1 9 6 5 – 1 9 7 7 (UK)
This simple quiz from BBC West – the first regular television programme devoted to antiques – was modelled on the old show Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?
The show debuted on 31 March 1965 and quickly became a national Sunday favourite, launching Arthur Negus – plucked from the auction rooms of a Gloucestershire firm at the age of 61 – as a personality.
The show – hosted originally by Tony Ross and then by Max Robertson, who remained in the chair until 1977 – turned antiques into a British obsession.
Each programme began with a mechanical bird singing in an ornamental cage, competing against the theme tune (a movement from Ottorino Respighi’s The Birds).
The three guests of the early shows (soon reduced to two) had to examine an antique and guess its value.
The item was then passed across to the experts – invariably Negus and another – who gave it a professional evaluation. The guest with the closest estimate was the winner.
Negus believed the programme was best when the objects examined were relatively ordinary ones that might also be tucked away, unappreciated, in the viewers’ homes.
His homely, off-the-cuff comments on objets d’art (some not so d’art) kept the programme alive and bubbling with humour and information.
Going for a Song ended in 1977 but returned, presented at different times by Michael Parkinson (1995-1999), Anne Robinson (2000) and Michael Aspel (2001). Arthur Negus inspired interest in ‘collectables’ and went on to The Antiques Roadshow.