19 Sep 2019
September 8, 2012 - Filed under: Antiques on TV — Harriet

The Ribble Valley, famous for being the home of the Pendle Witches, can be an atmospheric place at night – though maybe not quite as atmospheric as Deals From The Dark Side, which made its UK premiere on the Watch TV channel on Wednesday 5th September.

The show follows Steve Santini, an antiques collector and authenticator, as he tours America looking for things to add to his collection. So far, so familiar you might think, except Santini isn’t interested in old porcelain or Victorian mahogany pedestal desks – unless they’ve got a grisly tale to tell.

Santini, 49, is a very different kind of US antique import; for a start, his background is manacles and blindfolds, rather than antique dining chairs . His looks have more in common with the hardcore rock fraternity than antique salerooms, and in fact his main career is as professional ‘hardcore’ escapologist, the Dark Master. His interest in the art stemmed from an early fascination with Harry Houdini and in 2004 he opened a museum dedicated to the art of escapology, with several items that belonged to Houdini himself.

In Deals From The Dark Side, Santini embarks on a less hazardous career as a collector of rare and supernatural objects with connections to tragic, iconic events and people. The first programme kicked off in fine form, with an antique deck chair that might once have graced the deck of the Titanic. With a profound interest in the dark and tragic side of history, Santini should take the Pendle Witch Tour of the Ribble Valley. For antique desks with a bit of local history, he could try the nearby antique dealers.

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