Dickinson's Real Deal



David Dickinson


RDF Television West for ITV1, 2006


Christ on a bike, if there was an award for Most Cobbled Together Format of the Year, this is it.

Punters arrive at your local town hall, a la the Antiques Roadshow. The objects are quite cheap with personal stories attached, and these are discussed with the valuers a la Flog It!. The antiques dealer makes an offer and the seller has to work out whether to take the money or go to auction, a la Take Your Pick if you like. The result comes up on a graphic marked "DEAL" or "NO DEAL", a la... yup, Deal or No Deal.

The list of missed opportunities to inject some fun into the format is really quite staggering:

1) Many of the objects are well under £100, so the losses and gains are not very big.
2) The dealers have to tell the truth to the sellers, so there's no chance of the dealers trying to bluff the contestants in any way.
3) If the dealers do try to offer a low price, Dickinson comes over and sticks his oar in, thus ruining any decision making process the 'contestants' have to make.
4) The dealers hardly ever offer too much, so it's rare for people to 'lose out' by going to auction. After all, dealers are buying at wholesale prices.
5) If the item is sold to the dealer, it's not put through an auction or a shop anyway so we never know whether they got a good deal or not. Only a brief occasional snatch of Dickinson's voiceover gives us any indication of whether the price was fair.
6) If they do decide to go to auction, they can put a reserve price on it so it's virtually impossible for there to be a big loss.
7) After the end of the auction, the TV company are so stingy they won't even pay for the punters' auction fees + VAT, so David has to take that off manually later which complicates the calculations and makes the game harder to understand (as well as make RDF look like cheapstakes).

Also, the on-screen graphics are often wrong and have clearly been added in a rush in the edit.

Thanks to David Dickinson's highly watchable on-screen persona and consummate professionalism, the show is not an out-and-out disaster. But it clearly needs to develop its own personality... fast.


Curiously, several ITV trailers advertised this in the plural: "Dickinson's Real Deals". Whether this is due to ITV's staff being incompetent or the lawyers of Mr. Endemol (owner of a daytime show with some rather similar elements) breathing down their neck is not known.


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