“Extraordinary Portraits” Celebrates NHS Heroes for New BBC One Series
Extraordinary Portraits, hosted by comedian, actor, musician, and author Bill Bailey, returns to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
To celebrate the NHS’s 75th anniversary, a series of moving portraits has been commissioned in their honour.
Bill, an avid art lover, explores the craft of portraiture in this six-part series by pairing some of the most inspirational members of the NHS staff with renowned artists from the United Kingdom. We learn about the extraordinary efforts made by caring professionals such as doctors, nurses, porters, paramedics, and cleaners. Their achievements, passions, and characters are immortalised in a series of striking portraits.
Quote from Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey says: “It’s been a real privilege to be part of the new series of Extraordinary Portraits. Hearing the incredible stories of the staff who work in the NHS, and watching the brilliant range of featured artists at work has been a fantastic experience. I can’t wait for viewers to see ordinary, yet extraordinary individuals immortalised in portraiture, particularly on the 75th anniversary of the NHS.”
Details of the Artists and Sitters details (not in tx order)
Jemisha Maadhavji & Grace
Grace, a junior doctor is a source of inspiration for Jemisha Maadhavji, a painter. Jemisha, a figurative artist in her twenties, draws inspiration from people who defy easy categorization. Her portraits are bright and full of carefully chosen prints and colours. Grace, who suffered a spinal cord injury at age 22 but persevered in her medical studies and is now a junior doctor in a crowded London emergency room, is a perfect subject for the artist because she, too, refuses to let anything—not even a wheelchair—get in the way of pursuing her goals.
Adebanji Alade & The Edwards Family
Adebanji Alade, president of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, decides to paint the entire Edwards family. Adebanji has always been able to produce epic works of art, but this is his toughest challenge yet. The NHS has been served by six individuals spanning three generations and sixty years of service. Adebanji aspires to capture the Edwards’ almost-century-long dedication to caring for others through his portrayal of their close-knit family and their emphasis on hard work.
Nick Elphick & Martin
Nick Elphick, a monumental sculptor, accepts the challenge of creating a statue of the heroic surgeon Martin. At one of London’s busiest hospitals, where Martin works as a Trauma Surgeon, he sees two stabbings per day on average and two shootings per week. Even more shocking is the fact that the vast majority of his patients are still children. But it is Martin’s non-theatre work that is having the greatest impact. Nick Elphick is a sculptor who uses a wide range of materials and techniques to create works that aim to do more than merely depict the human form; rather, he seeks to convey a sense of deeper meaning through his work.
Mark Draisey & Holly
Mark Draisey, a classical painter, has been paired with Holly, a porter at Torbay Hospital in Devon, who was hired during the pandemic. Holly walks the distance of three marathons every week as she carries patients, doctors, and other hospital staff around the facility. After her daughter Renae, then 8 years old, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, Holly decided to make a career change as a way to give back to the service that helped save her daughter’s life. She’s joined by award-winning artist Mark Draisey, who, after 30 years as a caricaturist and illustrator, returned to his first love, portraiture, in 2016. After meeting Holly and her family, Mark finds himself struggling to accurately portray Holly and Renae’s story.
Brock Elbank & Araf
Brock Elbank, a well-known photographer, is paired with Araf, the first Asian paramedic in Scotland and a recipient of the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal. Araf works with local mosques and Gurdwaras, providing them with first aid knowledge and acting as a bridge between communities when he is not out saving lives on the road. Photographer Brock Elbank is attempting to capture this extraordinary individual. Although Brock’s career started in the world of high fashion, he has since shifted gears to focus on bringing attention to those who are too often overlooked.
Belinda Eaton & Jules
Belinda Eaton, a magical realist painter, is paired with End of Life Care Nurse Jules. Jules has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for those in their final stages of life. Facilitating last-minute nuptials alongside ‘taste for pleasure’ sessions. She holds ‘Grief Cafes’ outside of the office to aid employees in processing their own losses. If not for her sunny disposition, things might seem bleak here. The dreamlike quality of Belinda’s paintings comes from her refusal to be constrained by reality or perspective. The question is how she plans to portray a person whose entire professional life is spent on the edge of life and death.
Who is making the series
Extraordinary Portraits is a Chatterbox Media production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The Executive Producers are Nav Raman and Ali Quirk and it was commissioned by Emma Cahusac for BBC One and BBC Arts.
Image Credit: BBC
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