Thursday, 14 May 2009

This IS the Real Deal - Dickinson's Real Deal

Advantages: Easy watching

Disadvantages: None really, it is what it is.

Dickinson's Real Deal is an ITV programme based around the idea of member's of the public trying to get a good price from antique dealers for their own belongings, or alternatively taken the item to auction. On the odd occasion a member of the public who has deliberately bought a piece to turn a profit will square up to the dealer's. 

David Dickinson presents the show in between the action, where the haggling between the member of the public and antiques dealer is taking place. 

It is important you know who David Dickinson is. Think Lovejoy in a suit. Then think again. Yes, some people see a similarity. He is a British antiques dealer who by chance was asked to present a television programme many years ago. One thing led to another and he ended up becoming a 'face' of the antiques world that the public could relate to on television. The British public have taken him to their hearts for many reasons; his quirky and indeed catchy catchphrases such as "cheap as chips"; "booby dazzlers" to relate to stunning items and poor items as "a load of tat". David dickinson has also appeared in programs which relate to his adoption and family tree. Again his sometimes sad tale has earned him a place in the British heart. He also stands out due to particular shade of skin which gives the appearance of fake tan, which he stands firm is real and due to his Armenian ancestry. He also like a little bling. In general he is a big character. 

Now back to the show: It tours the UK and may be in any Town or City at a suitable venue for a large number of people. 

The venues for the current series (2008-2009) are listed as: 

* Saturday 22nd November 
Caenarfon, Galeri, Wales 
* Saturday 17th January 
Chester Racecourse 
* Saturday 24th January 
Watford, Colosseum 
* Saturday 31st January 
Burton on Trent Town Hall 
* Saturday 21st February 
Kidderminster Town Hall 
* Sunday 1st March 
Newbury Racecourse 
* Saturday 7th March 
Peterborough East of England Showground 
* Saturday 21st March 
Wells Leisure Centre 
* Saturday 4th April 
Bedworth Civic Hall 

Joe Public will turn up with an antique that he or she wishes to sell, sit at the bargaining table and lock horns with one of the many dealers featured on the program. These dealers you may have seen on other similar programs. We then have a couple of minutes of banter and haggling. One trying to get the better of the other,not only in terms of cash exchange but also in the battle of wills. Occasionally it gets a little heated. In general the haggling is predictable: the dealer hoping to turn a large profit, when he sells later, will offer a low price, though before this they all love to pull a large wad of money from the blazer or handbag - the dealer then starts to lay notes on the table - £10 then another £10 the nanother. Or sometimes it is £20s, there have been times when a dealer has laid £50 notes one after the other up into the thousands before saying "how does that grab you". 

The seller then responds usually at first by saying "a bit more" or "no way a lot more." And so this goes on. 

There will be times when the dealer is either offering a paltry sum which the member of the public is about to accept. On other occasions the dealer will be offering an excellent price, but the member of the public either through lack of knowledge or greed, will push for more. At these times David Dickinson steps in and advises both seller and dealer on what the on show experts reckon the item to be worth. Sometimes David will see that a dealer is clearly taking advantage of a seller and chastise the dealer; sometimes he will see the sller is in a great position and step in to advise the mt ograb the cash and "get straight up the pub" or something similar. 

Sometimes the seller and on-show dealer just can't reach an agreement and the seller takes the item to auction. Most times the seller takes more from the auction than if they had accepted the dealer's offer. 

Unfortunately this show is dogged with the phone in competition, which must make the production company millions, yet good as the prize usually is, it is paltry compared to what these companies allegedly pull in through these competitions. Although to be fair I don't know if the companies make enough from advertising to be able to fund the production and transmission of the programs. 

One aspect of the show I like is to actually see how the dealers have fared. Did THEY make the right choice of offer? Although it is generally a cursory glance, we are given an idea (but not on all shows) if the dealers have managed to make a profit on the items they bought from the public. This isn't a detailed part of the show, which I am guessing is down to production time constraints. I would though like to see the dealers in the auction room scenario, willing the bidders to keep upping their bids. 

This isn't great television. It is not even about antiques - really. It is more about that human thing of wanting to see the underdog (the Joe or Jane Public) getting one over on the top-dog (the antique dealer). It is about wanting to see the greedy punter, who has rejected a good offer from a dealer, get embarrased in the auction room, and on the other side of the same coin it is about seeing the greedy dealer, who has taken advantage of naive Joe, making a loss in the sale room. 

What it is REALLY about though is some easy afternoon watching for stay at home workies, like me, on their afternoon tea break!

Summary: An easy watch with your afternoon tea.

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