From Sotheby’s to Strictly: A Romp Through an Eclectic Career in the Auction and Television World
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Tim Wonnacott’s careers in antiques and television offer a wealth of amusing and entertaining anecdotes to be shared. Wonnacott started in Sotheby’s furniture department with stints in most of the decorative arts before concluding his 25-years as Chairman of Sotheby’s salesroom at Olympia in London. He has conducted auction sales throughout the United Kingdom, North America and such far flung places as India.
In the early 1990s Wonnacott started regularly appearing on the BBC Antiques Roadshow. Subsequently he appeared regularly on a number of BBC antiques shows including The Great Antiques Hunt, Going Going Gone and The Antiques Show. In January 2003, Wonnacott took over as presenter of Bargain Hunt, presenting nearly 1,300 programmes until January 2016. With Wonnacott at the helm, Bargain Hunt was the highest rated TV programme on any channel in the UK apart from the news.
In an unusual departure from his normal “antiques” comfort zone Wonnacott joined the Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. Wonnacott describes his time on Strictly as “just the greatest fun” and having to learn new steps with the gorgeous Natalie Lowe was too good an opportunity to miss. He survived to week four and was sad to be eliminated but the gruelling training and application of Natalie’s training regime had a beneficial effect on Tim’s waistline.
The same year Wonnacott filmed a new antiques series, The Great Antiques Maps of Britain. He travelled the length and breadth of Great Britain visiting places where the antiques and collectables originally came from, meeting along the way curators and valuing for collectors in the comfort of a vintage American silver Airstream.
Wonnacott has narrated nearly 1000 of BBC 2’s blockbuster shows The Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. It is now in its eleventh series with a further 80 programmes commissioned for 2022