Uppingham on Bargain Hunt

I have always wanted to appear on the BBC1 TV show Bargain Hunt and, as you need to be a team of two, asked around to find someone willing to be my co-star.  I wanted someone with a good eye for a bargain and someone who knew lots about antiques. I asked around and even my husband  Geoff was not interested in venturing into television with me.

Then during lockdown our son Xander was working from home and we shared lunch everyday with him at 12.15 to watch ‘Bargain Hunt’ on BBC1.  Well!  He was hooked, so I had my ‘willing’ volunteer.

Also, last year Xander decided that he was ready to leave home and buy a house.  Now, you might think that a young man of 21 would want to go for a newish house and furnish it with Ikea furniture.  No! He found a house built in 1633 made of beautiful Collyweston stone and a welsh slate roof.  Well, if you buy an old house you have to fill it with…..yes….antiques.

We attended (online of course) several auctions and Xander managed to buy quite a few antique items, but he still didn’t have completion on his house yet, so they had to be stored in our garage.

So now I am all ready to apply to be on Bargain Hunt:

After our on-line application was approved, we had to provide a home-filmed video presentation.  This was hilarious, talking into a camera and trying to sound enthusiastic but not like some crazy lady.  Xander, as you can imagine was super cool but he did end up ‘skipping’ off at the end of the interview. 

The recording for the show was originally scheduled for November 2020 at the always-windy Newark Showground, however, due to more lockdowns this was postponed twice.  Finally…in March this year we recorded ‘The Hunt’ at Brackley Antiques rooms. It was an amazing place with some fantastic pieces and packed full of history.  There were a lot of quirky items and we even managed to buy a few items for Alex’s house before filming started.

There were 3 other teams there at the same time each with £300 of BBC money to spend but we had to keep our purchases secret from the opposition, but it was so much fun, we did end up acting like crazy people (well I did) but it was worth it. The hardest part was only having one hour to find three items of value, one that had to be over £75 and one had to meet Charlie Ross’s challenge of ‘something with a face’.  We looked at a chair, cricket bats, teddy bears, silver teapots, it was a veritable Aladdin’s Cave. We did get into a panic when we only had 3 minutes left and still had one item to purchase.  In the end we settled on some aromatic wooden soap trays, a mahogany dresser set with a mirror and Xander’s favourite was a Jaeger vintage car clock. Phew!  We had managed it, but how much would they go for.

The auction was held in Stratford-upon-Avon and we expected some high prices to be paid.  It turns out that dark furniture such as Mahogany is beautiful but not very collectable at present and doesn’t reach the price that it deserves. However, you don’t enter Bargain Hunt for the money, nor for the notoriety but for the sheer fun of it.

I won’t say if we won or not because you may not have seen the show.  If you wish to see it then you can do so on BBC Iplayer – search for “Bargain Hunt Series 59:Brackley 6”.  It is horrid seeing oneself on TV but it is always good to step out of your comfort zone occasionally and I am so glad that I did.

One of the main reasons that I enjoyed the time at the hunt and the auction was that I got to spend real quality time with my boy and this will remain, forever, a fantastic adventure that we shared together.  Anyone with children will know that these times are precious because they grow up so quickly. 

We should all enjoy everything that we do and everyone that we share our time with.

The BBC are always looking for volunteers to join a show,,,,, how about it?

Thank you.

Janet Thompson BEM

Chair – Uppingham Neighbourhood Forum