BBC One swaps cake for art in new show

BBC One is swapping amateur bakers for painters with a new TV show - The Big Painting Challenge.

The broadcaster, which lost The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4, has unveiled the six-part series, which will air later this year.

Despite having the same title as a previous painting series, the BBC said that the new programme - presented by the Rev Richard Coles and Mariella Frostrup - was a different show.

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry might reunite on screen (Mark Bourdillon/BBC/PA)

The show will see 10 amateur artists embark on a series of painting challenges, helped by two mentors, in an attempt to be crowned champion.

Three judges from the arts world will critique the paintings and decide which contestant to eliminate.

Contestants include "a single mother from Northern Ireland", a "former astrophysicist and everyone in between".

Mark Bell, head of commissioning for BBC Arts, said the Sunday evening, prime-time programme was "its own show", "very different" to Bake Off and not designed to fill the void left by the hit series.

Mariella Frostrup
Mariella Frostrup (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

"We have been looking to develop something in that participation mode for a long time. The BBC has a long history of making broad, mainstream, participatory programmes over the years.

"There's a long heritage of arts participation programmes that we want to continue and this is absolutely a new stab at doing that. It's got ambition. It's its own show."

He said the new programme was "not the relaunch" of former show The Big Painting Challenge, featuring Richard Bacon and Una Stubbs, adding: "It's a good title."

Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon
Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon (BBC/Dan Prince/Mike Hogan/Ana Curbelo)

The show's mentors, who will take painters to locations such as the National Portrait Gallery, Whipsnade Zoo and Queen's House in Greenwich, are "straight-talking" Diana Ali and Pascal Anson, who previously painted eight British Airways planes for the London 2012 Olympics.

Mariella said: "It's a programme that demands confidence, talent and hard work from the contestants and I was delighted to join forces with the Reverend Richard Coles and watch this group of charismatic painters as they strove to fulfil their potential over the weeks."

Richard said he hoped the new show would "encourage people at home to get painting themselves", and added: "I love watching talented people grow and develop, in the intense focus of TV cameras, as we put in front of them baby elephants, ballerinas, national treasures and historic monuments".

Rev Richard Coles
The Rev Richard Coles (Ian West/PA)

The "passionate amateurs" will be judged by Dr David Dibosa, a member of the Tate Britain Council, Scottish figurative painter Lachlan Goudie and BP Portrait Award winner Daphne Todd, while the two mentors will run their own studios, "replicating the Atelier system which bore artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci".

The BBC announced that it had lost the jewel in its TV crown, The Great British Bake Off, last year.

Judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins later said they would not be moving with the show, while Paul Hollywood stayed with the tent.

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