Glow Up



Stacey Dooley (2019-20)

Maya Jama (2021-22)

Leomie Anderson (2023-)


Wall to Wall for BBC One, 6 March to 24 April 2019 (8 episodes in 1 series)

Wall to Wall for BBC Two, 16 July to 3 September 2020 (8 episodes in 1 series)

Wall to Wall for BBC One, 20 April to 8 June 2021 (8 episodes in 1 series)

Wall to Wall for BBC Three, 15 March 2022 to present


Aspiring make-up artists battle to be named the next make-up artist star.

Stacey Dooley (investigative journalist and reigning Strictly Come Dancing champ) hosts a contest for champion cosmeticians. The judges are Dominic Skinner and Val Garland, two established make-up artists. A third judge joins the panel each week.

Glow Up From left: host Stacey Dooley, guest judge Nikkie de Jager, Val Garland, Dominic Skinner.

The basic format is familiar from The Great British Bake Off and everything else: lots of tasks under time pressure. Some of them allow creativity, some are technical tests, some are almost impossible in the time allowed.

With a familiar competition format, it's the presentation and attitude that makes the difference. The judges know about the subject, and justify their decisions - sometimes in retrospect, sometimes as they competitors are veering from the preferred path.

Every skills show needs a gimmick, a tent or a blockhead or something. Glow Up has a "red seat": whoever the judges think did worst in the first challenge will sit in a red seat for the next one, and might suffer a time penalty as well.

Glow Up Detecting flaws the size of pores.

Whoever's bottom of the heap after two tasks takes part in a head-to-head challenge, literally facing each other. Worst leaves, and everyone else comes back next week. Best performer in the final wins.

It's a skills competition about make-up, and the UKGameshows commentary panel doesn't know a chap stick from a lipstick from a glow stick. We do know when a show tells a coherent story, and where we can have faith in the judges, and Glow Up is certainly all of these.


2019 Ellis Crawford
2020 Ophelia Liu
2021 Sophie Baverstock
2022 Yong-Chin Marika Breslin
2023 Saphron Morgan


Tom Haines, credited as "Composer".


Commissioned by BBC Three.

The first series, in 2019, was repeated on BBC One after the evening news at about 10.30. The show was a success, and the second series was promoted to BBC Two at 8pm. All That Glitters was taking up that slot during series three, so it went back to 10.45, on Tuesdays. By the time of series four, BBC Three had returned to terrestrial television, and so BBC One didn't bother carrying it - indeed, at least one UKGS editor only found out the series had even aired after BBC News ran an article about the winner three weeks after the final's first broadcast.

The Irish version was presented by Love Island contestant and Christmas I'll Get This atmosphere spoiler Maura Higgins. BBC Three aired that series on Wednesdays, with episode two premiering the day after episode one and Thursdays around 8pm.

Series five featured On-May, who had previously made a somewhat belligerent appearance on One Question.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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