Emmerdale star in Bakewell for art festival launch

Emmerdale actress Liz Estensen swopped pulling pints at the Woolpack pub to sipping vino at a wine bar in Bakewell this week.

Liz, who plays pub landlady Diane Sugden in the telly soap, was in town to toast her son James Allen’s first solo art exhibition and to raise a glass to Bakewell Arts Festival which is promoting his work.

Speaking at the exhibition in H’s wine bar, Liz said: “This is a world away from the Woolpack. It is very upmarket.

“I have a long standing connection with Bakewell through Sue Stones, founder of the town’s youth theatre and a director of the arts festival. We were at college together doing drama and drama teaching in the Sixties.”

A life-size portrait of well-known actor Matthew Kelly, who studied drama with Liz and Sue at Manchester Polytechnic, takes pride of place in the exhibition.

Liz said “I’m very impressed with James’ work.” Also immortalised in her son’s collection of portraits, she said: “I don’t think it’s his favourite because he’s put it up for sale!”

James (27), who lives in London, said: “The portraits are of family and friends. I get my inspiration from artists I like such as Velazquez and John Singer Sargent.”

Paintings inspired by James’ studies in Italy also feature in his exhibition, A World of Impressions, which is showing at H’s wine bar until August 14.