Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Posh Pawn

POSH PAWN | TV One, 8.10 Saturday


By Doug Coutts

Posh Pawn … even though the double entendre has been done to death with shows like Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn, this show about pawn dealers (oops, another one) is a cut above the other two.

The other two are handicapped by being shot in the US, featuring family firms where someone’s mother is probably also their sister and sticking slavishly to 20th century reality TV rules where every two minute sequence starts with a recap of the previous ten sequences and ends up with Jim-Bob or Billy-Jim, the patriarchs, looking exasperated, murderous or both.

They’re appallingly bad.

Posh Pawn, on the other hand, is shot in the UK, Surrey to be exact – Britain’s Beverley Hills, according to the narrator, where every single person is richer than all of Scotland and Manchester put together. There are fewer mangled vowels in Surrey than in Chocktaw County – although the boss of Prestige Pawn does talk about ‘farsins a parns’ – and it’s just that much better groomed.

When you’re rich but need cash in a hurry, the stuff you’ve got available for pawning is of a much better standard. No broken jukeboxes or Mickey Mantle baseball cards here – no, it’s all Gucci bags, Maseratis, diamonds and helicopters.

As the boss fella says “Why would I aim at the lower end of the market when at the higher end the loans are bigger.” As is the 3.9% monthly interest.

The show itself  is interesting. The scripted narration is laid back, especially in comparison with the other two, and you get the impression there’s not so much outright thievery and ripping off of poor people going on. So far.

What other critics said:

“If we learned nothing else from Posh Pawn, and we didn’t, it was that the posh have terrible business sense … At some point, this programme stopped being Posh Pawn and mutated into a compilation of the duffest ideas that didn’t make it on to Dragons’ Den.” — The Guardian.

Posh Pawn was an entertaining slice of life and a neat encapsulation of why pawnbroking was one of the big winners of the financial crash … Entertaining as Posh Pawn was, a better documentary might have made more of an effort to explore how pawning stacks up against other types of borrowing.” — The Telegraph.

Posh Pawn tries to cover itself by avoiding the sharp end of pawnbroking and focusing on the lucky owners of such big-ticket items as helicopters and ruby necklaces as they fall on hard-ish times … But unless you’re wowed by ostentatious wealth, there’s precious little insight or tension here and the stakes feel desperately low.” — Time Out.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:

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