Posh Pawn, TV review: The most interesting thing about this programme was its title
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 17 April 2014
It is a widely accepted fact that the entertainment value of Antiques Roadshow has nothing to do with antiques. You watch it to see the looks on their faces when a beloved family heirloom is valued at precisely zilch. Or, if you're in a good mood, to share in their joy when junk from the attic turns out to be a priceless Ming dynasty vase. Posh Pawn, Channel 4's new docu-soap set in the world of high-end pawnbroking, aimed – and failed – to provide similar thrills.
James Constantino owns the Prestige pawn shop in Weybridge, Surrey, and in the time-worn tradition of workplace reality shows, he promised us his team were "a quirky bunch" and "like one big happy family". The thoroughly sensible operations manager Jo had no quirks to speak of and Patrick, "the bagman of the business", disappointingly turned out not to be a "bagman" in the Mafia sense. He was just really good at valuing ladies' designer handbags. You don't have to be perfectly sane to work at Prestige, but it helps.
All the best lines sounded suspiciously scripted and the only "character" flamboyant enough to merit a return visit worked elsewhere. That was Ian, an expert jewellery valuer in London who, according to an admiring James, "looks like Liberace, even on a Wednesday afternoon".
That left it to the customers to capture our hearts, but they, like us, only really cared about one thing: how much dosh granny's hocked diamonds would fetch. This information was withheld right until the very end of the programme, providing one final disappointment: everything that looked worthless was worthless and everything that looked valuable was valuable. Given there's a surfeit of workplace documentaries on at the moment, including The Call Centre (BBC3) and Under Offer: Estate Agents on the Job (BBC2), you have my permission to give Posh Pawn a miss. It isn't nearly as engrossing as its punning title suggests.
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