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Artist & Broadcaster
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Television work

The Divine Michelangelo, BBC1, 2004

I got up to all sorts of things during the making of this ‘docu-drama’ series, from covering a sculpture with a mixture of excrement and yoghurt and then burying it (in order to patinate it with fake age, just as Michelangelo did), to creating a life-size replica of part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in a church in Leyton with artist Fleur Kelly, using genuine fresco technique.

Michelangelo complained bitterly about the arduous conditions he worked under when he did his original ceiling; I had good cause to sympathise with him because when our version of the ceiling was done it was in the middle of an incredibly hot summer, and what with the TV lights etc I felt like I was melting. Then, to make matters worse, I damaged my neck by leaning backwards for so many hours at a time, and had to finish the work with a neck brace on. Talk about ‘suffering for my art’!

I also went to Rome and enthused about the original ceiling in a gloriously empty Sistine Chapel with a curiously cockney accent; it must be in the genes. My other contributions to the series included standing in for actor Stephen Noonan who played Michelangelo, when hands-on painting and chiselling shots were needed (he’s the one with the polystyrene cup).

This whole production was extremely hard work but a dream to work on because everyone was guided and kept in good spirits by the producer/director Tim Dunn, an outstandingly talented man who can remain infectiously calm even in very trying circumstances.

Sistine Chapel