25th Sep, 2018

Coventry set for City of Culture tune-in says BBC chief

Editorial Correspondent 19th Mar, 2018 Updated: 19th Mar, 2018

COVENTRY will be projected onto the national and international stage thanks to its UK City of Culture status, says BBC chief.

The BBC director-general, Tony Hall, was in the city to discuss the role the corporation will play in the time leading up to and during 2021.

He told an audience at FarGo Village that the BBC would not only cover UK City of Culture in 2021 but would be a partner.

He said a range of events and programmes will be brought to the city as part of its commitment to Coventry.

He said the partnership between the BBC and the UK City of Culture team could invite international attention.

The gathering heard how the BBC produced over 250 hours of programming with Hull during 2017, including national documentaries, the Big Weekend and a literature festival.

Tony Hall said: “I was here before the result was announced when I had the privilege speaking about the future of local radio in the Nave of Coventry Cathedral, which was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life.

“The BBC has to be impartial so we can’t take sides, and no-one had decided who the city of culture was going to be when I went on a tour of the city in a special 2Tone Taxi.

“The Coventry cap was explained to me, I was taken around various music sites and I have to say I got out of the taxi thinking if anyone deserves to win this, it absolutely was Coventry. Well done, number one, you really deserve it.

“You’ve got three years before you are UK City of Culture and that is just enough time for us to work with you to make your dreams come true and to do the things you want the BBC to help you to do.

“It was great to go to Hull about three and half years before they were City of Culture and talking to them about what they wanted to do. There was the most wonderful and exciting sense of what could be done.

He added: “Arts and culture can change the way people think about where they live, can change their relationships with people, can change the whole issues of diversity and inclusion.

“Arts and culture changes lives and it changes places.”

Laura McMillan, director of operations and legacy at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome BBC Director-General Tony Hall to Coventry and to get the chance to talk about a partnership between the BBC and Coventry leading up to and during 2021.

“No other organisation has the reach in the UK and worldwide like the BBC, so working with them will give Coventry profile like it has never seen before.”

The event also heard from the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper and enjoyed a musical performance from members of the Positive Youth Foundation.

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