Shropshire Star

In pictures: Bargain Hunt films series of episodes at Oswestry antiques fair

The pandemic has created a brave new socially-distanced world for all of us and it is no different for television, as shown when Bargain Hunt descended on Shropshire.

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Bargain Hunt being filmed at Oswestry Showground: The red team with expert Ben Cooper

The popular show was filming a series of episodes at Oswestry's Showground, where the public had turned out in their droves for the return of the antique and collectors fair – the first at the venue since lockdown restrictions were lifted.

On a sun-bathed September Saturday the red and the blue teams joined the mask-clad crowds in scouring the fair in search of bargain.

The red team: Philip Latham and Nikki Latham, of Cheshire

The team filming the show has been back at work since the end of June, although coronavirus restrictions and guidelines have meant changes in the way they have filmed.

Ben Cooper, one of the experts tasked with finding his team a bargain, said that they were no longer able to pass items between the contestants and himself, which meant more onus on the teams to describe what they have found – particularly all important mall marks or makers seals.

The producers have gotten round one of the hurdles by making sure the contestants are from the same family, eliminating the need for them to socially distance from each other.

Ben said: "The hardest thing is where the team is looking at something where there is a mark or a hallmark, normally I would take it and look at it but now I am having to say "what can you see, what can you read?"."

The red team takes a selfie with expert Ben Cooper

The presenter said that like most people they had been pleased to get back to work, and were happy to do it as soon as it was safe.

He said: "Everyone was keen to get back doing it, but making sure everyone's safety is paramount. We all travel from different parts of the country so it is being mindful of that all the time, especially as you are coming to a public event."

Ben was also full of praise for the way JOS Events had organised the fair – and the quality on show.

Bargain Hunt being filmed at Oswestry Showground, with expert Ben Cooper

He said: "Speaking as a dealer there's some really good stuff here, there are a lot of professional dealers here so it is not as junky if you know what I mean.

"I think the organisers have done it really well because there is a great use of social distancing in the buildings, you have the wide space outside, more than normally, so it makes it a very easy fair to go around and for the public to feel safe as well."

Four episodes were filmed in total on the day, and they are likely to be screened in the New Year.

Bargain Hunt being filmed at Oswestry Showground: The red team with expert Ben Cooper

As they searched the stalls for a bargain one team picked up a silver lipstick holder – believed to be early 20th century German or Austrian from Carmarthenshire trader Mick Wood.

He was one of around 200 traders at the showground, and again offered praise of the organisers.

He said: "It has always been very good for me here and I think the organisers at this current time should be recognised for how well they have done everything.

Bargain Hunt being filmed at Oswestry Showground: The blue team with expert Kate Bliss

"When I turned up there was a Covid bag with masks, sanitiser and the regulations - and they should be recognised for that, they have taken it incredibly seriously."

Emma Jones, director of JOS Events, and one of the organisers, said they were delighted to be able to host the fair.

Bargain Hunt being filmed at Oswestry Showground: The blue team with expert Kate Bliss

She said: "It is the first one in Oswestry, we had to cancel two and we were absolutely devastated at that so we put all our energy into this one going ahead.

"It was signed off by the council on Thursday so there have been lots of sleepless nights."

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