Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Flog It! host Paul Martin joins Brian Conley to look back at the TV that helped make him the star he is today.
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TV, the magic box of delight.
As kids, it showed us a million different worlds,
all from our living room.
This takes me right back.
That's so embarrassing.
I am genuinely shocked.
Each day, I'm going to journey through the wonderful
world of telly with one of our favourite celebrities...
It's just so silly.
Oh, I love it! Is it Mr Benn?
..as they select the iconic TV moments...
..that tell us the stories of their lives.
Oh, my gosh.
Some will make you laugh...
.. some will surprise...
..many will inspire...
-Look at this. Why wouldn't you want to watch this?
..and others will move us.
Seeing that there made a huge impact on me.
-You're not having my kids!
-Got a handkerchief?
So, come watch with us, as we rewind to the classic telly
that shaped those wide-eyed youngsters
into the much-loved stars they are today.
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today is one of our best BBC presenters.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's Mr Paul Martin.
-How are you, mate?
-Really well, thank you.
-Welcome to my flat.
-Love this. I love it.
Come and sit yourself down.
Paul Martin has been a valuable fixture on our screens
since 2002, popping up at auctions
and fairs across the country on the hit daytime show Flog It.
In 2012, he joined Penelope Keith to restore a country house
in To The Manor Reborn.
The TV that made him includes a Royal wedding...
What an extraordinary moment for the new Princess of Wales.
..some rag and bone men...
"Fifi Aylor Photography."
..and the show that gave him his big break.
And I think this has to be one of the nicest things I've ever
seen on Flog It.
-What do you think about my flat?
-I think it's great.
Do you find yourself, wherever you go, just looking at....
Yeah, like in a hotel going, "Ooh, look at that."
You never switch off in this business, you never switch off.
I'm constantly collecting and I'm constantly learning.
Well, today is a celebration of things that you might have
-learnt on television.
-You're taking me back to my past.
Yeah, I mean, this is all classic TV that you've chosen over the years.
But first up, we're going to rewind the clock
and have a look at a very young Paul Martin.
Paul Martin was born in 1959 and grew up in Surrey.
He studied art and woodwork at college
and later became a professional drummer.
After developing a passion for antiques,
he eventually opened his own dealership.
But it was after a one-off interview with the BBC that he finally
found his true vocation and big break,
when he burst onto our screens to present antiques series Flog It.
So, what about where you grew up, what was that like?
In Surrey, West Molesey, a really nice place.
We had a house, it was a semidetached near the River Thames.
-So, had a canoe, which was really good when I was about 11.
-Not many kids had a canoe. Cor, blimey.
So, we used to take that down and go canoeing with Dad.
I played a lot of snooker with my dad.
-He was good at snooker. Yeah, a big snooker fan.
Played it all the time with dad. We used to watch Pot Black.
-That was black and white.
-So, you didn't know if it was a pink or yellow.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-"Oh, what's happening now?" No, I loved that.
Older sister, well, two years older.
You know, old enough to duff me about, when I was six or seven.
-It was a big gap, isn't it - seven to nine?
-We still fight as well.
-We love each other, though, really.
We lived next door to Ray Davies of The Kinks.
So, that was quite funny, growing up next to them.
He was always falling out with his brother, Dave.
My dad had a banger and Dave Davies was a mechanic
-before he was a guitarist. He used to fix my dad's car.
And they were all fighting and they still fight to this day, I believe.
-You know, brothers.
-Used to play drums in the Scouts.
-Marching drums, yeah.
So, that's why I wanted to be a drummer.
I got in with Nick Avery and The Kinks.
Mum used to look after the studio, when they went away.
Dad had a job offer to move to Cornwall,
when I was about 15 years old. It was a real wrench.
What was your dad's job then?
-He was a senior lecturer at Twickenham College.
And then he got offered a vice principalship
-at Falmouth College.
-So, it was a good promotion.
Mum and Dad promised that they'd buy me a drum kit.
That was the carrot to get me to Cornwall.
I said, "I don't want to move! I don't want to move!"
So, that was it, really, from the age of 16,
I wanted to be a professional drummer
and they bought me a drum kit. This premier drum kit.
I had it in my bedroom. I just used to thrash away.
Do you still own the drum kit?
-I do, I'm teaching my son to play the drums.
So, Paul, what was your earliest TV memories, then?
I guess it would have to be something like Captain Pugwash,
those kind of things.
-So, watching these programmes, did you have any snacks?
-I'd shout, "Mum! Where's my Nesquik and sausage rolls?"
Yeah. And I always sat on the floor, right in front of the telly as well.
She'd bring me a couple of small sausage rolls
-and a strawberry Nesquik.
-Well, just shout that to me now.
-OK, have you got any Nesquik?
-Of course we have. I don't mess about.
-You haven't, have you?
Yeah, I've got it in the kitchen here. Look at that.
Oh! Mum, you've changed. Nesquik, yeah.
Oh, Mum, thanks.
-There you go.
-One for you and one for me.
Thank you very much indeed. Put that out away.
-Look at that.
-Come on, let's have a sip. Let's have a little
-trip down memory lane. Cheers.
-Cheers. Here we go.
-It's the proper stuff as well.
It's putting me back in the spot now, look, in front of the telly.
-I should be on the floor, really.
And you mentioned Pugwash. Let's have a little look.
Let's have a look at Captain Pugwash.
-On the high seas.
-This will take you right back.
CAPTAIN PUGWASH THEME TUNE PLAYS
I mean, surely, one of the most recognisable theme tunes.
There he is, Captain Pugwash.
-It's the Black Pig, yeah?
Back aboard the Black Pig, the pirates have been
straining their eyes on the distant enemy ship...
The series followed the misadventures of Captain Pugwash
and his crew, as they scored victories
over arch-rival, Cut-Throat Jake, in the pursuit of treasure.
It's going, going, gone.
I mean, look at the work that's gone into those cardboard cut-outs.
There's someone doing that, isn't there?
-Going down and holding the table.
The animation was achieved using large boards with moving parts,
operated by hand.
Hero's welcome, that's what he deserves.
And that's what he'll get. We'll prepare a regular banquet for him.
Anybody like this?
This was state-of-the-art. I mean, it was state-of-the-art.
All the voices are done by Peter Hawkins, I believe.
We'll prepare a regular banquet for him. Anybody like this?
-It used to go out live.
-No! Did it really?
-It did, in the very early episodes, yeah.
-God, I never knew that.
Here he comes.
Pugwash first debuted in the boys' comic Eagle, in 1950,
before being adapted for TV.
The series, which originally aired between 1957 and 1966, was wrongly
believed to have featured characters with risque maritime names.
Creator John Ryan successfully sued two newspapers,
after they published stories claiming that rumours were true.
What was it about this programme that drew you in?
I think it was because he was a pirate and I wanted to grow up
and be a pirate.
I didn't want to be as big as that, though, but what a character.
Pugwash was both vain and greedy,
but adored by his loyal crew on the good ship Black Pig.
Why, the way you sunk that ship of Jake's, you'd think it'd been
hit by a whale.
What an extraordinary notion, Pirate Barnabas.
Let's talk about something else, shall we?
So, how do you think this compares to what children are watching today?
I mean, with CG and, you know, telly is so clever now, isn't it?
I mean, it really is. My kids watch...
I've relived being a four-year-old and a seven-year-old,
seeing my kids grow up and watching the stuff they watch.
It's like Scooby-Doo and they're all feature-length films.
-They're brilliant to watch.
They're full of great actors now, all of these things.
-I think children's TV has moved on leaps and bounds.
-It's got its own channel now, let's face it.
Pugwash is one of many TV captains front and centre on our TV screens.
Arthur Lowe was Dad's Army's blustering Captain Mainwaring.
He was a real stickler for following rules
leading to hilarious consequences.
"Are You Being Served?"'s Captain Peacock, played by Frank Thornton,
was the pompous supervisor with the dubious military record.
But the formidable Mr Slocombe had him wrapped
around her little finger.
Patrick Stewart was Captain Jean-Luc Picard
in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He led his crew boldly through the universe,
to explore new frontiers on the USS Starship Enterprise.
Back on planet Earth, Rowan Atkinson played Captain Blackadder,
trapped in the trenches, desperately trying to avoid being sent
over the top and to certain death, during the First World War.
So, what was the set-up? I mean, how important was the television?
You know, I mean, was it a big thing? Do you remember getting one?
It was. Yeah, I can remember Mum and Dad plonking it right there.
The front room was divided into the dining room
and the sitting room by one of those screens that you had shelves in.
Mum had all the Whitefriars glass. All the coloured glass.
You could look through it. It caught the light
at different times of the day.
And one of those great big, long hi-fis. You know, in a cabinet?
-With the speakers built in.
-Like a small bungalow.
It was, and the telly was a bit like that, funnily enough.
In a big cabinet.
We sat there, right on the floor, just watching and it was fantastic.
Of course, it was black and white but it didn't really matter.
There was nothing else around, was there? It was all black and white.
Everyone had black-and-white.
When we finally moved to Cornwall, when I was about 12 or 13,
-Dad bought a colour telly.
-It was fantastic.
But then half the programmes weren't made in colour, still.
-So, it's hilarious you got a colour telly.
-No, they weren't.
Not all the programmes were colour.
Did your parents collect antiques at this time?
Yeah, Mum did.
Mum was big on, as I said earlier, Whitefriars, she loved Whitefriars.
She was a graphic designer. She worked in Kingston.
So, she had a really good eye and she was always drawing.
She taught me to draw.
Mm-hm. Dad was a draughtsman before he became a teacher.
You know, they had all that early stuff, which
everybody had. Which now you want nowadays.
-You just talked about drawing. She taught you to draw.
We've got some of your drawings here.
Look at that. Can you talk this through them?
OK. That was my first attempt at an oil.
I painted that with enamel Airfix paint. Look, feel it.
-Can you see that it is fixed paint?
That's Monty Python. That's one of the sketches from Monty Python.
-Oh, that is really good.
-I did that for my dad.
-Is that me?
-No. It's not a very good Edward Woodward.
That's Callan, and that's the smelly guy that was always with him.
-I've forgotten his name. I think it's Lonely.
-That's it, yeah, Lonely.
-I did that for my dad when I was about 14.
All TV themed. And we've got this one here.
Oh, so what age were you when you drew that?
That's 1966, I was six.
-You were six years old when you drew that?
I think that deserves a round of applause.
-If you'd sent that into Vision On,
-you probably would have won...
-Well, we did.
-I did, I sent loads into Vision On.
Yeah, but I never got it on the wall board - on the board, you know?
-We used to watch every time the show came on.
-Paul, it's been on
this show now. So, you can just lay that and put it to bed.
-OK, I can put it to bed.
-Just walk away.
-Oh, I'm going to drink to that.
-I was on it.
Now, we don't normally go for a break this early on,
-but let's have a look at another one of your early TV memories.
This nostalgic TV ad offered a simple,
traditional, flat-capped vision of northern England.
-It looks absolutely idyllic, doesn't it?
-Oh, it's fantastic.
I used to love that.
Last stop on the round would be Old Ma Peggoty's place.
Twas like taking bread to the top of the world.
-That's Dvorak, isn't it?
My mum used to love this.
I used to say, "Mum, it's on! Quick! Quick!"
-She'd be in the kitchen.
-When adverts were an event.
She'd come running in and we'd all kind of...
"Oh, wow." Cos it was like watching a movie.
-Directed by Ridley Scott.
Twas a grand ride back, though. I knew...
And, do you know, when I was a little bit older,
but I think I was about 10, 12, 15, something like that...
I think when I was a teenager, we found where that was,
-and it wasn't in Yorkshire.
-Was it not?
-No, it was in Dorset.
My mum and dad took me out to see that and we walked up
and down that hill.
-So, you paid homage to the big Hovis ad.
-That's how much it meant to you.
-"We have to go there."
-"We've got to go there," yeah.
-How did you find out where was?
You couldn't Google it back then, could you?
No, you couldn't back then. Dad found out, somehow.
I don't know how. We were always going out in the car every Sunday.
National Trust members.
So, I think that's why I had a great love, at a young age,
-for historic buildings and artefacts.
These big houses, you know. So, yeah.
And that was one of the trips.
..get it inside you, boy.
And you'll be going up that hill as fast as you come down.
The provocative imagery led to it being voted one of Britain's
favourite commercials in 2000.
Watching that advert, what kind of images does it sum up for you?
Being that age, in a way.
You know, riding around on my bike,
wanting to do that on a cobbled street, but obviously...
-I probably had a Chopper at that stage.
-Oh, a Chopper!
-An orange one, as well!
-With three gears.
My sister on the back seat as well.
-I even had the tassels on the handlebars.
You were the envy of the whole street if you had a Chopper.
-Did you get some playing cards with pegs...
-..and put them on the forks and they...?
-It sounded like a motor bike.
-Yeah, yeah. Sad, isn't it?
No, it was good. Good times.
-I wouldn't change a thing, do you know that?
-No, I wouldn't.
I've got these for you.
Do you know what that is?
No, I know what it does but I don't know what it's called.
-A swanee whistle.
-Oh, right. OK.
I shall introduce the Clangers.
There they are.
That is a Clanger.
That is another Clanger.
And that is another Clanger.
And he's dropped a clanger.
These mouse-like creatures lurked beneath the surface
of a small moon, somewhere in outer space.
Their name comes from the sound the metal lids
made as they retreated underground.
And now they seem to be having a bit of an argument
about their piece of rope.
It's such a simple theme, isn't it?
-It's lovely. It was so popular.
Yeah, it was.
And do you know what?
Whenever Mum was cooking supper and we'd all be
in the kitchen or be in the sitting room
and everyone would walk around going, "Woo-woo."
My dad used to mimic this really, really well.
My dad loved it.
While we were having supper he used to still go, "Woo-doo-oop,"
just to wind my mum up.
'The characters often came across space junk left over by
'early human exploration.'
The series was created by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin,
'who also came up with Noggin The Nog and Bagpuss.'
'However, the narration in Clangers was all done by Postgate.'
Ah, now, that is Major Clanger with his flying machine.
All set and ready to fly up into the sky.
But, you know, when this first started airing,
-space and exploration was on everyone's lips, you know?
-It was that era, wasn't it?
-Yeah, it was, yeah.
This actually came out the same year as we landed on the moon.
THE CLANGERS WHISTLE
Yeah, it's great and it's back on today.
-It's come full circle, like the interior were sitting in.
With its whimsical storylines and melodic sounds,
it's easy to see why children were so captivated by the Clangers -
and still are today.
More than 40 years after the original series came to an end,
the Clangers has had a reboot with a new series,
narrated by Michael Palin.
-That was on just before the news, wasn't it?
It was, wasn't it?
You got this little five minute...
-Little five-minutes clips you get before the news.
-Then they'd hit you with something serious.
Right, now we're going to level you.
Something serious, yeah. No, that was brilliant.
So, Paul, here now is your First Tears At TV moment.
It's TV but it's also a film, and it was the Railway Children.
-I've got here some tissues....
-I might need them.
-..just in case...
-I might need them.
..you get moved. This is it, The Railway Children.
-Good luck, Miss Roberta.
'The Railway Children is a story of three siblings
'who move from London to picturesque rural Yorkshire.
'Their lives have been turned upside down after their father is
'wrongly imprisoned for spying.
..On a day like this.
-Oh, English rose.
-Yes, without a doubt.
I've taken too great a liberty, haven't I?
On a day like this, you know?
No, Mr Perks. Of course it's not...
-Who is that?
-Bernard Cribbins, yeah.
Dear Mr Perks, we love you quite as much
-as if you were an uncle of our own.
-On a day like what?!
-Well, like this here!
I told you I'd seen it in the papers, didn't I?
-I told you!
-Saw what in the papers?!
The film offered an idyllic vision
of Edwardian England during the steam age -
a heart-warming story that has made it a timeless TV favourite.
So why did it get you so emotional?
I was in love with her.
-That was my first TV crush.
-Yeah, it was.
-Not Bernard Cribbins?!
Oh, I did cry!
-Oh, here we go.
-Oh, they're getting the... Oh-oh!
-We know what's coming. He's going to come through smoke, isn't he?
-I did cry. I did cry.
-Yeah, this did make me cry.
In this emotional scene,
Jenny's character, Bobbie, is finally reunited with her father.
Daddy! My Daddy!
-There you go, Paul.
-Oh, look, welling up.
Isn't it amazing how those emotions still come back?
-Go on, have another tissue. We can afford it.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-I don't want to ruin the make-up.
-So why does it...
..why does it make you feel like that?
Well, because I'm a dad now. I've got two kids and I think...
I think there's a big part of that...
Just looking at that, you know, I miss my mum and dad.
Oh, don't we all, you know?
But I think your mum's love of antiques...
You know, I mean, you're still carrying on that memory,
-in a way, aren't you?
Would you say she had a very strong influence on you?
Oh, gosh, yeah, yeah.
Very, very strong, yeah.
-Is it amazing how those memories all come back...
..you know, just watching a short scene like that?
Yeah. Do you know, I haven't seen that for possibly 30-odd years?
And it's still there, isn't it? You can remember it.
-I remember that moment.
I knew this whole experience would remind me of my mum and dad.
-Yeah, yeah. Well, that's lovely.
-So, Paul, we touched on one of your childhood crushes...
-..the beautiful Jenny Agutter.
-She's still a stunner.
Well, here's another little crush on someone you had.
-'It's obviously not the horse.
-# Down in the meadow
-When the wind's in the west
# The lightning tree stands at its best
# Dreams come true if you want them to
# If you want them to It's up to you. #
I'll remember that theme tune for the rest of my life.
I've never forgotten it. Never forgotten it.
The lovely Gillian Blake.
# Grow, grow, the lightning tree... #
I wanted to be that guy because he got to work with her.
-Q from Bond.
Based on the 1963 novel Cobbler's Dream,
the enchanting children's series Follyfoot
was set at a rest home for horses.
Dora, I've got an idea.
I always think this is like the predecessor to Emmerdale.
Yes! Yeah, you're probably right, actually. Yeah.
That's the whole idea,
you go in disguise -
in Callie's clothes.
Paul's favourite Follyfoot character was horse-loving Dora,
played perfectly by Gillian Blake.
Then we'll got down to Hammond's.
All you've got to do is go in and pretend you want to hire a horse.
But make sure it's Starlight.
Look at that, isn't that great?
Oh, the glasses are on.
That is a disguise, isn't it?
You'd never recognise her, now she's put those sunglasses on.
Haven't you anything?
Kind-hearted Dora would do anything to help a horse,
even go up against a local thug.
-Haven't I seen you somewhere before?
-Oh, please, I'm in a terrible hurry.
You can't have that one. It's booked.
-He treats the horse badly and she's trying to rescue it.
-Ah, I see.
-How much do I owe you?
-Don't worry about it. See you when you get back.
Filmed at a once-deserted farmyard, the whole area was given
a serious face-lift to create the Follyfoot setting
we would all come to love.
Oh, very dramatic!
Yeah, you see, we want to know more, don't we?
Yeah, I want to see some more now. Don't stop!
Actually, the horse looked quite healthy, didn't it, really?
It wasn't undernourished or anything.
It was well groomed and well stabled.
-I have a little something for you.
I've got your very own Follyfoot annual.
Oh, thanks, Brian!
-And how about turning over to that first page?
-We've got an autograph.
"To Paul, best wishes, Gillian Blake."
-Gillian Blake. Let me show...
-She just wanted to send you that.
-Oh, bless her.
Oh, isn't that brilliant? Thank you very much.
It's an absolute pleasure. So it was a...
I mean, did you watch it just cos of Gillian or...?
-Let me put that away.
Gillian and the horses and the dogs and the farm.
Follyfoot was based on the novel Cobbler's Dream by Monica Dickens,
the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.
Other famous children's book adaptations include
the lavish period drama The Box Of Delights
by John Masefield.
It mixed live action and animation,
to tell the story of a boy who shrinks in size
and can even travel back in time, thanks to a magical box.
Richard Dempsey starred in the late '80s adaptation of
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis.
Four children venture through the back of an old wardrobe to
discover an ancient land, where they meet the great lion Aslan.
The Philippa Pearce novel Tom's Midnight Garden
has been dramatised three times by the BBC.
It's a story about a boy who,
in the 1950s,
travels back in time to Victorian England.
Hobbit star Ian Holm was
father of The Borrowers,
in the adaptation of Mary Norton's fantasy novel.
The tiny family lived on the walls and floors of an old house,
secretly borrowing everything they needed from the humans.
Well, we're going to move on to your next one now.
It had an estimated 750 million people watching it around the world.
Let's have a look at what it was.
This is of course the marriage...
The bride and groom.
And what an extraordinary moment for the new Princess of Wales to look
out at this sea of human beings.
-This is 1981.
I was in London at the time.
What do you remember about watching it?
-I thought she was incredibly beautiful.
-She was a princess.
-Oh, without a doubt.
-She was a princess, wasn't she?
I can... I just felt so...
I felt so proud to be English, to tell you the truth.
A national holiday was declared to mark the marriage
of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
600,000 people filled the streets of London to catch
a glimpse of the newlyweds.
The prince probably remembering when he stood here
as a very small boy after his mother's Coronation.
A global TV audience of 750 million people watched,
making it, at the time, the most popular programme ever broadcast.
I'd never seen so many people in one place as well.
We actually tried to get there, and we gave up.
We just gave up.
We thought, "Well, let's just go back home
"and let's try and catch them on TV."
I can remember getting the train back to Teddington
and going to get a drink in the pub and everyone was celebrating
and it was still on and, you know...
There was bunting everywhere and
there was just such a feel-good factor in the country.
Oh, it was a wonderful, huge event.
Yeah, everyone was talking about it for days and days and days.
Looking as far as the eye can see to Trafalgar Square.
Surely, you must have come across some Charles and Di memorabilia?
Oh, loads. Absolutely loads.
-We even have sections of wedding cake that haven't been eaten.
Yeah, and we have a lot of Elizabeth Emanuel dress memorabilia
and early sketches, things like that.
But it's the photographs that are signed...
Anything that's got great provenance to it.
So if I've got a Charles and Diana plate... Something like... Is it..?
Because there's so much out of it out there.
There's so much of it and so much has survived.
-So it's worth nowt.
-Well, it's worth something.
There are a lot of Royal memorabilia collectors out there.
But I think you've got to go back a bit earlier,
you know, a little bit earlier.
Paul, we're going to have a look at Must See TV now.
This is something that genuinely gave you an interest
-in antiques and memorabilia.
And here it is.
Steptoe And Son!
It also does not have an electric fan.
In fact, the only wind I've got is from the horse's tail.
Look at Steptoe!
Look at that!
-This was my mum and dad's favourite programme.
-Was it really?
Steptoe added a dose of gritty realism to the slapstick
style of other TV sitcoms around at the time.
The lead characters were rag-and-bone men,
scraping a living by selling other people's junk.
-That's a What The Butler Saw machine.
-Ah, you recognise it.
Takes you back to your lecherous youth, does it?
-Look at him.
-Look how skinny he is!
I know. Fine figure of a man, wasn't he?
I've seen more fat on a chip.
Here, I remember that one!
Oh, it's red hot, that is.
Much of the comedy came from the generational conflict
between father and son.
Old Albert was set in his grimy ways,
but Harold was filled with higher aspirations.
Yeah, come on. Hurry up.
-Let's get it inside.
-All right, all right, all right! Calm down!
Or else I'll have to rub you down with an ice cube, mate.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-That is brilliant.
That is TV gold, isn't it? That really is.
So that was your mum and dad's favourite?
Mum and dad's favourite, and they watched it all the time
and so I watched it.
-I was fascinated by all that eclectic mess. I loved it.
I really loved it.
-And they had a stuffed bear...
-..and I wanted...
-In the lounge or the hall.
Yeah, and I pleaded with my mum and dad to buy a stuffed bear
but they thought that was a bit too much.
It made me want to collect things,
and I can remember getting a job in a bike shop on Saturday,
while I was still at school, repairing inner tubes.
I can remember doing that and changing brake blocks for kids.
Doing all that to earn a bit of extra money,
and coming home, and smelling and looking like that.
But I loved it. I loved that whole thing
of finding a wrecked bike and doing it up, stuff like that.
Yeah, that set me on my journey.
So you aspired to be Albert Steptoe.
Do you know what? That's not a bad aspiration!
They had a big yard in Hammersmith, let's face it, you know?
That'd be worth a fortune, wouldn't it?
-All that clutter's worth a fortune.
Steptoe was one of many TV wheeler dealers in search of
that elusive big payday.
From selling tap water as spring water,
to flogging paint strippers as fancy hairdryers,
no moneymaking scams were off-limits to our Del Boy -
played by David Jason,
Peckham's dodgiest entrepreneur.
Ian McShane was the lovable rogue Lovejoy.
His eagle eye for antiques saw him scour the country for anything
that could make him a quick buck.
The legendary George Cole played Arthur Daley
who, despite doing some dodgy deals,
somehow always managed to keep one step ahead of the law.
So how did you start out in television, Paul?
I was sitting in my antique shop.
I had an antiques shop in Marlborough.
It was going very well for me.
I had the shop for three years.
I was like the buyer, the seller,
the restorer, the accountant and the delivery man.
-You name it, you know?
-Did it all.
-Yeah, wearing several caps.
I loved it. I lived and breathed it.
I was working, sort of, seven days a week, 12-15 hours a day.
And long journeys, buying things all over the country.
We had a really quiet spell and I was sitting in the shop.
I think it was a Wednesday afternoon and a BBC researcher came in.
She started to take some photographs and she said, "I love your shop."
"We're doing a piece on The Polly Tearooms in Marlborough but
"I've just come up here, wandered up here.
"Can I take some photographs of this?"
She got out her little camcorder and was doing this and that.
She said, "Oh, could you tell me about this cabinet?
"Could you talk me through this, if you don't mind?"
So I said, "Yeah, all right."
I thought, "Well, nothing to lose. She might buy it."
I'm trying to entertain her and, you know, give her the lowdown
and the spiel and a few anecdotes about it.
-It could have been used by the Duke of Wellington, you know?
Those kind of stories.
I did about three little vignettes for her.
She recorded it and said, "Oh, that's really, really good."
She said, "Look, I'm going to take this and send it to the channel
"and they might use this as an archive somewhere
"or your shop as a location."
That was that. So I thought...
You didn't think anything of it.
Yeah, I just went, "Oh, she didn't buy anything."
You think, you know, lost a client there.
And about three days later I had a phone call from the BBC saying,
"Is that Paul Martin? Because we've just seen your name above your shop.
"We're looking at the video clip that someone sent in, a researcher,
"and we feel you've got the potential to become a TV presenter.
-"You could be the new face of antiques."
"We're looking for a presenter to present an antique programme,
"and you can keep your business and do the show.
-"It might work for you."
-And it worked.
-It's worked for the last 15 years.
-15 years, yeah.
-Our 1,000th show this year.
Let's have a little look at Flog It!
Christa, you've brought in a wonderful Moorcroft bowl.
Oh, I look like Lovejoy, don't I?! Long hair and biker boots!
This is from the first series.
Get in the queue.
"Flog It!" sees Paul and his team of experts
tour the country valuing antiques -
some of which are then sold at auction.
Now, you paid £4 for this.
-Yes, that's right.
-It's a bit of a star buy, isn't it?
Well, I think so, yes.
So she bought that bowl for £4.
Start me straight in at £580.
-Just a simple idea and it worked, didn't it?
980, 1,000, 1,500.
(I can't believe it!)
-Do you ever tire of the reactions of the people?
-No, because it's so real, it's so natural.
-It is, yeah.
This is not fake. This is not set up.
-This is filmed as live. You only get one chance at that.
You can't ask the auctioneer, "Hang on, stop!
"Let's do a retake. His mic's fallen off!" You just do it.
(Oh, I can't believe it!)
Are we all done at 1,500?
Yes! Oh, gosh!
'Look at that!'
-1,500 and cost her
-£4. Yeah, and that's what the show's all about.
It's not the Antiques Roadshow where we say,
"Yes, Madam, it's worth 30,000 or 40,000."
It's real life. It's about stuff that we all come across,
that we inherit, you know, from Aunt Edna.
You don't like it, you don't want it and you want to put it into auction.
You want to flog it and you think it's worth
possibly a couple of hundred quid and hey-ho, a couple of grand.
Are there any items that have really taken your breath away that
had been auctioned off and sadly just done a left turn?
-On the show?
-Oh, gosh, yes.
-And just gone through the roof.
Yes, yes. We had one about three years ago.
In Scotland, this lovely old chap, a pensioner,
still looking after his mum, had never left home...
Had on his mantelpiece...
He had this piece of carved rhino horn.
This has to be one of the nicest things
I've ever seen on "Flog It!" and possibly one of the most
valuable items we have ever had on the show.
This was carved in the 17th century
and it was carved into the shape of a libation cup.
So it was Chinese and it had lots of mythical dragons
and figures around it.
He used it as an ashtray,
and when he stopped smoking he put drawing pins
and, you know, elastic bands in it.
It's one of those things, those typical pots you have
on the mantelpiece. It was disgusting and it had fallen off
several times and was chipped and broken.
He brought it along to our valuation day.
-How much do you think that's worth?
-A couple of hundred pounds.
A couple of hundred, yeah? A couple of hundred pounds.
He said, "Well, some bloke's offered me £300 for it.
"Should I sell it?"
My gut feeling is
this is worth £8-£12,000.
GASPING AND LAUGHING
-Yes, I'm not pulling your leg.
We said, "What we'll do is we'll send this down to London
"and if it is right,
"we'll put it in a special fine art
"sale in Bonhams in Bond Street for their Asian sale."
It's a big sale once a year, and the Chinese collectors fly over
and they buy everything.
This is your restored libation cup.
The auction house obviously really believe in this.
Lot number 470.
Who'd like to start this?
£5,000 for it. £5,000.
-5,000 is offered. Thank you, madam, very much.
'The cup appeared on an episode shown at Chinese New Year.'
'It was about to become the most exciting item ever to
'appear on the series.'
-The bid's at £40,000.
£44,000. You're all done.
-Thank you very much.
-What's it worth? £44,000.
-Oh, isn't that incredible?
-And he was going to sell it for 300.
-I think it's one of the
reasons Britain loves "Flog It!" so much.
It's those stories. You can't make that up.
You just can't make that up.
You never know when that's going to happen again.
That's why the atmosphere is electric.
You get to these valuation days and 600-800 people turn up.
On a good day we get 1,000-1,200 people.
We have six or eight experts on hand.
We have three on camera, plus myself and you have to get through it.
How about that? £44,000!
I think they're in shock.
What a day, what a moment.
This really is the icing on the cake for me.
Ten years of hard work on the show and it just goes to show,
you never know what you're going to find.
Was antiques always in the background? Was it always simmering?
I guess it was always there, you know?
It's something you've grown up with, and once you've got an eye,
you can look at something and
understand its perspective and its detail and its symmetry.
And you're good with colour and good with composition.
I think it was just a natural progression for me, you know?
It's an opinion and somebody's opinion is different to
somebody else's. Valuations are really hard to pin down because
if two people really want something,
they are going to carry on bidding and bidding and bidding.
You find you could overpay for something in an auction room
one day, get fed up with it, put it back into auction in two months
-and you might only get half your money back.
That's how dangerous the game is.
What is something that you truly treasure that you found
that maybe just came out of the blue one day?
I bought in auction, about six months ago, one of the nicest things
I've ever come across. It's a George III chest of drawers.
It's quite tatty.
It's ebonised, so it looks like ebony but it's just painted black.
Each drawer is graduated.
You open them up and its full of fossils, gems and seashells.
-So it's a collector's cabinet and it's somebody's collection
from, let's say, 1815.
-You know, George III and it's all there intact.
-There's a lifetime's collecting in that cabinet.
-Isn't that amazing?
-You managed to...
-I bought that.
-I'm going to give it to my son
because he wants to be a palaeontologist.
We go fossil hunting, you know?
We collect sea shells, so that's a great little present for him.
So what sort of stuff are you watching now on TV?
Erm, I still watch all the antiques programmes, obviously,
Do you wish you'd thought of that?
Yeah, it's a lovely format, isn't it?
It's a great format, yeah. I watch all sorts of things.
I watch a lot of documentaries.
I'm a big fan of the natural history stuff.
You know, David Attenborough - legend, legend, legend.
-Paul, have you enjoyed it?
-I have, I have. You made me cry.
-I had a little tear. I welled up, didn't I?
You took me back and I thought about...
-It's all about those good values my mum and dad gave me.
And we give our guests the opportunity now
to choose a theme tune to play out with.
-So what's it going to be?
-Well, it's got to be...
because I love snooker, Pot Black.
I think it was the black and white
-ivory tickle on the old piano, wasn't it?
-Fond memories of that.
-Fond memories, yeah.
Fond memories of Dad teaching me to place snooker,
-and now I'm teaching my son.
-Isn't that lovely?
-And you've been lovely. Thank you very much.
Thanks to Paul and my thanks to you for watching The TV That Made Me.
We'll see you next time. Bye-bye!
MUSIC: Black And White Rag by George Botsford
Antiques man and Flog It! host Paul Martin joins Brian Conley on the sofa to look back at the vintage TV that helped make him the star he is today. Brian hears how a classic Hovis advert prompted a family jaunt around the country.
They look at some timeless children's programmes and attempt to mimic the strange noises made by some of the characters therein.
And while the royal wedding of 1981 might be seared into Paul's memory, it is Steptoe and Son, the sitcom about a couple of unlikely characters and their rag-and-bone business, that inspired him to pursue a career in antiques.