Episode 8 Priceless Antiques Roadshow


Episode 8

Fiona Bruce is joined by Michael Aspel, who shares his highlights from eight years on the show, and jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn takes us to a prime spot for buried treasure.


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Transcript


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With over 30 years of precious heirlooms to choose from,

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we've a few old masters in the vault.

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Time to dust down a few of them

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as we open the archives for Priceless Antiques Roadshow.

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We Brits love to explore,

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and we don't like to return home empty-handed.

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We often see souvenirs of the days when British travellers,

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often aristocrats, toured the globe to amass remarkable treasures.

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Coming up, we illustrate how that instinct is alive and well

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on our team.

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That's marvellous. That's a great treasure.

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That's a pottery wig curler. Perhaps it was dropped

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from the palace at some stage by some rather grand gentleman.

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It's been lying there for 300 years.

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Also, general expert Clive Stewart-Lockhart reveals

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the one object he would have done anything to record.

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It's probably one of the things on the Roadshow

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that I'd love to have had, not just recorded. I wanted to take it home.

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And Michael Aspel picks his personal favourites

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from the Roadshow archives.

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I was so lucky that in my very first show, an object came up

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which meant something, personally, to me.

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This is Kenwood House in North London,

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handsome home to the first Earl of Ivy who, at the age of 25,

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began collecting what was to become

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one of the finest groups of 18th century paintings in England.

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He bought this house just to accommodate it.

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Collecting is a great British passion, and the Antiques Roadshow

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has always been a magnet for collectaholics.

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I think collecting is in the British genes, actually.

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I think we're all guilty. I think we've all got it inside us.

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We are all secret hoarders.

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-I have to ask...

-Yes?

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What's a nice boy like you doing collecting beads?

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Here is a man who not only likes the test card, he adores them.

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What started this unhealthy interest?

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At the foundation of every wonderful collection

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is a personal passion for the subject.

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When I see collectors that are really living the dream

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and, kind of, dressing like their heroes,

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I think it's fantastic.

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AS DONALD DUCK: Boy, oh boy, oh boy!

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SHE IMITATES DONALD DUCK

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Well, thank you. I can see you have a lot of fun in your household.

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I think we do, yes.

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Now, the guy who collected the Disney material

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was pretty much your typical Disney collector.

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So you're something of a Disney fan, I take it?

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I think I'm a Disney fan, freak, you name it, yes.

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I saw these in a shop in Bath, both together...

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Had to have them.

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The figurines for toothbrush holders are all original purchases

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-by my family.

-Tell me about this.

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I found this on Charing Cross Road, and there's the magic signature.

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I'm afraid my wife is not called Eileen, but I think you'll have to...

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She'll have to change her name! ..nickname herself Eileen.

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I think so, "Also known as."

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You can't believe this collector. He was completely passionate.

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I went to see Fantasia for about, oh, it must have been

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nearly the 30th time, and that gave me the cue to write to the Disneys

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and say how much I'd loved the film, and they wrote back and said,

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"Well, we feel that someone who's seen Fantasia for 30 times

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"ought to have the original programme."

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How did you get all these signatures of the animators and so on?

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I went to Los Angeles and visited the Disney studios,

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and I simply asked them,

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"Please, could any animator or artist who worked on Fantasia sign?"

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He could do the Donald Duck voice and the Mickey voice

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and anything else in between.

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-AS MICKEY MOUSE: Sure, that's swell!

-Thank you, Mickey!

-Thank you.

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I love talking to enthusiasts on the Roadshow,

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and I love the challenge to try and interpret their passion

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to a wider audience.

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MUSIC: Theme from "The Addams Family"

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My grandmother used to say,

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"It's not the corf that carries you orf,

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"it's the corfin they carry you orf in."

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This is an extraordinary collection!

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-It is a bit different, yes.

-It's great.

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I have to ask, do you have a professional interest in this?

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Yes. Yes, you could possibly say, yes.

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-I am a funeral director, yes.

-You are?

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When I asked the owner whether he had some kind of business

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connection with this, because he was dressed quite soberly,

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I couldn't believe it when he said he was an undertaker.

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It was just a gift.

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Let's just talk about what they were for.

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We've obviously got powder compacts here, this one and this one,

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dating from the 1930s, probably,

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and then something which I think is just great,

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this one in the middle, here, that actually says, "Snuff it."

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So, obviously, a snuff box.

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It's a collection to die for!

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HE LAUGHS FEEBLY

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As long as you come to me!

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Some collectors are truly devoted to their collections.

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This owner drove all the way from the Netherlands

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to get his cameras on camera.

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There are many times on the Roadshow

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where I'm confronted by a collection that stops me in my tracks.

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This is one of them. I have never seen a collection of Nikons

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like this in one place at one time.

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I suspect I am very unlikely to ever see a collection like this again.

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The gentleman who owned the collection, of course, he is

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one of the leading authorities, by the nature of what he does.

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To me, when I think of Nikon, I think of photo journalism.

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And we've got the F series.

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Well, the F has become a legend.

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It came out in 1959

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and has photographed every major incident around the world.

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It was there when Kennedy was shot, when man walked on the moon.

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It's quite interesting filming a piece like that, having to be intelligent about it,

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knowing that you're talking to someone who is really very good at their subject.

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Is this the whole collection, or...

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-No.

-No?

-No, it's about 5% of what I've got.

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5%? But, essentially, if I said

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there's £150,000 worth on this table, I'd be being conservative?

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Very, yeah. You'd get the half of it, probably.

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We don't know everything about everything,

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and when you see a collector,

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they have spent their life - maybe 20, maybe 30 years - on one subject.

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And what comes out of a conversation with a collector is the passion

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and enthusiasm for that one subject.

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So which of you two is the collector?

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It's me. They're my cigarette cards, they're my guinea golds.

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I've been collecting those since I was about 15 or so.

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And I thought, "Gosh, you know, we see a lot of people on the Roadshow,

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"am I gonna have time to look through all of these cards?"

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But he'd made my life easy, because he had only collected one firm.

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He'd only collected Ogden's cards.

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Why Ogden's?

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Because the cards are so fascinating.

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The subjects dealt with range from dogs, cars, footballers, cricketers,

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war generals in the Boer War, actresses,

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you name it, they had cameras, they took pictures of them.

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Yes, we've been as far as Preston for one card.

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Which one was that, is that here?

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Oh, gosh, this one. That is quite a rarity, actually.

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It is. It's a set of one to 1148, and that was the last card I needed

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to complete the run through.

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Gosh. And you found it.

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-How did make you feel?

-It was wonderful.

-That was magic.

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I love that! I love that precision about collecting.

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So much so, that they were prepared to drive, you know,

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the breadth of the British Isles.

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It's fanatical, that's what you are.

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It's... compulsive is probably not the right word.

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It gives you an aim in life, it gives you something to do,

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and it's exciting, sometimes.

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That card alone, if you went to sell that at auction, would probably

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reach about £1,000 to £1,200. So when one has to put a value

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on your collection, my goodness -

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I think you certainly would see it being valued at around £50,000.

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Crumbs!

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When I said, "Crumbs!" in that programme, I meant it.

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Because you don't think of your cards being of that value.

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You just think of the individual cards that you look at, enjoy, touch,

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sort out etc, and you don't think of the whole picture.

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-Oh, that's brilliant.

-That's the new bank account!

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God forbid, if we had a fire, the wife is under instructions -

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we open the door, throw the cards out of the window and let the house burn.

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Not surprisingly, many of our Roadshow experts

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have themselves felt the collecting urge.

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Well, do you know, I think I was born a collector.

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I can trace my collecting back

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to the age of four, when I acquired this jug.

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I've been collecting ever since.

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I collected stamps,

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but my first real love was books, old books.

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And I bought my first old book when I was 12.

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And it was Aesop's Fables, 1708, and it cost me two old pence.

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This is going way, way back.

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As a child, I collected badges.

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Not just one or two, I probably had about, oh...

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200 or 300, maybe, badges.

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I was really interested in badges.

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So anywhere I went, I collected a badge, and I mounted them on boards.

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And they were in my bedroom, and I had all these different badges.

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I used to make labels for them

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underneath to remind myself where I'd got these badges from.

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And, gosh, d'you know, I've still got those badges now in the attic.

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I must get them down.

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That makes me feel a bit better about my childhood doll collection.

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Rarities always send a tremor through the hall

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at the Antiques Roadshow. The experts will huddle round an object

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that they think is particularly special.

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Generally, only one of them will get to record it and, of course,

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the experts who aren't there on that day will miss out completely.

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Clive Stewart-Lockhart from the Collectables team couldn't make it

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to our filming at Skegness in 1996 so he saw a very unusual bottle

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for the first time when he tuned in to watch the programme.

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David Battie and Paul Atterbury were very reluctant to let this little object out of their hands.

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Clive could only watch as he realised his dream object had got away.

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The item I would love to have recorded - in fact, I'd have loved to have had as well,

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not just recorded, it's one of the things I wanted to take home most -

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was the William Burges piece which was recorded by

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Paul Atterbury and David Battie in about 1996, I think it was.

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We have here what looks like a piece of oriental porcelain

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-with a Western Victorian mount. Am I right?

-I think so.

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This lady had turned up at the show with this little object.

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She had no idea what it was.

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The Chinese pot is interesting.

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It is simply a vehicle for decoration.

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This is a piece by William Burges. Do you know who that is?

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No, apart from his name...

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-But that doesn't mean anything to you?

-Not a lot.

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She had some clues but she knew nothing about Burges.

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She knew nothing about who he was, where he came from. Anything.

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-Where do we begin?

-We could be here for hours.

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One of the most important Victorian designers...

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..of architecture, of metalwork.

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This Chinese pot which was an 18th century Chinese pot,

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had been taken by Burges and then adapted.

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We've got pearl, we've got moonstones.

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Burges was an extraordinary man.

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Everything he did was a, sort of, riot of decoration.

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Burges's eccentric decorative ideas can be seen today

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in his designs for Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch.

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For a bottle like this, there is no precedent. He wasn't modelling it

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on anything. He was using purely his inventiveness.

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It's a fascinating object but Clive has a more personal reason

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to covet the Burges bottle.

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I was brought up abroad in Africa and Mauritius

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and came back to England for the first time to live here in 1968.

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We lived just around the corner from a house called Tower House.

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Tower House was this extraordinary castle in Kensington, built by William Burges.

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Every time I walked past the house,

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almost every day, I would look longingly at this funny little castle

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and wondering who lived there and what went on.

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He built a house for himself in London -

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Tower House in Melbury Road which itself is the house of dreams,

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with astonishing painted interiors.

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This particular piece, which he made for himself,

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comes out of that house. Furthermore, there is

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a set of photographs of his house taken in the 19th century

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by Francis Bedford, the album is in the V&A in London.

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This bottle is illustrated in that book.

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Clive's teenage obsession with Tower House wasn't only about

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its Victorian owner.

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In fact, at the time, it was bought Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

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So as a young man who was interested in Led Zeppelin,

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that was interesting as well.

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ROCK MUSIC PLAYS

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So it had all sorts of resonance for me.

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It was so weird for a boy who'd been brought up abroad

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to see this funny little Victorian, Gothic castle.

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'This was one of Burges's own treasures.

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'This was something that was in the possession of the great man himself

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'and it was in that house at one time.'

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It was a very tangible piece of history - a marvellous thing.

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We're getting to know our team of experts better in this programme.

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Some of the most familiar faces have the most surprising passions and pastimes.

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Take jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn.

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His day job is overseeing an exquisite collection of priceless gems.

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When he's off duty, he goes in search of more modest treasure

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and he's ideally located to find it.

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This is most important view to me. I'm completely passionate about it.

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MUSIC: Vivaldi's Gloria

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I walked in here and I thought, I have to live here.

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It was a complete love affair.

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It's incredibly urban.

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It's very sort of boogie-woogie and New York with cars hurtling round

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and yet, it's absolutely seething with history.

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History does eat me up. It's a complete and utter passion.

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It's a challenge to try to invoke the ghosts of the past,

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to understand what it was like for our predecessors, their lives.

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Here, I could hardly go outside the door without running into a ghost.

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The River Thames has become a magnet for Geoffrey.

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Here he can really explore his passion for the past.

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I love the Thames. It's like a vein to the heart of London.

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It was critically important in the past as a means of communication.

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It was the road. And so people travelled in silent boats

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in a rather silent world, a world without engines,

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really only horses and crying merchants and sails and oars.

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It would have been splendid.

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It's not life on the water that brings Geoffrey to the river

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but the mud at its edges.

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I'm souvenir hunting.

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Souvenirs from the past.

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You won't find too many tourists down here but, for me,

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it's a fantastic spread of archaeology.

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It's called mud larking.

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You do need a licence to do it. That's desperately important.

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Once you've got all that together, there's nothing more interesting,

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nothing more pulse making.

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It's a muddy paradise, isn't it?

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Very good to have varifocals.

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You have to have pretty...oops!

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..pretty sharp vision.

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That's marvellous.

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That's a great treasure.

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That's a pottery wig curler.

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It dates from the 18th century

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and was used to curl formal horsehair wigs.

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Perhaps it was dropped from the palace at some stage

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by a grand gentleman, some sort of Gainsborough figure.

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It's been lying there for 300 years.

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Mud larking has very ancient roots.

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It was a way in which people could come down on to the river to find

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something of value and then sell it or use it to keep themselves alive.

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People actually used to pick through the sewers, never mind the river,

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for things of value. It's abject poverty at that time.

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That is a horse's tooth.

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HE LAUGHS

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It's obviously a sad place for horses but that's what it is.

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It's a very historic place.

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The Romans were here, the Vikings were here. The Tudors were here.

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The tide gently washed the objects they'd thrown into the river backwards and forwards.

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One day I'm going to find a Viking axe head, I know it.

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I haven't yet and I want to very much.

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Can you imagine a small boy, aged over 50, finding a Viking war axe?

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That's the job. Put history back on these modest things and make

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something more of these shards, these little links with the past.

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I've found fantastic things - wonderful, wonderful things.

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None of them are worth anything.

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Each one has a very, very special story to tell. I'm very excited.

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It's brought out the small boy in me. I think it's the wellingtons.

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'A lot of people who see me on TV talking about jewellery

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'think that's the pitch at which I'm interested in art. It certainly isn't, actually.

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'I'm interested in the past no matter how it expresses itself.

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'To me, the clay pipe is just as much a valid part of the past

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'as a marvellous piece of court jewellery.'

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These objects are silent witnesses.

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They will tell you a lot. You have to encourage them with your knowledge -

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it doesn't have to be enormous - but certainly your imagination.

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It can be on a very intimate level.

0:19:150:19:17

I've really enjoyed myself no end.

0:19:170:19:19

I've got a little table of treasures here, each one reeking with history.

0:19:190:19:24

It's my job to find out a little more about them, really. I think I will.

0:19:240:19:27

There's plenty of evidence to work on and plenty of ghosts.

0:19:270:19:31

Since we filmed with Geoffrey, he reported his finds to the Museum of London, as all mudlarkers must.

0:19:340:19:39

They've identified this as a shard of Chinese porcelain,

0:19:390:19:43

painted three or four centuries ago in China.

0:19:440:19:47

This sailed the seven seas in a wooden cargo ship to London.

0:19:470:19:51

There it was almost certainly in use in the old Palace of Westminster.

0:19:510:19:55

When it got broken, it was ditched in the Thames as rubbish.

0:19:550:19:58

Every day, two tides have risen and fallen over it for centuries

0:19:580:20:02

and it remains perfectly clean and unspoiled by mud and water.

0:20:020:20:07

We love finding buried treasure on the Antiques Roadshow.

0:20:070:20:10

One man saw his fair share

0:20:100:20:12

during eight years at the helm of the programme.

0:20:120:20:14

Michael Aspel takes a look back at his favourite Roadshow moments.

0:20:140:20:18

It's hard to believe it's eight years exactly that I did on the Roadshow.

0:20:210:20:27

I look back to the very first one that I did and I can't remember

0:20:270:20:32

the terror I felt when I started.

0:20:320:20:33

As I've said many times, I didn't want to spoil a perfect programme.

0:20:330:20:37

Barnstaple is the oldest borough in England.

0:20:370:20:40

In Saxon Times, it was given the right to mint its own coins.

0:20:400:20:43

If only old age brought everyone that privilege.

0:20:430:20:46

I was so lucky that in my very first show, an object came up

0:20:460:20:50

which meant something personally to me.

0:20:500:20:53

I bought it off a chap that was dealing in bric-a-brac

0:20:530:20:56

in Newport Market in South Wales some 22 years ago.

0:20:560:21:00

What did you pay him?

0:21:000:21:02

What is it? £70, £80.

0:21:020:21:04

I think I gave him a tenner to get it fixed, which was a lot of money.

0:21:040:21:07

That's a lot of money. As a watch,

0:21:070:21:12

it's probably worth in fact more like a couple of thousand or so.

0:21:120:21:16

-Yeah?

-But, this is a repair bill.

-Yeah.

0:21:160:21:21

-1933.

-Yeah.

0:21:210:21:23

Made out to a TE Shaw of Clouds Hill, Morrison in Dorset.

0:21:230:21:29

-That's right.

-Do you know who he is?

0:21:290:21:30

No, I haven't got a clue.

0:21:300:21:33

It's Lawrence of Arabia.

0:21:330:21:34

The watch, the aviator's watch that had belonged to Lawrence of Arabia.

0:21:370:21:41

Simon Bull was the expert who revealed it to the stunned owner,

0:21:410:21:45

who must have said, good God 50 times during this.

0:21:450:21:50

Good God!

0:21:500:21:51

-If I'm correct...

-Yeah.

0:21:510:21:54

-..after the First World War...

-Yeah.

0:21:540:21:56

..he was somewhat of a complex character and he rejoined, I think,

0:21:560:22:01

-didn't he rejoin the RAF under the name of Shaw?

-Yeah.

0:22:010:22:05

-I think he was killed under that name on his motorcycle when dressed in his RAF kit.

-Good God!

0:22:050:22:09

To be perfectly honest with you,

0:22:090:22:11

I always thought he was a character of fiction, I did.

0:22:110:22:15

No, no. It's the T E Lawrence,

0:22:150:22:18

it was a marvellous film. And he wrote the book.

0:22:180:22:21

Not only was he a boyhood hero of mine, Lawrence not Simon Ball,

0:22:210:22:26

but it was the dates on these things.

0:22:260:22:29

It was the year I was born.

0:22:290:22:32

-So, a couple of grand, a couple of half grand just as a watch.

-Yeah.

0:22:320:22:35

How much you could add for the Lawrence connection, I don't know.

0:22:350:22:39

He's one of the most fascinating characters of the early part of this century.

0:22:390:22:42

I would...

0:22:420:22:44

it's a guess. I'd double that.

0:22:440:22:46

-Maybe five, maybe ten.

-Good God!

0:22:460:22:49

I'd better get it insured then.

0:22:490:22:51

I took it as a great omen and so it was.

0:22:510:22:54

I was so excited when the Ian Fleming books came in.

0:23:010:23:05

I had read every one of them.

0:23:050:23:07

They were published when I was a young fella.

0:23:070:23:09

They were my meat. That's what I loved.

0:23:090:23:13

I remember discussing them heatedly with friends, as if they were deep literature.

0:23:130:23:18

It says "To Una, who worked like a slave, from Ian Fleming, 1957."

0:23:180:23:23

Now, who is Una?

0:23:230:23:26

-That's me.

-That's you?

-Yes.

0:23:260:23:27

Who worked like a slave for him.

0:23:270:23:31

I worked for him as a secretary.

0:23:310:23:34

But he also,

0:23:340:23:36

it was agreed that I could type his books and personal things as well.

0:23:360:23:41

So, you had to do that on top.

0:23:410:23:42

'To see the hands of the lady who actually physically created'

0:23:420:23:46

these books, it was just wonderful.

0:23:460:23:48

I wanted to go and embrace her and say, thanks for many happy hours.

0:23:480:23:51

I think people would have misunderstood that.

0:23:510:23:54

Here's another one on Dr No by Ian Fleming.

0:23:540:23:58

Again, "To Una, with apologies for her sudden death."

0:23:580:24:03

What is that all about?

0:24:030:24:05

Right at the beginning,

0:24:050:24:08

he did call the victim Mary Trueblood.

0:24:080:24:13

Right.

0:24:130:24:14

So it was named after me.

0:24:140:24:17

Right! To have a sudden death right at the beginning...

0:24:170:24:21

-Yes, she was shot at the beginning.

-At the beginning? Dear, oh dear.

0:24:210:24:26

Well, ten signed Ian Flemings, I reckon something like £6,000 a copy.

0:24:260:24:33

6,000 each?

0:24:360:24:38

Yes.

0:24:380:24:40

So many people at home watch every week and say, "I had one of those and I threw it away." Whatever.

0:24:400:24:45

I had all those Bond books - as brand new pristine things.

0:24:450:24:51

You could never have dreamt they were going to be treasures one day.

0:24:510:24:55

If only I'd known.

0:24:550:24:57

The Palace, Hampton Court.

0:24:570:25:00

The sheer scale and beauty of Powys Castle in mid-Wales

0:25:020:25:06

is quite operatic.

0:25:060:25:08

Welcome to a very special edition of the Antiques Roadshow Down Under.

0:25:080:25:13

People are always asking, "What's the best place you went to on the Roadshow?" It's impossible to say.

0:25:130:25:19

Every one had its own merits. I fell in love with several places.

0:25:190:25:22

The one that I remember most, I think, is Portmeirion.

0:25:220:25:27

It was just amazing.

0:25:270:25:28

I had my best night's sleep

0:25:330:25:35

on the whole of my time with the Roadshow at Portmeirion.

0:25:350:25:39

I fell into a deep, dreamless, refreshing, renewing sleep.

0:25:390:25:44

I remember it, not only for the look of the place - the magical look.

0:25:440:25:50

I remember opening the bedroom window and thinking, this is another world!

0:25:500:25:55

A window opened next to me and there was Lars Tharp saying, "Yoo-hoo!", which spoiled it a bit.

0:25:550:25:59

Prideaux Place, the house was lovely. The owner was charmingly eccentric.

0:26:070:26:12

Someone in his family had had a piece of music

0:26:120:26:16

that had been written by Ivor Novello.

0:26:160:26:18

This piece of music had never been played.

0:26:180:26:20

They brought a piano out of the house and put it on the lawns and this

0:26:200:26:25

piece of music was played for the first time ever on the Roadshow.

0:26:250:26:29

I thought it was enchanting.

0:26:290:26:31

At the end of a good day, it's that sense of achievement and sense of

0:26:420:26:45

pleasant tiredness and that if the sun is going down in the right way,

0:26:450:26:50

it's about as convivial and enjoyable as anything you can imagine.

0:26:500:26:55

Michael Aspel confirming that some Roadshow moments are truly unforgettable.

0:27:050:27:10

That's about it for this episode.

0:27:100:27:11

We'll be back with more revelations next time,

0:27:110:27:14

including the most ancient objects the Roadshow's ever seen.

0:27:140:27:17

This is a souvenir of a very, very remote past and very exciting.

0:27:170:27:23

We discover the real reason for Henry Sandon's lover affair

0:27:230:27:26

with Worcester pottery.

0:27:260:27:27

I was curator of Royal Worcester in the Perrins Museum for 17 years.

0:27:270:27:32

'I've loved the Worcester factory most of my life.'

0:27:320:27:36

We take a look at some of the spookiest items

0:27:360:27:39

that have ever appeared on the show.

0:27:390:27:41

It had this one, black, glass eye,

0:27:410:27:43

that, wherever you were filming it from,

0:27:430:27:46

you could feel this beady eye following you around.

0:27:460:27:50

As we trawled through three decades' worth of archives,

0:27:500:27:53

we spotted some rather striking style statements.

0:27:530:27:56

Visitors to the show and specialists alike

0:27:560:27:59

cut quite a dash over the years.

0:27:590:28:01

I'll leave you with a few unforgettable fashion moments.

0:28:010:28:04

Bye bye.

0:28:040:28:05

# They seek him here

0:28:050:28:07

# They seek him there

0:28:080:28:09

# His clothes are loud

0:28:110:28:13

# But never square

0:28:140:28:15

# It will make or break him so he's got to buy the best

0:28:180:28:22

# Cos he's a dedicated follower of fashion

0:28:220:28:26

# He's a dedicated follower of fashion. #

0:28:290:28:33

Marvellous. Absolutely marvellous.

0:28:330:28:36

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2008

0:28:410:28:43

Email us at [email protected]

0:28:430:28:46

Fiona Bruce is joined by Michael Aspel, who shares his most memorable moments from eight years with the programme. Jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn takes us to a prime spot for digging up buried treasure, and we relive some of the bizarre style statements that the show has witnessed.


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