THE BLOG

Posh Pawn Or Simply Posh Yawn?

17/11/2014 16:51 GMT | Updated 17/01/2015 10:59 GMT

The trouble with Posh Pawn (Channel 4, Wednesdays at 8pm) is that you keep wishing someone hadn't tried to be quite so clever-clever with the title.

For many of those tuning in, it must lead to terrible confusion and in a few instances, considerable disappointment. "Put the handcuffs away, Phyllis. It's not for us". Why can't it stop pretending to be something it isn't and just be called Posh Porn?

If only this was the case, it might be a more fascinating and entertaining insight into how cash strapped aristocrats have been reduced to appearing in the likes of A Handful of Bust, The Remains of the Gay and Gosford Pork in an attempt to make (Howards) ends meet.

The roof's buggered. Well, judging from what's going on in the orangery, it's not alone.

Strictly in the name of research, I googled Posh Porn. Unfortunately no such program came up. Doesn't exist, apparently - surely a prompt to TV executives everywhere. Instead, I was confronted by a number of dodgy and rather suspicious looking clips. On closer inspection, one of them did at least include an estate.

Sadly it wasn't a 900 acre estate in the heart of the country, but an old Volvo parked up in some lay by where a woman - no Lady, I fear - was on her knees in the back being attended to by a potty- mouthed gentleman of low social standing. And worryingly low hanging testicles.

Where Posh Pawn is concerned, all we're really left with is a fnar fnar pun in desperate search of an upmarket Cash Converters to attach itself to in much the same way that a parasite attaches itself to a crab.

The pawnbrokers in question goes by the name of Prestige. Their proud boast is that compared to their downmarket rivals, they deal in everything from helicopters and Ferraris to fine wine collections and rare gem stones.

They must count themselves very lucky. Because what in essence they've been given is hours of free advertising airtime in which to promote their business. It's nothing more than one giant infomercial stretched out over a whole series. And not merely one series. Staggeringly, we're now on series 3, which started last week.

Channel 4 seems to love these overblown adverts dressed up as documentaries. There are many others including Liberty of London which airs immediately afterwards at 9pm in the schedule.

Posh Pawn, however, is definitely the worst. It's not as if it's even that ritzy. Those three brass balls haven't overnight suddenly transformed themselves into 22 carat gold and there aren't a never ending stream of blue bloods eager to rid themselves of the odd Rembrandt or Turner in return for handfuls of readies.

Actually, the clientele are frequently victims of their own misfortune who are down on their luck.

Somewhere in their past they had it all, but at a certain point they were plainly dealt a bad hand.

Take Brian, for example, who was featured in the most recent episode. Once a successful nightclub owner, he turned to bank robbery when his legitimate enterprises started to fail.

This resulted in him being sent to prison for 12 years. Now he wants to retire to Spain and to fund the move he has several paintings by the infamous brothers Kray. He needs £40,000. As further misfortune would have it, he ends up with nothing when the "artworks" are deemed pretty much unsellable by James Constantinou.

James, an ex property developer, is the owner and Managing Director of Prestige. In a sense, he's perfect television material. Relatively easy on the eye, he's a personable enough chap- just the right side of cheeky without being overbearingly arrogant and clearly he has a huge amount of childlike enthusiasm for what he does.

He's ably assisted by Operations Manager, Jo, who helps keep him in check and most likely has a slightly older woman crush on him. She's Moneypenny to his Bond.

Other employees include specialists who are relied on to value and authenticate, sometimes incorrectly, the items brought in.

Among these experts is Patrick who supposedly knows all there is to know about handbags. Handguns, maybe. Probably in another life he knew Brian. To see him, you'd think he was the landlord of an old East End boozer, rather more au fait with a Firkin than a Birkin. The former holding 72 pints of ale, the latter holding everything the chic woman about town needs.

If there is one star of the show, it's unquestionably Ian 'The Duchess' Towning who is the company's go to guy for all matters concerning jewellery. He is flamboyant with a capital F.

You may know him from Dickinson's Real Deal. If not, he can best be described as looking like he belongs on a rather gaudy charm bracelet that might previously have been owned by Pat Butcher.

Thanks to the recent upswing in the UK economy and a return to pre-recessionary times, it's debatable whether pawnbroking will continue to thrive in quite the same way as it has of late.

Earlier in the year, Ablemarle & Bond, one of the stalwarts of the industry had to be rescued from administration, so the omens aren't good.

Therefore, let's hope this means that Posh Pawn isn't recommissioned yet again. Whatever replaces it can only make for more stimulating viewing.

In the meantime, I think I might enquire if Prestige are interested in purchasing my old copies of Playboy. Posh porn indeed.