A former children’s TV presenter has denied he is the elusive graffiti artist Banksy, after a theory posted online went viral.
“Neil Buchanan ISN’T Banksy,” read a statement posted to the broadcaster’s official website on Monday.
It came after a social media rumour suggested the former Art Attack and Finder’s Keepers host was the man behind Banksy’s anonymous street art.
After the story spread, the 58-year-old felt obliged to clear the air.
“We have been inundated with enquiries over the weekend regarding the current social media story,” read the notice on his website.
“Unfortunately this website does not have the infrastructure to answer all these enquiries individually, however we can confirm that there is no truth in the rumour whatsoever.”
It added: “Neil spent Lockdown with vulnerable members of his family and is now preparing to launch his new art collection in 2021. Thank you and please stay safe.”
Neil Buchanan hosted Art Attack on ITV from 1990 until 2007, and was known for using the show to create ambitious, large-scale artworks – including a zoo scene made from sacks of vegetables; and a picture of a snail carved into a field by a lawnmower.
Rumours of his supposed alter-ego appear to have started when one user claimed that Banksy artworks had sprung up in places where Buchanan’s former band Marseille played gigs.
Mystery has surrounded the true identity of Banksy for several years, and many news outlets have published theories about who they might be.
Their identity, however, has never been officially confirmed.
The Bristol-based artist has been particularly active this year, and last month funded a boat to rescue refugees at sea.
However, Italy’s coastguard, together with a larger rescue boat, had to come to the Louise Michel’s aid after it became stranded and overloaded.
In July, Banksy encouraged the public to wear face masks in a piece of graffiti which appeared on a London Underground train.
Transport for London (TfL) said it was later removed in line with its “strict anti-graffiti policy”.
And, in May, an artwork which paid tribute to the NHS appeared in the foyer of Southampton General Hospital.