Name Your Price



Michael Hogben


Natalie Cooper (voiceover)


Lion TV for Channel 4, 2005


Antiques price-guessing game, with all the excitement of the auction room, one of Bargain Hunt's most colourful experts hosting, and a chance to win £500 from the comfort of your own armchair. How could it possibly fail? Well, by being a bit annoying, frankly.

Each programme takes place at a single auction. Three competition lots are featured, and Michael discusses them with the seller and an expert (usually the auctioneer, but sometimes Michael's wife Lesley). The seller, the expert and Michael himself each predict what the item will go for, then viewers are invited to phone in and guess which of the three prices will be closest to the actual selling price. Calls cost 60p. A bit more chatter from Michael, then "it's time for the lot to go under the hammer". Except it isn't. It's time for Annoying Voiceover Lady to hector us to enter the competition again. And then an ad break. And then another bout of hectoring. And only then do we get to the actual auction. This cycle repeats three times over the hour. Between the competition lots are other lots which are "just for fun". We don't dwell on these for nearly so long.

Now, you may have noticed that at this site, we actually do quite like game shows on the whole. The whole thrust-and-parry of televised competition - we can't get enough of it. But when the entire purpose of a show is to get viewers to phone a premium rate number then even we get a bit antsy. It's not as if the show even has actual on-screen contestants. There's no game here except the one on the phone. Someone at Channel 4 is typing the winner's names into an aston machine, but when they come up in vision accompanied by the same old pre-recorded "The winner's name is on screen now. Congratulations to you" announcement, the atmosphere chills a few degrees. It's just about possible to watch and play along without phoning in, but with so many interruptions and so much time given over to persuading you to dial that number, it's a pretty joyless experience.

As game shows go, this is really quite poor. As an antiques show, well, we've seen plenty better. Move along, nothing to see here.

Key moments

Well alright, there was one good bit in the first episode when a gallery owner insisted that a painting he was putting into auction was easily worth a thousand pounds. Michael rubbished it, saying it would be lucky to fetch £150. It went for £60.

Web links

Channel 4 Name Your Price microsite


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