AS the Antiques Roadshow gets ready to return to Salisbury, presenter Fiona Bruce shares some of her personal highlights from the BBC show.

The show will be filming at Salisbury Cathedral on May 14.

Fiona says: “I feel incredibly lucky to have spent the last 12 years working on the Antiques Roadshow. I love doing it and I’ve had so many highlights from over the years. My personal favourite would probably have to be when a man of the cloth turned up with a painting, which he thought might be a Van Dyck. I looked at it - and I was making a programme about Van Dyck at the time - and I thought it had the look of the genuine article. And so we had it examined and my hunch turned out to be right. It has been proven to be the case and it is now being exhibited as a Van Dyck. I can’t imagine that will ever happen to me again in my lifetime and it’s definitely a highlight for me.”

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“I think it’s amazing that the Antiques Roadshow is essentially the same as it has been for 42 years and it’s still hugely popular,” explains Fiona. “What makes it eternally popular is probably what I love about it - that we all hope that we could have something gathering dust on the mantelpiece or in the attic that either turns out to be very valuable, or has an amazing story. It happens week-in, week-out and you’d think that the well would begin to run dry and it hasn’t. We still find amazing things every week. You can never predict what will turn up once a visitor brought along a vanity set that had been on Donald Trump’s yacht. It was as tasteful and restrained as you might expect - that’s to say it was fabulously bling.”

During her time on the show the presenter says she has managed to learn a thing or too from the show’s experts and says: “I’ve certainly learnt more about antiques. I have my own collections. I have paintings,” she adds. “I collect things called “samplers” which are Victorian pieces of needlework usually done by children in a workhouse to show that they have a skill, which can be used in service, stitching household linen or that kind of thing. I think they’re very humble and very beautiful. But our experts are like walking Wikipedias. They’re incredible. And they just fish knowledge out of their brains, which is a marvel to behold.”

On the weird and wonderful items brought to the show, she says one of the most unusual has been a case of loo chains.“If I had to pick the most unusual thing that’s turned up in the time that I’ve been working on the show - could it be the man that turned up with an case full of loo chains, just a small sample of his collection? Could it be the man that turned up not once, but twice with a foetal membrane dried onto a piece of A4 paper that had belonged to his great-grandfather. It’s called a “caul” and it used to be a talisman against drowning and it used to have some value. Or could it be the lady who brought along a potty that had a picture of Hitler on the bottom and when you did a little “tinkle” into it, it played its own little tune. And because it was rare, I think it was worth over £1000 from memory.”