18 votes
Fake or Fortune?

Fake or Fortune?

BBC One 2011

Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings. It's a world of subterfuge and intrigue as they grapple with complex battles often unseen beneath the apparently genteel art establishment.

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The 10 Worst Episodes of Fake or Fortune?

#1 - Gauguin


Season 6 - Episode 3

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate the history of two pictures, both of which are believed to be by Paul Gauguin, one of the giants of 19th-century art.

The episode was rated #1 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E4

#2 - Munnings and Churchill


Season 4 - Episode 4

Charles Henty, the man in charge of the Old Bailey, has a problem - the death of his uncle has left him with a working farm to run in France and a crippling inheritance tax bill to pay. He is desperate to protect the jobs of the farmworkers and keep the farm running in his uncle's memory, but the only way he can do that is by selling two paintings he owns - if he can prove they're genuine. One, believed to be by Sir Winston Churchill, was discovered in the coalhole of Charles' family home in London in the 60s. It's a picturesque scene of a medieval village in the south of France. But which village? For the painting to be accepted as genuine, the Fake or Fortune team must first find the exact location and then prove that Churchill painted the scene. There's a lot at stake, with a Churchill painting selling at Sotheby's in 2014 for Β£1.8 million, but a leading expert has grave misgivings about the authenticity of the picture. Charles' other painting is a landscape of Dedham in Essex, believed to be by Sir Alfred Munnings, best known for his paintings of horses and once the most expensive British artist of his day. However, Dedham was also the home of Tom Keating, Britain's most notorious forger of the 20th century. Presenter Philip Mould is drawn into the murky world of fakes and forgeries, where nothing is quite as it seems. The Fake or Fortune team pull out all the stops in this dramatic and emotionally charged investigation, but can they prove that both pictures are genuine?

The episode was rated #2 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S3E2

#3 - Constable


Season 3 - Episode 2

The Fake or Fortune team tries to prove that not one but two paintings are missing works by John Constable.

The episode was rated #3 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 9 votes.

#4 - Freud


Season 5 - Episode 1

Fake or Fortune returns for a fifth series, beginning with one of the most challenging cases the team has ever encountered. Can art detectives Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce prove that a painting of a man in a black cravat is one of the first pictures ever painted by celebrated and controversial British artist Lucian Freud, even though Freud himself denied painting it? London-based designer Jon Turner is eager to prove that a painting he inherited from two friends is in fact an early portrait painted by Freud whilst at art school in 1939. If it's genuine, it could be worth around half a million pounds. But who is the mysterious man in the portrait - and why did Freud deny it was his work? As the team hunt for clues, they are drawn into a world of feuds, rivalries and intrigue. Can those who knew Freud best help unlock the painting's secrets?

The episode was rated #4 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 22 votes.

#5 - Constable


Season 6 - Episode 1

The team try to find out whether a beautiful English landscape is a work of national importance - a lost masterpiece by John Constable and quite possibly an alternative view of his greatest work, The Hay Wain. Now owned by a Gloucestershire businessman, the painting appears to have all the hallmarks of Constable's sketches - his more impressionistic, preparatory works. If genuine, it could be worth at least Β£2 million.

The episode was rated #5 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 16 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S3E3

#6 - Chagall


Season 3 - Episode 3

The Fake or Fortune team plunges into the murky world of the Russian art market when they investigate a painting attributed to modern master Marc Chagall. In 1992, a property developer seized the chance to invest Β£100,000 in a work by one of the 20th century's greatest artists - Marc Chagall. The picture had surfaced in Russia after the fall of communism, and was offered at a fraction of its full value. There was just one catch - it hadn't been fully authenticated by the Chagall Committee in Paris. Twenty years later, the owner wants to find out if he made a shrewd investment - or an expensive mistake. The search for clues leads Fiona to Chagall's hometown of Vitebsk in the former Russian republic of Belarus, where she makes connections between the painting and the artist's life story, but events take a more sinister turn when she discovers a news report about the sale of a fake Chagall in the city of Minsk. With scientific testing raising more questions than answers, Philip travels to Los Angeles to consult a notorious forger called Tony Tetro who specialized in faking the work of Chagall. As the team grapple with the shadowy world of the modern Russian art market, everything hinges on a critical test to determine the date of a suspicious pigment as the investigation threatens to turn into a 'whodunnit'. And when the dust settles, there is one more shocking and unexpected twist that leaves the owner with a difficult decision.

The episode was rated #6 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 15 votes.

#7 - Tom Roberts


Season 6 - Episode 2

The team try to prove that an online purchase is a lost work by Tom Roberts, one of Australia's greatest artists.

The episode was rated #7 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 12 votes.

#8 - Portraits


Season 5 - Episode 4

Every year, the Fake or Fortune team receive hundreds of requests for help from the owners of mysterious portraits. Everyone wants to know two things - who is it, and who painted it? The team choose three of the most promising portraits to investigate further - a child, believed to be by prized modern artist Willem de Kooning, a young lady, attributed to 18th-century society painter Philip Mercier, and a formidable-looking man, said to be by 19th-century German master Adolph von Menzel. Philip Mould takes on the de Kooning case, meeting Belgian owners Jan and Chris Starckx. Could a speculative online purchase for 450 euros be a lost work painted by de Kooning in Brussels at the very start of his career? The quest to prove it leads to Miami, Florida, where scientific analysis of a similar work has the potential to yield vital evidence. Fiona Bruce wants to know how an 18th-century portrait of a lady ended up in the flat of Richard and Jenny Williams, a retired couple in Eastbourne. Conservation work might help reveal some secrets while research into the life of the artist provides some clues about the identity of the mystery lady. The investigation into the portrait of The Old Gentleman takes an unexpected turn when the team delve into the story of owner Lance Miller's grandfather, a German industrialist who bought the painting in 1947. With Menzel's work frequently targeted by forgers, has Lance inherited a rare treasure - or something more sinister? Three pictures, three important artists - but as scientific testing and investigative research unlock long-held secrets, will every story have a happy ending?

The episode was rated #8 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 15 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E1

#9 - Monet


Season 1 - Episode 1

In the opening episode, Fiona and Philip discover what they believe is an unrecognised and valuable painting by Monet. But can they convince the powers that be?

The episode was rated #9 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 8 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S2E3

#10 - Van Dyck: What Lies Beneath


Season 2 - Episode 3

Art detective Philip Mould has a reputation for finding sleepers; paintings that hide dark secrets. His most remarkable finds are pictures whose true authorship has been confused, masterpieces lost beneath years of dirt and over-painting. Although Philip is used to investigating other people's paintings, this time the tables are turned as Philip's own purchase is put under the microscope. With his keen-eyed researcher Bendor Grosvenor, Philip has bought a painting that he says could be the find of a lifetime; a work by our most important portrait painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, one which is worth a small fortune. The only problem is that, in order to prove it, he will have to remove later layers of paint to uncover the truth. "It's a bit like open heart surgery" says Philip, as the expensive and irreversible process begins. A thorough restoration is needed, and inches of canvas are cut away as an earlier image begins to appear. Fiona is not convinced, and insists that the work undergoes a thorough investigation and is authenticated by an independent Van Dyck expert. Will Philip's reputation and the painting make it to the end of the journey unscathed?

The episode was rated #10 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 8 votes.

#11 - Rodin
Season 5 - Episode 3

An enchanting sketch of a dancer believed to have been drawn by Auguste Rodin is at the centre of an investigation that draws the team into a recent forgery scandal that has rocked the French art establishment. Alice Thoday, a Lincolnshire resident with Belgian roots, inherited the rare watercolour from her mother and has always believed it to be part of a series of works Rodin drew of a Cambodian dance troupe which visited France in 1906. It could be worth over Β£100,000 if genuine - but the trouble is, Rodin is one of the world's most faked artists. The quest to prove it is the genuine article takes the team to Paris and the Musee Rodin, where they search for stylistic similarities in genuine works. The provenance trail leads to Mexico City in the 1940s, where Alice's mother was given the painting by a businessman called Jimmy Heineman. Who was he and how did he get his hands on a rare Rodin sketch? The deeper the team digs, the more worrying the evidence is about the extent to which Rodin's work has been faked by notorious forgers such as Ernst Durig, a Swiss-born sculptor who claimed to be Rodin's last pupil. The team turns to scientific analysis and a handwriting expert in a bid to get to the truth. Will the world's foremost expert believe the picture is a missing sketch by Rodin himself, or a very clever fake?

The episode was rated #1 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 16 votes.

#12 - Delaroche
Season 5 - Episode 2

The Fake or Fortune team have been called in to investigate a mysterious painting in Castle of Park, a grand house in Aberdeenshire now run as a bed and breakfast by Becky Wilson. The painting once belonged to Becky's late husband Neil, an art dealer, and although it was unsigned he always believed it was something special - a lost masterpiece by celebrated 19th-century French artist Paul Delaroche, whose work graces some of Britain's finest collections.

The episode was rated #2 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 20 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E4
#13 - Rembrandt
Season 1 - Episode 4

In this closing episode, suspicions are aroused when Philip and his researcher Bendor spot a rogue picture for sale in a South African auction house. It exudes all the classic scent of being a 'sleeper', an important picture that has been miscataloged and offered for a very low price. But there is a darker side revealed when investigations uncover that this is a wanted painting, having been stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Records show it was once recorded as being a German national treasure, once thought to have been painted by Rembrandt. A Jewish family have been trying to track it and other works stolen from their gallery ever since. With minutes to go Philip and Fiona manage to stop the sale and release the picture for investigation. Having picked it up from Cape Town, Fiona delivers it to Philip and an in-depth examination utilising the latest infra-red and forensic testing begins. Can it really be by Rembrandt and will it be possible to see it returned to its rightful owners? In an effort to solve who painted it Philip travels to Amsterdam to meet a man with the power of a demi-god; the chair of the Rembrandt Research Project on whose word hangs the verdict that can make the value differ by many millions of pounds. Fiona meanwhile tries to unpick the thorny question of ownership before finally returning the picture to South Africa when the owner of the disputed painting finally emerges from the shadows to tell his story.

The episode was rated #3 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 7 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S2E2
#14 - Turner: A Miscarriage of Justice?
Season 2 - Episode 2

The Hosts of the show take a llok at the history of three paintings bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales after their owner died in 1951. It was always thought that the paintings were by landscape artist JMW Turner, but only months after the museum took ownership, experts said that they were fakes.

The episode was rated #4 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 15 votes.

#15 - Nicholson
Season 7 - Episode 1

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould examine a still life that may have been painted by prolific artist William Nicholson, but which has been rejected by leading experts on his work. They discover a useful source of evidence in Nicholson's own paint box, but as they delve into the painting's history, they discover it may have been connected to one of the 20th century's greatest art crimes. Fiona meets a reformed forger to discover if he ever faked a Nicholson while Philip takes the painting to Canada to compare it to another of the artist's works.

The episode was rated #5 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 14 votes.

#16 - The Lost Gainsborough
Season 8 - Episode 1

The team investigate an 18th-century landscape that could be a lost work by of one of the biggest names in British art, Thomas Gainsborough.

The episode was rated #6 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 7 votes.

#17 - A Venetian View
Season 8 - Episode 4

The team investigates a beautiful 18th-century Venetian view. Could this be a work by one of the Italian masters - either Francesco Guardi or Michele Marieschi?

The episode was rated #7 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 9 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S3E4
#18 - Gainsborough
Season 3 - Episode 4

The team find what could be several important lost works by Thomas Gainsborough in Britain's public art collections.

The episode was rated #8 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 5 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E3
#19 - Van Meegeren
Season 1 - Episode 3

The art world can prove a bear pit, with a myriad of tricksters at work. Experts estimate that anything between 20%-40% of works of art on the market are faked. And they can turn up in the most unexpected places. Hanging in one of the most prestigious and respected art institutes in London is a picture Philip has heard of, which may hold the key to unlocking the story of the most audacious forger of all time. A man who dared to fake the work of Old Masters and made millions from his deception, until he was caught in 1945: Han Van Meegeren. But a mystery remains to this day, as Van Meegeren died before a complete record of his fakes was made. How did he pull off faking Old Master paintings, duping important art galleries in to making purchases of works apparently by Vermeer, even foxing Goering in to buying one of his works during the war? Philip and Fiona get to work on the London picture which, legend has it, hung in Van Meegeren's studio on the day he was arrested. Was it his last work? And by testing it, can we prove how he out-foxed some of the most eminent minds in the art world?

The episode was rated #9 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E1
#20 - Lowry
Season 4 - Episode 1

Art detectives Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould return for a brand new series, starting with an investigation into three small pictures by one of Britain's best-loved modern artists - LS Lowry. Stephen Ames, a Cheshire property developer, has a problem - he's inherited three small oil paintings believed to be by Laurence Stephen Lowry, an artist renowned for his scenes of northern life, but he doesn't have any proof. All he knows is that they were bought by his father Gerald, a self-made businessman with a passion for art, in the early 70s. The trouble for Stephen is that LS Lowry is probably the most faked British artist, his deceptively simple style of painting making him a soft target for forgers. As a result, the art market has become very wary of newly discovered Lowry works. If he can't find evidence in favour of the pictures, they are worthless. As they hunt for proof with the assistance of specialist art researcher Dr Bendor Grosvenor, the team encounter unexpected obstacles and extraordinary coincidences, culminating in a groundbreaking scientific discovery that challenges everything we thought we knew about Lowry the artist. But is it enough to prove that the pictures are genuine?

The episode was rated #10 Worst episode of Fake or Fortune? from 13 votes.

Last updated: oct 09, 2020



how do I start watching this episolde of Fake or Fortune, about Giacometti? I don't see a start to play button.

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