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  1. ITV Report

Hull 'transformed' in preparation for City of Culture 2017

Hull was named the UK City of Culture in 2013. Credit: PA

Thousands of visitors flocking to Hull next year during its tenure as UK City of Culture will be "surprised and amazed" by the city, organisers have said.

Final preparations are being made for a spectacular New Year's Day start to the year of cultural events in Hull, a fireworks display over the Humber which organisers say will top London's New Year's Eve show.

Visitors to the city will be able to tour the first of hundreds of planned artistic events - Made In Hull, a celebration of 70 years of the city's history.

Rosie Millard, chair of Hull City of Culture 2017. Credit: PA

Rosie Millard, chairwoman of Hull City of Culture 2017, said that people visiting Hull in the coming year will find a city transformed.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "There are many people in the UK that have never been to Hull.

"And I hope that they will come this year, 2017, to these major events and they will see a place that is really, very, very, different.

"They will have a sense of a city in transformation. I think Hull is the least known city in the UK and for outsiders, they will be surprised and amazed by what an extraordinary place Hull is, and for locals, they will be proud of what the city has achieved.

"They will have an amazing welcome from one of our 4,000 volunteers, who are mostly from Hull, and all absolutely bursting with enthusiasm.

"They will see a city with great optimism. They will see a transformed city."

Performers dressed as angels take part in the Place des Anges spectacle in Hull, part of UK City of Culture 2017 and the Yorkshire Festival. Credit: PA

Organisers have linked the cultural plans with the economic transformation of the city, symbolised by the £300 million investment by German tech firm Siemens in an offshore wind manufacturing plant.

Hull West and Hessle Labour MP Alan Johnson said that the City of Culture status was a huge economic boost, saying: "For me this means jobs. It's part of redeveloping the city. It can't do it on its own but it can be a major, major factor."

He added that, if done right, City of Culture status could transform a UK city every four years.

Hull is the second city to be awarded this status, after Derry-Londonderry in 2013.

Launching the programme for the first three months of the year in September, Hull 2017 chief executive and director Martin Green said: "This city's voice has always been strong - in 2017, it will roar."

Participants involved in Spencer Turnick's Sea of Hull piece. Credit: PA

The worldwide profile of Hull 2017 was raised in July when US artist Spencer Turnick corralled 3,200 naked people painted in blue for his trademark photos around Hull's landmarks.

His Sea of Hull work will be featured later next year at the Ferens Art Gallery, along with other highlights including the unveiling of a nationally significant 14th century panel by Pietro Lorenzetti, and five of Francis Bacon's notorious Screaming Popes.

University of Hull alumni, the late Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella, will be celebrated with an exhibition and retrospective of his work.

Hull Maritime Museum will look at the city's whaling history, while the Hull Truck Theatre's programme will include a new play by Hull writer Richard Bean, set in the English Civil War - which started in Hull.

Other highlights of the year in the city include a celebration of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, which will hone in on the role of guitarist Mick Ronson, who was from Hull.