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Has David Dickinson Ever Been in Prison?

David Dickinson is a familiar face on British television, known for hosting antique appraisal shows like Bargain Hunt and Real Deal. With his trademark tan, lamb chop sideburns, and flamboyant style, Dickinson has an unmistakable look. But some may wonder about his past before becoming a household name – specifically, has David Dickinson ever done time in prison?

Dickinson’s Origin Story

David Dickinson grew up in Cumbria in the 1950s. His father was a baker and his mother was a district nurse. According to Dickinson, his entrepreneurial spirit emerged early on as he would buy candies in bulk and then sell them to classmates for a profit.

As a teen, Dickinson joined the family business and began running a bakery stall at local markets. This first venture into sales and engaging with customers gave him valuable experience for his future in antiques and television.

In his late teens, Dickinson moved to London and opened his own stall at the iconic Portobello Road Market, specializing in selling antiques and collectables during the swinging 1960s. This was the modest beginning of a career that would eventually make him one of the UK’s most recognizable antique experts.

Dickinson’s Rise to Antique Expert Fame

David Dickinson’s charisma and knack for engaging potential buyers helped his antiques stall become a huge success. He expanded his business, opening more locations at markets around London.

By the late 1970s, Dickinson started gaining fame among viewers of regional TV programs as an antiques appraiser. His flamboyant fashion, dry wit, and sharp eye for valuables made him a natural on camera.

Dickinson’s growing profile led to his first major national TV break in 1998, when he began appearing as an expert on the BBC’s long-running antiques show The Antiques Inspector. This first taste of mainstream fame on the BBC further increased Dickinson’s reputation as one of Britain’s top antique authorities.

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Becoming a Household Name

In 2000, David Dickinson achieved household name status when he began hosting Bargain Hunt, which aired daytime on BBC One. The hit show, which pitted two teams of contestants against each other to make the most money at antique auctions, was a perfect showcase for Dickinson’s cheeky humor and knack for engaging viewers.

Bargain Hunt cemented Dickinson as a major UK celebrity. He hosted the show for over a decade, eventually deciding to step back from presenting full-time in 2016. However, he has continued to make frequent guest appearances.

During his Bargain Hunt heyday, Dickinson also hosted Real Deal and other spinoffs. Additional TV projects over the years included hosting chat shows, participating in reality competitions, and memoir documentaries about his life.

Now in his late 70s, Dickinson remains a beloved pop culture figure, thanks to a one-of-a-kind persona built on antique expertise, quirky fashion sense, and party animal vibrancy. But has his backstory ever involved doing hard time?

Rumors and Speculation of Criminal Activity

Given David Dickinson’s flamboyant persona and past as a swinging young businessman in 1960s London, rumors have swirled at times about potential shady activity or criminal associations earlier in his career.

Some online forums and social media corners have falsely claimed that Dickinson was incarcerated in the past for supposed involvement in illegal gambling, money laundering, or other financial crimes typically linked to organized crime syndicates.

However, there is no evidence that David Dickinson has ever been convicted or served time in prison for any crime. The false rumors likely stem from assumptions some have made about Dickinson’s colorful backstory as an antiques dealer in 1960s London, combined with his extravagant, excessive public image.

What Dickinson Has Said About His Past

David Dickinson has directly addressed the incorrect whispers about criminal activity in his past. In his autobiography, he spoke candidly about how he built his antique business through completely legal means:

“Let me make something abundantly clear once and for all – I have never done jail time, nor have I had any dealings with organized crime. I established myself selling antiques and collectables through sheer determination and entrepreneurial spirit.”

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Dickinson admits he lived a wild, excessive lifestyle in his younger days as a swinging bachelor – partying, drinking, and dating multiple women. But he firmly denies that he ever engaged in any illegal behavior.

In interviews over the years, Dickinson has pointed out that someone with a genuine criminal history could never have gained the high profile media roles with the BBC and other major networks that he did. His legal and financial history has obviously never raised any red flags.

What Dickinson’s Associates Say

Those close to David Dickinson have also gone on record to dispel the false suggestions that he was ever imprisoned. Dickinson’s business partner and wife Lorne Lesley stated:

“Believe me, David has never seen the inside of a jail cell. He’s far too flamboyant and talkative to survive prison! Sure, he used to party hard back in his younger days, but he never broke the law or ran with the wrong crowd.”

Dickinson’s son Alfie has described his father as a “showman and eccentric entertainer” but adamantly denied he was ever involved in the criminal underworld or illegal activities that would have landed him in jail.

The claims that David Dickinson was ever incarcerated appear to be nothing more than unsubstantiated internet rumors. Both Dickinson himself and those close to him have consistently shot down those false allegations.

Dickinson’s Legal Issues and Controversies

While he has never been imprisoned, David Dickinson hasn’t completely avoided legal issues and controversies over his decades in the public eye:

  • He was once sued by his former business partners at Lloyd’s for unpaid debts and had to declare bankruptcy as a result.
  • He caused some backlash with viewers for flaunting his wealth and referring to pre-decimalization currency on Bargain Hunt.
  • Tabloids criticized Dickinson for leaving his first wife for a younger woman who eventually became his second wife.
  • In 2006, thieves broke into Dickinson’s home and stole £100,000 worth of antiques in a high-profile robbery.
  • He was banned from driving for a year in 2013 for speeding.

So while largely avoiding major scandals, Dickinson’s high-flying lifestyle and outspoken nature have generated occasional negative headlines. But these incidents bear no resemblance to the false claims that he was ever incarcerated.


Based on all available evidence, there is no truth to the rumors that popular British television personality David Dickinson has ever served time in jail or prison. Both Dickinson and those close to him have clearly denied these unfounded claims, which seem to stem from exaggerated assumptions about his flamboyant past.

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While known for living life to the fullest and pushing boundaries, Dickinson has never faced criminal charges that resulted in imprisonment. His legal and financial history has withstood intense scrutiny given his high profile career in the public eye. Barring a shocking revelation, all signs indicate David Dickinson’s stellar rise in the antiques and television worlds occurred without detours to do hard time behind bars.

FAQ About David Dickinson and Prison Rumors

What shows is David Dickinson famous for?

Dickinson hosted the popular BBC daytime shows Bargain Hunt and Real Deal for many years. He has also made frequent appearances as an antiques expert on various British television programs.

What aspects of his persona fuel rumors he was in prison?

His flamboyant fashion sense, excessive lifestyle, and past as an antiques dealer in 1960s London lead some to falsely assume he was involved in illegal activity and jail time.

Has Dickinson ever openly talked about the rumors he was in prison?

Yes, in his autobiography he strongly denied ever being involved in crime or serving jail time, attributing the rumors to exaggerations about his partying youth.

Has anyone close to Dickinson supported the prison claims?

No, his family, friends, and business associates have always asserted the prison allegations are totally false and without merit.

What legal issues has Dickinson faced over the years?

While avoiding jail, he declared bankruptcy in the 1990s after being sued by former business partners. He’s also had brushes with the law over speeding tickets and being the victim of robbery.

Is there any indication the rumors could be true?

No, absolutely no evidence has ever emerged indicating Dickinson was convicted of a crime resulting in prison time. He and his inner circle have thoroughly debunked the claims.

Imran Khan

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