"Getting to know Bargain Hunt"

"Getting to know Bargain Hunt"

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By Hywel Wiliam, Tim Hartley,
Tuesday, 11th November 2014

Judith Winnan (Head of Factual, BBC Wales), Paul Tucker (Executive Producer), and Julia Foot (Series Producer)

Buffalo Bar, Cardiff, 4th November.

Following a move of the show's production unit to Cardiff over the summer, Series Producer, Julia Foot, told the RTS Wales Centre's event that the secret of Bargain Hunt's success was 'due to its simplicity'.  Two pairs of contestants, the 'Red Team' and the 'Blue Team', have £300 each to go shopping for antiques, which are then sold at auction.  "The team that does best is the winning one," said Julia.  It's not only a simple formula, but it's a popular one too.  The show receives 25,000 contestant applications each year from would-be Bargain Hunters.

The show has been running since 2000, initially in peak but later settling in daytime.  Its current main presenter, Tim Wonnacott, celebrated his 1000th programme in May this year.  In its 12.15pm slot Bargain Hunt has over 2 million viewers per day, easily beating its nearest rival, Loose Women on ITV (with around 0.6 million viewers).  According to Executive Producer, Paul Tucker, Bargain Hunt is, "a key part of BBC Wales' portfolio which relies on a constant supply of local freelance workers".

The show prides itself on being a great training ground for young talent and there's plenty for them to do.  106 programmes are produced every year with shows broadcast every day of the week.  Bargain Hunt spin offs have included 20 celebrity versions, Famous Finds, which have featured Julian Clary, Dame Kelly Holmes and a pairing of writer Jilly Cooper with Eastenders' mechanic Ricky Groves.  Alvin Stardust, who died recently, appeared on one edition with his autographed guitar which was said to be worth £1 million.

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