Has Southampton done enough to impress the City of Culture Judges?

Watch Rachel Hepworth's report as Sir Phil Redmond and his judges visit Southampton to hear why it should become the UK City of Culture in 2025

Southampton has had its last chance to convince the judges it should become the UK City of Culture in 2025.

It's already made the final four, alongside Bradford, County Durham and Wrexham.

This week the judging panel, led by Grange Hill and Brookside creator Sir Phil Redmond, toured the city, meeting schoolchildren, community groups, and artists.

Sir Phil's home city of Liverpool was transformed after becoming a European City of Culture.

Children from Weston Park Primary lined the shore during the judges' boat trip

They got a rousing reception from schoolchildren on Weston Shore as the judges enjoyed a boat trip, reflecting Southampton's heritage as a maritime city.

Hundreds of pupils from Weston Park Primary waved flags before the judges headed for a tour of the old city and St Mary's football ground.

Then it was off for a pint at the Saints Community Pub, which champions local musicians and held a series of rooftop gigs during lockdown.

The judges watch a singer on the roof of The Saints pub

Landlord Eugene McManus told us winning the bid would mean huge investment in disadvantaged areas.

"It would mean everything in respect of opportunity.

"If you analyse Millbrook as an estate and compare it to those across the country, you would find it falls in the top 10% of deprived areas.

"Funding that would come with the bid would change everything for us."

Bid leader Claire Whitaker was keen to emphasise that while the arts, music and theatres were important parts of the bid, the focus was on unlocking potential and enhancing the lives of everyone in the area.

"It's not just about opportunities for the city but also the wider region because all our councils are partners on this bid.

"But also for the UK as well because of our position with the port and the cruise industry.

"This is something that could be great for the country not just the city or the region."

A celebration lunch cooked by Masterchef winner Shelina Permaloo was accompanied by local artists

Lunch was prepared by local Masterchef winner Shelina Permaloo, with City College students demonstrating the rich range of cultural influences.

The final announcement will be made at the end of May, with bid organisers sayiong they couldn't have done any more.