Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look back at items connected to TV shows from yesteryear...
I don’t want to scare you, but we’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2019! Where does the time go? I realised it’s exactly a year since local celebrity and idiosyncratic gameshow host Jim Bowen died.
I knew Jim well for many years; I’m even in his autobiography!
Incredibly generous with his time for charity, he raised huge amounts for local causes. My daughter Mel still cherishes her two signed ‘Bendy Bullys’, even though the rubber perished years ago!
As the prize fund rose higher on the TV in front of me I grew nostalgic for the more homely, but no less compelling, 70s and 80s heyday of British gameshows.
Then it was all about impenetrable riddles and random homeware chugging along a conveyor belt. Telling young people today the top prize was a toaster or carriage clock will only earn you a disbelieving stare. And that’s before you try explaining what a Teasmade was!
And of course these shows generated merchandise.
Whilst most items are mass produced and worth only a few pounds, they’re fascinating items of social history, and it’s always a talking point when a Bullseye Bully or tankard pops up in the centre.
Notable exceptions are annuals produced by some of the shows; very rare, in good condition they can fetch £20-£50. A nostalgic resurgence in kitsch memorabilia is making it easier to find, value, and sell these treasures.
No longer occasional car boot sale finds, there are now specialist websites, and eBay has introduced a specific category, ‘TV Memorabilia’.
One pitfall is degradation; this picture highlights the state of our poor perished Bully! This of course reduces value, but conversely rarity can mean greater worth should you find one in mint condition.
Certified items won on the shows can be surprisingly valuable, especially if signed by the host: Ted Rodgers, Larry Grayson, or indeed Jim.
An original 3-2-1 Dusty Bin can fetch well over a hundred pounds, and a Blankety Blank chequebook and pen signed by Les Dawson sold two years ago for £400! So if you ‘want to be a millionaire’, you might be best going on the current crop of shows.
Considering how many wrong answers I’ve shouted at the TV over the years, I think I’d better stick with Bully.