How a Former Metal Guitarist Became a Children’s TV Show Host

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It happens to the best of us: After years of thinking that the image of a cherished childhood figure is one way, we come to find that they are living a secret double life behind the scenes. Most of the time this leads to disappointment and heartbreak over nefarious activities, but fortunately, in the case of the British children’s show Art Attack longtime fans have been floored to find out that host Neil Buchanan was even cooler than they thought: He was in a heavy metal band.

Buchanan, 66, is the original host of the hit children’s art show. Art Attack featured several presenters over the course of several networks and decades, but Brits of a certain age will always attribute that role to Neil. 

Long before his Art Attack days, Buchanan was a founder of successful Liverpool heavy metal band Marseille with Andy Charters and Keith Knowles, providing lead guitar and backing vocals.

Marseilles secured a five-year recording contract with Mountain Records after winning the first ever ‘UK Battle of the Bands’, a contest judged by Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor. The band released their debut album, Red, White and Slightly Blue in 1978.

Although he left the group in 1980, Buchanan rejoined in 2008 after Marseille’s decades-long hiatus. He left the band again in 2014.

The revelations of Neil Buchanan’s heavy metal past has come to a shock to some fans, who only learned about his time in Marseilles after old pictures began showing up on social media.

One fan tweeted: “Had no idea Neil Buchanan had forged a second career in heavy metal.”

Said another fan: “I am today’s year old when I found out that Neil Buchanan (the Art Attack guy) used to be in a heavy metal band, playing a guitar!”

Along with Art Attack and Marseilles, it has long been theorized that Neil Buchanan is the true identity of rogue street artist, Banksy.

In September 2020, he addressed the speculations via tweeter: “Hi folks. You won’t be surprised when I tell you – contrary to the recent media frenzy – I am honestly, hand on heart, NOT Banksy!!

“Trust me, if I had created some of those amazing images he has made, I would be the first to stand up and take a bow. Sadly, I didn’t create them – so I can’t! But I did paint all the stuff here. Hope you like it! As ever, thanks for your support. Neil.”

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