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.
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