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.
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