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Bargain Hunt experts: Who are they and do they get paid?

Who are the show’s expert antiquarians? (Picture: BBC)

BBC One’s Bargain Hunt is classic daytime television – and has been for 22 years now.

Since 2000, two teams (red and blue) are given £300 a piece to spend on bargain antique buys in just an hour – which they then take to auction to see which team makes the biggest profit.

During their shopping trip, they’re supported by an expert antiques dealer – who also offers them their own finds, in hopes of boosting their auction total.

But just who are Bargain Hunt’s expert antiquarians, and do they make much cash from the show?

Here’s what we know.

Who are the Bargain Hunt experts?

Raj Bisram

Raj is an auctioneer and antiques expert, as well as co-founder of Bentley’s Antique and Fine Art Auctioneers in Kent.

Kate Bliss

Antiques expert Kate Bliss is a well-known face on BBC’s Bargain Hunt (Picture: BBC Studios)

Kate’s been presenting antiques programmes for more than 15 years on BBC, ITV and other channels.

She also values fine art and jewellery through her website, Kate Bliss, as a gemology expert and is an approved registered valuer through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

John Cameron

Portsmouth-born John is one of Bargain Hunt’s top auctioneers.

Stephanie Connell

Expert Stephanie began her love of antiques as a child – when she became obsessed with collecting stamps aged 10.

She says of her role: ‘Being a Bargain Hunt Expert is fabulous, having fun with the teams, working with the other experts and crew is a dream come true.

‘As a dealer it is the thrill of looking for that great find that maybe has been forgotten and allowing it to become someone else’s treasure.’

She joined the show after being recommended by Antiques Road Trip star Charlie Ross.

Ben Cooper

Antiques dealer Ben joined the show in September 2014, having previously sold items to the series.

He said: ‘I first sold to Bargain Hunt in its early days, (also my early days as a dealer) when I had a stand at the Malvern Antiques Fair.

‘I had no idea that one day I would be an expert on the show.’

 

Thomas Forrester

Expert Thomas Forrester may be better known to former viewers of the show as Thomas Plant.

His name changed sometime around 2017/2018, with fans speculating about the reasons behind it.

In 2018, his company Special Auction Services simply explained: ‘Thomas has been Thomas Forrester for some time now so to avoid any further confusion he decided it was high time his details were updated.’

Charles Hanson

Charles is a registered surveyor and an auctioneer – first joining Bargain Hunt as an expert in 2002.

Like many of the experts, he’s also appeared on a number of TV shows, including Flog It! and Antiques Road Trip.

David Harper

 

Antiques expert and artist David has been appearing on TV antiques shows since 2005, first appearing on Channel 4’s Natural Born Dealers.

He joined Bargain Hunt around the same time – but decided to step back in October 2020 after 15 years on the show. He continued to appear on another BBC antiques programme, Antiques Road Trip, until late 2021.

David currently owns an antiques shop in the County Durham town of Barnard Castle.

Caroline Hawley

Caroline Hawley has been on a number of antiquing programmes (Picture: BBC Studios)

Caroline Hawley is a self-taught antiques expert. In addition to Bargain Hunt, she has also been on Flog It! and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

She’s been in the antiques business for decades – opening her first shop, Penny Farthing Antiques, back in 1983. She’s also an auctioneer.

Roo Irvine

Roo is another of the show’s many experts, gracing a number of antiques and property shows in addition her work on Bargain Hunt. Flog It!, Flipping Profit and Antiques Road Trip included.

In addition to her TV career, Roo owns an antiques shop in Scotland’s Argyll & Bute, called Kilcreggan Antiques.

Roo Irvine is one of the show’s antiques experts (Picture: BBC Studios)

Paul Laidlaw

Scottish auctioneer Paul first started showing up on Bargain Hunt in 2006. He’s been there ever since.

He owns a valuation business called Laidlaw Auctioneers and Valuers.

Richard Madley

Auctioneer Richard (Madley, not Madeley) joined the show in 2014 – having grown up in a family of antiques experts and dealers.

Ochuko Ojiri

Ochuko with his blue team (Picture: BBC Studios)

Ochuko joined Bargain Hunt fairly recently (given how long the show’s been running).

And when it comes to finding a gem, he says: ‘Forget all the rules and buy what you love. The chances are someone else will love it too.’

Gary Pe

Antiques expert Gary describes himself on Twitter as an ‘accidental Bargain Hunt expert’.

He told the BBC he’s loved antiques since he was a child, saying: ‘Both my parents came from a small town in a tiny island in the Philippines called Marinduque, where I spent my childhood summers.

‘Many homes there were centuries old, constructed in the Spanish colonial style, and filled with objects and furnishings that had been passed on from generation to generation.’

Jonathan Pratt

Bargain Hunt auctioneer Jonathan Pratt previously worked at Sotheby’s Sussex (Picture: BBC Studios)

Jonathan aka ‘JP’ is one of the show’s best-known auctioneers. He’s also been on Flog It! and Antiques Road Trip.

Since 2018, he’s been the Managing Director of Dreweatts – previously working at Sotheby’s Sussex and Bellmans.

Danny Sebastian

TV personality Danny has been appearing on Bargain Hunt for a while now.

Known for his colourful style, he’s also the presenter of CBBC’s Junk Rescue and hosted BBC’s Street Auction.

Stylish TV presenter Danny often appears on Bargain Hunt as an expert (Picture: BBC Studios)

Philip Serrell

Since 1995, antiques expert Philip Serrell has owned one of Worcestershire’s top auction houses: Philip Serrell Auctioneers, based in Malvern.

In addition to being on Bargain Hunt, he’s appeared on Dickinson’s Real Deal, Antiques Road Trip and has written several books.

He’s perhaps best known among TV fans for his love of scarves, which he seems to wear in every episode.

Philip shared on Twitter that it was the preference of the sound recordist, who asked him to keep it on to hide his microphone.

He wrote: ‘Cast your mind back to about November of 1999, I was asked to record the very first Bargain Hunt that they ever recorded.

‘I walked into the green room with a scarf on and I was about to take it off when the soundman said, ‘What are you doing?’

Scarf-loving expert Philip Serrell (Picture: BBC Studios)

Catherine Southon

Bromley-born Catherine is yet another of the show’s many professional antiques dealers.

She launched her auction house, Catherine Southon Auctioneers, in 2012.

Describing what she loves about her job, she told the BBC: ‘The thrill of auctions, the excitement, the not-knowing and the sheer drama. I was attracted by auctions first and my love of antiques naturally followed…’

 

Tim Weeks

Bargain Hunt expert Tim is a valuer, auctioneer and director at Wessex Auction Rooms.

He also has a radio show on BBC Wiltshire, and presented the first series of BBC’s Street Auction.

Colin Young

Antiques expert Colin has been working in the antiques business for decades, since the age of 18.

Of his career choice, he said: ‘It was not really a choice, but simply the first job I saw in the newspaper for manager’s assistant at The Bourne Auction Rooms.

‘At 18, I did not know what an auction or an antique was. All I knew was the place looked interesting enough to warrant cutting off my 9-inch orange mohican for an interview.’

Do Bargain Hunt’s experts get paid for being on the show?

Contestants get £300 to spend, but what’s the money situation for experts? (Picture: BBC Studios)

While Bargain Hunt’s contestants get to keep whatever profit they make on their buys, it’s not known what the experts make.

It’s presumed that the show’s antique pros do get a salary of sorts, or a one-off fee each time they appear on the show – but it’s not clear just how much.

One thing we do know for certain that none of the experts appeared on the BBC’s 2020-21 salary list, which details the presenters earning over £150,000 per year.


Credit: Original article published here.

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