"Portrait Artist of the Year" is hosted by UK TV personalities Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner; an esteemed group of judges travel across the Europe in search of a new star in the art world. Each episode features a regional competition where artists are shortlisted and challenged to produce a portrait of one of three famous sitters. At the end of each round, the judges select an artist to go to the semifinal. The finalists will have their work displayed at the world-famous National Portrait Gallery in London and the winner will receive a ￡10,000 commission to paint a portrait which will become part of the permanent collection at the British Library.
With judges and onlookers examining their every move, the artists face new challenges at each phase of the competition while painting such famous "sitters" as Sir Ian McKellen, Hilary Mantel, John Hannah, Sophie Turner, Simon Weston, Sophie Dahl, Maisie Williams, John Humphrys, Julian Fellowes, Richard Dawkins and Alan Cumming.