Antiques Roadshow to air festive special from EastEnders studios

The Antiques Roadshow is heading to the BBC Elstree studios for an EastEnders festive special.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate the world of show business and chose a location synonymous with the history of television. To film a special Antiques Roadshow on the normally closed set of EastEnders was a tremendous privilege in our 40th year. We had some remarkable finds from film, television and the music industry which provide an insight into the entertainment world and let us revel in a bit of nostalgia along the way. Our guests brought along an eclectic mix of items – some from chance encounters with the stars, others from working behind-the-scenes in the industry and we even had some devoted fans with unexpected mementoes.” – Producer Jan Waldron

As part of its 40th anniversary series Antiques Roadshow has filmed an entertainment special on the set of EastEnders celebrating the history of film, music, theatre and television. The team visited the famous BBC Elstree Studios in north London – the oldest still active former film studios in operation in Borehamwood – first opening in 1914 the site was converted into a television production centre by ATV when purchased by Lew Grade’s company in 1958, the TV complex officially opened on the 7th of April 1961.

The site, which once gave ITV viewers some of its best loved shows, including soap operas Emergency Ward 10 and Honey Lane, game shows Celebrity Squares and Family Fortunes as well as big budget dramas such as Henry VII, Hamlet and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is home currently to long running saga EastEnders. The beeb took over the studios in 1983 when ITV re-positioned its facilities, moving their Elstree staff to Nottingham. Other popular BBC programmes made at Elstree include chart show Top of the Pops, sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo and drama Holby City.

The Antiques Roadshow special will be set against the backdrop of the home of Albert Square where valued treasured items, which give a glimpse into the world of movie legends, pop stars, theatrical giants and television favourites will be shared with BBC One viewers. Presenter Fiona Bruce will be seen popping into The Queen Vic, for a chat and a drink with actresses June Brown and Letitia Dean – Dot and Sharon in the soap.

Items featured on the programme  include the famous axe that Jack Nicholson used in The Shining, key props from the first Star Wars film and from Raiders of The Lost Ark. There is also a Harry Potter collection of memorabilia with a moving story attached as well as a script for the first episode of Doctor Who.

Viewers will get to view the guitar played by Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells – which was once owned by T-Rex performer Marc Bolan –  as well as a collection of autographed items that tell of a day spent with Andy Warhol, Muffin the Mule makes an apperance and two furry props from one of the best-loved episodes of beeb sitcom Fawlty Towers. The special was filmed earlier in the year and Antiques Roadshow had to work around the EastEnders production schedules which take up much of the time at the BBC Elstree centre.

“Luckily, we managed to film on the EastEnders set before it was blown up! But we had plenty of drama of our own with rare memorabilia from some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, some stunning valuations and a drink at The Queen Vic with two of the Square’s most famous residents.” – Fiona Bruce

Pictured Top: Fiona Bruce in Albert Square, Pictured Middle Top: The Queen Victoria pub on the back-lot set of EastEnders at BBC Elstree, Pictured Middle Bottom: Fiona steps inside ‘The Vic’ to meet ‘Sharon’ and ‘Dot’, Pictured Bottom: The BBC Elstree centre in the 1960s when it was operated as the ATV Elstree Studios by ATV for ITV.
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