Stephen Mangan is to join Joan Bakewell as co-presenter of Sky Arts’ hit shows Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year.

Stephen Mangan is to join Joan Bakewell as co-presenter of Sky Arts’ hit shows Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year.

The news follows Frank Skinner’s decision to step down from his hosting duties on the series. Frank presented three series of Landscape Artist and four series of Portrait Artist alongside Joan, helping to establish the shows as the most popular series on Sky Arts.

British actor, Stephen Mangan is best known to TV viewers for his performances both in theatre and on screen, including starring roles in the BAFTA Award winning Green Wing and the British/ American television comedy series, Episodes. He joins the Sky Arts shows fresh from his critically acclaimed performance in The Birthday Party at the Harold Pinter Theatre and as production is under way for the 2018 series of Landscape Artist of the Year and for the 2019 series of Portrait Artist of the Year.

Expert judges Kate Bryan, Kathleen Soriano and Tai Shan Schierenberg also return for both new series.

Stephen Mangan said: “I’m thrilled to have been asked to present these shows with Joan. It’s magical to see all those talented people creating brilliant new art from a blank canvas. And I love the idea of proving that you can make great entertainment out of watching paint dry!”

Joan Bakewell said: "I am pleased to welcome Stephen to the team. He and I have already worked together on Have I Got News for You, and I admire him as a presenter and as a fine actor. We have great fun making these popular programmes and I hope he’ll enjoy them as much as I do."

Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “These two series are the most popular in the Sky Arts schedule, and we're all delighted to welcome Stephen to the team. He brings exactly the right mix of warmth and wit, and I know that he and Joan will get on like a house on fire. We’re especially grateful to Frank Skinner for his work on both series. His unique brand of wit and wisdom has been a key part of what has made them such a huge success. We’re looking forward to working with Frank on a range of future projects for Sky Arts.”

Stuart Prebble from Storyvault Films said: “The whole team is delighted to welcome Stephen to our shows. He brings natural curiosity, fast wit and genuine warmth. On behalf of the whole team I want to thank Frank for his huge contribution to both series. His genuine enthusiasm for the art and artists has always come across on the screen.”

The fourth series of Landscape Artist of the Year is due to air on Sky Arts this coming autumn, and the fifth series of Portrait Artist of the Year is due to air in 2019.

Both shows have cemented their status as two of Sky Arts’ most successful programmes, with each series rated with record-high passion scores based on how much viewers enjoy watching them. They also continue to attract some of the biggest audiences on the channel, with the latest series of Portrait Artist of the Year seen by its largest audiences to date, with more than 600,000 people on average watching each episode.

For media enquiries:

Rick.behari@sky.uk / 07766 115285

About Sky Arts

Sky Arts is the UK’s only dedicated channel for the arts. It offers something for everyone, whatever their passion, with entertaining programmes showcasing the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy. Sky Arts is broadcast 24 hours a day and has over 1,000 hours available on catch-up TV, including flagship programmes such as Portrait Artist of The Year, Landscape Artist of the Year and The South Bank Show.

The channel is committed to supporting the arts by investing in the best talent, both on and off screen, as well as through exclusive partnerships with major UK and European cultural institutions, including National Theatre Live, Tate and The British Library.

Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company, serving 23 million customers across seven countries - UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The company has annual revenues of £12.9 billion and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with an annual programming spend of £7 billion.

About Storyvault Films

Storyvault Films is a group of award-winning producers and directors who work together to deliver a wide range of high-quality fact-based programmes for all terrestrial and digital channels. We produce documentaries and features, factual entertainment and arts, for the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, for Sky, and for international distribution.

In addition to the hugely successful “Artist of the Year” series for Sky Arts, our recent credits include “Transformation Street” on ITV, The Box That Changed the World and The Seven Killings of Marlon James for BBC2. We are currently working on further productions for Sky Arts, Channel 4, BBC1 and BBC4.