A LAKE District forest was chosen as the backdrop for the opening episode of a new series in which top artists aim to build, weld and sculpt their way to victory.

Landmark will hit screens in September amidst the beautiful setting of Grizedale Forest.

Northern artists Sadie Clayton, Saad Qureshi and Sapien (Steve Anwar) battle it out under the watchful eyes of three judges as they aim to create a distinctive landmark and land themselves a place in the final of the competition.

The pieces produced by the trio will be on display for a period of time after the series has aired - with the exact schedule to be announced after the final show.

Hazel Stone, arts development manager at Forestry England, said: "We were very excited when Sky Arts contacted us with their proposal for a new arts programme about public sculpture featuring such a strong lineup of artists and designers, and delighted to hear that Grizedale would be the launch location for the public to see the works created in the North of England heat.

"We were pleased to be able to support the artists and production company in finding appropriate locations for their pieces within this working forest.

"The pieces add to the 50-plus sculptures currently in the forest sculpture collection, which is sited over 24 square kilometres of forest managed by Forestry England."

Sky has invested £700,000 in public art over the course of the series. £250,000 has been dedicated to the final piece, which the finalists pitched to create and will go on display in Coventry, the UK's 2021 City of Culture.

The money has covered materials and artist fees, and will be used to maintain the newly-created regional and national landmarks for years to come.

The expert judges in the opening episode are Clare Lilley, curator and director of programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and artist Hetain Patel.

The pair will be joined by a celebrity guest judge, national radio broadcaster Mark Radcliffe.

A spokesman for the show said each artist would be bringing 'very different skills' to the North of England heat.

"Will Sadie Clayton, with her fashion background and expertise with copper, create a sculpture to rival established artist Saad Qureshi?" he said.

"Or will relative newcomer Steve Anwar’s deep-rooted connection to Sheffield win over the judges?"

The first episode - at Grizedale - in the seven-part series will air on Sky Arts (Freeview channel 11) on September 6 at 8pm.

The show will air weekly and the final will be broadcast on October 18.