Watching paint dry can be a real pleasure - just ask Dame Joan
Good to hear that the indomitable talent that is journalist and broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell will be back in action in a new series of Portrait Artist of the Year which starts on Sky Arts this week.
The 87-year-old Labour peer,who is also a sometime speaker for Clive Conway Productions, shares hosting duties on the twice weekly show with actor Stephen Mangan. Stephen presents on Wednesdays with Joan taking the helm on Sundays. The pair have also been signed up to present a new 2021 series of Landscape Artist of the Year.
But first it is portraits that will fascinate viewers and prove that there is genuine pleasure to be derived from watching paint dry. This seventh series of Portrait Artist of the Year finds a mix of professional and amateur artists competing to impress the judges. they will be displaying their talents with a raft of celebrity sitters including actors James Nesbitt, Eddie Marsan, Jane Horrocks and David Haig; TV legal eagle and judge Robert Rinder) and our good friend, veteran journalist, broadcaster and news anchor Sir Trevor McDonald, among many others.
There will be nine artists competing each week in a series of heats with winners invited to paint Booker Prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo.
Three finalists will then be asked to complete a commission and paint a portrait of comedian Eddie Izzard.
There is much to compete for with the ultimate winner being awarded a £10,000 commission to paint world-famous ballet dancer and Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta.
The winning portrait will then go on to hang in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.