Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BBC's NEW Big Painting Challenge

The Big Painting Challenge on the BBC - last seen in 2015 - is back on our screens - starting in mid-February 2017.

Below I look at what remains the same and what's different in Series 2 - in the context of what's IN and what's OUT!

What's the same?

  • It's still an art competition on television!
  • It's going to be broadcast on BBC1 (and iPlayer)
  • It still has 10 participants. I'm guessing that those selected will 'tick box' the varying dimensions of 'being representative' of a diverse UK community in terms of gender, geography, age and other aspects of diversity.

So what's different?

New presenters Mariella Fristrup and Rev. Richard Coles


  • OUT - Six themed episodes with artists with different levels of experience and varying use of media tackling different subject matter each week
  • IN - A six-week artistic 'boot camp' - where artists learn new skills each week


  • OUT - Judging solely by Judges Daphne Todd OBE and Lachlan Goudie
  • IN - This time around 
    • the public get to have some sort of input 
    • plus there will be three judges. Daphne and Lachlan are also joined by Dr. David Dibosa
    • BUT the Judges still have the final say on who gets eliminated.
At the end of each episode, the contestants' work will be exhibited to members of the public before three judges - Dr David Dibosa, Lachlan Goudie and Daphne Todd - decide which contestant will be eliminated.

Studio / Atelier

  • IN - a nod in the direction of the atelier system. Participants will get guidance around different media and techniques. 
  • IN - Added in to the mix are two mentors - Pascal Anson and Diana Ali
    • located in separate studios 
    • providing contenders with guidance  through various painting challenges (sounds like the voice tutors for those in singing competitions to me)

Bottom line, it seems to me there has been a concerted effort to introduce different perspectives on art from both practice and diversity perspectives.

The idea is that the Mentors will guide the 10 contestants through different disciplines such as portraiture, landscape and still life - but will also push participants out of their comfort zones.

I think it's very likely that these mentor sessions will also be independently available on iPlayer.

I think it's more likely that progress through the rounds may rely LESS on whether or not you happen to be skilled in the medium in use or subject matter that particular week. (Certainly some of the decisions as to who went last time seemed much more down to skill with a medium than overall art talent).


  • OUT are Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon
  • IN are Mariella Frostrup and the Reverend Richard Coles - neither are particularly known for connection to painting - however Mel and Sue and baking wasn't an obvious connection either! 

Blog Analysis

The BBC didn't know this - but they do now! 

As last time (see below) I'll be watching every programme and offering my comments on what happened.

For those who want to revisit the 2015 Big Painting Challenge you can find all my past blog posts still available - and listed below!


  1. I have been trying to read about the applications for enter the series 2, just so i could monitor potential future series 3 terms and conditions for entries, however i could not find anything. Do you know how was the applications sent through, or a contact? I really appreciate your feedback. Carla

  2. See my post in May 2016 http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-new-bbc-painting-show.html which has all the details about how to enter.

    I'll also add it in a reference link to the recent post.

  3. ....except I see I already did!

    see the last line of the post I'm commenting on which states

    "PLUS my blog post about the run-up to the new show in 2017 in The NEW BBC Painting Show" (which has a link to the relevant post embedded).


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