What a hoot it was to take part in bargain hunt.
Back in September I completed an online application to take part in the show. One of my best mates and work colleague Jenni Thompson and I had joked that it would be great to star in a ‘game show’ and one to tick off the bucket list too.
Not long after I sent the application form off I received a phone call from the BBC production team. After a short conversation, which I felt was a ‘making sure you are normal’ type of call, Jenni and I were invited to audition in Banbury.
We turned up to a hotel in Banbury on a sunny Saturday morning to be greeted by many other hopeful couples wanting to take part in the show. They were from all walks of life including a group of Chelsea pensioners, a lady who also featured on the Great British pottery throw down, a man who made prosthetic limbs during the war followed by a farmers wife and farmers daughter – that’s us!
Only 8 couples would be successful so the pressure was on. Throughout the audition we had to take part in a few challenges. The first was valuing antiques from cheapest to most expensive and justifying our reasoning. We were given some laminated pictures and had 1 minute to decide. Then we took part in some role play, pretending to buy an antique from a market stall, using all our skills to bag a bargain. Finally we donned the red fleeces and had a mock interview, introducing ourselves and what our prospective tactics at a sale would be.
Then came the waiting game. Did we get through? We waited in suspense until a private number appeared on my mobile phone. We got in – celebrations all round!
In November, Jenni and I trundled off to Brackley antiques cellar to meet up with the Bargain Hunt production team and to meet our experts. What a surprise to be paired up with local boy Charlie Ross. Once again we donned the red fleeces, this time for real, and headed off to spend our £300 on 3 items.
Our tactics were simple, buy lots as cheap as possible. So many times we had watched the show and seen lots bought for quite a bit of money which at auction lost quite a bit of money. We also wanted to find lots that matched our interests and personalities. We hoped for something agricultural, something with history and something for the fancy dress box.
The hour went very quickly and we had to keep stopping to take different shots for the show. We cried with laughter the whole time. Charlie kept us entertained with innuendo and typical bargain hunt sayings. We came away with a fibreglass pig, a nautical hat and a silver plated thermometer and only spent £75. Charlie couldn’t believe his luck as we had £225 for him to spend on a best buy. After a busy day filming we came home filled with excitement and promise for the auction.
One month later we travelled down to Thatcham to SAS auctions. We were told not to look online at the lots so it would be a surprise to know what they were valued at. Four other couples joined us to film several bargain hunt shows at the same time. There was a lot of hype ahead of the auction and we filmed the links with our best buys bought by our experts. Charlie Ross had purchased a rather lovely gold pocket watch for £75. We were pleased with his choice and thought he had done us proud.
We did very well not to look at the auction catalogue and waited patiently for our lots to come up. We were them ushered into the sale room and couldn’t believe our luck when all three lots were valued above what we paid for them. To our sheer delight, all three lots exceeded expectation and we came away with a tidy profit. To top it off, we went with Charlie Ross’s best buy and made a profit on that too! We came away with £280 and made bargain hunt history.
We never ever thought when we applied for the show that we would make any money. It really did make our day and even more so that we were then awarded the coveted golden gavel for making a profit on all the lots.
The next waiting game was finding out when the show would air. We were told either March or April. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long and was told it would be on BBC1 at 12.15pm on Friday 18th March.
If you missed it, click here to View the episode of bargain hunt
Enjoy – we did!