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Meet the Bargain Hunt experts – from Ben Cooper to Thomas Forrester

Bargain Hunt is the staple of lunchtime viewing, with an army of fans across the UK.

But the show wouldn’t be the same without the skilled experts helping teams to separate the treasures from the trash.

Bargain Hunt
Bargain Hunt

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Who are the Bargin Hunt experts?

Kate Bliss

Kate Bliss previously worked as an auctioneer and says that a love for antiques runs in her family.

Her father had his own salesroom and she became interested in “rummaging for treasure” at a young age.

Before Bargain Hunt, she was the only female auctioneer at her local saleroom and then moved on to the BBC show – where she then became an expert.

Mark Stacey

Mark Stacey says that he has always been a collector and he loved collecting stamps and coins as a child.

As he got older, he started rummaging around markets and collecting small silvers and works of art.

He says that antiques “chose him” and that his hobby has turned into his way of life.

Mark became involved in Bargain Hunt in 2002 after seeing an ad in the antique trade gazette.

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Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper says that when he was growing up his parents always encouraged him to learn – and that included antiques.

He would often be taken to antique shops and fairs and was given his first antique when he was just eight-years-old.

Ben is an antique dealer and says that life as such is a “lifestyle not just a job”.

He originally sold to Bargain Hunt in his early days as a dealer – and later went on to become an expert on the show.

Catherine Southon

Catherine Southon chose a career in antiques because she loves the thrill and excitement of auctions.

The antiques expert previously worked on Flog It for three years.

After showing off her talent, she was then asked to take part in Bargain Hunt in 2006.

Charles Hanson

Charles Hanson chose a career in antiques because he has a love for history and enjoys the drama of an auction.

He joined Bargain Hunt back in 2002.

When he’s not busy filming the BBC show, he works as an auctioneer.

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Colin Young

Colin Young started his career in antiques as manager’s assistant at The Bourne Auction Rooms when he was 18.

He first got involved with Bargain Hunt after failing a screen test to be an expert in the autumn of 2002.

However, a few months later his company hosted the Bargain Hunt Christmas Day Special, and the series producer was so impressed that he then gained a role as an expert.

Gary Pe

Gary Pe says that he has been drawn to antiques since a young age when he lived on a small island in the Philippines called Marinduque.

He says that he would imagine the stories behind antiques and try to unlock their secrets and his fascination increased over time.

Gary got involved with Bargain Hunt after receiving a call from the BBC out of the blue.

The broadcaster was looking for new faces with different backgrounds and experiences in the trade and, after a long process, Gary joined the team of experts.

John Cameron

John Cameron has been interested in antiques since he was young, and grew up with them.

His grandfather was a dealer, and during his five-year apprenticeship as a carpenter/joiner, he supplemented his income by stripping, restoring and waxing antique pine furniture.

Later, a back problem forced John to give up his physical job and return to college where he undertook a three-year degree course at Southampton studying fine art valuation.

He later went on to work at an auction house and become a chartered surveyor of antiques and fine art.

Prior to working on Bargain Hunt, John appeared as an expert on two other BBC antique shows – Cash In The Attic and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

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Jonathan Pratt

Jonathan Pratt says that he chose a career in antiques after watching Lovejoy in the 80s.

When it comes to the appeal of Bargain Hunt, he told the BBC: “It’s a fantastic mixture of history and real-life characters in a game-show format, with charismatic experts.

“What’s there not to like?”

Ochuko Ojiri

Ochuko Ojiri has vast experience when it comes to antiques and spotting great finds while bargain hunting.

When asked what his best and worst purchase was, he told the BBC: “I did very well with a flamingo pink 1950’s petrol can and very poorly with a opera hat which folds down so the people behind you can see the action.

“Turns out people don’t wear top hats to the opera any more…who knew!”

Nick Hall

Nick Hall started working at an auctioneer when he was in his late teens and says that he quickly “got the Bug” for antiques and art.

After learning onsite, he went on to take a fine arts course.

This then lead Nick to earning the position of Senior Valuer and Director at that same saleroom.

Philip Serrell

Philip Serrell says that he thinks antiques found him “rather than the other way round”.

He was approached by Bargain Hunt back in 1999, when they were filming in Malvern.

Philip was then asked to feature as an expert.

Raj Bisram

Raj Bisram got into antiques when he discovered that a 9-5 job was not for him.

He’d had a childhood love of “old and dusty junk” and antique shops and he decided to turn this passion into a career.

Raj had been doing some other TV work and was approached by Bargain Hunt in 2015.

Richard Madley

Richard Madley comes from a family of antique lovers – his father was an auctioneer, his father-in-law was an auctioneer and his mother-in-law was an antique dealer.

He joined Bargain Hunt after being approached by a former series producer to ask if he would like to try out.

After a long interview process, he went on to have a one-to-one screen test in his auction room and was eventually asked to feature as an expert.

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Thomas Forrester

Auctioneer Thomas Forrester grew up on a farm and always loved the cattle auctions, and admired the job of the auctioneer.

He has also had a love of old things since a young age and one of his grandmothers was a massive fan of antiques and auctions and would take him to the local saleroom.

Thomas was used as a Bargain Hunt auctioneer in his first salesroom in Bath – and is now an expert on the show.

Tim Weeks

Tim Weeks chose a career in antiques because of the unpredictability of what items you will find each day.

He also likes performing when he gets up on the rostrum.

Tim became involved with Bargain Hunt after co-presenting BBC One’s Street Auction.

Caroline Hawley

Caroline first got involved in Bargain Hunt in the summer of 2013 after already working on Flog It for a year.

She did her first programme from Wetherby racecourse.

Caroline has been involved with antiques and collecting vintage items since she was a teenager.

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Nana Akua
Nana Akua
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