Meet the Dealers Behind the Doors

Four Rooms first aired on Channel 4 last summer and has returned for a second series this week. The format is vaguely reminiscent of Dragon’s Den, except objects rather than inventions are brought under the scrutiny of a quartet of dealers.  From Elvis’s golf buggy to a hangman’s noose, no item is too obscure to be showcased in the hope of making big money for its owner.  The inevitable catch? Each dealer makes an offer on the item in question, but this is only valid for as long as the owner of the artefact is in that dealer’s room.  If they exit without accepting the money, they cannot return and there is no way of knowing whether a more profitable offer will be made.

It’s an interesting study in tactical game play, on the part of the owners as much as the dealers.  Some people enter a dealer’s room with no obvious strategy and appear clueless of worth, whilst others gain an edge because they’ve done some research. Of course, there are also those who appear not to respect the dealers’ specialist knowledge and then lose out because greed gets the better of them.

Take the man in Series One who was offered over £1000 for a piece of tattooed human skin preserved in a jar. He hadn’t paid a penny for it, yet refused to accept this offer from dealer Emma Hawkins, despite the fact that her specialism is all things macabre. Each to their own, but a grand certainly sounds more appealing to me than a somewhat grim mantelpiece ornament…

Emma is not appearing in Series Two but has been replaced by another female dealer, Celia Sawyer. She joins Jeff, Gordon and Andrew from Series One and has already purchased a piece of artwork by Marlon Brando for £5000. Wednesday’s episode also featured a chair that J.K. Rowling sat on whilst writing her first Harry Potter novels, Francis Bacon’s paintbrushes, the original music score for Psycho, and an antique dildo. The chair failed to sell despite offers in excess of £50,000 whilst the stainless steel dildo was bought by Jeff for £1100.11 and a kiss, no tongues. All in day’s work!