Television; Bargain Hunt

Article excerpt

Byline: PETE CLARK

Regular viewers of Bargain Hunt will know that the people who make it long ago decided that the search for a nice plate that will turn a couple of quid profit could use a little bit of funny business to help the proceedings swing along. This was, of course, how we came to make the acquaintance of the irrespressible David Dickinson, a man who could easily be Lovejoy's long-lost, real life brother. Dickinson has already returned with the new primetime series of the show, but the BBC have pulled off a quite astonishing coup by giving him some stiff competition in a new, daytime series.

The man in question is called Tim Wonnacott (right), and he is the best thing to have stepped in front of a TV camera since, ooh, Phil Tufnell.

As far as I can tell, Tim has modelled his persona on Terry-Thomas with a dash of Leslie Phillips, the greatest English comic actors of their generation. There is something of Terry-Thomas in the gap in Wonnacott's front teeth, something suave, charming and utterly untrustworthy. Then there is the clothing, a great explosion in the cad's essential wardrobe of yesteryear. If you were going to seek advice from someone on the likely value of an old chair, this would be the last man you would choose, wherein lies the perfection of the conceit.

Tim Wonnacott, whatever his talents, is still only an accessory to the main event. The British have an abiding trust in the elastic value of a bit of old tat. …