Celebrities back BBC talent search for next voice of Bradford

A BBC talent search to find the next voice of Bradford to report on the UK City of Culture has been backed by three celebrities.

With Bradford being the 2025 UK City of Culture, Anita Rani, Kimberley Walsh, and Jonny Bairstow, who are from the city, are encouraging people to record a 45-second demo describing what the city means to them and why it’s such a special place.

BBC Radio Leeds is leading the coverage and will handpick the New Voices Bradford winner or winners. They will join the team to help report on the event for the city, working presenters like Rima Ahmed and Gayle Lofthouse.

Bloggers, influencers, poets, podcasters and anyone who feels they have something to say about Bradford, are also being encouraged to apply. No previous experience is needed and BBC Radio Leeds will be offering tips and advice when they’re in the Broadway Shopping Centre for four days from 25 March.

Anita Rani, who will be a head judge, says: “Bradford is a vibrant city full of energy, personality and talent. Now is the time for that talent to find its voice and forge new paths in what is going to be such a transformative year, as we head towards the UK city of culture 2025.

“This talent search is a fantastic opportunity for someone who loves the city to join the BBC and celebrate everything it has to offer.

“I encourage everyone to send in their audition videos, as you can be right at the heart of the BBC’s coverage. Bradford 2025, UK City of Culture gives us the chance to shine a light on the city and tell the stories which matter to us.

“These opportunities don’t come around too often, so now’s your chance to make a difference and represent the place I call home.”

BBC Radio Leeds breakfast presenter Rima Ahmed is also a judge, she says: “I’m so excited to be on the panel for New Voices Bradford – what an honour. I know Bradford is a city brimming with talent just waiting to be unleashed and I can’t wait to witness the magic… Bring it on, Bradford!”

Katrina Bunker, Senior Head of Content Production for Yorkshire, says: “We can’t wait to cover the events of Bradford 2025 across TV, radio and online.  It’s going to be such an exciting year for the region.

“Bradford is a city that has heaps of creative talent and this is a great opportunity for authentic local voices to showcase their talents and get a foot in the door at the BBC.”

Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director of Bradford 2025, says: “I’m delighted that BBC New Voices is coming to Bradford, just one of the many things as a result of Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture. This really is a brilliant opportunity for those interested in, and with a passion for presenting.

“Bradford is full of talent, and we want to see people from all corners of our district submit applications. We’re looking for people who are full of energy and personality – which is what being from Bradford is all about.”

The search launches today, 11th March and will be open for four weeks. Entries can be submitted on the BBC website here.