North Yorkshire's Angus Ashworth on Celebrity Yorkshire Auction House with stars including Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood and Coronation Street's Catherine Tyldesley
Not just that, of course. He talks about journalist John Sergeant, stage performer Debbie McGee and the various other household names whose homes he has raided to find relics worth putting under the hammer.
Celebrity Yorkshire Auction House, which focuses on the drama of deals made at Ashworth’s own Ryedale Auctioneers, in Kirkbymoorside, by the North York Moors, is a star-studded version of a show that has already been a hit with viewers.
Throughout the five hour-long episodes he also explores the homes of impressionist Jon Culshaw, actors Catherine Tyldesley, Christopher Biggins, Claire Sweeney, presenter Rav Wilding, dancer Wayne Sleep and former model and racing driver Jodie Kidd.
“They were wonderful people and Craig was great fun, really good-spirited,” says Ashworth.
“I know sometimes on Strictly he plays the slightly meaner judge but, you know, I think in real life he’s a really nice guy.”
Ashworth says one of the benefits of adding celebrities into a show such as this is that viewers get a glimpse of the real human behind the veil of fame.
“You’re kind of seeing them in a different environment, you’re not seeing them in their TV persona, if you like,” he says while stopped in his car near Thirsk on the way home from a job – Ashworth and his crew clock up around 60,000 miles driving to house clearances each year.
“This is their own homes so it’s a bit more personable, you get to see a different side of them. You see them out of context and in an environment that they feel comfortable in.”
He adds: “I could have spoken to John Sergeant all day long. His career as a journalist and the places he’s been is just fascinating. I think that’s the joy of my job, you know, you’re not sat at a desk, you’re out and about learning different things – you never stop learning –and I’m very fortunate to do a job that I love doing.”
After the first series was a big hit for the Really channel, the show was recommissioned – proving to be another feather in the cap of the region’s growth in film and television production exemplified by programmes such as The Yorkshire Vet and Our Yorkshire Farm.
Father-of-three Ashworth, 37, says: “The ordinary series that went out earlier this year and was hugely successful in terms of how it was received, its ratings – one of the best programmes that’s been on Really for a number of years in terms of viewing figures. I think it hit a chord with a lot of people.
“It was about people and the stories rather than about money and how much profit people can make. That’s there, you see what people make, but that’s not the driving factor. It’s a warm programme and I think people like that.
“Off the back of that they’re looking to do more, which we are doing. I think the celebrity series was a natural progression of that, actually, because the format works. It’s not just them turning up and doing something, it’s going into their lives and for quite genuine reasons.”
In the example of Revel Horwood, he was moving house to live in the Midlands with his fiancé Jonathan Myring.
As mentioned, among the items loaded up was a number of mock sheep from the garden.
Revel Horwood’s father had a real flock and the star tells viewers: “He called them all Dolly. So I decided to get some resin sheep. I thought five is a good number. So they became my best friends.”
Ashworth was also tasked with rifling through the dancer’s disco balls and skull-studded shoes from his wardrobe to get a feel for which items could be culled.
He says: “There’s a variety of reasons why people need our services. Sometimes that can be quite sad and sometimes it can be very emotional because somebody died and they’ve got a property to clear or an estate to deal with, so that can be quite raw and emotional for people.
“But sometimes, you know, it’s just a need for happy reasons –they’ve bought a new home and some things don’t fit.”
Part of his job is to manage that process, often with sensitivity.
“It’s not just about selling items, it’s about people.”
It was a famous Yorkshireman, in fact, who can be credited at least in part with Ashworth’s childhood interest in historical items.
“Sean Bean, for me, is an absolute legend,” says Ashworth.
“My main area and specialism is military memorabilia and it all came from reading the Sharpe books and watching Sharpe (Bean played the Richard Sharpe, a British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars, in the TV adaption) and that probably preceded my earlier career in the Army and got me into this industry.
“Maybe if there’s another celebrity series, if Sean wants to invite us in to sell some his stuff, that would be fantastic!”
Ashworth began his career with David Duggleby Auctioneers when, on his 16th birthday, after leaving Ryedale School, he moved into a bedsit in Scarborough to start learning his trade.
After working his way up at Duggleby’s, he joined the family business and the Territorial Army, the latter of which led to tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.
But his love of auctions and the whole process remained, which prompted his father to suggest he get back into it professionally.
With the continued support of his wife Gemma, with whom he has been for 19 years, he launched Ryedale Auctioneers in 2010.
Since then, his expertise got him work with Cash in the Attic online – an off-shoot of the popular BBC television series – and his charisma caught the eye of television producers, resulting in appearances on shows such as the Antiques Road Trip. The first series of his own show, The Yorkshire Auction House, aired in March.
What was it that kept him coming back to the trade?
“I think it’s the variety of the job. Every day’s different. Yes, in principle, we go get stuff to sell and we sell it but I think it’s so much more than that because every day you’re meeting different people, you’re going into different houses, seeing different items and I think that’s the joy for me – you never know what you’re going to see next.”
Celebrity Yorkshire Auction House airs on Really on Mondays at 9pm and is also available to stream on discovery+.