Arts Research. Journalism. Interviews. Photography - Arts Project Management & Gallery Support 

Interview :  Paul Martin


The Table Gallery, Corsham, Wiltshire


“I love the connection with history, craftsmanship and the fact that it’s a gamble for looking for something rare, it’s a gamble buying something knowing that you have to sell it to live to make a profit to buy something else. That’s quite addictive”.


“Your eye gets trained over the years… you only learn by your mistakes - but it’s about understanding quality, and craftsmanship”.


“Everything I buy has to be curated"



HOW DID FILMING GO FOR THE ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW?


Last week I did an “Antiques Celebrity Road Trip”. It was my first one which I did it with Rachel Riley, Co-presenter of the Channel 4 puzzle show of "Countdown", and Pasha Kovalev, the Russian dancer from "Strictly Come Dancing".


It went really well. Our first few days were in a heatwave, so it was exhausting for all of us, especially Rachel who is expecting her second baby in three weeks time, and Pasha looked after her. We drove around Southend, Chelmsford and Billericay in Essex and Colchester.


We used a 1962 Austin Healey 3000 a British sports car built from 1959 to 1967 by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in England. There were only around 3000 of the cars made - when we made a sharp turn to the left - the exhaust came off - so we had to strap the exhaust up with two leather belts so it would’t burn and limp home one night to the hotel for it to sat on a trailer for it to be readily fixed for the next day!


The anchor of the show is a road trip in a classic car. The cars are antiques in themselves and the format is that we take turns to drive it and we interview each other in the car! Unfortunately, the cars break down because they are old!


WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER?


That would be interviewing Prince Charles on a show called “Britain’s Hidden Heritage”, a prime time show for BBC 1 which ran in 2011 for 2 seasons where I and my team travel around the nation looking for undiscovered treasures.


I enjoy being part of the Heritage Craft Association for three years, a charity set up to support and promote traditional crafts, launched at the Victoria & Albert Museum in March 2010 which has a membership programme for supporters and raises awareness for dying tradition skills.


I like to promote these very talented unknown artisans because they work hard and are really making the antiques of the future and anything that is beautifully crafted and well made by an expert will last centuries and it is good value for money; also, flying in a specially converted Spitfire for a scheme to help to train young men men to become Spitfire pilots, featured in a show “I Never Knew That About Britain”, a mini series he hosted in 2014 for the ITV network, where I had the opportunity to go out in a Spitfire and a Jaguar with the paintwork decorated in the Union Jack; also, flying in helicopters for “Flog It” over Portsmouth, the Victory and the battleships and pieces to camera - it is dream come true!


My next shoot will be for another BBC 2 Antiques Road Trip in the Autumn in September/October for 20 days on and off.


I don’t know who it will be with but I will be paired up with another expert. - the locations etc. being worked out by the BBC.


I filmed “Flog It” for 19 years on average would film 200 days in the year. Now, I don’t film as much. With “Flog It” being axed (2019) and still being shown on BBC 2 TV, it’s still very popular. It may come back - it’s too good to be axed. It was a fantastic series for which I made 150 programmes over 20 years - making each series a year in advance - taking one year before it came on to TV. This last week the programme featured Cornwall where I was on the Helford Passage, doing a piece on Daphne Du Maurier (Lady Blowing DBE) - I remember it so well.


At the moment I am only doing the “Antiques Road Trip” for BBC 1 and the “Celebrity Antiques Road Trip” for BBC 2. I have a few talks coming up at Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and medieval Haddon Hall, stately homes near the village of Bakewell in May 2022

https://mailonsunday.tripsmiths.com/tours/peak-district-stately-homes-paul-mart

and I will be guesting a French river cruise (through Burgundy and Provence with Emerald Cruises) in October 2022

https://telegraph.tripsmiths.com/tours/france-burgundy-provence-cruise-paul-martin-hilary-

kay  I will also be appearing at The Group Travel and Leisure Show (Milton Keynes) on the 7th October 2021 https://grouptravelshow.com/seminars/


I regularly speak to various Women Institute branches, after dinner speeches and online antique teaching with a few other celebrities, and otherwise generally keeping myself busy and fishing for work really! I have written another programme (under wraps) but I am unable to pitch it yet due to lock down and things not being opened up.


The difficulty is that we are still in this transition where we are out of lockdown and still wearing face masks, etc. and it’s very difficult. I will re-position myself around September as all the recommissions come up at Christmas time.


HOUSE MOVE


My wife Charlotte, whom I met she worked as a television Production Co-ordinator on "Flog It!" who is also now a creative Business Startup and Entrepreneurship Co-ordinator at Bath Spa University, have recently moved from a smaller house in Seend with a lot of land to a bigger house with less land within driving distance of Corsham in Wiltshire "we are all growing as personalities - my children Dylan (12) and Meredith ((9) are getting to the teenager stage so they want their own space”.


Half the house is 1660’s, stone mullion windows, stone walls, tiled roof but the back part of the house is a big Edwardian add on. My children Dylan (12) and Meredith (9) say it looks like a mental institution ... so we have high ceilings and big rooms which is quite nice. There is a juxtaposition to the low ceilings and the oak beams, uneven walls.


We saw the house advertised online - I like the idea of bringing something back to life...layers of history being revealed.


I don’t currently own an art collection. Most of the collection is in the gallery and I do have a few pieces at home. I would like to get a store at Corsham Court. All sales from the gallery are reinvested back in to the gallery.


LOCKDOWN


There was no work during lockdown and it was hard. I spent much of the time with kids and my dogs going for cycles and walks - yes it was really bad.

I did two series for the "Antiques Road Trip" plus a few celebrity specials and guest appearances, which you could add up to about 50 days!


Filming starts again at the end of September / beginning of October so I will enjoy our holiday time together as a family along with running The Table Gallery on Friday and Saturdays.


I started this The Table Gallery in Corsham about a year ago 2019 during lockdown.


My parents were both drew for a living. My father was a draftsman and my mother a technical illustrator - they both met and drew for a living and my father gave up technical illustration to become a lecturer, so he moved in to more of the academic side and my mother worked in illustration all her life - she illustrated when we lived in Kingston and when we moved to Cornwall.


When I was about 13 she had a studio at home and sent her work to London by train. She was very good.


My father became a senior lecturer in Twickenham and very quickly he got promoted to Vice Principal of the college and we moved to Cornwall where he was Vice Principal. i have an aunty who lived in Nairobi and another in Detroit - but no one else in the family. My sister is a Mum - Mum’s are under rated, especially working Mum’s.


WILL YOU BE FEATURED ON STRICTLY COME DANCING?


Not this year! This next years’ programming has all been sorted out.


Friday 30 July 2021