magic again,
and they got that last lot for £22 only.
He really is running away with himself.
So, everyone's all bought up,
and it's time to see what they make of each other's lots.
Sure. Yeah. Let's do it.
-Ah, no. That looks good.
Ooh! Look at all this East Asian stuff!
-We've spent all our money.
-You did not? Every single penny?
-Well, most of it.
-Yeah, we did.
I've no idea what we spent but we've not got much left!
You're not going to sell that, are you? A bucket.
-It's like a historical bucket...
-From Marie Antoinette's farm.
-I was about to say "Jeanne d'Arc"?
That's a fib, Paul.
What of the lucky modern ceramic cat?
It's so cute. It's a lucky cat.
And it's an enlightened cat, cos it's got a lotus flower on its head.
-Ah, so, you read into the symbolism?
-Yes. Into the symbolism. And it's got...
-We missed a trick.
They seem to admire the felicitous feline.
But what about the job lot of silver,
comprising Masonic jewel, pencil, and inkwell?
We've also got some amazing silver.
A Masonic jewel,
-a silver inkwell on onyx.
-Oh, is that marked for silver?
-It is, yes.
-Was it expensive?
-What do you mean, no?
We got a steal.
That one seems to have Natasha worried.
Assayed, almost 70g.
What more do you want me to tell you?
Diamonds set into the back.
-Just kidding about the diamonds.
-I don't know about you, but I was perspiring, there.
-Making them sweat!
-What did we pay for that trio?
-So, it was about 70-something.
-72, I think.
Was this in the shop that we were in?
That team are looking lucky.
What about Aldo and Natasha's haul?
Well, I can see they're gobsmacked, excited. Don't panic. OK?
-I love the earrings.
-Aren't they gorgeous?
-She chose that.
But all eyes are on Aldo's rogue jewellery purchase.
The Dad ring!
We need to pick this up because I need to show you what it is.
I'm not looking.
-I know! She hates it.
-I'm not looking.
-Can you even handle that?
-There's nothing I can do about it.
It's silver. It's silver, OK.
Go with that. It's marked for silver.
That's not a huge hit.
But what of the washstand Aldo adored,
now reunited with its mirror?
-What do you make of this?
-I love it, actually.
-Yes. It's a washstand, right?
-It's super chic.
-With the stand, the mirror for your ablutions.
-You really love it?
-Yeah, I think it's absolutely gorgeous, actually.
£120?! That's quite dear.
Hang on! Hang on! Hang on! Yes! Yes!
-We spend very little and we're going to make a lot.
-Ha-ha. Fighting talk!
-Are you feeling confident?
-It's battle showdown.
-I always feel confident.
But how confident are they when the opposition's backs are turned?
If that cat makes money at £20,
then it is a seriously lucky cat.
Cos that ain't no antique.
The washstand is a charmer but it ain't an antique,
and it's in an antique auction.
I have a feeling they're having a laugh about my ring.
-They did not look impressed, did they?
The Dad ring. Ha-ha-ha!
But I think I'll have the last laugh.
I don't know who's going to win this.
-I know who should win it.
-Are we going to win?
-No matter what happens.
-It doesn't matter.
-We're triumphant. In our Triumph.
Well, you're not triumphant yet.
On this road trip, our teams have
journeyed from Brighton, in East Sussex,
to Chichester, in West Sussex,
where they're now all headed to auction.
-We've known each other for 20 years.
And we've really got on, haven't we?
Up until the next hour.
-Well, I think our friendship...
-It could all change.
-Yeah. It could all change...
-You're not going to talk to me again?
If you're a sore loser,
that's it. We're done.
-Are you a good loser?
-Because I'm not.
So, there's plenty at stake as they arrive at Henry Adams Auctioneers.
-Oh, here they come.
-Oh, man. I hope they're ready.
-There they are.
Hello. And they're still smiling.
-Don't know why.
-You're still smiling!
-How are you?
-I am good.
-How are you, partner?
-How are you?
-Lovely to see you. Another beautiful day.
Ching and Paul started with £400.
They spent £338 on six lots.
While Aldo and Natasha also started with £400,
they spent £270 and have five lots in today's sale.
But what does auctioneer Rachel Trembath think of our celebrities' haul?
I think it's an interesting assortment of items.
Probably the best performing items will be the Masonic lot,
which has got the little silver retractable pencil.
Just because you've got the intrinsic silver value.
Also, the Japanese pair of vases.
So, it's all done bar the shouting.
Time for the first lot.
First up, it's godfather of Aldo and Natasha's lots...
the Dad ring.
-Might give you a tenner.
£10, spoken bid.
£10 in the room.
Any further bids? 12!
-15. Thank you.
£20, then? £20, on my left.
£20. Any further bids?
I will be putting the hammer down.
-What did I tell you?
Seems Aldo made the saleroom an offer it couldn't refuse.
A profit! Who'd have thought that?
Now it's Ching and Paul's ceramic cat.
Will it bring them the good fortune it promised?
£12, sir? 15.
17, then. Gentleman in the middle.
Any further bids?
I will be selling, then, for £17.
It's a loss, but not a big one.
You know what? I feel good about it.
It has a home now.
Another lot for Ching and Paul.
The Japanese Satsuma-ware bowl.
£20, anyone? 15, then.
15, I've got. 15, I've got. Do I see 17?
-17 on the net.
£17, then, on the internet.
Do I see 20 anywhere?
Any further bids?
This is your new lucky number.
Selling, then, for 17.
The second lot to sell for £17.
But this one's luckier.
Wow! Two lots of 17.
One loss, one profit.
Now, a lot for Aldo and Natasha.
The washstand with mirror and jug that Aldo loved.
£30? Nice decorative piece.
Would look nice in a conservatory.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is reminding me of my mum.
That's why I bought it. All those years ago.
And it was in one of her bathrooms.
I don't know him. Just so you know, I don't know him.
-Cost me a fortune!
-Oh, it's going.
30. 32. 35?
£32, then? £32 in the gallery.
-Do I see 35?
-Where's the internet, guys?
-Selling for 32.
My poor mum. She will be devastated.
Mamma mia, indeed.
That's an unfortunate loss for those two.
-I think this lot aren't impressed with our style.
Now it's the pair of Japanese vases that stole Ching's heart.
Our auctioneer appreciated them but will the crowd?
£30. 32. 35? 37.
-37, then, in the gallery. Any further bids?
-We'll be selling them for £37.
They didn't find their market today.
-I'm sorry, Paul!
Now, it's Aldo and Natasha's quirky cork tablemats
from the 1930s. Will the crowd see their charms?
-Start at ten? £10.
£10. Do I see 12?
£10, to the spoken bid.
-Do I see 12? 12, thank you.
£15 in the front of the room.
-£15. Anyone want to come in at 17?
-That's not so bad.
-Selling, then, for 15.
Not quite a corker. Ha!
But there are plenty more lots to come.
I'm not sure whether this is a good business to be in.
Ching and Paul's French bucket is next.
-It's really heavy. It'd look great in the garden.
20, then. 20, thank you. 20.
22, 25, 27,
30, 32, 35, 37,
40, 42, 45?
£42. Anyone want to come in at 45?
Will be selling, then. At £42.
That's pulled up a little profit for them.
-You've made £2.
Aldo and Natasha's Art Deco-esque drop earrings are going next.
-Come on. Get in.
40? Nice pair of earrings.
Yeah. They look good.
£30. Nice decorative earrings.
Who's not bidding on these? Are you mad?
-20. Thank you.
-That's it, sir. You'll look beautiful in them.
Thank you very much. £20. Do I see 22 anywhere?
30? 27, then,
-to the lady.
-Ooh, we nearly made a profit.
-£27 to the lady.
Do I see any further bids?
Another small profit sees them edging back on track.
-Oh. We made £2!
One for Ching and Paul, now.
Their auspicious bronze Japanese fish is up.
-Glug, glug, glug!
Why did she say...?
Surely worth that. Nice at 15. Thank you.
15, I've got. Thank you. 15, I've got. Now looking for 17.
Any further bids? I will be selling, then, for £15.
HAMMER FALLS That one's still swimming. Sadly.
See this luck thing, Ching?
Did you walk under any ladders on the way to the auction room? Break a mirror this morning?
-I think I did all of the above.
Another for Ching and Paul now.
Their job lot of silver items,
which they got for a song.
Can this save their chances?
It is worth more than 30.
-I'm looking for 32.
Thank you. 32. 35 with me, sir? 37?
37 to the gentleman on my right.
Any further bids?
I will be selling, then.
That lot of silver might be worth more as scrap.
Bad luck, chaps.
37? That "7" is definitely not a lucky number for us today.
It's the last lot of the day.
Aldo and Natasha's corner chair.
Could it still have them sitting pretty?
£20 with me. Do I see 22 anywhere?
22. Thank you.
25 with me.
-30 with me.
32. 35 with me.
-£35 on the books.
-You trust that he's got this.
£35 on the books.
-Does anyone want to come in at 37?
Any further bids?
Will be selling, then, for £35.
The last item was a real little earner for Aldo,
who's sure to be gracious in victory.
There's winners and there's losers.
-OK. Enough of that. Let's go.
Get him out here, before his head's too big to get out of the door.
So, Paul and Ching started the trip with £400.
After auction costs are deducted,
they made an unlucky loss of £202.70,
leaving them with £197.30...
..while Aldo and Natasha also started with £400
and, after costs, they made a loss of £101.22p,
leaving them with £298.78,
and...the title of winners.
We'll stick to cooking. And we'll leave it to the experts.
-It was such fun.
-It was a lot of fun.
And I've learned so much.
You guys are just fantastic.
It's been so nice to meet you.
-Lovely working with you.
-Thank you so much. That was great fun.
-Thank you so much.
-Well done, Aldo.
They may have had an unlucky day at the saleroom,
but our intrepid chefs have still learned a lot.
This really taught me so much.
-We've only just kind of...
-Scratched the surface.
-..scratched the surface
and its incredible, already. What an amazing world.
Tatty bye, then.
TV chefs Aldo Zilli and Ching He-Huang do battle on this road trip around south east England, aided by experts Natasha Raskin and Paul Laidlaw.
Aldo plumps for a gold ring despite expert advice, while Ching hopes antiques with an eastern origin will fare well at auction in north London.
Aldo stops off to meet a 200-year-old named Jill to hear how she supplied locals with flour. And animal lover Ching learns how one man faced ridicule and ruin while trying to protect cattle in the 19th century.