One of my guilty pleasures – I seem to have quite a few of them – is my love of Bargain Hunt.
I’m not ashamed to say that pretty much every day I stop whatever I am doing just before quarter-past-twelve so that I can grab some lunch and settle down to watch two colourful teams buy things and generally lose money hand-over-fist.
You come across a variety of different contestants as you watch the show.
There are those who get into the spirit of the thing – who realise that they are on a lunchtime game show that is designed to entertain and inform and if they happen to make a couple of quid in the process then so much the better. I mean, generally, they won’t. But sometimes it happens. These contestants have fun. They buy things because they’re quirky, or unusual or – in one team’s case – ugly. They buy life-size plastic gorillas and things that no-one in their right mind would really want.
And then there are the contestants that take the whole thing way too seriously. Like ridiculously seriously. There was a woman the other day who was scrutinising everything with a little magnifying glass to look for hairline cracks. That’s not how you play Bargain Hunt. That’s how you genuinely shop for antiques. Bargain Hunt is not meant to be played that way. If it was, it wouldn’t be on BBC One at lunchtime. It would be on the evening, and probably on BBC 4.
But in all the time watching the show and, most recently, enjoying the way the series can jump between the three phases of Natasha Raskin-Sharp like she’s an evolving Pokémon – she has three states: “long hair unengaged”, “long hair engaged” and “short hair married” (most recently, the run has included long-hair unengaged and long-hair engaged in the same episode) – I have never come across anything like this before.
Not outside of an episode of Dangermouse, anyway.
(I apologise for the quality of the picture… I was hoping it would be up on iPlayer so I could grab a screenshot, but sadly not.)