Thousands gather for BBC’s Antiques Roadshow in West Lothian

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By Oliver Farrimond

TOP telly presenter Fiona Bruce was in danger of turning the Antiques Roadshow into the Antiques NO-SHOW after getting stuck in traffic.

Host Bruce started the day well behind schedule after being caught up in a queue of motors crawling towards famous Hopetoun House in South Queensferry as thousands flocked to see the time team.

Many of those who turned up had to wait five hours for their chance to be seen, but none grumbled under their breath, all were just glad of the chance to have their questions answered.

Experts were on hand to scour family heirlooms and dusty collectables amid filming for what is the 32nd series.

And a breathless Bruce said: “I think I can safely say I have never seen so many people at a filming before.

“It must be the spectacular venue and weather – we are incredibly lucky and it should be an amazing day.

“Everyone should give the roadshow a go and bring something along, you never know what it might be worth.”

Cash in the attic

The new series is only the second to be presented by Bruce and she added that so far it was proving to be the most popular.

Every filming attracts thousands of antiques owners, all eager to find out the history of their family heirlooms and, most importantly, how much they might be worth.

For some it could very well be the million-dollar question, but for most it will be simply the satisfaction of knowing that there really is even a little cash in their attic for a rainy day.

Julie Thomas, 46, said that she did not mind the five-hour queue.

She said: “Hopefully the items I have brought will make it worth the wait.

“I watch the programme religiously every Sunday and it is really exciting to actually get the chance to take part.”

The home – built in 1699 by gentleman-architect William Bruce – is the traditional seat of the Marquess of Linlithgow.

And although plenty of West Lothian’s upper crust turned out for the day’s filming, sitting Marquess Adrian Hope did not make an appearance.

Beautifully preserved

Despite the huge turnout for the day’s filming, the estate’s vast expanse of land proved more than enough room for the hundreds of cars parked outside.

Lines snaked around the grounds of the 400-year-old stately home, with collectors clutching all manner of trinkets.

The items brought ranged from the miniscule to the massive, with teams of workmen and lorries handling the largest of the antiques.

One enthusiast had even driven his 1956 Citroen to be valued, and the classic car was parked outside the southern wing of the estate as bodies filed past.

It drew admiring glances from the throng of people who had to wind past the beautifully preserved automobile, one of the more interesting exhibits to be taken along.

Many were fortunate enough to have brought along antique chairs, providing relief from hours of standing.

Stunning collectibles

Those waiting were lucky enough to experience mostly good weather.

Although a typically blustery West Lothian Wednesday, the sun was bright for the most part, and the forecast threat of showers never materialised.

Most of the filming took place in two rooms in the south wing of the grand home, with the most stunning collectibles taking pride of place in front of television cameras.

Producers could be overheard expressing disbelief at the numbers turning up, and no experts’ table was without a throng of onlookers.

Many had to be moved outside to accommodate the volume of antiques being valued, with a visibly amazed Bruce moving between tables to ask visitors’ stories.

Wearing flared corduroy trousers and a trendy beige jacket, Bruce looked every inch the experienced presenter, despite only having fronted the show for one series.

The next series of Antiques Roadshow is due to be broadcast at the end of this year and will spend the rest of the spring and summer touring the length and breadth of the British Isles.

Amongst the stops include the island of Guernsey, which has not hosted the show in almost 30 years.

Antiques Roadshow is one of the BBC’s most popular programmes, regularly watched by over seven-and-a-half million people each week.

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