Last night's viewing: Wheelers, Dealers and Del Boys, BBC1
The Real White Queen and Her Rivals, BBC2

 

"Rome wasn't built in a day and Alan Sugar didn't become a millionaire overnight," said Sharon, one half of the nascent trading empire Sharon and Al, in Wheelers, Dealers and Del Boys. Sharon was wondering whether she might have been a little hasty in giving up her day job to concentrate exclusively on trading in tat, and this remark was by way of self-reassurance.

The fact that Sharon looks to be the same age as Lord Sugar suggested to me that she might have left it a little late. If she ultimately wants to become a figurehead of entrepreneurial flair, fronting up her own reality show, then she'd better get cracking. Richie, on the other hand, has set himself a far more realistic goal: "I hope to be Del Boy one day," he said in James Dawson's very jolly documentary about the sub-culture surrounding a south London auction house. You have no worlds left to conquer, Richie, because, barring the battered Reliant Regal van, you're there already.

The auction house is Greasby's of Tooting, which, to put it mildly, operates at the other end of the scale from grand London houses like Christie's and Sotheby's. A lot at Greasby's may consist of three repossessed lavatory bowls, or an uncollected suitcase from lost luggage or a bagful of cheap watches. The seductive possibility for those who haunt its viewings is that something of genuine value may have scraped through unnoticed.

Richie isn't much concerned about quality: "Anything I think I can earn a pound note on, I'll have it," he said. But he's really sustained by the dream of stumbling on treasure. For a while, he thought he had, after buying a Hokusai print for £200. "I think we've got something pukka there," he said and he became even more excited after his girlfriend had done a little internet research. "He is the Jackie Chan of art, yeah?"

Toni is trying to head up-market, her model (and nemesis) being Jamie, who tends to turn up and spoil her day whenever she's spotted something a bit tasty nestling in the mixed bags of costume jewellery. And you can't help fearing that competitiveness may have blurred her business sense. Toni was absolutely triumphant when she won a bidding duel for a Gucci lady's watch, but in the end it netted her only a modest profit.

Indeed, Dawson's camera appears to have jinxed most of those featured here. Richie's Hokusai turned out to be "moody" and is currently lying under his bed, the diamond cross necklace Toni had boasted she could sell for a grand eventually gave her a profit of only £30 and Sharon's wild punt on an unclaimed suitcase she hadn't even seen left her struggling to break even. What hadn't been put into the profit-and-loss calculations was the pleasure all three of them get from the pursuit, a fair bit of which got passed on to us.

The subtitle for The Real White Queen and Her Rivals, in which Philippa Gregory recounts the real history behind BBC1's Sunday-evening costume drama, should have been "Honest, I Didn't Just Make It All Up". It is a gratifyingly tangled story, full of dramatic reversals and confrontations that stretch the credulity but turn out to be true.

It also contained incidents that you can't imagine it would be easy to dramatise for a prime-time audience, such as the brutal deflowering of the 12-year-old Margaret Beaufort by her new husband, Edmund Tudor. But the film raised a question. Why is it that Philippa Gregory – who wants to give overlooked women their fair due – effectively endorses in fiction the misogynistic slurs of their enemies?

True, Elizabeth Woodville's mother, Jacquetta, thought she was descended from the river witch Melusina. But was there ever any hard evidence that she actually engaged in sorcery? This film suggests not. The drama has her at it anyway. The Earl of Warwick would have felt vindicated.

twitter.com/tds153

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project