Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

TV's Anne Robinson backs Derry bid

Anne Robinson is backing Derry for the City of Culture honour

Anne Robinson has branded Derry the "strongest link" in the City of Culture contest.

Best known for her barbed comments on The Weakest Link, the presenter and journalist is backing the city's 2013 bid.

"For a city of its size Derry has an amazing range of cultural attractions which will form the basis of a strong bid to become UK City of Culture 2013," he said.

"Derry has the people, the tradition, the spirit, the energy and the talent to be an outstanding City of Culture. Derry is, in fact, the strongest link."

She first visited Londonderry in 1968 as a Sunday Times journalist and reported on the civil rights protests and violence for much of the next decade.

"That media coverage for 40 years, perhaps inevitably, has been dominated by negative stories. Yet in the past five years when I visited the city on a regular basis I've been astonished at the spirit and energy of the city," she said.

"Derry is a story of hope and triumph. The change is so dramatic and delightful it is surely time for the rest of the world to have the chance to hear of this miraculous transformation."

Leaning heavily on its emergence from violence to become a regional centre for the arts, number-crunchers predict Derry could enjoy a multimillion-pound windfall if successful. It is one of four cities bidding for the title. The others are Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield.

Bid organisers are looking to the future with an explosion of theatres and performing spaces, including the Millennium Forum and Nerve Centre for youth culture.

The schedule for 2013 would include a wide range of events from Punk Idol - aimed at finding a successor for famous rockers the Undertones - to a celebration of Polish independence day in recognition of the large minority community.

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