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Top newsman takes up the art challenge

Category: Factual & Arts TV

Date: 10.08.2005
Printable version

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 Winkleman.


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 empty room."


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 series.


"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 Humphrys

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 Jonsson

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 Dickson-Wright

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.


Keith Allen

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.


Nihal Arthanayake

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 modelling.


Claudia Winkleman

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 McQueen (1999).




Category: Factual & Arts TV

Date: 10.08.2005
Printable version


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