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Customer Review

on 24 June 2011
I only caught this on BBC4 late one night, then went to the iPlayer to see the rest.

AGD is, at first, a reluctant inmate at Petworth, stating his aprehensive when the BBC asked him to take on this series.

But as time progresses, his interest in the House, it's contained treasures, and the people who work tirelessly to keep both in order, grows.

He exudes an enthusiasm for every task and treasure with such an affection, that it becomes a joy to watch. I have often thought his manner to the viewer to be one of drawing them gently in, and in this series it comes through again. He describes each task of restoration with great detail, but not too much, which isn't boring to the viewer, it increases your interest without bogging you down in history.

He soon becomes won over by the House and the people who work there.

Each episode shows you something new, whether it be the taking down of a Constable painting, or the cleaning and restoration of Brass kitchen equipment, the lady volunteers lending a helpful guiding, sometimes amused hand to his attempts.

He interviews each of the cleaners/restorationists kindly and excitedly, not prying into detail, but asking them if they like what they are doing, what their favouirite objects are, and if they like giving the House back to the public at the end of the Spring Clean.

The restoration of Petworth House is complicated and difficult, with experts called in to look at broken clocks and old books. A copy of The Canterbury Tales, catching AGD's particular attention.

On the day that the house is opened to the public, he is there to help, wandering around to listen to vistors experiences and opinions, especially amusing when approaching one woman, he points up gently to a Fire Surround and says "I cleaned that, I helped clean the Unicorn's Horn!"

At that point I knew he wasn't taking it too seriously, and this added to the general affability the series brings across.

The programme isnt too highbrow, its almost like an experts version of "Trade Secrets"

It mixes Art, conservation and history with an affectionate expert hand, and I would like to see more.

The Series Is Highly Recommended
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