FEATURE: BBC celebrity antiques road trip visits Harborough

Expert James Braxton and Director Joe Sharp outside Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Expert James Braxton and Director Joe Sharp outside Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The television cameras were once again rolling in Market Harborough on Sunday. The Mail’s Alex Dawson and Andrew Carpenter went down to find out why.

They’ve fitted Sally Ann McDonald at Harborough Antiques Centre with a microphone, which they need to test.

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“Just tell me what you had for your lunch” says director / cameraman Joe Sharp, who’s in Market Harborough with the BBC’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip team.

“I had a burger in a soft white roll with French onions and tomato ketchup” says Sally Ann, obediently.

“Excellent, OK, can we have James and Felicity in to do the deal?” says Joe.

Into shot come antiques expert and Road Trip veteran James Braxton and actor Felicity Montagu - best known as the put-upon Lynn in the Alan Partridge series and film.

Expert Roo Irvine with celebrity Clare Holman speak to qwner Timmi Makra .
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert Roo Irvine with celebrity Clare Holman speak to qwner Timmi Makra . PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“We love this panel” James is saying, as Felicity places a carved wooden panel on the counter in front of Sally Ann.

“Without looking at the ticket, what would you pay for it?”

“£58” says Sally Ann, being familiar with the actual price. “Ah, I thought you’d say that” says James.

Director Joe interrupts. “Sorry, you’re being hit by a shaft of light” he says. “Can we do that again?”

Celebrity Felicity Montagu and expert James Braxton look around Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Celebrity Felicity Montagu and expert James Braxton look around Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

James and Felicity go for another take, eventually offering a miserly £32.50 for the panel; Sally Ann disappears to ring the dealer.

This is the seventh series of Celebrity Antique Road Trip, where two celebrities are paired with two antiques experts, to buy antiques and hopefully make a profit on them at auction, for charity.

On screen it’s an hour of agreeable, arts-y meandering through countryside and a history in classic cars. But of course, like most TV, it isn’t quite what it seems.

The filming days are long - 12 hours is typical - and tiring.

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Today, a Sunday, the crew started at Leicester, and finished in Market Harborough, with stops along the way.

And while it’s based on reality, it’s definitely not “as it happens”.

Angles are changed and shots are repeated and traders are told things like “sorry, can you face the camera this time and say that again”.

The other celeb - Clare Holman, best-known as Dr Hobson in long-running TV detective series Morse and then Lewis - has turned up now, with her expert.

After filming her sequence upstairs at the Antiques Centre, she flops down for a rest with Felicity.

“It’s been fantastic, we’ve had a very, very good time with great experts and I’ve learnt a lot” she tells the Mail, gamely.

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu arrive at Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Felicity, currently playing Mrs Bennet in a stage version of Pride and Prejudice, agrees.

“We’ve had a lovely day” she says. “But my expert James is a professional antiques dealer and will buy for profit, I’m still trying to buy what I like!”

James adds: “But you never really know what’s going to happen. It’s a chance thing, going to auction.”

Harborough Antiques Centre owner Timmi Makra is delighted with the BBC visit, only six months after the centre, off St Mary’s Road, opened.

“We didn’t know they were coming until Thursday” she said. “We just got a phone call to the centre.

“The crew is brilliant - they make you feel so calm and relaxed.

“But yes, of course, it does help you get a bargain if you arrive with a camera crew!”

Meanwhile the programme’s new expert, Roo Irvine, is enjoying the whole TV show experience.

“I’m loving it, it’s brilliant” she enthuses. “It’s such a good team and crew - and Clare has a pretty good eye for a bargain.

“And yes I’ve found it is amazing how much work goes into one episode!”

This new series of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip starts in the autumn this year.

The Leicestershire episode filmed at the weekend will be shown later in the series.

Celebrity Felicity Montagu and expert James Braxton look around Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Celebrity Felicity Montagu and expert James Braxton look around Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu walk around Harborough Antique Centre during filming.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert James Braxton and celebrity Felicity Montagu walk around Harborough Antique Centre during filming. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Celebrity Felicity Montagu during filming at Harborough Antique Centre.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Celebrity Felicity Montagu during filming at Harborough Antique Centre. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert Roo Irvine with celebrity Clare Holman.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Expert Roo Irvine with celebrity Clare Holman. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER