A cult icon of US reality TV brought a South Yorkshire indoor market to a standstill as shoppers flocked to a confectionery stall to meet their hero.
TV treasure hunter Jesse McClure, was visiting the region as part of a whistle stop tour of the UK and the fast talking antiques dealer fired from the lip as he wowed his fans.
Business at Sweet Deals in Doncaster Market had never been so good as the antiques dealing young gun, from US cult reality show Storage Hunters, swapped the auctioneer’s gavel for sweetie jars, as he charmed customers into buying tasty treats from his friend Dave Sleep’s market stall.
He also signed autographs, handed out publicity shots of himself, had photographs taken with fans and hugged those that came to see him.
Although Dave Sleep now has a business importing and selling the best of American confectionery and snacks, in a past life he has designed computer game apps. One features a storage hunters app voiced by original programme presenters including Californian Jesse, Ron “Papa Bear” Kirkpatrick and their other fast talking colleagues. That’s how Jesse found himself visiting South Yorkshire.
Since 2014 Jesse has visited his buddy Dave a couple of times and said he loved to return to the UK to meet him and his fans.
The 28-year-old TV star said: “It’s always a great pleasure to come here. It’s the second time I’ve been to Doncaster and I’m starting to get to grips a little more with the English language.”
On his whistle-stop visit Jesse joked with fans and even convinced one he was an Elvis impersonator called Martin from Sheffield who had perfected his American accent in South Yorkshire and that one day he would like to make it on television.
However, his accent cannit hide his true origins as he is from Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, where he has an antiques business and from where he began his fledgling career in the family antiques mall.
He added: “I remember as a kid at the age of 12 when others would be out on their bikes I would be buying people’s junk – a little weird perhaps but that was me. I may have a high profile job on television now, but I prefer smaller town communities like you find in Doncaster and also Burnley and areas of Manchester that I’ve also visited, rather than London – relaxing in a small cafe and listening to local people’s views.”
He also spoke about his relationships with other programme members including good friends “Papa Bear” and Cameron Rowe,` otherwise known as “Green Mile,” the 6ft 9ins giant with size 19 feet, and Sean Kelly and T-Money.
Also others he didn’t get on so well with such as his arch bidding rivals on the programme, Brandon and Laurie Bernier, who he said: “Had a truly awful relationship and the type of people whom had huge egos.”
He has worked in the family’s antiques business since childhood and shot to small screen fame in the first series of Storage Hunters UK. The show follows Jesse and other buyers, as they make sometimes outlandish bids on repossessed storage units that they hope will prove to be a gold mine.
Sometimes however they only contain worthless trash – that’s the gamble.
After meeting Jesse a star struck and shaking Karena Jagger, from Goldthorpe, said: “It was really cool meeting him – he’s my hero. I watch him on television all the time.”
Her daughter Amy, 23, of High Street, Goldthorpe, who brought along her children, Kiraman and Raze Harrison, two and one, said: “It’s great to meet him, he’s a really nice guy.”
Dave Sleep, who invited Jesse to Doncaster, said it was a genuine pleasure to have the Californian back in the town and added: “It’s brilliant he’s back. A lot of people have come from far and wide to see him. It’s great that although he does shows at night he also makes himself available during the day for kids.
“He has said he would come back again and both I and all his fans hope that is soon.”
Everything you ever wanted to know about Jesse McClure
Jesse McClure’s favourite English group is 1980s punk band The Addicts
Ron “Papa Bear”Kirkpartick’s favourite English band are 1980s miserati The Smiths
Jesse’s favourite sport is ice hockey and the team he cheers on: LA Kings from the National Hockey League
Some of the most obscure finds on Storage Hunters include: A flame thrower, a locked coffin, a giant sculpture of a hand and an explosion
Jesse always wears his trademark leather jacket whatever the weather.