Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

Series 7



This warmly inclusive show – the jewel in the Sky Arts crown – has been a lovely watch from day one, but being on free-to-air now means everyone can enjoy it. The seventh series opens with five professionals and four amateurs crossing brushes and pencils in Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall for a place in the semi-finals.

Solo host Stephen Mangan helps to create the relaxed vibe for the viewer; not that it’s a stroll in the park for the entrants, who have just four hours to produce likenesses of the famous sitters. This week they are former lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, Lady Glenconner, and actors Ncuti Gatwa (Eric in Sex Education) and a concerned but chatty Fay Ripley (“My husband says I don’t still for five minutes”).

It’s often very funny, and the individual approaches (preparatory charcoal sketch; tablet computer; brushes stored in beard) mean the show is always intriguing as well as entertaining. As do the revealing self-portraits, which took anything from two hours to three months.


New series. Stephen Mangan launches another talent search, with the first batch of hopefuls painting actresses Ncuti Gatwa and Fay Ripley and peeress Baroness Glenconner.
Entertainment Arts