Noddy Holder ‘moved’ as painting crowned Portrait Artist winner

Pret teams up with Noddy Holder in 2021

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Another crop of celebrities and hopeful artists have taken the challenge to paint portraits of six famous sitters for a seasonal edition of Portrait Artist of the Year. Featuring the likes of Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and Mica Paris, it was a stunning likeness of Slade frontman Noddy Holder who was ultimately crowned the winner of Sky Arts’ special Christmas episode, and caught up with presenters Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell after the results were announced.

Co-host Stephen revealed Noddy was deeply touched by Jason Merrells’ winning portrait of the Slade singer, 76.

The Birmingham musician donned seasonal red garb for his portrait and had to sit for several hours while Jason studied and painted.

“I haven’t had my portrait painted, but I imagine it’s quite disconcerting, moving, and an odd experience,” Stephen told

“One of my biggest memories ever was standing with Elaine Paige as eight Elaine Paige portraits were turned around – it’s really overwhelming!”

Noddy was clearly stunned by the portraits, another one of which was painted by Jedward’s Edward Grimes.

Stephen went on: “We’ve had a lot of tears this series as people are confronted by seeing the likes of their parents and capturing likenesses.

“And I think Noddy was really moved that Jason caught something that isn’t Slade, wacky, Merry Christmas Brummie, the classic Noddy Holder thing.

“He had seen him, really seen him. And I think that’s moving and quite arresting to be really, properly seen by somebody.”

“And a good artist does that, they properly look and they have the skill to translate what they see onto the page. And make you look at the world in a different way.”

“I think that’s a side of me that nobody ever sees,” Noddy told Jason when his portrait was revealed in the episode.

“And I like what you said about getting my hands in there. My hands and my throat are an important part of my career.”

Portrait Artist judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan ultimately crowned Jason’s the winning painting, though they admitted the decision was tough.

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Stephen’s co-presenter Joan added: “If it’s yourself it’s completely shocking.

“They turn their easels round and it is a great moment for them. The natural response is ‘Wow’. Because ‘wow’ is the word.

“But a lot of them find it deeply moving, disturbing, and revealing. And that’s marvellous, really, because it’s about a relationship, like a love affair.

“Very briefly, for a moment, they’ve looked into each other’s eyes and caught something.”

Noddy’s UK rock band Slade is perhaps best known for their holiday single Merry Xmas Everybody, which remains one of the most popular Christmas songs to this day.

He has recently joined forces with fellow rocker Ozzy Osbourne for a new charity single This Christmas Time in support of The Cancer Awareness Trust.

Other guest stars include Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and EastEnders star Samantha Womack.

Portrait Artist of the Year: Celebrity Christmas Special is available on Sky Go and NOW.

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