Tim Wonnacott

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Tim Wonnacott
Born Timothy Wonnacott
(1953-05-06) 6 May 1953 (age 63)
Barnstaple, Devon, England
Nationality English
Occupation Broadcaster, antiques expert
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Helen Mary Wonnacott (m. 1984)
Children 3
Awards Key to the city of Plymouth
Website www.timwonnacott.com

Timothy Wonnacott (born 6 May 1951) [1] is an English chartered auctioneer, chartered surveyor,[2] antiques expert, and a television presenter. He was a 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 2015; the series recorded in 2015 will be aired in 2016.[3]


Wonnacott was educated at the independent West Buckland School in Devon, and after qualifying as a chartered auctioneer and chartered surveyor he took a postgraduate course at the Victoria and Albert Museum in fine and decorative arts.

Professional career[edit]

Wonnacott's father Major Raymond Wonnacott was an auctioneer in South West England. Tim's ambition was to follow in his father's footsteps.[4]

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 saleroom in Olympia, London.

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

Wonnacott has helped raise money for many charities at auction, including the 'Cow Parade' auctions in London and the Isle of Man,[9] the sale of statues of Gromit in Bristol in 2013 and the sale of statues of Shaun the Sheep in Bristol in 2015.[5][6] In October 2007, Wonnacott took part in what was then believed to be the world's largest public art auction when 63 fibreglass cows were put up for sale outside Manchester's Town Hall.[7] Proceeds were to be donated to local charity, Manchester Kids.

He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and an associate of the Society of Valuers and Auctioneers.[2]


In July 2003, Wonnacott replaced David Dickinson as the daytime host of the popular BBC One television programme, Bargain Hunt.[8] The original contract was for 30 shows, but this was extended to over 350 shows in the light of his appeal to viewers.

Wonnacott is currently the narrator of BBC TV's Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. The concept involves two experts (and, in the celebrity version, two celebrities as well) driving around the country in a classic car visiting antique shops and buying objects out of a starting budget of £200. 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. In the celebrity version, 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".[9]

On 16 September 2015 it was reported that he is no longer hosting Bargain Hunt for personal reasons after a disagreement with producers.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Wonnacott was born in Barnstaple, North Devon, England, the younger son of local auctioneer Major Raymond Wonnacott and his wife Pamela.[1] He was brought up in Devon.[11] Tim's elder brother Paul died in the late 1960s.[4]

Tim married Helen (born August 1956) in 1984 and they have three children.[11]

When he ran Sotheby's operations in the North West he lived in Cheshire,[11] but he now lives in Suffolk.


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b "Find a member". Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Read, Jennifer. "Job vacancy: Tim Wonnacott leaves Bargain Hunt after 12 years". Digitalspy.com. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Acclaimed property auctioneer dies at 88". This is Exeter. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Suspended Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott criticised for taking fee for charity auction". North Devon Journal. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  6. ^ "A Grand Announcement! Tim Wonnacott to host our Gromit Unleashed auction | Gromit Unleashed". www.gromitunleashed.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  7. ^ Administrator, men (2007-02-15). "Pastures new as cows go under hammer". men. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, Lisa (6 May 2003). "Is 50 the new 40?". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  9. ^ Tim Wonnacott hailed as 'true gent' by Strictly celebrities as he's eliminated from the competition - Mirror Online
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b c Tim Wonnacott & Associates. "About Tim Wonnacott". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 

External links[edit]