Antiques Roadshow delights thousands as cameras roll in Swanage

Television royalty Fiona Bruce has brought the BBC Antiques Roadshow to Swanage in Dorset for the first time ever in its 45 year history – and the town will feature in three episodes.

The popular Sunday evening programme was filmed in the seaside town on Friday 23rd June 2023 and series 46 is expected to be transmitted from early September 2023.

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Antiques Roadshow filming in Swanage
Caroline Abbott

Not too breezy on Swanage Pier for filming

Invaluable TV publicity for Swanage

Thousands of people gathered in Prince Albert Gardens and on Swanage Pier to have their family treasures valued or to enjoy the excitement of a major TV show being filmed in the town.

And the value of Swanage being featured on national prime time television – with glorious sunshine showing off the town at its very best – could be invaluable.

Swanage Town Council visitor services manager Culvin Milmer said that the importance of good publicity on TV shows watched by millions could not be overstated.

Coming so shortly after Purbeck was featured in three weeks of BBC Springwatch programming from RSPB Arne, exposure on the Antiques Roadshow, with a regular audience of three and a half million viewers, could be worth a fortune for the town’s tourist economy.

Fiona Bruce at Antiques Roadshow
Caroline Abbott

Presenter Fiona Bruce draws the crowds in Prince Albert Gardens

Swanage Town Council visitor services manager Culvin Milmer says he is always supportive of TV companies filming in Swanage

“A really good way of promoting the town”

Culvin Milmer said:

“The Antiques Roadshow approached the town council back in February, so we had a meeting with lots of BBC officials and they were really, really keen. The BBC had filmed Songs of Praise here two years ago and so knew what a fantastic venue Swanage is.

“It showcases the town well and is great for Swanage. As a town council, we are really supportive of filming and I spend a lot of time looking at filming opportunities around the town.

“We have a lot of documentaries wanting to spend half a day here. From their point of view, we are quite near London, so it’s not very far to bring their operation to us.

“Like Songs of Praise, the Antiques Roadshow is a perfect demographic for us, it’s watched by the kind of people who will spend money on weekends away and day trips to Swanage, so it is a really good way of promoting the town.”

Filming Antiques Roadshow in Swanage (

Film crew sets up for in depth interviews on Swanage Pier

Fiona Bruce at Antiques Roadshow
Caroline Abbott

A popular part of the show when Fiona Bruce is quizzed on her knowledge of antiques

“Entertaining programme which is a joy to watch”

The BBC issued around 5,000 tickets for the event with about 1,500 people invited to bring along items to be seen and valued by the experts.

And although there were long queues early in the day, crowds were kept moving and the experts were able to give interesting facts on many of the antiques as well as the all important valuation.

Pat Milligan and Howard and Dilys Thomas of Worth Matravers had taken along some historical knives including a Gurkha’s kukri and a kris, some Japanese bowls and an eastern European jug from the 1920s, which caught the eye of expert Michael Welch.

Dilys Thomas said:

“We love the Antiques Roadshow – it is always so interesting and it was fascinating to see how it was filmed.

“It’s a long day and clearly there’s a huge amount of filming, but they always produce an entertaining programme, which is a joy to watch.”

Pat Milligan (left) and Howard and Dilys Thomas of Worth Matravers meet expert Michael Welch

Katie Godman-Sinclair and Helen Walter brought along a Regency jacket

“One of our more unusual exhibits”

Helen Walter and Katie Godman-Sinclair of Blandford Fashion Museum had brought along a Regency military style jacket for women, one of their star exhibits which they were hoping to learn a little more about.

Helen Walter said:

“It was gifted to us during lockdown and we had to keep it quarantined for a while – it doesn’t have a very clear provenance although it looks like it might have been associated with the Dorset Yeomanry.

“The BBC asked us to bring one of our more unusual exhibits along, and it is quite rare to find garments from this era which would have been during the Napoleonic wars. We are hoping the experts can tell us more about it!”

Guests on the show were initially asked to sit down with experts around Prince Albert Gardens and on the pier, but items of special note were taken to the end of the pier to film longer segments of the show.

Antiques Roadshow filming in Swanage

A carved sculpture with a story to tell

Show expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan achieved his dream of visiting Swanage

“I have always wanted to come to Swanage”

And for one show expert, Ronnie Archer-Morgan, the visit to Swanage was a dream come true.

He said:

“When I was at primary school, from about the age of seven, all my classmates would come to Swanage and especially Corfe Castle for the school trip, but I could never go and I always wanted to.

“So when I drove past Corfe Castle this morning, I couldn’t believe it – I have wanted to come here all my life and I never have. This job has taken me all over England, but for some reason I have never made it here until today.

“The beauty of the Antiques Roadshow is that you never know what you are going to see – but you always believe that you will see something wonderful and you are never disappointed

“The very first thing I saw when I started with the show was a Fijian war club, which was beyond my wildest dreams. As I was talking about it I got more and more excited and involved in how the thing was crafted two or three hundred years ago.”

antiques roadshow

Silver expert Duncan Campbell was particularly taken with a beaker dating from 1925 brought along by Patricia Penfold and daughter Sue Churchill

Caroline Finch from Swanage wanted answers about her dinosaur footprints

Dinosaur footprints leave their mark

If a member of the public does bring something valuable they are given a security ticket and the antique goes under guard – and if it receives an extremely high valuation they will get it escorted home.

Although we will have to wait until the shows are broadcast before we know how much the standout antiques from Swanage were valued at, one ancient offering from Swanage resident Caroline Finch needed security guards just to lift.

She brought along three dinosaur footprints from the Jurassic Coast which had been a part of a garden wall when she moved into her house in Swanage and had since become a major topic of conversation.

Although the fossils were considerably older than other antiques at the roadshow, Caroline hoped that the experts may be able to shed some light on exactly how ancient they were or what sort of dinosaur may have left them behind.

Antiques Roadshow filming in Swanage

Lots of forward planning was required for the event to go ahead, with even a road closure in place for pedestrian safety

Amanda Bowden on Swanage Pier

Amanda Bowden of the Swanage Pier Trust says it’s all been great publicity

“Very exciting to be a part of it all”

Amanda Bowden of the Swanage Pier Trust said she was very excited to have the BBC on the pier for the day, adding:

“It was a great privilege to have them here and very exciting to be a part of it all, but the most important thing is raising the awareness of Swanage Pier.

“With BBC Springwatch filming here and Michael Portillo’s Great British railway journeys also featuring a piece about the pier, we have had brilliant publicity, and I’m sure the next call from a TV programme is just around the corner!”

Antiques Roadshow filming in Swanage

Even family pets want to get on the telly!

Swanage Mayor Tina Foster and her consort and husband Leslie Parkinson

“We hope millions of people will watch Swanage on the BBC”

Swanage Mayor Tina Foster said:

“This is a very prestigious event for Swanage and we are so pleased that the BBC will showcase the town in its best light. It is a perfect day for the filming and although we can’t really take credit for sunshine, we do try our best!

“It is a privilege to be mayor of such a wonderful town and events like this reflect well on the whole community – we hope that millions of people will watch Swanage on the BBC and want to visit us as a result.”

Filming Antiques Roadshow in Swanage (

Filming also took place at the Prince Albert Memorial…

Filming Antiques Roadshow in Swanage (

And more filming on the beach at Swanage Sailing Club

Further information

  • More about the latest series of the Antiques Roadshow is on its website
  • Further filming, with the RNLI, will take place on the pier on Saturday 24th June 2023, for an Antiques Roadshow special going out to mark the bicentenary of the lifeboat charity in 2024.
Fiona Bruce at Antiques Roadshow

Fiona Bruce chats to members of the crowd who came along for the day’s filming

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