If you’re currently in the process of working out what to watch over the upcoming holiday period, and you would like to sink your teeth into something fun and informative, with a nostalgic bent that is ideal for this time of year, then let me point you in the direction of Toy Shop on Tour. This British YouTube show which focuses on toys and collectibles of yesteryear, is a thoroughly enjoyable way to pass the time, and it’s quite educational too.

The premise is simple: Two guys who run a retro toy shop in Leicester (as well as their camera-operating producer), travel to various toy stores to buy new stock. Along the way, they meet with fellow shop owners, discuss toy grails, as well as rare and forgotten items from the past, and showcase all the goodies available to collectors.  

From Masters of the Universe, Smurfs, and Star Wars, to V, Transformers, and Tintin, the show features appearances from various toy lines from the good ol’ days. If you grew up in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ’80s, or ‘90s, or you just love classic action figures and playsets, then this show has it all and more.

Image: ©Toy Shop on Tour/Spoon Jar Films
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Presented by Joe and Gav (aka Joseph Hand and Gavin Lee Pate), and filmed, edited, and produced by cameraman Matt Holt, Toy Shop on Tour is a great British treat waiting to be uncovered. The show is currently two seasons long, with a third season in the pipeline for next year, and offers hours of content for toy enthusiasts and nostalgia junkies.

Each season of the show follows the same format, but is a little different in its execution. Season One focuses on toy shops within the UK, while for season two the guys head to mainland Europe to take a look at what’s available in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

Season one includes 12 regular episodes, each running between 30-35 minutes in length, as well as a special which is an hour-and-ten-minutes. Meanwhile, season two has roughly half the number of episodes (7 + 2 specials), but this time around each instalment runs longer, clocking in at anywhere between 45-minutes to an hour.

Image: ©Toy Shop on Tour/Spoon Jar Films
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What makes this show such a fun and easy watch is just how likeable, knowledgeable, and at ease with the camera these guys are. The presenting duo are experts in their field, know what toys to talk about, have no problems explaining things at length, and seem to get on with everyone.

While the premise of the show is for Joe and Gav to buy toys to take back to their own shop, they aren’t out to rip anyone off. They work with fellow shop owners to showcase what is available in their inventory, and in turn this gives various shops a bit of a marketing lift too.

From watching season one alone, I was made aware of how many retro toy shops there are in the UK, which is something I wasn’t previously knowledgeable about. This means that whenever I’m out and about, I now know where to go should I want to check out some cool collectibles.

Likewise, thanks to Toy Shop on Tour my knowledge of retro toy shops in mainland Europe has been vastly expanded too. And now, not only do I know what stores are out there, but I am also aware of the awesome items that are available on the continent, which we simply don’t see in the UK.

Not every country receives every toy that is manufactured, and some toys and characters are more popular in other parts of the world. Toy Shop on Tour helps to explore and explain this, with various discussions on what’s hot, what’s available, and what you might want to track down abroad.

Image: ©Toy Shop on Tour/Spoon Jar Films

As noted above, a third of the season of the show is due out next year, with the guys heading to the United States to visit all the retro toy shops that America has to offer. But before they hop on the plane and get their trip off the ground, now is the perfect time to catch up on their journey so far.

Toy Shop on Tour is care-free viewing that asks nothing of you, but is very rewarding. If you want to unwind over the Christmas period with some old playthings of the past, then be sure to head over to YouTube to take a look.

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