Belfast Telegraph

Phil Tufnell leads tributes to unlikely art critic Sister Wendy Beckett

The Roman Catholic nun became a star after presenting a series of fine art programmes.

Phil Tufnell has shared a tribute to Sister Wendy Becket (Mike Edgerton/PA)
Phil Tufnell has shared a tribute to Sister Wendy Becket (Mike Edgerton/PA)

Tributes have been paid to Sister Wendy Beckett, the Roman Catholic nun and unlikely TV star who has died aged 88.

Sister Wendy, an art critic and presenter, died on Boxing Day at a care home close to the Carmelite Monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk, where she had lived.

She found unexpected fame in the 1990s presenting a series of popular art programmes for the BBC.

Former England cricketer and television presenter Phil Tufnell worked with Sister Wendy on the BBC’s One Show. He celebrated their “unlikely pairing”, saying she had taught him a “great deal”.

He wrote: “So sad to learn of Sister Wendy’s passing. We made an unlikely pairing on One Show but enjoyed every second in her company and she taught me a great deal & we had some giggles along the way. Will miss her very much.”

Helen King, the principal of St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, said it was “sad to read” of her death. Sister Wendy attended St Anne’s in 1950 and was awarded a Congratulatory First Class degree in English literature.

Author Dolly Alderton said she had been “astonished” by the late presenter’s intelligence.

She wrote: “I’m so sad she’s gone. I was always astonished at her intelligence and humility and tenderness.”

American stand-up comic Morgan Murphy joked that Sister Wendy’s book 1,000 Masterpieces had been her first coffee table book, despite her not owning a coffee table.

She wrote: “RIP to Sister Wendy and (love emoji) to the teacher who pointed me towards her work. 1000 Masterpieces was my very first ‘coffee table’ book. I don’t even think I had a coffee table yet.”

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