On the face of it they are wildly different: ecclesiastical architecture, a 1960s girl band performance and a terrible furniture store blaze that helped change UK fire laws. But Elizabeth Price’s powerful fusion of the three elements to make a 20-minute film seemed to grip audiences and led to her being named winner of the 2012 Turner prize.

The Bradford-born artist was given the £25,000 award by the actor Jude Law at a champagne reception in London.

Although she had been shortlisted for a trio of films exhibited at the Baltic in Gateshead, it was one film, The Woolworths Choir of 1979, that was exhibited at this year’s Turner show at Tate Britain and delighted most critics.

The Daily Telegraph’s Richard Dorment called it a “visual tour-de-force” and “20 of the most exhilarating minutes I’ve ever spent in an art gallery”.

Price was arguably the least well-known of the artists on the shortlist and, remarkably, only came to this type of immersive video work about four years ago.

She won in what was regarded by many critics as a particularly strong Turner prize year. While there was nothing to get your maiden aunt choking on her sherry – and even less to make you think “I could do that” – there was wackiness, not least in the shape of performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd, who lives in a nudist commune and whose followers have staged regular Jesus and Barabbas puppet shows.

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