Kofi Smiles named BBC's Face of Hull 2017

This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the region has to offer, not only on a national level, but internationally, and I’m really excited to get started.Kofi Smiles, BBC Face of Hull 2017
Date: 27.10.2016     Last updated: 27.10.2016 at 12.05
Category: English Regions
A 28-year-old Job Centre administrator will be the BBC’s Face of Hull 2017.

Kofi Smiles, from Withernsea, was picked from a line-up of nearly 200 hopefuls who auditioned to become the BBC’s Hull UK City of Culture 2017 presenter.

People flocked from around the country to audition at Hull Truck Theatre to impress the judges, Peter Levy and Keeley Donovan from Look North, Carl Wheatley from Radio Humberside and Helen Thomas, Head of BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. After weeks of screen and audio tests, Kofi was appointed the prestigious role.

Kofi will be the face and voice of the UK's upcoming City of Culture, telling Hull's story through outstanding arts and culture coverage to the BBC's local and national audiences. He will be fully trained and supported by experienced BBC producers and researchers for his new role. Alongside reporting for BBC Radio Humberside, Look North and BBC Online, he may also appear on some of the corporation's landmark programmes such as The One Show and BBC News.

Born in Beverley, and raised in Hull, Kofi attended Hymers College and Wilberforce College before going on to study English Literature & Journalism at Northumbria University.

Commenting on his new role, he said: “When Peter Levy said my name, it didn’t register at first. I was so impressed by the other two finalists Lucy and Simon and I’m just so humbled to be able to have this opportunity.

“This is a huge moment for myself, my family and for the city. I just want to do Hull, East Riding, Withernsea and Lincolnshire proud carrying us through 2017 and beyond. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the region has to offer, not only on a national level, but internationally, and I’m really excited to get started.”

Helen Thomas, Head of BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, says: “Kofi stood out from the moment he stepped on the stage. He was up against some stiff competition but his passion and enthusiasm to put Hull on the world stage really shone through.”

Look North presenter, Peter Levy, added: “I was really impressed by Kofi and his ability to work his magic in front of the camera. I could see how much this means to him, and am looking forward to working together.”

BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast presenter, Carl Wheatley, said: “I’ve been here twenty years and I’ve never seen an opportunity like this come up at the BBC. The fact that we had nearly 200 people audition shows how much it’s being talked about in the city. Kofi lit the stage with his one-minute game show about his favourite Hull landmarks and he made a huge impression on the judges.”

Kofi Smiles will start his new role with BBC Hull in early December.

BC