Antiques Roadshow Detectives, BBC2 - TV review

A show which has the time to go through the painstaking process of revealing the truth is a welcome addition to the schedules

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The Independent Culture

For a certain sort of viewer the mystery at the heart of this first episode of new series Antiques Roadshow Detectives will have been compelling. Annie Hammerton, on a recent Antiques Roadshow, presented roadshow veteran Hilary Kay with a rare artefact from Oliver Cromwell's funeral.

Hammerton said it came into her family after a cheeky schoolboy snuck through the crowds and stole it, and the history books appear to back her up, but could this really be the genuine article? Three-and-a-half centuries later?

In this spin-off – a sort of Who Do You Think You Are? for inanimate objects – the presenter Fiona Bruce promises to answer such questions. Along with the Cromwellian funeral standard (properly known as an "escutcheon"), this episode featured a charming enamel on copper panel depicting a medieval scene in turquoise and green. This painting fell off the back of a dustcart (no euphemism intended) sometime during the war and was picked up by Mary Steel's grandfather.

Expert Paul Atterbury suspected it might be the work of the Arts and Crafts movement's foremost proponent of enamelling, Alexander Fisher, but a signature in the corner was frustratingly obscured. A show which has the time to go through the painstaking process of removing that frame and revealing the truth, is a welcome addition to the schedules. Intriguing items like these, warrant more than a perfunctory insurance evaluation.

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