THE Dispatch district’s main tourist-attraction, Newstead Abbey, is set to host an episode of the popular BBC TV programme, ‘Antiques Roadshow’, later this year.
The Sunday evening staple will be filmed at the ancestral home (pictured) of Romantic poet Lord Byron on Thursday June 14, for broadcast at a later date.
And the abbey’s staff hope that its television appearance will give the Nottingham City Council-owned venue a huge publicity-boost that will encourage more people to visit.
Penny Beniston, house and event manager, said: “The ‘Antiques Roadshow’ programme coming to Newstead Abbey means such a lot to the whole team at Nottingham City Council.
“The gardeners are so looking forward to showcasing their work, while the café is planning a very special menu.
“As for the abbey itself, we are hoping to invite visitors in to wander around at their leisure to enjoy everything that the house can offer — whether that is the Byron connection, the Civil War interest or the Victorian side to Newstead.
“There is something for everyone.”
Presented by well-known newsreader Fiona Bruce, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is one of the longest-standing programmes on TV and regularly attracts audiences that place it in the top 20 of the country’s most-watched shows.
Thousands of visitors queue up to get their family heirlooms, jumble-sale bargains and quirky keepsakes valued by the programme’s team of antiques experts.
And some of the historically-important artefacts at Newstead are also bound to be discussed during filming.
Penny added: “We are hoping it will bring visitors to the abbey in their thousands for a wonderful fun day. We just need the sun to shine to make it perfect.”
Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for leisure, culture and tourism, Coun David Trimble (Lab), is also optimistic that having ‘Antiques Roadshow’ filmed at Newstead will be beneficial.
Coun Trimble said: “We are thrilled that the programme is coming to film at Newstead Abbey later this year.
“This promotion of Newstead Abbey’s house and gardens on this prestigious television programme will help bring visitors to the site, and encourage more people to enjoy the stunning grounds and historic house tours.”
Ken Purslow, who is chairman of Newstead Abbey Byron Society, said he was also looking forward to the event.
“I don’t have any antiques to take along but I’m very excited that it is happening,” said Mr Purslow.
“I think Byron is one of Britain’s greatest writers, and he is known around the world.
“Lots of people would want to see the house he lived in for a time, and I think it’s important to promote it.”
Details of the times of the filming will be announced soon. It will be free to attend and visitors do not need to book in advance, although car-parking for the day will cost £5.
Newstead Abbey will be asking for volunteers to help marshal the event, assisting visitors to find their way to the different areas.
Anyone interested in this can contact Penny on 01623 455913 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.