Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Duke

The ring on "The Duke's" finger looks remarkably like the one sold to a dealer on today's programme, that David Dickinson said was the finest item ever to come into Dickinson's The Real Deal. It was the first time that Dickinson sat in throughout to protect a seller, even though he was a retired dealer, and another dealer present offered a novelty of a sealed bid.

There is a lot of backchat about David Dickinson, which is frankly trivial and stupid. His programme, and surely his, shows him as a celebrity who knows his stuff and is in command of his brief across a wide area. It is how celebrity should be.

I like the programme. You have the Antiques Roadshow which is the explanation - even pontificating - side and shows the top of the range, but the valuations are never tested. Then you have Flog It! in which the items of lesser values are auctioned. But this programme does it all: it's as if you approach a dealer and get an offer, and then you can gamble at auction (and sometimes lose). The programme has the flexibility to break its own rules: so a dealer buys and then puts into auction, or seller and dealer splits in auction. You also find out if the dealers made money on those items they managed to purchase. The dealers are personalities, so you can develop favourites among them, from an ex-beauty queen to a an ex(?)-cross dresser to a few you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. The most "normal" looking seem odd themselves in the company.

In other words, it's about the business, including the people, and about the dosh - and you notice that the general values for antiques have gone down. Over and again people paid more in the past than they can get now. Auctions are often tough. Occasionally there is the charity shop and car boot purchase that yields plenty of profit for the seller (and then the dealer). The programme extracts several editions out of one location, and rough-looking Mike Melody's hair gets longer and shorter as if his hair grows an inch in a day and he has a barber as a personal assistant.

Given I hardly watch anything on ITV 1 (in the evening I'm increasingly a refugee to subtitles optional Sianel Pedwar Cymru and subtitles provided BBC Alba - regional programmes about local people, rather than formulaic tripe), virtually nothing on ITV 2 and only occasionally on ITV 3 and ITV 4, this programme is an unusual watch for me. Unfortunately I am able to see it - and I do because it is interesting and fun and brightens the tedium.

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