Antiques Roadshow Specialist Marc Allum gears up for the new season of filming the country's favourite antique show
Here we go again! As I begin my seventeenth season on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, I can already feel the excitement of setting off around the country visiting splendid country houses, wonderful museums and meeting the hordes of enthusiastic people who are prepared to queue for several hours armed with that great spirit of camaraderie that historically epitomises the British. Not only is the show a Sunday night stalwart, a pillar of the television establishment, it is a real-time rendezvous that – unlike most other television programmes – attracts over 90% of its viewers when broadcast. It’s a fact that emphasises its popularity as a point of comfortable reference for a quarter of the viewing public on a Sunday night.
It is undoubtedly the best, the show which spawned a myriad of imitators; it wears an unassailable crown with an inveterate pride and one that I am proud to be part of. Throughout the many years of working on the show I have had a mixture of emotional, astounding and even scary experiences. Few would sometimes imagine the trials and tribulations that we all go through to make sure the programme reaches your screens. From power failures in driving rain and gale force winds, negotiating flash floods to return precious pieces of furniture to their owners, sharing the emotional ups and downs of a myriad of different characters; the exultation, the disappointment and the wholly pragmatic, the war heroes and the eccentric; each of these has added to the rich experience of my time with the show and each successive year I look forward to adding to the list of wonderful venues. At some of these locations, I have the unquantifiable pleasure of being able to handle the most astounding objects, not just those that arrive in the queues; gems from private collections and museums, curators who generously allow me and my fellow specialists to step over the red ropes and open the glass cabinets. At East Kirkby I had the honour of sitting in the cockpit of a Lancaster bomber – all of this fuels our enthusiasm. I sometimes wonder how I am considered worthy, yet I hope it’s that modesty that keeps me grounded and highly appreciative of the pleasures that my association with the Antiques Roadshow affords me. I am in short, very lucky.
Marc is a consultant for Tennants Auctioneers of Leyburn and is based at:
Oakham (Heart of England) Office Mill House, South Street Oakham, Rutland LE15 6BG
Tel: + 44 (0) 1572 724666
Fax: + 44 (0) 1572 724422