Sunderland's City of Culture fate to be decided live on television

Organisers and supporters promote Sunderland's bid beneath Penshaw Monument.Organisers and supporters promote Sunderland's bid beneath Penshaw Monument.
Organisers and supporters promote Sunderland's bid beneath Penshaw Monument.
The fate of Sunderland's bid to become the United Kingdom's City of Culture will be decided live on television.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed today that a final decision will be made on Thursday, December 7, on BBC1's The One Show.

Arts and Culture Minister John Glen will announce the winner between 7pm-7.30pm when the programme is broadcast from current City of Culture Hull.

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Sunderland is on a shortlist of five contenders bidding for the 2021 title along with Coventry, Paisley, Stoke and Swansea.

In the run-up to the eagerly-awaited announcement, The One Show will be profiling each of the shortlisted contenders.

The DCMS will also be highlighting the cities with each given a designated day to shine on the department’s social media channels.

Sunderland’s day is next Tuesday, December 5, and the City of Culture bid team has asked for public support in showing how much the city wants the title.

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Bid director Rebecca Ball said: “Our final presentation to the judges is in Hull next Thursday morning, so we won’t have too long to wait for a decision.

"We’ve come a long way since first announcing the bid and the support shown by the city and the wider region has been tremendous.”

The bid team has asked for a social media takeover from 9am on Tuesday, December 5, to showcase people, places, songs and stories that best capture Sunderland using the hashtags #Sunderland2021 and #UKCityofCulture2021 and the tag @DCMS.

Ms Ball said: “This city has inspired so much great art, sport and stories.

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"To celebrate this we’d like everyone to share their favourite photos and most inspiring facts about our city.

"On Tuesday we want everyone to tell the country who and what their Sunderland cultural icons are. It’s our last push and I hope as many people as possible can support us and show how much this city wants to win this.

“Whether it’s Joseph Swan, Roker beach, Vaux Breweries, Alice in Wonderland, Bob Stokoe, Frankie and the Heartstrings, Penshaw Monument, The Sunderland Echo, LS Lowry…whatever and whoever it may be, we want people to tweet about it, or to share on Instagram or Facebook.”

Keith Merrin, chief executive of Sunderland Culture, the company set up to deliver the bid, added: “Next Thursday is an important day for the city and we’re all hoping and praying that the result goes our way.

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"But win or lose, the city is in a much different position now than it was when we first declared our intention to bid for the title.

“Not just in terms of infrastructure and substantial investment into our arts and culture sector, and not just in a change of how our city is seen – the bidding process and our shortlisting has given us all a huge confidence boost.

"Others now recognise the journey we’re on, and the momentum that the bid has built will continue whether we’re successful next week or not.”

The bid has been backed by local and regional businesses, councils, MPs, colleges, universities, transport companies, health authorities as well as organisations like Sunderland BID, SAFC, Gentoo, the Echo and local celebrities.