Bargain Hunt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bargain Hunt
Bargain Hunt logo (Series 24 onwards)
GenreReality game show
Presented by
Opening theme"Horny Baby" by Dust Devil (2000–2009)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series62
No. of episodes1,800 (as of 22 January 2021)
Running time45 mins
Production companiesBBC Bristol (2000–2014)
BBC Cymru Wales (2014–2017)
BBC Studios Factual Entertainment Productions (2017–present)
DistributorBBC Studios
Original networkBBC One
Picture format
Original release13 March 2000 (2000-03-13) –

Bargain Hunt is a British television programme in which two pairs of contestants are challenged to buy antiques from shops or a fair and then sell them in an auction for a profit. It has aired on BBC One since 13 March 2000 in a daytime version, and from 22 August 2002 to 13 November 2004 in a primetime version.

Bargain Hunt was originally presented by David Dickinson. From 2003 to January 2016 it was presented by Tim Wonnacott.[1] In 2016 the format changed to a rota of hosts from a "team of experts" fronting the series.


Bargain Hunt has undergone various TV formats and rule changes since it premiered in 2000. Most episodes are 45 minutes in length, though 30-minute versions and one-hour "live" editions have also been produced.

Two teams – designated the "Reds" and the "Blues" – compete. Each team has two members, who wear fleeces that correspond to their team's colour. The contestants in most episodes are members of the public, though some shows feature teams of celebrity players instead. At the beginning of the show, each team is given a set amount of money with which to purchase antiques. The objective is to find items that will earn the team a profit when later sold at auction. Each team is accompanied by an antiques trade expert, though it is the contestants' decision whether to heed the advice given by their expert. After the contestants have completed their purchases and presented them to the host, home viewers are shown a "what the auctioneer thinks" segment in which the auctioneer appraises the buys and gives the auction estimate. At the auction, as each item is sold, the host compares the auction sale price to the price originally paid by the team, with the difference being either subtracted from or added to the team's total. If the final total shows a profit, the team receives that profit in cash; otherwise, the team receives nothing. The profit/loss does not take into account buyers' premium (commission) or Value Added Tax (a governmental sales tax).

The show is punctuated by footage of the host visiting a place of historical interest, such as a stately home or museum, and talking about the items housed there.

In the early David Dickinson-era episodes, teams were given £200 each, and could buy as many or as few items as they liked within the hour given to wander around a trade fair. The item rule was later changed so that teams have to buy three items. After Tim Wonnacott became host, the money was increased to £300, and a new feature called the "swap item" was introduced. Each expert chose an item of their own, and the team could replace one of their own choices with the "swap item" if they wished to. The host, when offering the option to a team, would often ask, "Swap or No Swap?" Originally, the experts were given an unspecified amount of money to buy the extra item; the rule was later changed so that the experts could only use whatever money was left of the team's £300 budget (the remaining money was referred to by Wonnacott as the "leftover lolly"). Under the revised rule, if a team used its entire budget, the expert could not choose a "swap item".

The "swap" rule was changed again in 2006 (Series 14), becoming the "bonus buy". The expert is still given any "leftover lolly" to buy this bonus item, which is entered into the auction. Just after the auction of their own items, and before that of the bonus item, teams must decide whether the auction results of the bonus item should be added to their own auction lots. Teams can potentially add to their profit with the bonus item, but it can also subtract from a team's earnings if it loses money.

In a series in 2014, an alternative bonus item was purchased by the expert with "Tim's Ton", (£100 provided by Tim). The teams then had to decide on whether to select the 'team's bonus buy' (bought with the leftover lolly), Tim's bonus buy (bought with Tim's ton) or neither. Tim would also make his prediction as to which bonus buy would make the larger profit or smaller loss (which he called Wonnacott's winner).

Series 52 in 2019 brought a change to the rules with two challenges, the 'Big Spend Challenge' and the 'Presenter's Challenge' added. The teams have to spend at least £75 on one item, and buy an item relating to a specific category. Other changes include the contestants introducing themselves to camera, rather than to the presenter, and the bonus buy is now revealed to the contestants in the auction room after the sale of the first three items.

On average, the majority of contestants' items lose money: the teams are paying retail prices at fairs, whereas auction prices are generally lower. Large profits are fairly rare, though it is not particularly unusual for contestants to take home a small profit. Teams achieving the difficult feat of earning a profit on all three items are awarded a "golden gavel";[2] originally a wooden trophy, but latterly a lapel pin.


Four or five programmes are usually made at each antiques fair and filming can take all day.[3] Programmes are named for where they are filmed, for example, Ardingly has hosted:[4]

Ardingly episodes broadcast in series 50 – 61
Titles Presenter Experts Series
Ardingly 1-4 Eric Knowles Raj Bisram and Nick Hall 61
Ardingly 6, 7, 8 Natasha Raskin Sharp David Harper and Raj Bisram 56
Ardingly 10, 11, 12 Charlie Ross Charles Hanson and Tim Weeks 52
Ardingly 17-20 Anita Manning Gary Pe and Nick Hall 54
Ardingly 21-24 numbers used twice Charlie Ross Philip Serrell and Roo Irvine 58
Ardingly 21-24 numbers used twice Christina Trevanion Nick Hall and Ochuko Ojiri 57 (21-23), 58 (24)

Programmes are not necessarily broadcast in the sequence filmed, and one set of episodes can be split across different series.

Bargain Hunt Famous Finds[edit]

Bargain Hunt
StarringTim Wonnacott
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series2
No. of episodes20
Running time45 minutes
Original networkBBC Two
Picture format16:9
Original release1 December 2008 (2008-12-01) –
3 April 2009 (2009-04-03)

A separate celebrity version of the show premiered on 1 December 2008 on BBC Two featuring team pairs made up of one well-known personality accompanied by a friend or family member. The show is presented by Tim Wonnacott and the format is the same as the main show but Wonnacott's visit to see an antiques collection or stately home is replaced by a feature where each celebrity contestant discusses antiques with him. Wonnacott might show them a borrowed collection of antiques brought along for the show that he believes would interest the celebrity (this may be related to the occupation of the celebrity), and in turn the celebrity shows Wonnacott an antique or collectable belonging to themselves. There is no suggestion of what to do with any profit if the teams make any, but most decide to give it to charity. Series 2 began on 30 March 2009 and ended on 3 April 2009.

Celebrity contestants[edit]

Series 1 Series 2
Kelly Holmes and Sally Gunnell Henry Cooper and Geoff Capes
Lembit Öpik and Edwina Currie Tony Blackburn and Alvin Stardust
Helen Lederer and Bobby Davro Johnny Ball and Eddie Large
Ruth Badger and Tamara Beckwith Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner
Jilly Goolden and Theo Paphitis Janet Ellis and Valerie Singleton
Connie Fisher and Ian 'H' Watkins Christopher Timothy and Lysette Anthony
Julian Clary and Matthew Cottle Janice Long and Mike Read
Rakie Ayola and Charles Dale Toyah Willcox and Kiki Dee
Keith Chegwin and Sally James Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne
Ricky Groves and Jilly Cooper Vanessa Feltz and Nicki Chapman


Originally a daytime show when launched in 2000 with game host David Dickinson. Later a primetime version, hosted by Dickinson, was also made (2002–2004), which was similar to the daytime show except that the teams' budget was increased to £500. It was on this version of the show that the record was set for the greatest profit earned on Bargain Hunt. A team led by Michael Hogben purchased a Royal Worcester box at Ardingly Fair for £140; the item made £800 in the live primetime auction.

When Dickinson gave up the daytime show to concentrate on the primetime version, his place was taken by Tim Wonnacott, an antiques expert already well known to UK viewers as a long-standing expert on the Antiques Roadshow.

In April 2005 it was announced that the primetime version of Bargain Hunt had been axed; however the daytime version continued. Reruns of the daytime version (from the Dickinson era) also appear on BBC Entertainment and BBC America.

The show occasionally features well-known contestants, such as 'Allo 'Allo! stars Gorden Kaye and Sue Hodge.

The show airs on the Australian Foxtel and Austar cable television channel, Lifestyle, at 6.30 pm weekdays. The show also airs on the Seven Network's digital station 7Two (Prime's 7Two, in Regional Areas), weekdays at 11am and 6.30pm.

Several episodes recorded in late 2014 were presented by Anita Manning, Charlie Ross, Christina Trevanion, Natasha Raskin, Charles Hanson, and Paul Laidlaw whilst Wonnacott took part in the BBC 1 entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing.

Christmas charity single[edit]

In December 2017, four of the Bargain Hunt antique experts Charlie Ross, James Braxton, Charles Hanson and Philip Serrell got together to create a Christmas single in aid of BBC Children in Need. The single was released digitally on independent record label Saga Entertainment and peaked at number 1 on the Amazon Rock Charts, number 1 on the Amazon Rock Best Sellers and number 1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases chart. It was a rock cover of the classic Christmas song "Sleigh Ride", written by Leroy Anderson & Mitchel Parish. It was recorded at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick.[5][6][7]

Special programmes[edit]

Following the death of expert David Barby on 25 July 2012, the programme paid tribute to him on 1 October 2012 by showing a montage of clips featuring his appearances on the show.

500th programme[edit]

On 15 October 2007, the 500th show was broadcast. This show differed from a normal show in that both teams were made up of experts – the red team featured David Barby and Philip Serrell (described as the "old" team), while the blue team featured Kate Bliss and Charles Hanson (deemed the "young" team); the "bonus items" were purchased by Tim Wonnacott himself.[8] The teams were given £500 to spend, rather than the usual £300, with any profits going to charities chosen by the team members. The red team made a profit of £245, beating the blue team's break-even. The show also featured out-takes and memorable clips from previous shows.

10th anniversary[edit]

The programme marked its tenth anniversary on air with a week of special editions broadcast between 15 and 19 March 2010. These followed a similar format to the 500th episode, except that the teams were given only the usual £300 to buy items, with a separate £100 per team allotted for the bonus items.

20th anniversary[edit]

The programme marked its twentieth anniversary on air with a week of special editions broadcast between 19 and 23 October 2020. Only some of the usual rules applied. The teams had one hour and £300 pounds to buy three items to take to auction, shopping on their own, in a relay.

BBC Music Day specials[edit]

On 28 September 2018, Bargain Hunt aired a special episode as part of BBC Music Day. The Red Team consisted of Bez and Rowetta from Happy Mondays and the Blue Team consisted of Jarvis Cocker and Candida Doyle from Pulp.

The Red Team won the episode by earning a profit of £8. However, it was later discovered that Bez's girlfriend had bought two of the Red Team's items. As it was against the rules of the programme for friends and family of the teams to buy items the teams were selling, the Blue Team were made winners and Bez had to hand over £8 from his own pocket.[9]

On 26 September 2019, the second BBC Music Day special was shown with The Darkness (lead singer Justin Hawkins and bassist Frankie Poullain) competing against Feeder (lead singer Grant Nicholas and bassist Taka Hirose) at the Stamford Meadows antiques fair in Lincolnshire.[10][11][12][13]



Past experts[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In March 2003, ITV children's TV channel CITV's Saturday morning children's program SMTV Live introduced a parody sketch of the program entitled "Garbage Hunt" with presenter Des Clarke parodying Dickinson as "David Dustbin" looking at old unused merchandise from people's rubbish bins.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Tim Wonnacott steps down from Bargain Hunt". BBC News. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  2. ^ Doplhin, Kirstie (17 November 2011). "Beci and Frank have an eye for a real bargain". Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ "BBC One - Bargain Hunt - Frequently Asked Questions". BBC.
  4. ^ "BBC One - Bargain Hunt - Episode guide". BBC One. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  5. ^ "BBC Children in Need - BBC antiques experts have swapped their auction house gavels for microphones to produce a Christmas single in aid of BBC Children in Need". BBC. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  6. ^ "The BBC's antiques experts unite to release a Christmas single". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Sleigh Ride". YouTube. Saga Entertainment. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  8. ^ "500th Episode". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Happy Mondays force Bargain Hunt reshoot - Complete Music Update". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Inappropriate songs and big losses — the Darkness and Feeder really weren't very good at 'Bargain Hunt'". NME. 26 September 2019.
  11. ^ "The Darkness and Feeder to go head to head in 'Bargain Hunt' special". NME. 24 July 2019.
  12. ^ "BBC One - Bargain Hunt, Series 54, Stamford Meadows 9 (BBC Music Day)".
  13. ^ "The Darkness and Feeder Will Face off in a Bargain Hunt Special".
  14. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Eric Knowles". BBC One. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  15. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Anita Manning". BBC One. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  16. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Natasha Raskin". BBC One. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  17. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Charlie Ross". BBC One. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  18. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Danny Sebastian". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  19. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Raj Bisram". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Kate Bliss". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  21. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - John Cameron". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  22. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Ben Cooper". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Nick Hall". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Charles Hanson". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  25. ^ "David Harper's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Caroline Hawley's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Paul Laidlaw's profile on Bargain Hunt, BBC, UK". BBC. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  28. ^ "Laidlaw Auctioneers & Valuers". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  29. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Richard Madley". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  30. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Gary Pe". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  31. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Thomas Forrester". BBC One. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Jonathan Pratt". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  33. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Philip Serrell". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  34. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Catherine Southon". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  36. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Mark Stacey". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  37. ^ "Tim Weeks – Director, Auctioneer, Valuer & Cataloguer". Wessex Auction Rooms. 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  38. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Tim Weeks". BBC One. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  39. ^ "BBC Bargain Hunt - Colin Young". BBC One. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  40. ^ "Lowry-esque orchard scene makes top price at auction". 28 June 2012. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  41. ^ "Blackers Art of Angling and Complete System of Fly Making and Dying of Colours". 28 August 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  42. ^ "Television antiques expert David Barby dies, aged 69". BBC News. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  43. ^ "This year's Rye Show 'best ever'". Rye & Battle Observer. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  44. ^ "Newark 5: Bargain Hunt, Series 37 Episode 31 of 32". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  45. ^ "Bargain Hunt - Natasha Raskin". BBC One. Retrieved 25 August 2016.

External links[edit]