The Golden Lot



Carol Vorderman


Charles Bickford


Lion Television for ITV1, 6 November 2005 to 5 February 2006 (12 episodes)


Low-budget antiques valuation game.

There are three two-person teams and six antiques or collectables. One is valued at between £5000 and £10,000, the others are less valuable (in monetary terms, anyway). A terribly well-spoken young antiques expert, Charles Bickford, is on hand to tell us about the "lots". In the first round, we are given only the barest of information about each item, each team selects two of them, and whichever team has chosen (or, if particularly unfortunate, been left with) the lowest-valued object is knocked out of the competition, along with the object itself.

Image:The golden lot bickford vorderman.jpgCharles and Carol: Going for Gold? Or Going for a Song?

Charles then tells us a little more about the other five lots, and the two remaining teams each select one of their two items. Whichever team's chosen item is of lesser value is eliminated. Finally, the surviving team have to decide which of the four remaining lots is "the golden lot". If they pick the most valuable item, they win its market value. If they don't, they go away empty-handed.

This is very much a filler show, clearly made on a tiny budget, and most of that seems to have gone on far too much rouge for Ms Vorderman. We do get to see some interesting objets d'art, but the game just isn't very exciting. There's a bit of chatter with the contestants, but not enough for us to care who wins, or whether they go home with the money, and it's made even more impersonal by the fact that it's filmed in what appears to be an aircraft hangar (apparently it's a church), with the resultant echoey sound giving the programme a rather "cold" feeling.

Although we didn't get to see much of it on screen, this production photo shows the church setting in a bit more glory.

It's not a bad show. It promises just enough to be watchable, and it delivers on that promise. It's just that by the time you read this, we'll have already forgotten all about it.


Owing to regional opt-outs, viewers in Wales never got to see this.

Charles Bickford is also the lead guitarist and songwriter in the really quite good Anglo-Australian alt-rock band The Paradise Motel. In 2010 he explained the show for the Australian music website The AU Review thus:

When the band broke up in London I got involved in the design world and the gestation of that whole thing was about 3 years; we got approached by a television company to make a show and it was originally commissioned for the BBC but the guy got sacked and it kind of changed form to a mainstream program which was co-hosted by someone called Carol Waterman who was like a female Eddie McGuire [Australian sports presenter and original host of the local Who Wants to be a Millionaire], that kind of thing. So it was an interesting experience and it took a lot of time, I spent a lot of time working on and filming that project. It was quite weird, 4 million people every Sunday night used to watch it – it made you really aware of the size of the country.

He was a little more acerbic in an interview for The Age:

"I could feel myself being dragged into the Death Star," he says of the ungainly evolution of the program. "But it was very good for my design business."

See also

Weaver's Week review


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