20th Century Roadshow, BBC1

by | Apr 14, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A verdant, luscious ripe update of the old oaken stalwart of the Antiques Roadshow, in which curios and exhibits the viewers can actually recognise and relate to are appraised and valued.

What to say if you didn’t like it

A sickening, complacent wormhole enabling viewers to slip back to their infancy in a futile effort to rediscover that wonder that has been crushed out of them by contemporary adult life.

What was good about it?

• Some of the articles brought in were genuine treasures (eg the Chopper bicycle, various editions of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and a Space Invaders arcade machine) and the tales behind them were engagingly elucidated by the myriad experts.

* The quaint chat with the inventor and narrator of classic 1970s series Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and the Clangers. And when the narrator quipped about how he had to get rid of his 14-year-old stepdaughter’s cuddly toy Bagpuss after he learnt that when she cuddled Bagpuss, the toy would say in his voice: “Oh, I do like a cuddle in bed.”

• The shaggy haired expert who looks like Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode.

What was bad about it?

• Too many of the items brought in for viewing were boys’ toys from the 1970s and the now fully-grown owners seemed like schoolboys seeing who could bring the “coolest” thing into class.

• Just like in the Antiques Roadshow, the only palpable tension is felt during the valuation; and this generation of experts have learned well from their forbears how to string this out for as long as possible to either deliver delight or despondency. The cruellest instance came when a man who had proudly saved women’s magazines from the 1930s was told: “It may only be £50-60 worth of magazines, but it’s a rich historical treasure.” The old man’s face fell as though pushed off a cliff.

• The awful Star Wars poster in which Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia looked like Andy MacDonald and Toyah Battersby after being roughed up by Stormtroopers.

• While some of the items were fascinating, others were simply dull, such as the woman with the largest collection of phone cards in the world, or ostentatious like the bloke who paid £20,000 for Legolas’s bow from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which, if we’re going to be pedants, is 21st century memorabilia).

• Expert Eric Knowles breathlessly introducing the Nat West pigs as though they are artefacts which define Western civilisation.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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