We’re living through strange times.
And in strange times, conspiracy theories often thrive.
One that got everyone going was that Neil Buchanan, of Art Attack fame was actually also world-famous anonymous street artist Banksy.
So who is Banksy and who is Neil Buchanan?
Anonymous street artist Banksy has spend decades creating art installations from the West Bank to the London Underground. The works often carry a political message.
Most recently – before the secret identity saga – he hit the headlines because he bought a refugee rescue boat, painted it pink and used it to help those stranded in the Mediterranean Sea.
Neil Buchanan is also a legend in his own right. He hosted the popular programme Art Attack for 17 years from 1990-2007.
He still produces art, and has a new collection coming out in 2021, which is perhaps why some people believed rumours that he could be Banksy.
How did the bizarre rumour start?
As with most rumours, it’s hard to tell.
Media outlets have reported that it started over the weekend, and this tweet from Friday seems to have kicked everything off.
However, the account that posted this also posted many of the news articles about the conspiracy theory afterwards, which is a little weird.
It’s also worth noting that this might not be the first time this rumour has come around.
One Twitter user said they had come up with the theory 11 years ago.
And someone else asked the question on Twitter all the way back in 2017.
So... is it true?
Neil Buchanan – that’s the Art Attack star (we know, many artists, much confusion) – released a statement saying “there was no truth” in the rumour whatsoever.
Why do people still believe the rumour if Neil himself has denied it?
Some have pointed out that’s exactly what Banksy would say....
Others have evidence-based reasons.
But maybe, the biggest reason some people still believe the rumour is that it’s been a tough year, and we could all do with some nice, fun news.
Does Neil Buchanan have any other secret identities?
Not quite secret, but Neil Buchanan was also a character called Smarty Arty in a 1996 series that was repeated on television in 1998.
None others that we're aware of though...
Any other possible suspects?
Nobody knows for sure, but people have used the rumour circulating to give their own guesses of who Banksy is.
Many of the suggestions are very tongue-in-cheek. Other children’s presenters were thrown into the mix.
For a long time, many have suspected Robert Del Naja, sometimes called 3D who co-founded trip hip hop band Massive Attack, but the two claim to be friends.
Others think it’s more likely to be Bristolian artist Robin Gunningham.
It’s also been suggested in the past that Banksy isn’t one person but a group of artists.
You can see more of the here.
Or you can continue believing it’s Neil Buchanan. Whatever it takes to get you through 2020.