Deadline passes for UK City of Culture 2017 bids

Lord Attenborough, Orlando Bloom and Billy Connolly
Image caption Lord Attenborough, Orlando Bloom and Billy Connolly have lent their support to cities that have significance to them

The deadline for bids to become UK City of Culture 2017 passes on Tuesday.

Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, east Kent, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, Southend-on-Sea and Swansea Bay are all in the running.

The winner will be the second city to hold the title after Derry-Londonderry.

A string of celebrities have backed various cities, with Lord Attenborough speaking up for Leicester and Orlando Bloom supporting east Kent.

The bids have to be handed to the Department for Culture Media and Sport on Tuesday with a shortlist announced in June.

The submissions will be considered by an independent panel chaired by Phil Redmond, creator of popular TV series including Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks.

'Rich cultural vein'

Oscar winner Lord Attenborough is the latest high profile name to come out in support of one particular bid and announced his backing for Leicester, where he first got a taste for acting.

He said: "My experience and knowledge of Leicester's rich vein of cultural and, in particular, theatrical activity goes back over 80 years - from my first stumbling steps on the stage of the Little Theatre, through to the Phoenix, the Haymarket and now Curve.

"It is why I chose to create a Centre for Disability and the Arts in Leicester and more recently decided to loan my Picasso ceramics to the city's New Walk Museum."

Bloom started his career treading the boards at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre aged just four.

Meanwhile comic Billy Connolly and musician Dame Evelyn Glennie backed Aberdeen's hopes and diver Tom Daley supported his home town Plymouth.

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