Entertainment

UK City of Culture 2021: The lowdown on the contenders

Hull Image copyright PA

The UK’s next City of Culture will be named later, with Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea all in the running.

The winner will be named on BBC One’s The One Show from 19:00 GMT and will have the honour for 2021.

The title is awarded every four years and the successful place will hope to emulate the success of Hull, which is UK City of Culture this year.

This year is estimated to have boosted Hull’s economy by £60m.

Find out more about the 2021 contenders:

Coventry

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Media captionUK City of Culture: Five things about Coventry

Famous sons and daughters

It’s the birthplace of Philip Larkin, one of England’s finest poets, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire and best-selling author Lee Child. It’s also the home of the Two Tone ska movement through bands like The Specials and The Selecter.

Cultural claims to fame

Venues would include Warwick Arts Centre, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and the Belgrade Theatre, which launched the Theatre In Education movement in 1965. It’s also the home of the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre and boasts the UK’s largest free family music festival with the Coventry Godiva Festival.

Paisley

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Media captionUK City of Culture: Five things about Paisley

Famous sons and daughters

Former Doctor Who star David Tennant and Hollywood actor Gerard Butler grew up in this Renfrewshire town, while singer Paolo Nutini’s dad runs a fish and chip cafe there. It was also home to Gerry Rafferty, known for his hit Baker Street.

Cultural claims to fame

Paisley is most famous for the Paisley print – the intricate, colourful designs that were popularised in the psychedelic 1960s. There are plans for Paisley Museum to have a £42m revamp to make it a world-class museum of textiles. It’s also home to Pace, which is billed as the UK’s largest youth theatre group, and the British Pipe Band Championship.

Stoke-on-Trent

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Media captionUK City of Culture: Five things about Stoke-on-Trent

Famous sons and daughters

There’s pottery pioneer Josiah Wedgwood and his son Thomas, who was one of the fathers of photography. Pop star Robbie Williams, Slash from Guns N’ Roses and Lemmy from Motorhead all hail from Stoke. As did Jackie Trent, who wrote the Neighbours theme tune (among other songs).

Cultural claims to fame

Stoke is the capital of the ceramics industry, and The Potteries are now home to designers like Emma Bridgewater and Keith Brymer Jones, and the BBC’s Great Pottery Throwdown is filmed there. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery holds the Staffordshire Hoard, a treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon gold, while nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme has the pioneering New Vic theatre.

Sunderland

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Media captionUK City of Culture: Five things about Sunderland

Famous sons and daughters

Sunderland’s cultural pedigree stretches from Middle Ages chronicler Venerable Bede to musical heroes like The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and BBC 6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne. There is a fertile indie music scene with bands like Frankie and the Heartstrings and The Futureheads.

Cultural claims to fame

It has The National Glass Centre, the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art and Sunderland Empire. Grayson Perry chose Sunderland Museum and Gardens to open his Vanity of Small Differences exhibition in 2013. And the old fire station has just been converted into a new £2.4m music, theatre and dance hub.

Swansea

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Media captionWill Swansea coast to culture crown?

Famous sons and daughters

Poet Dylan Thomas once called it an “ugly, lovely town”, and a permanent exhibition dedicated to him opened on his 100th birthday in 2014. Swansea has also given us Catherine Zeta Jones and TV writer Russell T Davies.

Cultural claims to fame

Its Glynn Vivian Art Gallery reopened last year after a £6m facelift, and other venues include the Taliesin Arts Centre and Grand Theatre. There are also plans to build a 3,500-capacity indoor arena.

The UK City of Culture scheme is separate from the European Capital of Culture. The UK was due to have a turn choosing a city to hold that title in 2023, with Leeds, Dundee, Milton Keynes, Belfast/Derry and Nottingham all bidding.

But the European Commission recently confirmed that the UK will lose the right to have a host city after it leaves the EU in 2019.

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