Any Old Thing, Any Old How; 'Dickinson Brought a Swaggering Medallion-Man Demeanour to Last Night's Show'

By Lewis-Smith, Victor | The Evening Standard (London, England), June 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Any Old Thing, Any Old How; 'Dickinson Brought a Swaggering Medallion-Man Demeanour to Last Night's Show'


Lewis-Smith, Victor, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: VICTOR LEWIS-SMITH

IT'S as true today as it was 30 years ago that the ads in this country are better than the programmes. That's hardly surprising, I suppose, because commercials allow some of the smartest people in London to lavish Hollywood-sized budgets on 30 seconds of airtime, so it's no wonder that the advertising industry consistently turns out a succession of televisual Faberge eggs (along with the occasional Faberge "for the love of life" deodorant).

One of the most inventive ideas of recent years has been the wonderfully subversive FCUK campaign, and its continued success has convinced me to set up and advertise my own chain of dyslexic fashion stores. We'll specialise in beachwear with an 11th-century Anglo-Danish feel, and the chain will be named after one of our most famous kings: CNUT.

Which brings me neatly to David Dickinson, because if there's one word that springs to mind whenever I see him, it's "chain". This improbably mahogany-coloured gentleman is just the sort who would have worn a gold one round his neck in the Seventies (and used Faberge for Men anti-stink, too), and although he's now a bit of an antique himself, he brought that same swaggering medallion-man demeanour to last night's Bargain Hunt (BBC1).

Originally a cheap daytime format, this buying-and-selling show recently bifurcated in the schedules, with the underwhelming Tim Wonnacott presenting the midday edition, while Dickinson has been promoted to prime time, where he labours under the misapprehension that he is a much-loved cheeky chappie.

He's not. He's just a human grease gun with a klaxon attached, and it struck me while watching him that BBC Dumb has a white Ainsley Harriott, spooking for the pensioners.

Last night's edition began at an antiques fair in Newark, with the cricket-loving blue team trying to spend [pounds sterling]500 more wisely than the pop-singing red team. Surely their hobbies were utterly irrelevant to the task at hand, you might think, but you'd have reckoned without Dickinson.

He insisted that the blues must awkwardly bowl and bat for the cameras, then forced the reds to sing Dedicated Follower of Fashion in a version so dodecaphonic and arrhythmic that Ray Davies must now be feeling that his entire life has been lived in vain.

Once the ritual humiliation of the contestants was over, they went in search of bargains, with the reds deciding to purchase a "snuff box" (isn't "coffin" the correct name for one of those? …

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