BBC Bargain Hunt back in Hungerford
Hungerford's reputation as a specialist centre for antiques was given a boost today when Bargain Hunt came to town.
On the hottest day of the year so far, weary camera crews followed Tim Wonnacott and his two antique specialists Natasha Raskin and Mark Stacey as they squired their competing duos around town. The two hopeful couples, Nick and Chris and Marianna and Pete were scouring Hungerford's wonderful antique stores in search of that perfect item in their quest to make a profit.
The programme, which films in Hungerford up to twice a year, is great news for the town, bringing with it the kind of exposure not even the largest advertising budget could hope to achieve. Emporium's Neil Gohil knows from experience how the programme pulls the shoppers in to town. 'It really does work. People come in here and say that they've seen us on the television. Where else are we going to get prime time TV?'
Contestants Nick and Chris, in the blue t-shirts, found a lovely old thimble priced at £12.50 in Emporium which they tried to haggle for £8. Emporium's Col had to explain that no offers are taken on items less than £20 but on this occasion he would be willing to let it go for £10. Score!
Over in the Hungerford Arcade, Mariana and Phil in the red t-shirts were less successful in their bargaining and had their offer for £50 for a trinket tray refused. The item was priced at £65 and the seller was not budging. Their charismatic expert Mark Stacey was undeterred, describing finding a bargain as 'a piece of cake' as they set off for vendors new. The Arcade's Alex Gilmore believes that the programme has an 'incredible' effect on business and that what drives custom is not necessarily price but interest. 'Antique collecting is so diverse. You can find items from 50p up to thousands of pounds which is what makes it so exciting.'