Comedian and actor Jason Manford battled to own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a car he used when starring in a touring stage show, when it was auctioned in Staffordshire.
But the award-winning entertainer missed out on buying the vehicle despite being the highest bidder for some time. Chitty sold for a hammer price of £19,000, more than double its £9,000 top estimate – with TV cameras on hand to see the fun unfold.
When Hansons shared the result on social media, Jason Manford tweeted: “I was the winning bid for ages until some money bags came in and got it! I mean, no idea where I’d have put it but hope it’s going to a loving home. X’
It certainly is. Chitty was purchased by Bowden Theatre Works, a musical theatre company based in Derbyshire, in a sale which saw more than 100 props used in the 2015-2017 UK/Ireland touring musical stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers’ country house saleroom, Bishton Hall at Wolseley Bridge
Bowden Theatre Works, which produces professional and amateur musicals and teaches musical theatre skills to students, says it is currently developing new studio space and Chitty will be displayed in its foyer. It may also look at re-commissioning Chitty for future use to give other theatre companies the chance to hire ‘the amazing piece’ for their shows.
Natalie Coverley, who has featured in productions in London’s West End and now teaches musical theatre at The Manchester College and Bowden Theatre Works, said: “I’m a believer in the modern musical and inventing new roles to embrace and grow, but you can’t forget the classics. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a big part of many people’s childhoods and it’s important we keep these stories alive for future generations.”
The July 10 Chitty auction was a day packed with showbiz glitter as BBC Bargain Hunt visited Bishton Hall for the first time to film episodes of the popular TV show.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons and a regular on Bargain Hunt, said: “I’m thrilled Chitty is going to a fantastic new theatrical home. It was a hugely successful auction despite being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also good to welcome Bargain Hunt to Bishton Hall for the first time.
“Bishton’s ample gardens and outdoor facilities enabled us to host an auction with social distancing and safety rules respected, and that meant one of Britain’s best-loved TV shows could get back to filming again.”
Other items to do well in the Chitty auction included Lot 11, a vintage motorcycle ridden by Truly Scrumptious which sold for £6,800; Lot 12, The Baron’s Car, £2,400;
Lot 1, Chitty after the crash, £2,000; Lot 30, Child Catchers bike with cage, £1,250; lot 21, Grandpa’s Shed, £1,200 and lot 34, two thrones used by the Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria, £700.
John Stalker, Music and Lyrics Executive Producer of the Chitty stage show which sold the props, said: “There are very few Chitty models anywhere in the world, so this was a unique opportunity to buy a bit of theatre and film history. As we had no plans to re-mount the tour, the car and props were surplus to requirements.”
The cast of the 2015-2017 touring stage production included Jason Manford and Lee Mead (Caractacus Potts); Martin Kemp (Child Catcher); Phill Jupitus and Shaun Williamson (Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst) and Michelle Collins and Claire Sweeney (Baroness Bomburst).
FREE valuations at Bishton Hall
Free antique and jewellery valuations are available at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0XN, every Thursday, 10am-4pm, no appointment necessary. Social distancing and Cobid rules adhered to. For house clearance/downsizing enquiries, please email: [email protected].