Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 13:52 UK

Palin backs Sheffield UK City of Culture bid

Michael Palin
Mr Palin said Sheffield played a part in the success of his career

Sheffield-born Monty Python star and travel presenter, Michael Palin, has backed the city's bid to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013.

The successful city will host a number of events which are expected to provide economic and social benefits.

The shortlist includes Birmingham, Derry and Norwich. A winner is to be announced in early July.

Mr Palin called Sheffield "welcoming" and said it had played a large part in the success of his career.

'Openness and tolerance'

He said: "Growing up in Sheffield, I was very much aware of the close-knit character of the city and its very strong and particular sense of identity.

"Someone once noted that all the Monty Python team were provincials and I think that coming from Sheffield gave me a fresh and unconventional outlook on life which has helped me in my creative work and been with me ever since.

"Sheffield, though never easily impressed by anyone from outside, has always, deep down, been welcoming.

"Its universities are popular with people from all over the world, and I see its future as that of a city that combines strong character with hospitality, openness and tolerance."

The UK City of Culture 2013 follows the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture 2008, which included a total income of £130 million over six years.

A spokesman for Sheffield City Council said the city's bid outlined events to engage people in arts and culture and highlighted the city's cultural assets and diverse community.

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