Just when you thought the bottomless pit of digital television scheduling had run out of bottoms BBC2 came along with yet another "antiques and collectibles" format in the shape of "Cracking Antiques" which is just coming to the end of its 6 week run.
I know, I know. You assumed every last possible combination of Antiques Bargain Cash in the Attic had been Floggited to death didn't you? We've had Red Teams and Blue Teams buying at auctions and selling at car boots, buying at carboots and selling at auctions, buying at collector's fairs and selling at .... who cares as long as it is supervised by the most self-consciously eccentric bloke the funny-face agency could come up with at short notice.
The only real difference between them all is the level to which avarice has been allowed to come to the fore. At one end (Floggit) you have ordinary folk desperate to make some shillings at an auction and at the other extreme you have the studied indifference of the pinchy faced participants on Antiques Road Show who are just "mildly interested purely for insurance valuation" as they try to conceal their dissapointment in the value of an item they had "acquired" from an "old lady they used to visit".
Cracking Antiques has all the requisites. Eccentric looking bloke - check. Posh bird with weird haircut - check. Visits to Collector's Fairs - check. The slight format difference here is that the participating couples have a few thousand pounds to spend on a room but all they've really done is weld the front end of bargain hunt onto the rear end of any old room makeover show plucked at random from the daytime schedules. The result, which the Guardian review found to be 'guilty pleasure telly of the highest order' is really an impractical and unroadworthy vehicle by any stretch of the imagination.
Basically the couples are first shown their room "made over" with top quality antiques and reproductions at an extremely ludicrous cost of something like £25,000. This must involve trawling every single "I saw you coming" shop from Hampstead to Kensington for larva lamps and Ercol Tables that have been reclaimed from the skips of the 1970's. Then the "experts" take the couple round Fairs and Antique Centres to see how they can produce the same (naff) effect for a ludicrously cheap budget of just £3,000 or so. How thrilled they look to be saving so much money! Have these people not heard of DFS or Do-it-All?!!!
I've decided the limitless demand for this stuff means I should get in on the action and start pitching a few formats as soon as possible. My current idea is for the presenter to be a mad old cat lady who smokes and lives in squalor. Working title - "Ash in the Cat Sick".