Tim Wonnacott

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Tim Wonnacott
Born Barnstaple, Devon, England
Nationality English
Occupation Broadcaster, antiques expert
Years active 2003–present
Spouse(s) Helen Wonnacott (m. 1984)
Awards Key to the city of Plymouth
Website [1]

Tim Wonnacott is an English chartered auctioneer, chartered surveyor,[1] antiques expert, and a television presenter. He was director of Sotheby's, one of the world's oldest auction houses.

Wonnacott is best known for presenting the BBC daytime programme Bargain Hunt from 2003 until 2016.[2]


Wonnacott was educated at the independent West Buckland School in Devon, and took a postgraduate course at the Victoria and Albert Museum in fine and decorative arts.

Professional career[edit]

Wonnacott's father was an auctioneer in South West England. His ambition was to follow in his father's footsteps.[3] He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and an associate of the Society of Valuers and Auctioneers.

Wonnacott joined Sotheby's in 1978, becoming a full Director in 1985. He was appointed sole chairman of Sotheby's South, based at Billingshurst, Sussex, and Sotheby's new saleroom in Olympia, London.

Wonnacott left Sotheby's in January 2003 after 25 years, in order to concentrate on media activities and, at the same time, started the fine art agency and brokerage business "Tim Wonnacott & Associates". The rationale of the business is for Wonnacott and his colleagues to provide independent advice to both buyers and sellers of antiques.

In October 2004, Wonnacott took part in what is believed to be the world's largest public art auction when 63 fibre-glass cows were put up for sale outside Manchester's Town Hall. Proceeds were to be donated to local charity, Manchester Kids.[4]


Wonnacott appeared regularly as an expert on the Antiques Roadshow.

In July 2003, Wonnacott replaced David Dickinson as the daytime host of the popular BBC One television programme, Bargain Hunt.[5] The original contract was for 30 shows, but this has been extended to over 350 shows in the light of his appeal to viewers.

Wonnacott is also the narrator of the TV show Antiques Roadtrip. The concept involves two experts driving around the country in a classic car visiting antique shops and buying objects out of a starting budget of £300. The items that are purchased are sold by auction at the end of each episode with the resulting profits or losses rolled over until the road trip comes to an end, usually after 5 days - when the person with the most money is deemed the winner. A celebrity version is also produced, in which only one auction is featured and there is no "roll-over".

Other appearances include on BBC One's Restoration; The Divine Michelangelo; Test the Nation; Ready, Steady, Cook; This Morning; Top Gear; Going, Going, Gone; Going for a Song; Light Lunch; The Antiques Show; Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is; The Great Antiques Hunt; Buried Treasures; and Royal Upstairs Downstairs.

On 29 August 2014, Wonnacott was announced as a contestant on the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing. He was partnered with Australian dancer Natalie Lowe. The couple were eliminated in week 4, after dancing the paso doble, in favour of Mark Wright and Karen Hauer staying in the competition. After being eliminated, Tim reflected: “It’s a great treat to be on a programme like Strictly. For an old geezer like me, who comes along in his 64th year and he’s slightly portly, and he thinks he’s a bit over the hill, this last month, with this delightful teacher, has taken me to a very special place".[6]

On 16 September 2015 it was reported that he is no longer hosting Bargain Hunt for personal reasons after a disagreement with producers.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Wonnacott was born in Barnstaple, North Devon, England.[8] He was brought up in Devon.[9] His father was Major Raymond Wonnacott, a well-known local auctioneer. Wonnacott had one brother, who died in the late 1960s.[3]

Tim Wonnacott has lived in Cheshire and has three children.[9] He ran Sotheby's operations in the North West.[9]

Wonnacott has helped raise money for many charities at auction, including the 'Cow Parade' auctions in London and the Isle of Man,[9] and the sale of statues of Gromit in Bristol.[10]


  1. ^ "Find a member". Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/news/a775264/tim-wonnacott-leaves-bbc-one-bargain-hunt-after-12-years/
  3. ^ a b "Acclaimed property auctioneer dies at 88". This is Exeter. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Cows awaiting the highest bidder". BBC News. October 5, 2004. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  5. ^ Mitchell, Lisa (6 May 2003). "Is 50 the new 40?". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  6. ^ Tim Wonnacott hailed as 'true gent' by Strictly celebrities as he's eliminated from the competition - Mirror Online
  7. ^ Ruby, Jennifer (16 September 2015). "Bargain Hunt using guest presenters after Tim Wonnacott has ‘bust-up’ with producers". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Michael Hogan (19 October 2014). "Bargain Hunt's Tim Wonnacott becomes the third celebrity to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing, review". Telegraph.co.uk. 
  9. ^ a b c d Tim Wonnacott & Associates. "About Tim Wonnacott". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Designer Gromits go under the hammer in Bristol". BBC News UK. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 

External links[edit]