Hiding in Plain Sight: So, About These Bargain-Hunting ‘Secret’ Dealers…?

So, the premise of the ‘hit’ ITV1 show Secret Dealers is – and please, correct me if I’m wrong – that householders apply to be on the show, and, if selected, three antiques dealers rock up (with a camera crew and host Kate Bliss, who previously appeared on Bargain Hunt and Flog It!). Then, while the householders are out (presumably they’re taken for a meal or something by some TV people and transported back when the word is given, rather than simply being booted out of their house and told to come back in a few hours), check out the contents of the house. Anything the dealers like the look of, they’ll pop a card next to, with the amount they’re offering for said item written inside. Each dealer is identified by the colour of their cards.

When the householders return, the host takes them round and shows them what’s been offered for each item. Where multiple offers have been made, the householder can sell to the highest bidder, or keep the item if they think it’s worth more. The dealer who buys the most wins, and the householder ‘wins’ the proceeds of the sales, and winds up with a house stripped of any items of value.

Fine. So it’s a glorified house clearance, daytime TV style, and everyone loves it because it’s got real people and everyone think they too might have some rare antique bric-a-brac lurking in the loft. I get that.

But where’s the secret? The title implies they’re undercover or otherwise anonymous, like the ‘secret’ millionaires and the ‘secret’ bosses. How are the dealers remotely secret when the householders know they’re coming – because they invited them – and it’s not only revealed how much was offered for each item, but who made the offer? The dealers know they’re dealers, and all of the dealers know what the other two are up to. The only secret is that the dealers don’t know how much the others have offered… which is essentially how sealed bidding works. It doesn’t make the dealers secret, though, does it? No, only the bids.

The threadbare premise for an hour-long show is one thing, but the completely misleading title is quite another. But then, I suppose A Bunch of So-Called  Antiques Dealers Place First -Price Sealed Bids on Stuff to Fleece Idiot Members of the Public on TV in the Name of Cheap Entertainment doesn’t have the same ring to it.



Kate Alcock – sorry, Bliss – being secretive, yesterday.


And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk 

10 thoughts on “Hiding in Plain Sight: So, About These Bargain-Hunting ‘Secret’ Dealers…?

    1. I live for constructive feedback like that, I really do.

      C’mon, as blog heckling goes, that’s pretty piss-poor. The retort ‘takes one to know one’ springs to mind, if you’re pathetic enough to get your kicks from trawling the ‘net for the purpose of leaving anonymous comments like that.

      Please, stop wasting space.

  1. “I don’t like the title of the show”. Wow that’s hard hitting commentary.

    Where can I go to get some real discussion on this show ? Why do they edit out so many of the items ? Why is Kate Bliss so awful as a psuedo quiz show host ? I’d like more information on some of the more interesting items. I really want to know more about how the dealers manage to make any money, We get a few titbits but what about all those items they seem to have paid over the odds for ?

  2. Well, it’s not so much that I don’t like the title, so much as think that it’s got minimal bearing on the contents of the show, and (for a change) I wasn’t going for the hard-hitting commentary. Everyone needs a change every now and again.

    However, you’re not alone in wondering how the dealers make any money off the items they purchase. There’s also the question of the bizarre notion of ‘celebrity’ ‘antiques’ dealers – all of these shows have the same faces doing the wheeling and dealing, when do they have the time to actually run busineses and go to auctions? Still, the one thing I will say in favour of ‘Secret Dealers’ is that it’s less shit than ‘Dickinson’s Real Deal’ which really is abysmal.

  3. I have not seen the show and it maybe because i do not get that channel. I do have a question? Is this the show that Antiques Weely solicited for dealers in the Spring of 2011.
    I am currious because I and a friend applied but casting was complete before we submitted our resumes. I t sounded like a fun time. Hope you will find time to apply. Thanks

    1. Just as you don’t get the channel that shows ‘Secret Dealers’, I don’t get ‘Antiques Weekly’, so I have to say that I really don’t know: they seem to have been using the show as a platform, for the same tired ‘TV dealers’ since it began. The dealers they do have are the kind of shysters in bad jackets that give dealers with integrity (and dress sense) a bad reputation so perhaps you and your friend had a lucky escape.

  4. Oh it does, and you’re really not missing out by not seeing it – although it’s not as bad as the latest datime afternoon abomination, ‘May the Best House Win’… That may require a separate post, which will no doubt bring all the sad-sacks flocking with their comments brimming with pearls of wisdom and pithy observations!

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