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1977   1976   1972   1971   1970  

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Max Robertson ...
 Himself - Presenter / ... (21 episodes, 1970-1977)
Arthur Negus ...
 Himself - Resident connoisseur / ... (21 episodes, 1970-1977)
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Documentary

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31 March 1965 (UK)  »

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Make me an offer.
7 June 2008 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

In Britain, the phrase "going for a song" means 'for sale at a bargain price'. IMDb have listed the BBC series 'Going for a Song' as a documentary, but that's not precisely correct. This programme was in fact quite similar to the later (and much more successful) 'Antiques Roadshow', but with more of a luvvie flavour due to its reliance on celebrity guests such as actress/comedian Eleanor Bron.

Each episode featured three panellists who would appraise antiques, heirlooms and memorabilia. One panelist was always a genuine authority (often coming off quite dully on television) who would explain how and why he (no female experts on offer here, alas) came to arrive at his estimations for the rarety and value of each item. The other two panellists would be minor celebrities from show business or sport, who might be deeply interested in one particular category of collectibles (such as antique dolls, or football memorabilia) but who weren't necessarily very knowledgeable even within their own speciality.

I watched 'Going for a Song' during part of its original transmission on the Beeb. During that period, I was working part-time as a dealer in memorabilia and collectibles in the Portobello Road street market, so I watched this series very attentively ... partly in the hope of learning more about antiques, but mostly so as to study the behaviour and terminology of the experts, hoping to convince my own clients and customers that I was an expert too! It clearly didn't take, since I got out of that trade soon afterward.

The tremendous success of 'Antiques Roadshow' has proved that there's a sizeable audience for this sort of programme. Too bad that 'Going for a Song' failed where its successor succeeded.


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