Hull's 'passion' sealed 2017 culture bid

Phil Redmond and the city of Hull
Image caption Phil Redmond said the bid team had got over a feeling of "Hullness"

It was "Hullness" that won the bid for 2017 UK City of Culture status for the East Yorkshire city, said TV producer Phil Redmond who chaired the judging panel.

Mr Redmond, the creator of TV programmes Brookside, Grange Hill and Hollyoaks, said: "I looked into the eyes of the bid team and looked at the passion."

He said Hull's team had been able to sell their bid and accompanying written submission to the independent panel awarding the accolade.

"There was a lot of mention of 'Hullness' from the team and there was a lot of feeling in that word.

"Hull reminds me of Liverpool, it too is a city on the edge, on the periphery. And that gives it a certain feel".

Image caption Hull is to be the second city to hold the UK title

Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Phil Redmond was pleased to see mentions of the city of Hull spread across social media in the wake of his panel's decision.

"It is the best metric we can see of how people like the decision," he said.

In the 24 hours of the decision day there were 75,000 tweets mentioning Hull and the hashtags #HullYes and #CongratulationsHull both trended, the bid team said.

'Level playing field'

Jacqui Gay, who led communications for the city's bid, said "We wanted the judges to hear the people of Hull ringing in their ears."

Ms Gay said content was created for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but the campaign was run by both the bid team and the community.

Mr Redmond said the strong online presence had had "no impact on the decision".

The panel wanted a "level playing field" and had tried to avoid the social media flow, he said.

Ms Gay also pointed to traditional media coverage, which the team valued at £3m worth of advertising.

She did highlight the release of a film about the city, introduced by Hull-born Sir Tom Courtenay, as giving the bid a "huge boost" and a critical part of the social media strategy.

The hashtag #HullYes had been decided on after much discussion.

Discussion was held even down to the tendency in Hull to say "yeah" rather than "yes", but finally the simple and bold statement was decided on.

'Catalytic year'

Mr Redmond has jokingly said he would now rename the M62 motorway between Liverpool and Hull the "cultural corridor".

The year of culture should become a "catalytic year for the city", he said.

Image caption Phil Redmond said he wanted a "catalytic year" for Hull

There was also a warning for the organisers who now have to deliver the year-long celebration in 2017.

"The people tend to take over the organisation of the event and they will have opinions", he said.

Mr Redmond said Hull would not be able to become a London or Barcelona overnight, but neither should it try to be.

"Hull should recognise what it is... before Liverpool won the European Capital of Culture in 2008 it had had 30 to 40 years of constant attack on its economic downturn, its politics and its people.

"It had forgotten what a cultural and proud city it was. Now Hull has to rediscover this too."

Mr Redmond said the cultural year was a "very big prize to win". It would bring publicity and national cultural events to the city from the leading arts organisations.

Hull is to be the second city to hold the title after Derry-Londonderry and Mr Redmond is sure there would again be a positive feeling in East Yorkshire.

He said when he was recently in Derry - the 2013 City of Culture - a 46-year-old local taxi driver said he had had a "fantastic year, it was the most peaceful year of my life."

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