Portrait Artist of the Year is back for a tenth series – here's everything you need to know

portrait artist of the year with stephen mangan and joan bakewell
Portrait Artist of the Year series 10 returns soonSteve Peskett - Sky

Portrait Artist of the Year will be returning to Sky Arts this autumn for series 10, with Sir Lenny Henry making a comeback as a celebrity sitter as the show aims to set a new world record.

Other celebrity sitters this year will include Strictly's Shirley Ballas, presenter Susanna Reid, comedian and author Rob Delaney and director Richard Curtis.

Featuring the return of hosts Dame Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan, series 10 will launch with a special feature-length episode to celebrate 10 years of the show, with previous series winners returning to compete for the title of Portrait Artist of the Decade. The artists will be invited back to Battersea Arts Centre to paint none other than Oscar-winning actress, Dame Judi Dench.

The special episode will pay tribute to Dame Judi's illustrious career, and take a look at what the show's winners have been up to since they won.

sir lenny henry, sir lenny henry 2023, sir lenny henry 2023 baftas, baftas 2023
Jeff Spicer/BAFTA - Getty Images

Part of the show's 10th anniversary celebrations will also see Sir Lenny back as a celebrity sitter at a live record-breaking portrait painting event on 30 September at Lindley Hall in London. Sky Arts will attempt to set an official Guinness World Record title for the most people painting online and in a single venue simultaneously with the mass portrait painting event of Sir Lenny.

Lenny's portrait by Morag Caister, last year’s Portrait Artist winner, is currently on display in the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery.

Sir Lenny told Sky Arts: "I loved sitting for Portrait Artist of the Year in 2022 and it was a real honour to take part. This year is a little different, but no less momentous. I’m so grateful for the chance to be invited back to play my part in what will hopefully be a new world record for the history books!"

Meanwhile, this year's series of Portrait Artist of the Year will see aspiring artists from across the UK compete to win the title for 2023, with an array of celebrity sitters from the worlds of stage, screen, sport, literature, and politics sitting for portraits.

The artists will battle it out once again to impress expert judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan across seven heats.

shirley ballas, strictly come dancing red carpet launch
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

The celebrities in the sitter's chair this year are:

  • Susanna Reid

  • Shirley Ballas

  • Emma Freud (broadcaster)

  • Richard Curtis (screenwriter)

  • Fleur East (singer)

  • Ainsley Harriott (chef/television personality)

  • Rory Stewart (President of “Give Directly” and author)

  • Rob Delaney (comedian)

  • Jay Rayner (critic)

  • Nihal Arthanayake (presenter)

  • Phillipa Perry (author)

  • Alan Titchmarsh (presenter)

  • Sue Barker (sports personality/presenter)

  • Josh Widdecombe (comedian)

  • Nicky Spence (opera singer)

  • Vanessa Kingori (Conde Nast Chief Business Officer)

  • Mishal Hussain (presenter)

  • Nigel Havers (actor)

  • Lenny Rush (actor)

  • Joe Sugg (writer and YouTube personality)

  • Daryl McCormack (actor)

Each heat winner will go on to paint British pop icon Emma Bunton in the semi-final and the three finalists will battle it out to take home the title, painting broadcasting legend Dame Joan.

This year's winner will receive a £10,000 commission to create a portrait of world-renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, which will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in December.

Portrait Artist of the Year series 10 starts on Wednesday 11 October at 8pm on Sky Arts and Freeview.

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