AN ARTIST has taken the watercolour challenge to the next level for a TV programme.

Richard Carman, from Comberbach, will be appearing on the screen every day next week in ITV's five-part series A Brush With the Mersey.

The 44-year-old spent the last few days in May filming the artistic odyssey across the 70-mile course of the river with television presenter Jo Blythe and Hotpot the dog.

Along the way Richard stopped at regional attractions, including Norton Priory near Runcorn and Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, before ending his journey in Liverpool.

Richard actually floated the idea for the series a while ago.

He said: 'Donkey's years ago I planned to write a book about the Mersey and did all the re-search and travelling up and down the river, but I didn't actually write it.

'I was looking for a project painting something different so I went back to my old idea. I had been on Watercolour Challenge on Channel 4 a couple of years ago and really enjoyed television work so I proposed my idea to Granada, they liked it and decided to make a series.

'A Brush With The Mersey is for people in the region and those learning to paint, as I give loads of hints and tips.

'The first two-and-a-half programmes have us navigating by boat, a very smart catamaran, but once we get past Runcorn any boat of any size would be in trouble getting up the river so we do the rest on foot.

'I had to work very quickly and working in the open air on a boat, which was all over the place, was quite a challenge.' A Brush With the Mersey runs from Monday to next Friday at 2.30pm on ITV1. You can view Richard's paintings at