Una Stubbs is best known for her dramatic roles, such as Mrs Hudson in BBC1’s Sherlock, but tonight she can be seen presenting a new show which she hopes will have the same effect as The Great British Bake Off.

The actress – a keen amateur artist whose work has been displayed at London’s Royal Academy Of Art – is co-presenting The Big Painting Challenge alongside ex-Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon.

Artists Daphne Todd and Lachlan Goudie will judge in the
 nationwide competition which tests 10 amateur artists’ abilities in different mediums, from landscape to life-drawing.

Citing the impact The Great British Bake Off has had on cake-making and sales of baking equipment, Una hopes
The Great Painting Challenge will inspire anyone with an artistic bent to get painting…

“There’s so much to learn with the critiques – what works and what doesn’t. I hope it does encourage people,” she said. “Hopefully the shops will be running out of paintbrushes.”

The Big Painting Challenge judges pose with an easel
Lachlan Goudie and Daphne Todd will judge the artists (PA Photo/BBC/Dan Prince)

Each programme in the six-part series comes from a different location across the country, including Northumberland, Liverpool and London. Almost 6,000 entries were received, with a display of works from the finalists and overall winner to be hosted at Tate Britain.

“We had blazing heat for most of the series, which actually made it quite difficult sometimes for the artists, because they were getting sunburnt,” said the actress.

“They were working under great pressure,” she added. “It was quite concentrated, but in between tasks, we had a lot of fun. We all enjoyed each others’ company and they were all rooting for each other, which was lovely. Competitive as well, I’m sure, but very caring.”

Una, 77, admitted that although she was tempted to join in, she won’t be filling in an entry form if the contest returns for a second series.

“I don’t think I would have coped well. I could only have done the watercolour section, but even then, in that heat, I would find it quite difficult,” she said.

“I work alone quite a lot. So being watched and filmed and spoken to all the time, I would find it tough. And being criticised as well.”

The Big Painting Challenge begins tonight on BBC 1 at 6.00pm.