Sunderland has lost its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 to Coventry at the final hurdle.
The announcement was made live on BBC1's The One Show on Thursday night.
The blow was delivered by arts and culture minister John Glen in Hull, the current City of Culture, shortly before 7.30pm.
Sunderland was one of five finalists alongside Paisley, Stoke, Coventry and Swansea.
Organisers hoped that victory would plough millions into the city's economy and bring thousands of visitors to Wearside.
The decision was made after an independent panel of culture experts, chaired by television producer and screenwriter Phil Redmond, visited each of the five candidate cities before recommending Coventry as the winner.
The bid impressed the judges with its focus on youth, diversity and the scale of impact not only in Coventry but across the UK as a whole.
Coventry will take the title from Hull 2017, which has used City of Culture to transform its reputation as a destination for arts and culture both at home and abroad.
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