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Landscape Artist of the Year 2017


The show that inspired comedian Frank Skinner to go to art classes is back on Sky Arts this autumn. Frank teams up with the doyenne of British arts broadcasters, Dame Joan Bakewell, to present the third series of the highly successful Landscape Artist of the Year. The nine part series will air weekly from Wednesday 18 th October.

This year the prize is a trip to Jamaica to paint the view from Firefly, which was the beloved and final home of the legendary wit, playwright, entertainer and artist Noël Coward. The winner’s final work will be unveiled in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane - described by Noël Coward as “the most perfect theatre in the world”.

Over 1000 artists from across Britain and Ireland applied for the 48 places in the heats, and another 300 “wild-cards” braved the sometimes terrible weather; all for the chance to win the title Landscape Artist of the Year, and a £10,000 commission. 

This year sees a new approach to the artistic challenges. Contestants are invited to produce a thing of beauty out of a skyline of disused steel-works on Teesside. Meanwhile the show’s iconic artists’ pods are nearly blown off the cliff on the Gower peninsula. And there’s a moving target of teams of crown green bowlers between our artists and the ruins of a castle in Knaresborough.

Frank Skinner said“Nothing in television quite equals the magic of giving a whole lot of very talented people a blank canvas at the start of the day, and watching them create something stunning by the end of it.  And of all the hundreds of artists I ’ve interviewed for these series, I ’ve never come across two with exactly the same approach. They all stand in front of the same thing, and they all see something different.  That ’s the beauty of art, and why I just love presenting these programmes. ” 

The competitors come from all walks of life - amateurs and professionals, and work in oils, acrylics, watercolor, charcoal, pencil, collage and lino-cuts and the progress of each of their works creates a little drama all its own.

Joan Bakewell said: “I love making these programmes for the sheer joy of watching creative people working. The eight short-listed artists are immensely talented and have their own individual styles. But I get a special pleasure from seeing and talking to the fifty wild-cards who travel miles - some even fly in from Ireland - simply for the joy of being part of our painting experience.”

The 48 short-listed artists have been selected to compete by our expert judges; independent art curator Kathleen Soriano, art historian Kate Bryan, and award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg.

Tai Shan Schierenberg : “I’ ve been wondering why it is that every one of these shows is an emotional roller-coaster for me. The answer is that we so often see incredibly gifted artists make a promising start and then take a wrong turn. But then just as often we see something which shows very little promise turn into a gem, which is a joy.  It ’s exhilarating but emotionally bloody exhausting! ” 

Kathleeen Soriano : “Always a delight, always a surprise, those artists who are brave enough to confront the elements and the loaded history of our British landscape, with all its tremendous art historical associations, have once again triumphed. At the same time they have provided us with fascinating insights into the complexities and diversity of making art in direct response to the landscape.”

Kate Bryan: ”The new series of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year makes some interesting new developments, not just in terms of the locations which feature some unexpected twists on the British pastoral idyll, but also in the medium and approaches of the artists. The standard has never been higher and the competition was extremely tough.”

Landscape Artist of the Year is produced for Sky Arts by Storyvault Films. The Series Editor is Chi Ukairo, Storyvault Films. It was commissioned by Bill Hobbins, Commissioning Editor, Sky Arts.
TX information
On Sky Arts for x9 consecutive weeks and available on catch-up
First TX: 18 October, 8pm
Running time: 9 x 60 minutes
Episodes: x6 heats, x1 semi-final, x1 final, x1 winner’s film
Painting locations for the 2017 edition of Landscape Artist of the Year are as follows:
Heats x6 (episode order TBC):

  • Paddy’s Hole harbour and the historic fishermen huts of South Gare dramatically framed against Teesside’s abandoned steelworks.
  • Knaresborough castle ruins and the magnificent railway viaduct stretching across the River Nidd.
  • Rhossili Bay and the Worm’s Head on the Gower Peninsular in South Wales – the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Beauty
  • The lavender fields of Castle Farm nestled in the Kent Downs in the village of Shoreham.


  • Winkworth Arboretum in Godalming, Surrey, home to an internationally significant collection of trees owned by the National Trust.

 Winner’s film:

  •  Noël Coward’s Firefly, his beloved last home on Firefly Hill, Port Maria, Jamaica.

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 22.5 million customers across five countries - UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. The company has annual revenues of £12.9 billion and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with annual programming spend of over £6 billion. Sky has over 31,000 employees and is listed as one of The Times Top 50 employers for women. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY). 

About Firefly

Noël Coward died at Firefly in 1973 and was buried three days later on the brow of Firefly Hill, Port Maria, Jamaica. A bronze statue of Coward sits in the garden overlooking the views of Port Maria.  An identical statue is housed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where Coward fans lay flowers for him every year to mark his birthday: December 16, 1899.    After his death, Firefly was given to the Jamaican Nation and is open to visitors to see the house as Coward left it together with the extraordinary views. It is now leased to former music industry icon Chris Blackwell, whose mother Blanche was a great friend of Coward.  The Jamaica National Heritage Trust own much of Firefly’s contents, including rare paintings by Coward and are working with the Noel Coward Estate and Blackwell on a refurbishment of Firefly.

About 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 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.
Our current and recent credits include “Portrait Artist of the Year” and “Landscape Artist of the year” for Sky Arts. Also for Sky Arts we produced eight series of The Book Show with Mariella Frostrup, as well as live coverage of Antony Gormley’s “One and Other” (The Fourth Plinth) “Objects of Desire” and a range of other single documentaries.   Our recent shows for BBC include “My Mediterranean with Adrian Chiles”, “Melvyn Bragg: from Wigton to Westminster”, and a number of “Imagines”, featuring Colm Toibin, Judith Kerr, Howard Jacobson and Marlon James.  We currently have a feature-length documentary in development for the big-screen, and are co-producing new shows for ITV and BBC2.   Most of our productions are available for international distribution.

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