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Portrait Artist of the Year returns to Sky Arts on 13th October

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Singer Celeste, one of the Portrait Artist of the year participants
Singer Celeste is one of the stars taking part on the TV show Portrait Artist of the Year this year

On Wednesday 13th October 2021, the Portrait Artist of the Year will return to Sky Arts and the streaming service NOW for its eighth series.

Back on our screens, with hosts Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell, the series will bring a brand-new batch of amateur and professional artists together as they battle it out to impress expert judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan.

Taking the famous subject’s chair this year are:

  • Singers – Celeste and Gabrielle
  • Actors – Kelly MacDonald, Lydia West, Hugh Skinner, Polly Walker, Daniel Mays, Sophie Cookson
  • Authors – Emma Dabiri
  • Comedian – Nish Kumar
  • Model and TV presenter – Alexa Chung
  • Political strategist – Alistair Campbell
  • Journalist – Ian Hislop
  • Dancers – Arlene Phillips and Sergei Polunin
  • TV presenter – Grace Neutral
  • Paralympic powerlifter – Ali Jawad
  • Conductor – Karen Gibson
  • Scientist – Maggie Aderin-Pocock
  • Historian – David Olosuga

Nine artists compete in each of the eight heats, and each heat winner will go on to paint rock and roll legend and former Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason, in the semi-final. For our grand finale, three finalists will battle it out to take home the crown, painting the iconic Barry Humphries, best known for his on-stage and television alter ego, Dame Edna Everage. This season’s Portrait Artist of the Year winner will receive a £10,000 commission to paint the esteemed Scottish-Italian classical solo violinist, Nicola Benedetti, which will be exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Over the years, Portrait Artist of the Year has unearthed, encouraged and nurtured some brilliant portrait artists – many of whom have gone on to successfully make a living from their art; and that’s something we are really proud of, as we welcome back a new intake of brilliant painters to turn our celebrity sitters into works of art. Watching paint dry has never been this exciting.” – says Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts.

Portrait Artist of the Year will air on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, and streaming service NOW from Wednesday 13th October 2021.

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Lifestyle

1 in 10 British people never eaten beetroot

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woman holding a beetroot based dish
Beetroos are rich in folate (vitamin B9) which helps cells grow and function.

A recent UK survey commissioned by salad brand Florette, has revealed 1 in 10 brits have never eaten beetroot. This rises to a shocking 1 in 5 people in Wales and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, in London, nearly 1 in 5 Londoners have eaten beetroot in the last 24 hours.

From brownies and pancakes to falafel and pasta, here is a list a versatile beetroot based recipes to try at home.

Beetroot Arancini
Gorgeous little rice balls that make the ultimate party sharer plate in a recipe created by social media sensation Poppy Cooks! Poppy Cooks has taken the internet by storm since the Michelin trained chef started posting recipe videos during the pandemic, amassing over 2 million followers on social media. Created in partnership with Florette, you can find this recipe on her Instagram @Poppy_Cooks

Vegan Beetroot Soup
With over 1.5 million people in the UK following a vegan diet and almost half of Brits (49%) saying soup is amoung the meals they eat most in autumn and winter, a bowl of this winter warmer could be a winner!

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies
Yep, we went there! Utterly scrumptious, there’s no need to resist temptation when there’s a vegetable involved right!?

Beetroot Margaritas (Marga-beetas)
Drink your vegetables at happy hour with these beetroot margaritas, also known as “margabeetas.” These cocktails get their gorgeous pink hue naturally from inherently sweet beetroot juice.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Served with a sage & pistachio brown butter, this delicious dish is perfect for entertaining or a fancy light lunch.

Beetroot Pancakes
Only 17% of Brits eat the recommended 5-a-day fruit and veg, with more than half of Brits eating 3 or less. Get yours the tasty way!

Beetroot Pesto Pasta
47% of Brits say pasta is amoung the meals they eat most in autumn and winter. Bored of spag bol and think parpadelle is pants? Mix things up with this hearty wholesome alternative!

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tart

Because tangy beetroot and creamy goats cheese is simply a match made in heaven!

Beetroot Hummus
This vibrant veggie mix is perfect as a crudité dip or served as a party snack.

Beetroot Falafel
Pack in more of your 5 a day with delicious results! Adding beetroot not only makes these falafel taste incredible, it also turns them an amazing shade of pink!

Full recipes of all these dishes can be found here.

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Michael Caine awarded at Raindance Film Festival

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Actor Michael Caine receiving award at the Dorchester Hotel in London
British actor Michael Cane received the Raindance Icon Award at the Dorchester | Photo: Ana Blumenkron

A hybrid Raindance Film Festival is showcasing indie productions online and in several cinemas across London.

The 29th edition of the United Kingdom’s largest independent film festival started on October 27th with a UK theatrical premiere of Michael Caine’s latest film, ‘Best sellers’, directed by Lina Roessler. The 88-year-old actor stars alongside Aubrey Plaza as a cranky retired author who reluctantly embarks on a final book tour to help out a young publisher. The premiere was followed by a party at The Dorchester hotel, in London, where the Academy Award and BAFTA winning British actor received this year’s Raindance Icon Award.

“Britain excels at independent film,” says Michael Caine. “The British Film Industry makes exceptional independent films, some of which I’ve have the pleasure to act in. I am honoured and proud to be a part of the British Film Industry. It’s a place where low-budget films can thrive, where all kinds of stories can be told, and where people from all backgrounds can prosper. Raindance is a vital part of this. I’m deeply honoured to receive this year’s Raindance Icon Award.”

Elliot Grove, the Canadian-born film producer who founded the Raindance Film Festival in 1993, added:

“Michael Caine is a true icon. His incredible career has taken him from Alfie to Zulu, and from Italian jobs to Hollywood blockbusters – yet throughout it all, Michael Caine has remained true to his roots. He champions our indie film industry every time he appears in a low budget British film.”.

The Raindance Icon Award is a natural evolution of Raindance’s Auteur Award, whose recipients were directors Terry Gilliam, Guy Richie and Ken Loach.

Renamed the Raindance Icon Award in 2019, this annual award now has a broader mandate to honour and celebrate the true icons of independent cinema: those who have made an enduring impression via the medium of film. Previous Raindance Icons are Olivia Colman, Jude Law and Sally Hawkins.

The closing gala of the Raindance Film festival will feature “Medusa”, production directed by Anita Rocha Silveira and a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight contender about gender violence in Brazil.

To find out more about the festival and book tickets, visit: Raindance.org/festival

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Catwalk shows return at hybrid London Fashion Week

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Model showcase new collection of fashion label Helen Anthony
Fashion label Helen Anthony, by designer Naeem Anthony, showcased a new SS22 collection during the London Fashion Week

Day two of London Fashion Week started early this Saturday with designers Edeline Lee and Phoebe English showcasing their collection before lunchtime.

Today’s digital highlights include Feng Chen Wang, Marques’ Almeida, and Molly Goddard. Catwalk presentations taking place across London today include KLWNS and Yuhan Wang.

As models return to the catwalks and several party across the capital confirms that it is officially fashion time, in London, the fashion industry tries to get back on track after over a year of digital-only events. Data recently published by the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, shows that the impact of the pandemic on the creative industries and crucially, what could be unlocked with the right investment. The report features newly commissioned data from Oxford Economics, which projects that, with the right investment, the creative industries sector could recover faster than the UK economy as a whole, growing by over 26% by 2025 and contributing £132.1 billion to the UK economy in GVA – over £28 billion more than in 2020, and more than the financial services, insurance and pension industries combined. Not only a major driver of economic growth, the data reveals that by 2025 the Creative Industries could create 300,000 new jobs, bouncing back from the impact of Covid-19 and surpassing pre-pandemic employment levels: generating enough new jobs to employ the working-age population of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough twice over.

This season, a hybrid London Fashion Week – one of the big four international fashion weeks alongside Paris, New York and Milan – is featuring a line-up of 79 physical events – including shows, appointments and presentations – and 82 digital productions.

Like many other British venues, across the country, at in-person events a proof of full vaccination or a recent antigen test is being requested from each attendee. And although facemasks are still mandatory for those working backstage, press, buyers and fashionistas rushing to see the Spring/Summer 2022 collections are allowed to skip the accessory.

The efforts to keep the show on the road can be justified in numbers: according to Fashion United, a global network for fashion news and business intelligence, currently around 555,000 people are employed in the fashion industry, textiles and fashion retail in the United Kingdom. According to market research firm Mintel, the UK womenswear market was worth 26.5 billion pounds ($36.49 billion) in 2020, down from 30.6 billion pounds the previous year.

London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday, September 21st.

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