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Stephen Mangan to co-present Sky Arts' Portrait Artist and Landscape Artist of the Year

Wednesday, April 11th 2018 by Emma Woollacott

Sky Arts has signed up Stephen Mangan to co-present flagship shows Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year.

Appearing alongside Joan Bakewell, he replaces Frank Skinner, who is stepping down after so-presenting three series of Landscape Artist and four series of Portrait Artist, helping to establish the shows as the most popular series on Sky Arts.

"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," he said. "And I love the idea of proving that you can make great entertainment out of watching paint dry."

Stephen Mangan has an impressive background on both stage and screen, and is probably best-known to British viewers for his appearances in the BAFTA award-winning Green Wing and the British/ American television comedy series Episodes. He joins the Sky Arts shows fresh from a critically-acclaimed performance in The Birthday Party at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Production is now under way for the 2018 series of Landscape Artist of the Year and for the 2019 series of Portrait Artist of the Year, with expert judges Kate Bryan, Kathleen Soriano and Tai Shan Schierenberg returning for both new series.

'Warmth and wit'

"These two series are the most popular in the Sky Arts schedule, and we're all delighted to welcome Stephen to the team," said Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts. "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."

Frank Skinner will continue to work with Sky Arts on several forthcoming projects.

"We're especially grateful to Frank Skinner for his work on both series," said Edgar-Jones. "His unique brand of wit and wisdom has been a key part of what has made them such a huge success."

The fourth series of Landscape Artist of the Year is due to air on Sky Arts this coming autumn, with the fifth series of Portrait Artist of the Year following in 2019.

The shows are 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 attract some of the biggest audiences on the channel, with more than 600,000 people on average watching each episode in the latest series of Portrait Artist of the Year.

Sky Arts is the UK's only dedicated channel for the arts, offering classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy. It has partnerships with major UK and European cultural institutions, including National Theatre Live, Tate and The British Library.

The channel is broadcast 24 hours a day and has over 1,000 hours available on catch-up TV. It is of course available through Sky itself, but arts buffs can also access it through Virgin Media and TalkTalk TV.