Thursday, June 21, 2012
Salvage Hunters: A British Twist On Junk
I'm thinking of American Pickers, Canadian Pickers, Storage Hunters, Repo Man, you get my drift.
The shows are very popular and very cheap to make.
They also deal in a maddening way with pop history.
Sure the "stars" are always aware they're on. They ceaselessly mug for the cameras, they have been trained to turn every characterization into an event.
And when there's nothing on I'll watch and be mildly entertained.
And now comes a British twist on the whole phenomenon titled Salvage Hunters although officially it's a Canada-U.K. production made for Discovery for Cineflix.
And I'm learning these shows are popular the world around --I'm just reading a positive review from of all places the Philippines.
The "star" of this entry is 41-year-old Drew Pritchard who describes himself as a restoration expert. He takes what most people consider junk and lovingly restores items to mint new condition.
The first episode which I previewed finds Pritchard barreling all over the U.S. on the relentless search for junk, er antiques.
In one interview Pritchard said the most unusual restored item was a set of 14 stained glass windows by William Morris which he sold to one of the wives of the Beatles.
Then there was the British hotel he restored, took down piece by piece and then shipped the entire facade to Japan where it was rebuilt on a golf course.
First up he gets priority access into a fabulous Scottish castle which with its 90,000 acres is one of Britain's biggest estates.
Obviously most of the treasures in the castle are off bounds but in little used out sheds Drew finds all kinds of fascinating objects including a gigantic georgian side board made for plates that was in use for several centuries.
In other words Drewlives for the thrill of the hunt. At a monstrous warehouse of British vintage furniture he goes eyeball to eyeball with the wary owner. Each guy is determined to get a great deal and the wheeling and dealing is fascinating to watch.
And at the home of a great eccentric collector he sees a vintage car from 1896 that would be outside the
means of anybody but perhaps a great museum.
But he never goes away empty handed.
In one crazy drive to buy a vintage car and resell it he makes a profit of just 50 pence but is still satisfied he found the car a new owner.
So we learn a lot about the phlegmatic Drew, a fair bit about the British antiques business and much about how to close a deal that might at first seem impossible.
The series runs for 10 weeks. Might a Canadian spin off be in the works if Salvage Hunters proves a hit ratings wise?
SALVAGE HUNTERS PREMIERES FRID. JUNE 22 AT 8 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.