I have strong suspicions that the BBC reimburses the dealers so that they are not too out of pocket.
But the real downside of shows such as Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip is that the viewing public get an unbalanced view of acceptable behaviour in antiques shops and centres.
Speaking as a collector who deals on a very small scale from a cabinet in a local high-end multi-dealer shop, I am constantly surprised at the offers made by potential buyers who often represent themselves as fellow dealers. A typical phone call from the shop would be, ‘Hello Mike, we have a dealer here who likes your Japanese charger but doesn’t like the price. He wants it for half your marked price.’
I am a retired doctor who does this as a hobby, but I couldn’t make a living at it. People should understand that these shows are for entertainment only and do not reflect the real world.
That said, I still enjoy the BBC’s Flog It! and the Antiques Roadshow.