Winners of Portrait Artist of the Year to paint Judi Dench for Sky Arts special

Jane Goodall (Ian West/PA)
Jane Goodall (Ian West/PA) Jane Goodall (Ian West/PA)

Dame Judi Dench will be celebrated during the 10-year anniversary of the Portrait Artist Of The Year TV show.

Winners of the Sky Arts programme from the last decade will paint the Oscar-winning actress, 88, during a 90-minute special.

The Portrait Artist Of The Decade episode will also delve into the stories of previous winners and their careers as they return to Battersea Arts Centre.

The Animal Hero Awards 2018 – London
The Animal Hero Awards 2018 – London Jane Goodall (Ian West/PA)

Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “We are tremendously proud that over 10 years Portrait Artist Of The Year has become the pre-eminent painting prize in the UK, and that so many of the wonderfully talented artists who’ve appeared on the programme have gone on to have such glittering careers in portraiture.

“That plus a range of famous faces captured on canvas make this a true jewel in the Sky Arts crown.”

Also marking the show’s 10th year is a mass portrait event with amateur and professional artists depicting comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry.

The session, which will be streamed online from Lindley Hall in Westminster, will look to break the record for the most people painting online and in a single venue simultaneously.

Sir Lenny, who sat for last year’s portrait artist winner, Morag Caister, said: “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.”

Hosts of Portrait Artist Of The Year, Dame Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan, will return with the programme on October 4.

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London
Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London Dame Joan Bakewell (Matt Crossick/PA)

This year, celebrity sitters include politician turned podcaster Rory Stewart, Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis, Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid and Good Luck To You, Leo Grande star Daryl McCormack.

The artists who make it to the semi-final will paint Spice Girl Emma Bunton before the three finalists depict Dame Joan.

This year’s winner will receive a £10,000 commission to create a portrait of conservationist Dame Jane Goodall, which will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in December.

Stuart Prebble, the chairman of production company Storyvault Films, said: “We’re very proud of everything our series has delivered over 10 years for Sky Arts and especially for the hundreds of brilliant and inspiring artists who’ve featured in it.

“And what better way to celebrate our 10th anniversary than with three grande dames as our sitters – Dame Joan, Dame Judi and Dame Jane?”