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Painter hid SEE ANYTHING ODD? Painter hid cheeky insult to birder Bill in his portrait.


T'S a perfect likeness of adopted Brummie TV star Bill Oddie - but look closely and there's a hidden insult.

IBecause acclaimed artist Mark Roscoe seems to think that the Birmingham bird-watcher is a bit of a tit.

In the picture there's the ghostly form of a long-tailed tit.

And Aussie artist Roscoe admits he added the bird because Oddie is "long in the tooth".

The painting is from the 2007 BBC TV series Star Portraits, hosted by the since disgraced presenter Rolf Harris.

Roscoe said: "Bill Oddie was a horrible person, quite awful actually. "So I added a ghost of a bird, with its name in Latin written alongside.

"I was testing his knowledge as an ornithologist. It was my cheeky way of describing him - something along the lines of a 'long-tailed tit.' .' He was long in the tooth and it sounded like a bit of an insult."

But the barb was like water off a duck's back to Oddie, 73, who was born in Rochdale but grew up in Quinton, Birmingham "To be honest, if he was going to use a tit insult he might as well have called me a great tit," he grinned.

"I don't really take offence at it. If it makes him happy then fine.

"It's difficult enough to paint someone's portrait without putting in silly little messages which people are unlikely to either see or understand."

The former member of the Goodies comedy trio was at a loss to explain why the painter would dislike him.

"The only thing I may have said at the time about the Roscoe portrait could have been something along the lines of 'That's great, but it's a little bit camp'" he admitted.

"But it is, with that toy monkey wearing a pith helmet and holding a pot of flowers."

There could be more to come. Roscoe, one of three artists who were required to paint Oddie in the show, added there were other secret messages hidden in Oddie's shirt.

The artist was born in Australia but raised in the UK, and went on to study Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

He has completed more than 100 commissions for both private and corporate clients, and recently won the 2013 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Ondaatje Award for the most distinguished portrait of the year.

Roscoe is currently painting 30 Members of the Faculty of Advocates in a "Bench and Bar" style portrait.


The portrait of comedian and bird watcher Bill Oddie by Mark Roscoe, which includes the ghostly insult of a long-tailed tit

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2015
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