Daily Express

Show’s bid for greatness

- Mike Ward

NEW tonight on Channel 4 we have THE GREATEST AUCTION (8pm), hosted by one of what I assume must be about five AJ Odudus currently doing the rounds, given that she seems to be popping up everywhere at the moment – a bit like that Masked Singer bloke.

As you can probably guess from its title,The GreatestAu­ction is an auction show.And is it actually the greatest?

Well, that’s a bold claim, given the competitio­n, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say: “Dunno. Possibly.”

Based in a specially created auction house (or, to put it another way, not based in a real one), its main attraction is the sheer variety of items being bid for.

Tonight alone, for instance, we have Tommy Cooper’s fez, a collection of Buzzcocks memorabili­a (relating to the Seventies band, that is, not the TV show), a jar of pickled pig foetuses and a chunk of brick wall.Yes, sorry, I did say pickled pig foetuses. And I’m even more sorry for saying it again. But it does remind us there’s a market for almost anything.

About a century old, these pickled pig foetuses (oops, there I go again) have apparently spent the last 10 years gathering dust on the shelves of an antiquaria­n bookshop.Which does rather make you wonder what else you might stumble upon while enjoying a browse there on a Saturday.

I think I’ll stick withWaters­tones for now.

Oh, and yes, I also mentioned a chunk of brick wall. But this isn’t just any old chunk of brick wall. Or, to be strictly accurate, it might be, but the bloke who’s brought it in, on behalf of its owner, says he believes it isn’t.

It’s a chunk of brick wall with a picture stencilled on it, attributed to the famously anonymous street artist Banksy.Yes, “attributed to”. So anyone bidding for it (this seller wants at least £100,000) is taking a bit of a gamble.

What’s nice about this show is it doesn’t just focus on each sale, but on the story surroundin­g it too, not only from the seller’s perspectiv­e (the Buzzcocks man gets particular­ly emotional) but from that of the bidders as well.

It’s also one of those programmes where the personnel have their own profile (like the waiting staff and barman in First Dates, for example), becoming characters in the story.

We have receptioni­st Lauren.We have auctioneer­s Charlie, Derek and Lindsay.We have porters Rob and Max.

OK, it’s a bit contrived in that respect – obviously they’ve all been hired because they’re good on camera – but it gives The Greatest Auction proper entertainm­ent value.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I have to say I really like it.

So I just did.

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