A new antiques programme hitting our screens this month seeks to find the best amateur antiques experts in Britain
In terms of set design, a new antiques programme hitting our screens this month is giving most period dramas a run for their money. With more than 6,000 props and around 65 sets, Antiques House lets contestants loose in various carefully recreated period rooms, where host Josie Lawrence and antiques expert Paul Hayes set them a number of antiques-related challenges, such as identifying real from repro.
‘I just can’t begin to tell you the enormity of it all,’ says prop master Dempsey Cook. ‘We’ve been dressing two sets a day, every day. Normally, you shoot in one set for at least three days.’
As yet more delivery vans pull up outside, a walk around Pinewood Studios confirms the ambition of the series. In one room, a fabulously cluttered attic is about to be broken down, while next to it the team are hanging the curtains in a 1960s living room – complete with lava lamp. Meanwhile, in another studio, a Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair is being put in position in an Edwardian living room while the semi-finalists film a quick-fire buzzer round.
‘I wanted to make a visually rich programme that celebrated these objects we share our homes with, as well as being a fun game show that the audience can participate in,’ says executive producer Emma Read.
Partly because contestants could look at anything in a room, and partly because the series is filmed in HD, authenticity has been crucial. Major prop houses have lent original items, and collectors and auction houses have all played their part.
‘We want contestants to really feel like they’re walking back into that period,’ says Emma.
Every weekday night at 7pm from Monday 14th January on Sky Arts 2 HD and Sky Go