The idea for the Antiques Treasure Trail came about in 1995. I was sitting in the garden with some friends, antiques dealer, Maurice Goodlad, and John and Gill Garbutt. I had frequently wanted to visit an auction house but was always too nervous to go by myself. I was worried that either I would look foolish or end up spending a fortune on something I didn't mean to bid for. I also wanted to find out if there were other ways of buying antiques. Maurice invited me along to his next auction and to spend a day with him. Unknown to me John and Gill were keen antiques enthusiasts and wanted to come as well. We started asking Maurice loads of questions and basically from that conversation the series was born. We thought if we had all these questions about how to go about buying antiques then possibly so did loads of other people.
I had just finished a series of short features for BBC Daytime and so proposed the Antiques Treasure Trail. A couple of months later we were filming with Ian McMillan, the Barnsley Bard, who was a complete novice to antiques. It was a great adventure and a lot of fun, a real learning experience for all of us. The truly rewarding aspect was how John and Gill's love of antiques came across in the films as the first series followed them through that journey of discovery. It was a look at the wonderful craftsmen of a bygone era as well as of today and an opportunity for people to discover the joys of restoring pieces of furniture themselves. We filmed a second series for UKTV and ventured into Europe and to New England. I wanted to combine a further sense of adventure by taking affordable trips to fairs in places such as France and Italy where a great weekend could be had visiting some beautiful cities as well as experiencing different types of antiques. However, due to the small budgets John and Gill could not come on all the trips with us which was a great shame and I felt that the series lost something because of that.
As a result I had always wanted to re-edit the series, combine the stories from both series and do extra interviews with John and Gill so that their story of turning a house into a home would truly become the focal point throughout. I'm delighted to say after four years of working on this the project is now complete. Hopefully, there is loads of information for the antiques enthusiast and novice alike and a real sense of fun and a true feeling of 'if they can do this so can I!'. Please feel free to contact us so we can add more.
This is unashamedly an old fashioned type of programme. It is not a race against the clock, there are no teams competing against each other and there are no celebrities involved. I don't apologise for that and although I love many of the programmes that have now made antiques accessible for all, personally I wanted this not to be anything but an account of a group of everyday people sharing their passion and enthusiasm for the wonderful world of antiques, whilst achieving their personal goals. It is also the story behind many of the antiques that we find. I didn't want them just to be seen as objects but as a way of discovering our ancestors past. A way of life that at times has been lost and the skills of the craftsmen involved.
We are all delighted that Antiques TV is showing the series. If there is enough interest shown we will film an occasional special. It would be great to get the team back together again. Also if enough people want to buy the series on DVD we will put together a package with information, some of Ian's wonderful poetry and the series.