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Series / Art Attack

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"This is an art attack... This is an art attack... This is, Art Attack!"
—Opening narration

A British children's TV show on CITV that ran from 1990 to 2007 (another series has started, but is almost completely unrelated aside from reusing the name.) Presented by Neil Buchanan, its mission was to interest kids in art, and it achieved wild success both in the UK and overseas.

The format of the half-hour show consisted of three segments in the studio, which took the form of a giant-size art set, in each of which Neil would do a short project (or "Art Attack") interspersed with shorter segments, one of which was always Neil making a "Big Art Attack" consisting of arranging a huge number of everyday items on a background (usually the floor) to form a giant picture when viewed from above.

Besides presenting the art as something easy to get into and the iconic, brightly-coloured set, it was popular because of Neil Buchanan's easygoing presenting style coupled to self-referential humour. As a measure of this popularity, for several years ITV paid for Neil and the team to go to various exotic locations for the Christmas Episode and make a Big Art Attack using, for example, the lights of New York skyscrapers.

A recurring character was "The Head," an animated stone bust in a museum, who would pop up in his own short scene after each Art Attack to recap Neil's instructions and then present his own effort, which inevitably had gone amusingly wrong somehow. In terms of visuals, this show is definitely in Homage of The '60s childrens' TV art show, Vision On, which minimised the spoken word and emphasised the visual.

Between 1998 and 2005 Disney co-produced several different foreign language spin-offs of this show, also titled Art Attack, for various different countries. Each version had a different host (for example, Jordi Cruz hosted the Spanish version, and Rui Torres was the Latin American presenter). These foreign versions were recorded on a smaller set, and the footage was mostly made up of stock footage from the original, hence why the projects shown were largely the same. The Head was also retained, as were Neil Buchanan's Big Art Attacks.

Following ITV's cancellation of the series in 2007, the series was sold by HIT Entertainment to Disney, who then made a revamped version in 2010 aimed at a pre-school audience. The series was filmed in Argentina, and was presented by a selection of different presenters, with Emiliano Pandelo hosting the Latin American version for example. The revival featured more Disney-focused makes, and used footage of an artist making them to save on costs. Local artist Alexiev Gandman was chosen to do the Big Art Attacks, while The Head was replaced with a new character - Vincent van Coconut.

This TV show provides examples of:

  • Butt-Monkey: The Head would excitedly present his recreations of the Art Attacks, only for them to be invariably ruined. For example, reproducing one of Neil's sand drawings... on a vertical canvas.
  • Character Catchphrase: Neil developed many over the years:
    • At the start of every show: "Ah! Hello there!" From around 1997 onwards, he would also say "Good to see you again!"
    • "It doesn't need to be perfect or anything"
    • "You don't have to be neat"
    • "And then you'll have something that looks like this"
    • "I'm just doing this quickly to show you, you can take a lot more time over it"
    • "Mix some PVA glue, which is the ordinary white school glue you get in the squidgy bottles..."
    • "Use tissue paper, or..." (furtive look, whispers) "...Loo roll;"
    • "Slop it on"
    • "Leave it to dry overnight"
    • "Try it yourself, a (name of art attack)" at the end of each segment.
    • At the end of the show, after the final "Try it yourself: "...And I'll see you next time. Ta-ra!"
    • Most of these were referenced in the CrazyHowBadAttack anniversary crossover event, when Carol Vorderman took over for one episode.
  • Crossover: In 1995, as part of CITV's anniversary celebrations, the crossover "CrazyHowBadAttack" was made, in which the presenters of CITV's four main factual programmes took over each others' jobs: How 2 (science and history,) Bad Influence (video game reviews,) Animal Crazy (nature,) and Art Attack. Carol Vorderman ended up taking over Art Attack while Neil was one of the presenters of Animal Crazy, and got bitten.
  • Foreign Remake: Of sorts: several foreign language versions of Art Attack were made, each with a different presenter - but they were all filmed in the UK, in an almost identical studio to that of the original series. The way it was filmed also meant that none of the local presenters actually did the art - Neil's hands would be shown producing the artwork in close-up shots, but the presenters would pretend that they had been doing it.
  • Once an Episode: The Big Art Attack.
  • Parody Assistance: Neil used to join Ant and Dec for their "Fart Attack" sketches on SMTV Live.
  • Pun: "The Head" specialised in them.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Neil was supposedly inspired to make the 'giant pencil case dropped on the floor with bits all over the place' set after doing just that to his own pencil case, and then got the producer around to lie on the floor to see it from the right perspective.
  • Skyscraper Messages: An episode had Neil do this with the skyscrapers in New York City for the "Big Art Attack."
  • Title Drop: Frequently; the intro alone always did it three times an episode.
  • World of Chaos: The live set, to some extent. Neil described the show as "Giving your eyeballs a shock!"