Hull has been crowned as the UK's future City of Culture, beating off Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay.
It described itself as a 'city coming out of the shadows', wowing the judges with the poetry of Philip Larkin, and plans an opening ceremony featuring theatrical elephants and dancing phone boxes.
The city council leader said the successful bid for the 2017 award would be a 'real game-changer'.
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The news was welcomed by John Prescott, with a reference to the indie band the Housemartins, who are from Hull.
City of Culture accolades are given out every four years, with this year's going to Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
The leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady, told the BBC: "What I'm saying is thank you to the panel for changing Hull. Never again will Hull have the reputation that some people have put on it in the past.
"The people here, the wonderful people of Hull, appreciate what's been done, the decision that's been taken and we are on the move".
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: "This is brilliant news for Hull and everyone involved in the bid there.
TV producer Phil Redmond, who chaired the advisory panel that helped choose the winner, said all four shortlisted cities showed a "real understanding" of what the award was about.
He said: "But ultimately it was the unanimous verdict of the panel that Hull put forward the most compelling case based on its theme as 'a city coming out of the shadows'. This is at the heart of their project and reminds both its people and
the wider world of both its cultural past and future potential.
"We were particularly impressed with Hull's evidence of community and creative engagement, their links to the private sector and their focus on legacy, including a commitment to enhance funding beyond 2017 and I'd like to congratulate all involved."
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