& Arts TV
Newsman and writer John Humphrys, TV
personalities Ulrika Jonsson and Clarissa Dickson-Wright,
comedian Keith Allen and Radio 1 DJ Nihal Arthanayake
are to be put through their paces in an intensive two-week course at
the Chelsea College of Art and Design in Art
School, a new series for BBC TWO presented by Claudia
Under the guidance of the college's renowned tutors,
the students will explore all aspects of art - from the basics of drawing,
to installation and performance art - which will then culminate in an
end of course show.
Commenting on why he's taking part, John Humphrys says:
"Art School is reality television only in the sense that people are
filmed doing real things - being taught by art teachers to see what
they can learn - and not being encouraged to make fools of themselves
or fumble under bed sheets to titillate the audience.
"I agreed to do it because I can't draw a straight
line or paint a door and I'd love to know if someone like me can be
taught the basics.
"I'm also deeply sceptical about conceptual art
and I'd love to know how some serious artists justify the sort of stuff
that many of us think of as pretentious tosh - like Tracy Emin's famous
Unmade Bed, for instance, or a light being switched on and off in an
The two-week course has been devised by Natalie
Brett, senior academic at Chelsea College of Art and Design.
She will be teaching the course together with fellow Chelsea tutors
Abigail Reynolds and Jo Bruton.
The students' work will also come under the constant
scrutiny of Turner Prize judge and art critic Sacha Craddock.
The series will also feature anecdotes from other household
names who are practising artists - such as Vic Reeves, Jane
Seymour and Uri Geller.
Professor Roger Wilson, Head of Chelsea College of
Art and Design, says: "We're looking forward to seeing how the 'students'
respond to this intensive two-week course taught by our tutors.
"We also hope that the resulting programme will
be informative as well as entertaining viewing, helping to raise the
profile of arts education and encouraging more people to engage with
art and design."
Art School's Executive Producer, Franny Moyle, says:
"First and foremost we want Art School to be an entertaining and informative
"Lots of us love the idea of exploring our creative
side, but simply don't have the confidence to have a go. By seeing
the creative potential and hidden talents unleashed in a group of people
not usually associated with art, we hope that viewers might just be
inspired to pick up a paintbrush themselves.
"We also hope the series will demystify some aspects
of contemporary art."
Gavin Henderson, Endemol West's Head of Programmes,
who starts the filming next week, says: "It's going to be a challenging
and thought-provoking experience for the students and they'll need to
dig deep within themselves if they're going to produce a work of art
worthy of public and professional scrutiny."
The series will be on BBC TWO in the autumn.
Notes to Editors
John is one of the best-known and most influential broadcasters
in the country. His reputation as the journalist politicians fear has
earned him countless awards, including Journalist of the Year 2000.
He presents BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Ulrika has risen from TV-am weather girl to become one
of the most popular presenters on TV. Her shows include Gladiators,
Miss World, Shooting Stars and It's Ulrika.
Clarissa shot to fame as one of the Two Fat Ladies in the BBC TV series of the same name with Jennifer Paterson. She is a columnist and audience favourite on Radio 4's Curious Cooks.
After first appearing at the Comedy Store in 1979, Keith
has done both straight and comedy acting - appearing in films including
Twin Town, Shallow Grave and Blue Juice. As a member of Fat Les, he
released the unofficial England Soccer World Cup song in 1998, Vindaloo.
Sony Award-winning Radio 1 DJ Nihal presents a Wednesday
night show, a funk-driven mix of British Asian music, with Bobby Friction.
Starting out as a musician, his career has taken off to include TV presenting
(Channel 4's Whitey Blightey, Webwise on BBC TWO), music journalism and some
Presenting the series, Claudia has a History of Art
degree from Cambridge University.
Chelsea College of Art and Design
Chelsea College of Art and Design is part of University
of the Arts, London. Based on a newly-designed landmark campus at Millbank,
next to Tate Britain, Chelsea has 1,500 students and 200 staff. It offers
courses from textile design and fine art to graphics and interior design.
Alumni include Anthony Caro, Gavin Turk, Mark Wallinger,
Patrick Caulfield, Quentin Blake, Elisabeth Frink, Dirk Bogarde, Gillian
Wearing, John Bird and Turner Prize winners Richard Deacon (1987), Anish
Kapoor (1991), Gillian Wearing (1997), Chris Ofili (1998) and Steve