Jenny Eclair on her new show Drawers Off: "I had to wait until I was 60-years-old and in a pandemic!"

Virgin Radio

27 Feb 2021, 12:35

Jenny Eclair is hosting a fabulous new TV show, Drawers Off, where amateur artists turn their hand to life drawing.

She joined the Graham Norton Radio Show this morning to talk about the show and how excited she is to start.

“It’s about time I got my own telly show! I’m 60! ” she laughed. “I had to wait until I was 60-years-old and in a pandemic. I knocked them down, all of the TV execs are battle weary.”

Graham asked Jenny if she came up with the title: “I didn't. I actually felt a bit peculiar about it. I thought, oh, I don't want them to  not take art seriously. It's a funny one because it's such good fun. I mean it's called Drawers Off.”

Jenny explained the concept behind the show: “It's very simple. The week starts on a Monday - as it always does - with five contestants, five amateur artists.”

“They come to the studio and one of them disrobes and the other four paint or draw him or her. After the hour painting session, the life model chooses which one they like the best. That then goes into the winners gallery,” she enthuses.

“It carries on like that every day. There's a new life model out of the five artists taking their turn to pose on the podium.”

“Then, at the end, there are five paintings who are all in the winner's gallery, and all the artists get a secret vote and the person who has painted the winner gets £1,000 pounds. It's dead simple. Even I got it, and I can't do Skype,” she laughs.

Jenny admits she was a little worried at first that it might be a bit saucy: “I worried it was going to be a calling card for the dirty old man brigade. I didn’t want it to be some peculiar middle aged men pulling their chairs very close to the television and wearing a mac. I had a couple of nightmares over that as you can imagine,” she jokes.

“We were very sensitive to the artists as models, about lighting and draping. I mean, it's daytime telly, you can’t see bum, you're not allowed. I can't say the other words for the body parts.”

It’s different from many other art shows as the contestants also decide who wins. “There's no professional judges looking down their noses. They are all amateur artists and they're all going through the same process” says Jenny.

“I mean, I'd just be really flattering if I was one of the artists painting one of my fellow competitors. If I wanted to get into the winner's gallery, I’d just take a couple of double chins off them and narrow down the ankle. That way, you know you probably stand a very good chance” she jokes.

Jenny is a keen artist herself: “My preferred medium is acrylic, because it's cheaper and quicker to dry than oil. Watercolour is the hardest. I think a lot of people start with watercolour thinking that's the nursery slopes, it's actually, for me, the most technically difficult” she explains.

“So if I was to encourage anybody that’s starting out, head for the acrylics, they're very forgiving, you can go over your own lines, which you can't with watercolour. Use your fists, use your hands, use potatoes, use anything really!”

Drawers Off starts on Channel 4, every Monday to Friday at 5.30pm for four weeks, with the first episode screening on Monday 1 March.