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Appointment Viewing: Flogging Bog Standard Wares on Flog It!

Appointment Viewing is a regular column which features a Spinoff writer watching one or more episodes of a current show and attempting to decode its appeal. This week: Calum Henderson watches Flog It!, a sub-par Antiques Roadshow with bizarre new wave beats.

What’s it about?

I first became aware of Flog It! via an ad which looked like a very unsubtle 30 Rock parody of Antiques Roadshow. It showed the assembled crowd of antique rubberneckers chanting “What’s It Worth?” before the ridiculous title Flog It! appeared on screen. Ah. Nice gag. Classic Tina Fey.

As the advertising suggests, Flog It! is an Antiques Roadshow clone where the curios actually go to auction and get well and truly flogged. In the first section of the show one lady flogs her pristine childhood collection of toy cars to pay off debts for her real car in a scene scored by Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’.

The host is a foppish, slightly untrustworthy seeming gentleman, pictured here emerging from London Zoo’s reptile enclosure in a suede suit having recently shapeshifted:

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After the initial round of appraisals and underwhelming floggings he takes us on a rambling tour of the V&A. They’ve edited it down heaps but it still feels like it’s in real time. I slip into a trance and only snap out of it when an ad for another antiques show comes on. Just how many antiques do they have over there?

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After dawdling around the V&A our host – now wearing a corduroy suit – leads us back to the zoo for a second round of What’s It Worth. Here we meet a lady in possession of this lovely bleak painting.

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“Do you like it?” the valuer asks. “Not very much because it’s quite plain” she answers. “It just sits in my spare room doing nothing.” Bloody hell. Alright then. Guess we’d better flog it.

Apart from the painting there’s something else haunting about this scene and it’s the woman standing directly behind and unnervingly close to the valuer. It’s like if you staged Antiques Roadshow in The Sims. Very strange.

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The plain painting ends up getting flogged for £900, £200 higher than reserve. It’s the big success story of the episode.

Who’s it for?

If you have ever watched Antiques Roadshow and failed to appreciate its pastoral atmosphere, indeed if you’ve ever found yourself growing impatient with the languid, coy valuations and chanting “What’s – It – Worth!” at the telly, then this show seems to have been made with precisely you in mind.

What’s working

They’ve ditched the string quartet soundtrack snobbery of Roadshow and instead underscore the talky bits with a largely new wave era soundtrack. Aside from the aforementioned ‘Cars’ this episode also featured snatches of ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Uptown Top Ranking’, which were good, but also a twee ukulele and flute version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, which was frankly revolting.

One thing Flog It! does have over Roadshow is background creepers. Some very high quality creeps in this episode. As if the Sim lady wasn’t unsettling enough I also spotted my exact doppelgänger possessedly eyeing up the toy cars:

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What’s not?

Obviously the dreamy ambience of Roadshow is a huge part of its appeal and Flog It! forgoes that completely. For a show obsessed with What’s – It – Worth nothing was worth much and the items held minimal curiosity value.

Should I get amongst it?

I’m out. Pinning all my hopes on Antiques Roadtrip instead.

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You can watch Flog It! on the Living Channel eight days a week.

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