TV’s Portillo has a brush with Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:39 14 January 2016

TV presenter Michael Portillo with Exmouth artist Ray Balkwill.

TV presenter Michael Portillo with Exmouth artist Ray Balkwill.

Archant

Exmouth will be featured on BBC Two this evening (6.30pm, Thursday, January 14) when politician turned TV presenter Michael Portillo makes a whistle-stop tour of the town.

Michael Portillo with artists Mark Loman (far left), Marcia Rowles and Ray Balkwill (far right).Michael Portillo with artists Mark Loman (far left), Marcia Rowles and Ray Balkwill (far right).

It comes at the end of the latest episode of his BBC TV series Great British Railway Journeys.

After visiting Lymington Town and Axminster, Mr Portillo finishes the programme in Exmouth.

Here he meets local artist Ray Balkwill and learns more about Francis Danby, the ‘forgotten’ Victorian landscape artist who lived out his final years in the town.

The programme was filmed last July. Mr Portillo and Ray met at the Blue Plaque in Trefussis Terrace which Ray helped to bring about in 2004. After that Mr Portillo moves on to the Imperial Recreation Ground where Danby painted some of his best-loved works.

There, he and Ray were also joined by painters Mark Lowman, from Exmouth, and Marcia Rowles from Exeter, and Mr Portillo tried his hand at painting a sky himself on a painting Ray had already begun.

Last July Ray told the Journal: “Michael had never picked up a brush before, but I think he enjoyed the brief experience. I quipped that we made a good team and it would probably double the price of the painting.”

It’s the second time that Mr Portillo has visited Exmouth for the series. He was last in the town in 2013, where he met members of the Exmouth RNLI.

Great British Railway Journeys, Lymington Town to Exmouth, 6.30pm, Thursday, January 14, BBC Two.


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