Teleprompt: Fake or Fortune?

Fake or Fortune? has kicked off on BBC1, but is it just for art lovers?

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Old stuff plus Fiona Bruce?

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Fake or Fortune? sounds exactly like Antiques Roadshow to me. It’s nothing like Antiques Roadshow. Well, OK, there is old stuff – and Fiona Bruce – but you can forget all that bric-a-brac and queues of hard-up Brits hoping to trade their granny’s china for a widescreen telly. Think slick French thriller with a hint of The Da Vinci Code and you’re heading in the right direction. 

Da Vinci Code? Thriller? Are you sure we’re talking about the same programme?

Well, I may have exaggerated a touch. This is Fiona Bruce and dashing art dealer sidekick Philip Mould taking on the glamorous but slightly shady international art establishment. And Fiona Bruce is called upon to speak French, which I am sure will brighten the day of her many mature male fans.

No guns though?

No guns. But the opener this week features a painting bought for £40,000 that could be worth millions and millions and millions. Bulging briefcases loads of money. The only problem is, the owner has to prove that it’s by Monet and so far he’s had no success.

Isn’t the painting signed?

A signature isn’t enough. Anyone can fake that. In fact, even though it’s a evidently a very beautiful work of art that many art experts claim is a Monet, sometimes that’s not enough.

So how can anything be authenticated?

Basically, they get out the fancy gadgets. A lot of the programme shows how the latest, extraordinary super cameras can reveal aspects of the painting that are invisible to the human eye. They, and we, get to look right into the paint surface where the secrets of the painter’s technique are hidden. Then it’s off to Egypt with our newfound clues to unearth the final piece of evidence. More fabulous scenery and glorious artworks.

Cool, so is it fake… or fortune?

I can’t tell you that… but there’s four parts in the series – so plenty to keep you guessing.

Worth a watch then?

Yep, it’s a good way to spend an hour on a Sunday night.

When’s it on?

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Fake or Fortune? airs on Sundays, 7pm on BBC1 and BBC1 HD.