Big Zuu, Ellie Simmonds, Nick Grimshaw and many more take the Portrait Artist of the Year hot seat as the series returns to Sky Arts on 5th October

Thursday 22 September 2022

Dust off those paint brushes and get your best poses ready! The nation’s favourite art competition, Portrait Artist of the Year returns to Sky Arts and NOW for its ninth series on Wednesday 5th October with hosts Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan 

The new series will see aspiring artists from across the UK compete to win the title of Portrait Artist of the Year 2022. Throughout the series we will see an exciting array of celebrity sitters from the worlds of stage, screen, sport, literature, and politics. The artists will battle it out to impress expert judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan in seven heats.  

Taking the sitters chair this year are: Lulu (singer), Big Zuu (television personality), Bruno Tonioli (TV personality/choreographer), Nick Grimshaw (broadcaster), Miquita Oliver (presenter), Dame Stella Rimington (former Director General of MI5), Suggs (singer), Elizabeth Day (author), Jim Carter (actor), Alex Brooker (journalist/TV presenter), Eve Muirhead (Winter Olympian), Phil Manzanera (musician), Khadija Mellah (jockey), YolanDa Brown (saxophonist), Helen Sharman (first British woman in space), Alexis French (musician), Henning When (comedian) , Lemar (singer/songwriter), Candice Carty-Williams (writer), Benjamin Zephaniah (writer/poet), Ellie Simmonds (Paralympian).  

Each heat winner will go on to paint acclaimed singer, Rebecca Ferguson in the semi-final and the three finalists will battle it out to take home the title, painting public health expert and former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, best known for leading the UK's response to the Covid pandemic. 

This season’s Portrait Artist of the Year winner will receive a £10,000 commission to paint a portrait of the renowned actor/comedian Sir Lenny Henry, which will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery as part of their reopening in 2023.   

Joan Bakewell said: “It never fails to fascinate me how one subject (or celebrity sitter in this case) can be interpreted in so many different ways, yet this series of Portrait Artist of Year doesn’t disappoint as our brilliant artists once again produce some incredible portraits. I’m just glad I’m not one of the judges!”  

Stephen Mangan said: “Having the opportunity to watch such skilled artists at work as they paint our wonderful (and incredibly patient!) celebrity sitters is always a pleasure and this series is no different… we’ve got such a fantastic mix of familiar faces all taking the hot seat in front of the easel, with each resulting portrait so varied and unique. Viewers are in for a treat”  

Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, Sky, said: Portrait Artist of the Year is the premier portrait painting competition in the UK with the very best artists coming together to paint some of the nation’s best loved stars. There is something very special in the artist/sitter relationship which is full of empathy and every year we are inspired not just by the artists’ brilliant technique and skill but also in the portrait painters ability to find the humanity and essence of the people they are painting. 

Landscape Artist of the Year is also due to return in January 2023. Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year are produced by Storyvault Films; Executive producers are Danielle Graham, Samantha Richards and Stuart Prebble. Benedetta Pinelli is commissioning editor for Sky.  

Portrait Artist of the Year will air on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, and streaming service NOW from Wednesday 5th October. 

For more information please contact: 


About Sky Arts 

Sky Arts exists to bring more art to more people across the UK. In 2020, with the creative industries under serious threat, we threw open our doors to make the channel free for everyone to watch. We’ve redoubled our mission to increase access to the arts and we’re committed to getting everyone involved as the industry moves from strength to strength. The fact is, we need the arts like never before, and Sky Arts brings them straight to your living room.    

We have something for everyone, championing creative talent by showcasing the best in music, theatre, dance, literature, opera and visual art. From Glyndebourne to Grime and Nina Simone to Noel Gallagher, we’ve got your passions covered. Millions of viewers tune in to hit returning series such as Portrait Artist of the Year and British cultural institution The South Bank Show, but our acclaimed new programmes might take you anywhere from Wordsworth’s favourite landscapes to headbanging at Download Festival. 

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do. Sky Arts is the headline sponsor of National Theatre Live in the UK and we work with cultural partners across the country including the English National Opera, Bristol Old Vic, Tate, Creative UK and the Crafts Council to name but a few.    

You can watch Sky Arts for free on Freeview channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.  If you’ve got Sky or a Now TV entertainment pass, you can also watch over 2,000 hours of shows exclusively on demand. 

About NOW 

NOW is the home of brilliant entertainment. We’re one of the UK’s leading streaming platforms with critically acclaimed shows, new and exclusive movies, unmissable sport and epic kids TV – all with no contract. Join in with an Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, Kids or hayu Membership to stream instantly across TV, mobile, desktop and over 60 other devices. Watch on the go and even offline with our app by downloading shows and movies. 

Entertainment Members can enjoy critically acclaimed dramas, documentaries and comedies, Emmy award-winning shows, the best of HBO and exclusive Sky Originals. Cinema Members can discover over 1000 brilliant movies, from the latest blockbusters and classic favourites and a new premiere every day. Sports Members cheer on unmissable Premier League, international cricket, F1, golf and more – all live, across 11 Sky Sports channels. 

Plus, members can enhance their experience with NOW Boost – that’s full 1080p HD, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and streaming on up to 3 devices at once, for an extra £3 a month. 

For super-fast broadband, members can enjoy a contract-free connection with a NOW Brilliant Broadband, Fab Fibre or Super Fibre Membership. 

Storyvault Films  

Storyvault Films is an independent TV production company making a wide range of high-quality factual and factual-entertainment programmes for all the major TV channels in the UK and for international distribution. Formed in 2009, the company brings together a group of award-winning producers and directors, alongside highly experienced production management and expertise in casting and live and pre-recorded programming.  

Current and recent credits include “Landscape Artist of the Year” and “Gary Numan: Resurrection” for Sky Arts, and “”Write Around the World, with Richard E Grant” for the BBC. Most of our productions are available for international distribution.