Team behind Bradford's bid to become UK City of Culture say 'we’ve done everything we can' after final interview

The team behind Bradford’s bid to become the 2025 UK City of Culture said their final interview with the judges “went as well as we could have hoped”.

They presented their bid to the UK City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel yesterday at the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport offices in London and were then put through their paces with a series of questions.

Bradford is competing against County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough for the coveted title and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is due to announce a winner by the end of the month, after receiving a recommendation from the judges.

The 10-person panel of judges, which is led by screenwriter Sir Phil Redmond, visited each location earlier this month and it is conducting interviews with the bid teams this week.

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Shanaz Gulzar, chair of Bradford 2025

Shanaz Gulzar, chair of Bradford 2025, said: “The panel put us through our paces, as we expected and our meeting went as well as we could have hoped.

“We presented the key themes of the bid then the panel questioned us extensively to find out if we as, a district, can deliver on our ambitions for a year of culture in 2025.

“We’ve done everything we can and now it’s over to the judges to make their recommendation to Government who should win.

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The UK City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel visited Bradford earlier this month

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone: the thousands of creatives, businesses and individuals not just across Bradford district but region-wide who have thrown their support behind our bid.

“We await the final decision at the end of the month, but no matter what the outcome, the bid campaign has ignited a spark of creative energy across Bradford district like never before.”

She added: “This is just the beginning of a new chapter for us, and fingers crossed being the next UK City of Culture will be part of that story.’

The Bradford 2025 team said winning the title would be “a real game-changer”, as a series of arts and cultural events would promote the city, attract visitors and “leave a lasting legacy”.

Head judge Sir Phil has previously said the panel was impressed by the “very vibrant” city of Bradford during their visit and people there have shown “ a real hunger” for the title.

Sir Phil, who is best known for creating Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Brookside, also revealed that Bradford was chosen as one of the four finalists, after 20 locations submitted bids, because judges were so impressed with the city’s ambition.

The winner of the UK City of Culture Competition will take over from Coventry, which has held the title since 2021.

Other previous winners include Derry-Londonderry in 2013 and Hull in 2017.