Auction Party



Voiceover: Keith Barron (2010)

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (2011)


Antiques Expert / Auctioneer: Tom Keane (2010)


ITV Studios for ITV1, 29 March 2010 to 5 August 2011 (15 episodes in 2 series)


Homeowners stage auctions in their own homes; selling items they have bought themselves in a hope of turning a profit.

The programme opens with us being introduced to that day’s host. We find out a little about their background, and are also shown around the house where the auction party will take place. As we move around the house, we are also told of interesting(ish) features or other items/areas of note in the house. Following this, we are briefly shown the items that are to be sold, which were bought from a budget of £500. Any other items the host already owned, and which they are adding to the auction are also shown here. Although the voiceover informs us of the kind of places the purchased items were sourced from, it feels like something’s missing by not getting to see the host actually go out and buy the items. It needn’t be a major feature, just a short montage would work.

At this point in the proceedings, the host meets with antiques expert Tom Keane, most recently seen buying things for people who are too lazy to furnish their own homes on House Gift. A few minutes are then spent with Keane and the host discussing the various items up for sale, and their potential at the auction. We then see Keane, away from the host, talking about their potential. This assessment can sometimes be more brutally honest than that given to the host. The host then goes away to drum up some interest for the party, while the items are catalogued back at the house. After this Keane, depending on his assessment of the host’s items, may go out and purchase additional items for the auction, with the extra money spent being added to the initial £500 outlay. In life, some you win, some you lose, and accordingly, it seems like it would be better not to do this and just let the auction play out, rather than artificially trying to improve the host’s chances (which doesn’t always work anyway, as at least one host made a substantial loss, even with Keane’s extra items).

We then move onto the evening of the party where the host’s friends and family, and anyone else they have attracted in off the street arrive (read: who wanted to get on the telly), exchange pleasantries over food and drink. One guest is a dealer, who has also come to hopefully grab a bargain. After casting their eye over the lots, before the auction begins, the dealer places a sealed bid on four of the items.

The auction then gets underway, it might have been interesting if at this point the homeowners themselves had picked up the gavel and acted as auctioneer. An amateur trying their hand at auctioneering has been done before of course, most notably on The Great Antiques Hunt. However this programme borrows aspects from several different programmes already, so surely one more wouldn’t have mattered? As it is however Tom Keane acts as auctioneer. A good portion of the remainder of the programme covers the auction itself, and as you might expect, shows items being sold both at a profit and a loss, in order not to make the final result too obvious. When one of the four items with a sealed bid from the dealer comes under the hammer, once the highest bid in the room has been reached, the host must decide on the spot, whether to accept the sealed bid, or take a chance on a better offer in the sealed envelope. Once they have made their decision, the sealed envelope is opened, and one way or the other, they find out how much they have made on that item.

After the auction has drawn to a close, and the guests have gone on their way with their purchases. Keane totals all of the winning bids, deducts the outlay, and reveals to the host whether they have made a profit or not.

On the whole, it’s interesting enough, and is fine for the afternoon slot it holds. Keith Barron, providing the voiceover, largely sticks to matter-of-fact statements regarding the proceedings, adding a witty comment when circumstances allow for it, but never straying towards being a Dave Lamb wannabe. Tom Keane is also good, being likeable and knowledgable in equal measure. As previously noted, the programme does borrow aspects from other programmes, and as such it can be said to be derivative. However, because it borrows from several programmes to varying extents, and mixes them up, it does actually feel a little more original than a programme that merely copies one other format, tweaking it just slightly to make it different, for example House Guest and May the Best House Win. Whilst as noted, there are a couple of areas that could be tweaked, it would be fair to say that, all told, it is more worthy of a re-commission than some of the other previous tenants of its afternoon slot.

Series 2

Over a year after the initial five episode pilot series aired, a second longer run of the programme was broadcast. This new series, rather than focusing on individuals, saw two teams compete to earn as much money as possible for charity. Due to the introduction of teams, the auctions were held in locations such as church halls or other local venues, rather than an individual's home. The format otherwise remained largely the same as the pilot run, with the teams each having to acquire their own lots for the auctions, guided by new host Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. The guest dealer feature also remained, although this time they were allowed to place sealed bids on five items, as opposed to the four they were allowed in the pilot series.


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in