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Series / Antiques Roadshow

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The British logo...
...and the current American logo

Famed long-running British programme where people get their valuables appraised. Starting with a 1977 documentary, the show proper has been running since 1979, going from town to town in Britain (and Canada and Australia) having appraisers tell people just what treasures they have and how much they're worth (which usually eclipses those people's expectations).

The show has spawned many international versions, including an extremely successful American version which debuted on PBS in 1997. (PBS also shows the British version in some locales.)


This show provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: The show's format makes it easy to be parodied, and several commercials have popped up in the U.S. parodying the Roadshow.
  • Big Fancy House: One of the main settings for roadshows, along with museums and civic halls.
  • Continuity Nod: Previous "finds" are often referenced and sometimes an item which appeared twenty or even thirty years ago will turn up again.
  • Cool Old Guy: Henry Sandon. His popularity with Roadshow visitors is legendary - many of the people who work on the show have attested to the fact that he's the one everybody wants to meet, even if they've brought in something unrelated to his specialism (which is ceramics).
  • Crossover: One episode of Frasier featured the Cranes appearing on the show.
  • Doom It Yourself: Sometimes antiques are ruined by improper 'restoration' or cleaning, such as polishing old bronze or refinishing woodwork, thus destroying the aged patina that gives them such appeal.
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  • Excalibur in the Rust: Averted; if you don't take good care of your antiques they will be worth a lot less.
  • Follow the Leader: After decades of going to convention centres almost exclusively, in the mid-2010s the US Roadshow started emulating its British predecessor by setting up at historic houses and galleries.
  • The Host: Many.
    • British: Bruce Parker (1977; 1979), Angela Rippon (1979), Arthur Negus (1977; 1979-83), Hugh Scully (1981-2000), Michael Aspel (2000-07), Fiona Bruce (2008-).
    • American: Chris Jussel (1997–2000), Dan Elias (2001–03), Lara Spencer (2004–05), Mark L. Wahlberg (2005-).
  • Long-Runners: British version since 1977; American version since 1997.
  • Results Not Typical: Thousands of people bring antiques to the Roadshows, but only those select few with extremely valuable or unusual antiques will be featured.
    • For some time they actually did show the people who brought in what they thought were valuable antiques only to find out it was worthless junk because it was popular with viewers. They put a stop to it because they thought PBS should aspire to higher standards.
    • Although, there will still be the occasional story of someone who brought in something that would have been valuable, but it had been cleaned or restored badly, and was only worth a fraction of what it would have been. They do, however, show a few people at the end who have brought in things that were worth almost nothing. They usually don't mind, saying that it was valuable to them anyway. This also has the beneficial effect of educating owners in the proper care of their antiques, preventing damage that would otherwise reduce or even eliminate their value.
  • Shout-Out: The above-mentioned episode of Frasier showed the highbrow brothers and their working-class dad engaging in an argument about what show to watch on TV, each maintaining the others wouldn't be interested in their kind of programming, only to discover that they all actually wanted to watch Antiques Roadshow! They proceed to make a Drinking Game from it, taking gulps of beer/wine whenever someone says "veneer."
    Frasier: (clearly starting to feel it) Next week, we gotta pick a different word!
  • Unmoving Plaid: Nicholas D. Lowry is often identified by his plaid coats, when appraising posters.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: What the previous owner of many of the antiques thought they were.