HUNDREDS of visitors, many clutching much-loved family heirlooms, are expected in Durham next week as a BBC TV show returns to the city for the first time in 17 years.

The ever-popular Sunday night show Antiques Roadshow, presented by newsreader Fiona Bruce, is to be filmed in Durham Cathedral on Thursday, September 4.

As many as 2,000 visitors are expected to bring along their household treasures and curiosities to be inspected and valued by the programme’s team of experts.

Loading article content

The show, first screened in 1979, was last filmed in Durham City in 1997, but has more recently visited Beamish Museum in 2005, Auckland Castle in 2006 and Bowes Museum in 2009.

The North-East holds a special place in Antiques Roadshow history, the record valuation of £1m having been set by a maquette model of the Angel of the North during a previous filming in Gateshead.

Series editor Simon Shaw says: “As a television producer it’s a scary prospect when we turn up for a day’s filming and no knowledge of what might turn up.

“Amazingly we still keep finding fascinating pieces – and some of the best aren’t necessarily the most valuable.”

The valuation day starts at 9.30am and attendance is free, with no ticket required. With an average of 2,000 people attending each valuation day it can get busy, particularly in the morning, but anyone in the queue by 4.30pm is guaranteed to see an expert to offer an opinion as to whether their possessions are priceless or worthless.

Filming for the programme, which over the years has seen more than 700 episodes shot in 12 different countries, goes on until 7pm.

Experts in attendance at Durham will include some of Britain’s leading antiques and fine arts specialists, such as writer and broadcaster Hilary Kay, jewellery enthusiast Geoffrey Munn, ceramics historian Lars Tharp, and Paul Atterbury who lectures on 19th and 20th century art.

Items which can be brought along can include ceramics, glass, arms, militia, furniture, jewellery, clocks, watches, books, manuscripts, pictures, prints, and silver.

There will however be no specialists in the fields of stamps, coins, rugs, carpets or musical instruments.

People with items too large to bring along on the day can either bring a photograph on the day or send details to: Antiques Roadshow, BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR or to arrange possible transportation of more interesting items.