HOLLYWOOD star Brian Cox and television presenter Lorraine Kelly are to spearhead Dundee’s drive to win the coveted City of Culture title in 2017, it was revealed today.
• Brian Cox and Lorraine Kelly enlisted for Dundee’s 2017 bid for City of Culture
• Sheena Wellington also appointed as city’s culture champion
They have been appointed Dundee’s City of Culture Champions, together with traditional singer Sheena Wellington.
Dundee is one of eleven British cities and communities competing for the title. Also chosen for the long list of contenders are Aberdeen; Chester; East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea; Hull; Leicester; Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton; Southend-on-Sea, and Swansea Bay .
Mr Cox, the Dundee-born actor who is currently starring in the BBC comedy “Bob Servant” which is set in Broughty Ferry, said: “I have long said that Dundee should be recognised more widely for the many exciting things that are happening throughout the community, from the Rep, McManus and DCA, to the plans for V&A at Dundee and the wonderful creativity being nurtured in everything from computer games to fine art. Dundee has an outstanding case to be the UK City of Culture 2017 and to involve everyone in the city, right across the social scale, in something truly special.
“I am delighted to support the bid. “As Bob Servant might say, `Vote Dundee!’”
Ms Kelly said: “Dundee has always been a brilliant city but there has been a real renaissance recently, and that is so exciting for all of us who live here and for visitors.
“The symbol of the city is the incredible Discovery ship. The Discovery Point museum is terrific and we also have the McManus, Verdant Works, Dundee Science Centre, DCA, Dundee Rep and terrific restaurants and pubs.
“I’m really looking forward to the V&A coming to the city as it will put Dundee firmly on the map and bring in tourists from all over the world.”
Ms Wellington also enthusiastically backed the title bid. She said: “We have very talented youngsters in Dundee. I want them all to have the confidence to paint, to draw, to dance and to sing. Dundee’s bid needs to catch the spirit of the City - Dundee has always been a singing and dancing city.”
Councillor Ken Guild, chair of the Dundee Partnership and leader of Dundee City Council said: “The work to put together Dundee’s bid has real momentum behind it. I am impressed by the enthusiasm and energy that all the partners are putting in.
“We are all delighted that Sheena, Brian and Lorraine have all agreed to be involved. Their participation will help to mark Dundee’s bid out and highlight our unique strengths as a place where culture in its widest sense plays an important part in our city.”
He added: “This is a people’s bid and there is an ongoing variety of outreach programmes and local participation that already shows the enthusiasm of Dundee communities for cultural activity.”
A city council spokesman explained: “A bid development group is currently putting together the city’s case. This builds on the strengths of Dundee’s cultural sector including the upcoming V&A at
Dundee, Dundee Rep Theatre with its national awards and pioneering community programme, the popularity of Dundee Contemporary Arts with its cutting edge exhibits and programme of international cinema, along with the award-winning McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and museum, which has been working closely with the V&A hosting exhibitions in the lead up to the new building.
“The universities of Dundee and Abertay, Dundee College, Dundee Heritage Trust and a range of local organisations and groups are also in the culture city spotlight.”
The eleven cities and communities have until 30 April to submit their initial bids, which will be considered by an independent advisory panel, chaired by Phil Redmond, creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, and the shortlist which will then be announced in June.