Miriam Margolyes is the first to take the Tate Britain Great British Walk with Sky Arts

As announced in December last year, Sky Arts is about to set off on a wander with some famous faces for Tate Britain’s Great British Walks.

“Tate Britain’s Great British Walks is a unique new landmark series commissioned in partnership with Tate Britain. In each film, we are art detectives in the magnificent company of well-loved British figures, undertaking epic journeys across the nation to discover paintings that hold a personal resonance for them. The guests have been remarkably open and passionate, not just about art, but about their lives, Britain and the timeless spirit of its landscape and peoples.” – Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts

In the Sky Arts series, which begins this coming week, the show presents an epic travelogue through British art in the company of a host of celebrities, as they each journey to discover the landscapes that inspired their favourite paintings, chosen from Tate’s national collection. Names set to appear include Danny Baker, Simon Callow, Richard E Grant, Cerys Matthews, Miriam Margolyes and Michael Sheen who all travel in the footsteps of their favourite British artists.

In the first edition Miriam Margolyes who has appeared in everything from Blackadder to Crossroads, one cultural extreme to another indeed, reveals her passion for Alfred Wallis, the Cornish fisherman who taught himself to paint in his 70s and subsequently transformed the British art scene throughout the 1930s with his distinctive seascapes.

Joined by art historian Gus Casely-Hayford, Miriam begins her journey at the Tate Britian, where they are granted exclusive access to Wallis’ paintings. From there they head down to Cornwall, taking in the beautiful coastlines, as they learn what inspired Wallis to pick up the paintbrush so late in his life and discover on their travels he was no ordinary fisherman.

Other editions will look into the works of William Hogarth, John Constable, JMW Turner, William Powell Frith and Josef Herman as viewers move from lush green countryside to gritty urban cityscapes and wild romantic coasts that seduced these artistic greats. Gus Casely-Hayford will feature in each programme as he accompanies the famous faces as they learn more about their chosen paintings and artists.

“Tate Britain is the home of British art, and the works in our national collection are as powerful and beautiful today as they were when they were first painted. Tate Britain’s Great British Walks will map the connections between people and places in six of the paintings on display here, revealing the artists’ relationship with the landscape and locality. After watching the programme, I hope viewers will come to Tate Britain to see the works alongside other great paintings by the artists, starting their very own journey of discovery.” – Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain

Tate Britain’s Great British Walks begins on May 2nd on Sky Arts at 9pm.

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