One of the constant debates of the wider art and antiques industry is just how good/bad/useful the daytime TV programmes are that focus on auctions, dealers and fairs.
It’s a close call in many cases. There can be no doubt that the plethora of programmes emerging over the past 20 years or so, many in a gameshow format, have sparked a great deal of interest in what we do. The raised public consciousness can only be a good thing if it means more people coming into the saleroom to see what it’s all about or having a go at bidding online.
I particularly like it when the presenters take a bit of a break from the main proceedings to interview a passionate collector or focus on a specialist area of collecting.
I’m less keen when it comes to the artificial hype introduced to bolster the gameshow experience and onscreen buzz. That’s because it has often come at the price of authenticity. The worst of this is when presenters talk about the profits made from buying and selling, but without taking account of the costs incurred along the way.
Things have generally got better on that front in recent years as formats acknowledge the public’s increasing interest and knowledge around auctions.
The much-maligned BBC – 100 this year – can take a bow here, having fostered the cream of the crop in the Antiques Roadshow for almost half of its lifetime.