Pottery mouth Eric’s show is priceless!

Eric Knowles
Eric Knowles

“IT’S a show that has been evolving, “ Eric says, explaining Antique Antics, “There is no script as such.

“It’s just me talking about my favourite subject: Me!

“I’m a man and we like talking about ourselves!” he laughs.

The Antiques Roadshow has been on our screens for 34 years.

Incredibly, Eric has been a part of the programme for 31 of those, so there is no shortage of material for him to wax lyrical about.

“It’s an event in three parts. The first part is before I go onstage. I meet and greet the audience, who are invited to bring an object for me to look at.

I talk about how I got started and the Roadshow in the middle bit, and the third part is based on the first part, somewhat...”

“I am usually talking to my sort of people – cullture vultures.

“Some are a little younger than me and others are older and quite near to god...it’s something I really enjoy, it’s like therapy.

“I call it infotainment – you are learning while you are laughing!”

When not on the small screen casting his eyes over relics and oddities in the Roadshow, he fills his day by lecturing, working on other television shows, giving his time to charity, making private valuations and putting pen to paper: He writes for various publications and has nine books in the racks.

And counting.

How does he manage such a feat?

“Well, I’m incredibly clever, and modest!” he replies, quick as a flash, so he’s witty, and honest to boot, then.

But writing a book isn’t the easiest of tasks to fit around the day job, nor is his subject a simple one..

“I write to grieve my former English teacher who told me I couldn’t string more than three sentences together,” he admits.

“He was an aspiring novelist. I went to a reunion some time ago and he was there.

“He told me he hadn’t pursued his dream and asked about me. I was on book number five then, and told him that he could also read my column in The Sunday Times!”

His achievements are clear for us to see, but when it comes to the crunch, sometimes Eric struggles to see his own worth.

“People ask me to be an aspirational speaker and I think ‘What have I done apart from being on the telly?” .

“Even now I feel zero success. I don’t mean for you to become my psychiatrist but it’s not a false modesty,” he says.

“I guess I’m the worst person to take my own temperature.”

Eric’s passion for antiques began with pottery: “Because they were cheap, cheerful and readily available,” he admits, although his palate for items has swelled since that time and he is a knowledgeable fella on many things antique, with just a few weaknesses.

“Prints and etchings, musical instruments, rugs and carpets and jewellery.

“I’m not good on those,” he admits.

“...and diamond’s might be a girls’ best friend but I have spent my married life running past jewellers!”

Big finds have big pricetags, like a Chinese blue and white vase placed under his nose on the show in recent years (“I knew if it was right it would be very right...it sold for £150,000.), but nowadays, Eric is Director of Moorcroft Pottery (“They are the best in the world,”) he states. And affordable.

But Eric’s public persona is undoubtedly down to the Roadshow. It’s the best show of type on the box, which goes some way to explaining the longevity, and audience figures the show commands.

So Eric, what’s the secret behind the success?

“It’s quintissentially British. No-one gets shot, murdered, mugged or raped,” he says, and he’s not wrong.

It’s success also means that channel hoppers both here in the UK and Down Under in Australia, can see Eric on the small screen every day of the week.

Which must be every bit as satisfying for Eric as it is niggling for that disbelieving teacher of his!

Tickets for Saturday’s show are £16 & £14.

Call MK 324422 to book.