'Bargain Hunt is one of the most troubling issues of 2021' - our columnist on repeats, and how The Wombles could save us all

I can no longer hold back on perhaps the most troubling issue of 2021. It has become simply intolerable, so I’ll just come out with it.

Sunday, 17th January 2021, 6:00 am

I can’t stand Bargain Hunt. Controversial, but I’ve said it now.

In the unlikely event of anyone being unfamiliar with the programme the premise is that; first, two couples are given either blue or red jackets. The show has been on since 2000, therefore the number of oxters which have by now inhabited the jackets doesn’t bear thinking about.

Each couple is given £300 to spend on “antiques”. This usually means a couple of spoons for a tenner, later sold at auction for six, thus incurring a loss of four quid. It’s that exciting.

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For obvious reasons, not so many new TV shows are being made right now. But couldn't we have a more imaginative choice of repeats?

The cash would be better invested in an antique pub on antique beer, followed by an antique fish lot with the change given to charity. It would make better television too. But no, they have to go through all this tedious rigmarole before the show mercifully ends, with all involved linking arms and performing an excruciating high kick. “Yes!”

Apologies to anyone who enjoys it, but for me it epitomises everything wrong with major channel scheduling during lockdown. Circumstances dictate they currently have to show more repeats than normal, but this necessity only partially absolves them.

Home entertainment is more important than ever with potential mental health benefits. Not everyone has Netflix or is techno-savvy, which is compounded by bookshops and libraries being shut.

All of the umpteen episodes of Bargain Hunt broadcast this week are repeats, none of which you ever heard being discussed by friends. This suggests a lack of imagination from the schedulers.

The same applies with old shows that people actually like. The popularity of Dad’s Army, Blackadder and Father Ted is enduring, but is any television show so good it can withstand such near-permanent repetition?

Why not show stuff we rarely see like (and I’m being serious) The Wombles; a guaranteed cheer-up and preferably just before the early evening news for added nostalgia?

Or Casanova, I Claudius, Tutti-Frutti, Scully, Brideshead Revisited, Just William, the test card. Thirty year-old episodes of Have I Got News For You would be fascinating to re-watch.

There’s loads. As always your suggestions are appreciated and as good as mine.

Just don’t suggest Bargain Hunt.

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