Antiques Road Trip audiences will be used to seeing the likes of Philip Serrell, Roo Irvine, Izzie Balmer and Raj Bisram travel up and down the UK to uncover incredible treasures – but now there’s a new face in the driving seat.
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HELLO! can exclusively reveal that antiques expert Mark Hill has joined the line-up of the upcoming series of the BBC One show, which is set to air later this year. Ahead of his debut, which will see him take part in some friendly competition with fellow expert Roo Irvine, get to know more about Mark here…
WATCH: Meet Antiques Road Trip’s new expert Mark Hill
Mark, 47, is no stranger to TV, having appeared on Antiques Roadshow with Fiona Bruce since 2007, as well as other BBC programmes like Collectaholics and Antiques Uncovered over the years.
However, as Mark says, Antiques Road Trip, which involves actually going to antique shops, markets and car boot sales, is a lot closer to his everyday life as an antiques collector and expert. “It’s basically what I do in life. Finding treasures around antique shops is what I do, so to do it with that sort of added competition makes me very excited,” he says.
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Mark’s passion for antiques began when he was young. “As a kid, I would find these things – I’m afraid I was a very geeky kid -and I research the story, find out all about it teach myself. I remember, I bought a pocket watch when I was about 15 or something and then sold it for more money and I thought to myself, ‘Could I make a career out of this?'”
“I’ve always loved a story which I think it’s a very human thing. For me, it was all about the object and the story behind the object,” he adds.
Mark began his career at one of the UK’s oldest auction houses
© Tim J.W. Roberts
Mark’s parents were more than supportive of his dreams to make a career out of his love for antiques. “My father came over to England from New Zealand in 1964 to pursue his dream of working for a Formula One team, so he encouraged me – they both did – to do what I wanted to do.”
As a result, Mark went on to study History of Art & Architecture at the University of Reading where, in his own words, his eye for a good find funded both his “books and his bar bill”. Before he even received his diploma, he joined one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers, Bonhams and it wasn’t long before he worked his way up to the auction floor.
“I started right the bottom and I mean, literally right at the bottom,” he explains. “I was cleaning and standing on auction views, but it was probably the best apprenticeship that I think I could ever get and I’d recommend anybody to do it because you just start off handling so many different things, learning from clients and learning from specialists.”
Mark has joined the latest series of the BBC show
© Mark Hill
One of the first things viewers will notice about Mark is his strong sense of style – which it turns out is also rooted in his love for treasures of the past. “Most of the clothes I wear are vintage,” he says. “It’s about quality and it’s also about sustainability and recycling like any other antique.”
“I like to wear those objects because, without wanting to sound holier than thou, there is the future of the environment to think about. One of the things I can’t do is fast fashion.”
As for how his career in front of the cameras began, Mark reveals that it was “pure luck” that he was scouted to take part on Antiques Roadshow more than 15 years ago.
However, he describes his new role on Antiques Road Trip as “very, very different” to the Sunday afternoon staple. “The format obviously is different but it’s very fast-paced and I love that.”
The show also reunites him very many experts he’s encountered in his professional life over the years and his first trip sees him take to the Scottish Highlands with fellow expert Roo Irvine who he counts as a “dear friend”.
Mark has been paired with Roo Irvine for his first stint on Antiques Road Trip
“Working with Roo is really great. She’s just so much fun and I think what comes across is that it really is two good friends travelling around the country with the edge of competition.”
As for how their first trip together goes, Mark teases: “There have been a few occasions where I’ve had very nice surprises. Very, very nice surprises but you’re gonna have to tune into find out! I will say there are some jolly nice surprises with extremely smile making results.”
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When he’s not in front of the cameras or at auction houses, Mark says he can be found at his London home which he shares with his partner and rescue cat, either curled up on the sofa reading a book, tending to his garden or enjoying a nice glass of wine.
However, he does admit that he spent the last weekend at an antiques fair as he couldn’t resist checking it out. “It was Confucius who said that if find something you love to do, you won’t ever have a day of work in your life and I think that’s absolutely true. So as deeply sad as it sounds, I’m just addicted to what I do. I love it.”
Antiques Road Trip is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now. Mark’s episodes will air on BBC One later in 2022.
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