SOUTH Essex has been lucky enough to feature on many a TV programme over the years. 

From EastEnders to Doctor Who and even The Crown, it has been a top pick for producers. 

And over the years, it has regularly featured on hit BBC show Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. 

A new episode, which airs on November 21, will see Southend and Leigh take centre stage. 

Leigh tour guide Paul Carver says it was an “absolute pleasure” to have been able to take BBC Radio 1 DJ Melvin Odoom around the Leigh Heritage Centre and Museum.

Paul, 53, met Melvin, 43, and three Celebrity Antiques Road Trip crew members as the show was filming in the town and Southend back at the start of June.

Echo: Stars - Gemma and MelvinStars - Gemma and Melvin (Image: BBC)

The programme will see the tour guide whisk the ex-Strictly contestant around the old town venue, which stands in the High Street, and show-off old pictures and artefacts connected to Leigh.

Echo: Venue - Leigh Heritage Centre and MuseumVenue - Leigh Heritage Centre and Museum (Image: Southend Council)

They also went to the historic 207-year-old fisherman’s cottage, which was repaired back in 2016 after it suffered considerable damage in March 2015 when a nearby land subsided and a water main burst.

He says he was “nervous and scared at first” due to never being filmed or being on TV before but hailed the experience as “an absolute pleasure”.

The 53-year-old said: “It was at the start of June this year, and I was feeling quite nervous and scared about doing it because being filmed and going on TV is all new to me.

“But when I met up with Melvin and the crew outside the heritage centre and museum at 7am, they were all so warm and friendly, and that really put me at ease.

“An hour later, we started filming, and I navigated him through the venue. He was really complimentary and loved the museum.

“I can’t say too much, but he seemed really interested in Leigh and its history with all the questions he kept asking.

“It was an absolute joy, and it was great to be given the opportunity to do it and put Leigh and Southend on the map.”

Once filming wrapped up, Melvin and the crew headed to Osbornes, a family-run seafood business that has been trading for over 140 years, also in the High Street, to meet Gemma Collins.

The 42-year-old, best known for being in the ITVBe reality series The Only Way is Essex, is joining Melvin as they hunt for antiques with their £400 budget and battle it out to make the most money at auction.

She visited Sally’s Out of Curiosity, a quirky antique shop in London Road, Westcliff, where she picked up an item, which will be revealed on November 21.

Echo: Visit - Gemma with SallyVisit - Gemma with Sally (Image: Newsquest)

It is not the first time owner Sally Tyrie, 72, has welcomed celebrities to her store as in August 2021, former EastEnders legend Danny Dyer stepped through the doors and picked up a silver Albert chain.

She said: “It was brilliant and such a great experience.

“Gemma was a pleasant lady, and she said I have an amazing shop, which meant the world to me.

“What she bought will be revealed very soon.”