Saturday, March 25, 2023

Want to watch the Portrait Artist of the Year 2023 being filmed?

As per usual the Heats of Portrait Artist of the Year are being filmed at the Battersea Arts Centre in April 2023. The Series 10 episodes will then be broadcast in the Autumn.

What it really looks like on "the set" when filming is taking place

This is what "the studio set-up" looks like rather a lot of the time. Judges talking to artist and cameraman, sound person and assorted others standing and sitting around. Other artists trying to concentrate and finish their painting. Spot the sitter!

However the way it's going to work will be DIFFERENT this year. See below for more information which includes:
  • Venue: Battersea Arts Centre - and how to get there
  • Dates: PAOTY Heats Series 10 x 6
  • Be in the Audience: how to book to be there when the filming takes place
An empty Grand Hall, Battersea Arts centre - before the set-up and people arrive

Portrait Artist of the Year:
Series 10 - Filming of the Heats

Venue: Battersea Arts Centre

Battersea Arts Centre - on Lavender Hill

The address for Battersea Arts Centre is Lavender Hill London SW11 5TN. I know! No clue as to where.


Invite to attend

The website for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year has provision for people to sign up for notifications about the series - including when and where filming takes place.

That's the best way of keeping in touch with what's happening - and there are can be last minute changes on occasion.

The Public are invited to attend - particularly those who are fans and/or have previously entered but not got in. 

This year, Stuart Prebble (who runs Storyvault Films who make the series) has said that 
We are welcoming back an audience to watch art in action at the Battersea Arts Centre. Spaces will be limited so entry shall be on a first come first served basis for each date. This includes our family friendly day on the 18th of April. NB: Please be aware that “first come first served” does mean that you may arrive but not be admitted due to overcrowding.
After feedback from people in the Facebook Fan Group who said that they wouldn't want to travel long distance and then find they couldn't get in and/or can't afford a hotel to be sure of getting there early in the morning, the arrangements have been changed relative to previous years.
We have revised our arrangements for admitting the public to the recordings of Portraits. We have decided to offer 2 sessions a day for members of the public to come along to watch the filming of PAOTY Series 10 at Battersea Arts Centre.

We will be welcoming audience on to the set both in the morning (arrival of 8:45am) and the afternoon (arrival of 1:10pm). Please can you register which session you would like to attend by email to

Please note, if you would like to attend the entire day, apply for both the morning and afternoon sessions and we will try our best to accommodate your request.

Dates of the Heats

This year the dates for the filming at Battersea Arts Centre are listed below.
By the way, the order of the Heats - as filmed - is NOT the order of the heats as shown in the episodes.

There are eight heats - which means one of them will be for Celebrity PAOTY - but they don't say which one!

  • Tuesday 18th April (family friendly) AM or PM Family friendly means small children are welcome. Which I take to mean, by implication, not so much on other dates! Don't forget it's a film set so wailing babies or very noisy kids may well need to be removed from the Hall because of the sound.
  • Wednesday 19th April AM or PM
  • Thursday 20th April AM or PM
  • Friday 21st April AM or PM
  • Monday 24th April AM or PM
  • Tuesday 25th April AM or PM
  • Wednesday 26th April AM or PM
  • Thursday 27th April AM or PM 

The semi Final is interesting - but more difficult to see what's happening because they're all looking at one sitter - and they're at a fair old distance! Plus cameras need space to get in front of / at the side of and behind each artist!

The challenge is to try and work out which three will go through to the Final - based on the heat portraits at the back of the hall and the portraits of the celebrity sitter being developed in front of you. I picked all three correctly when I attended this semi-final!

Look at the distance between easels and sitter
  • Wednesday 3rd May (semi final) AM or PM
Reviewing the semi final portraits of Elaine Page in April 2019
for PAOTY 2020


The Final has traditionally been filmed at the National Portrait Gallery - but it doesn't reopen for another two months so the Final is at Battersea.
  • Thursday 18th May (final) AM or PM
There are facilities on site for getting refreshments - but there can be long queues so you may think it better to bring your own.  

It's also a VERY long day. It starts early and finishes late. You need to factor that in if staying for the afternoon session

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