BBC One’s Big Painting Challenge to put artists through ‘boot camp’

Mariella Frostrup and Reverend Richard ColesImage copyright
BBC/Ed Miller

Image caption

The series will be presented by Mariella Frostrup and the Rev Richard Coles

A new BBC One show will see 10 budding painters put through a “boot-camp” in a bid to be crowned Britain’s best amateur artist.

The Big Painting Challenge will be hosted by Mariella Frostrup and the Rev Richard Coles.

Mark Bell, head of commissioning for BBC Arts, said it was “very different” to a show with the same name hosted by Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon in 2015.

The new Sunday prime-time series begins in mid-February.

“The objective is to engage people actively in the process of making art,” Mr Bell said at a launch event at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

“This is an arts programme but absolutely designed to go beyond the core arts audience. It feels fresh, exciting and different.”

Two artistic mentors, Diana Ali and Pascal Anson, will guide the 10 contestants through different disciplines such as portraiture, landscape and still life.

‘Lots of high emotion’

At the end of each episode, the contestants’ work will be exhibited to members of the public before three judges – Dr David Dibosa, Lachlan Goudie and Daphne Todd – decide which contestant will be eliminated.

Anson – who previously painted eight British Airways planes for the London 2012 Olympic Games – said viewers would see “lots of high emotion” as the artists were pushed out of their comfort zones.

“Both Diana and myself really push them hard because that’s when you get the best out of someone,” he said.

“Concentrating for six hours on a painting is very draining and can lead to all sorts of emotions – from crying at one end to being very elated at the other.”

The BBC Arts winter line-up also includes programmes about a range of cultural figures including Maya Angelou, Francis Bacon, Phyllida Barlow, Marlon Brando, Chrissie Hynde, Dame Vera Lynn and Terry Pratchett.

And BBC Four’s Britain in Focus season will celebrate the art of photography.

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