Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Critic's Tyne Bomb

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Critic's Tyne Bomb

Article excerpt

Byline: By Louise Redvers

Outspoken art critic Brian Sewell has branded Newcastle "hideous" and compared it to Eastern Europe.

On the day Tony Blair will be told which of the six finalists has scooped the Capital of Culture crown, we reveal how ignorant Sewell likened the area to the outskirts of Zagreb in Croatia.

His vicious attack came during a tour of Tyneside filmed for a special BBC documentary about the region's culture to be screened on Monday night.

Londoner Sewell, who once called for Gateshead to be bombed, told local radio listeners: "Forgive me, but I think Newcastle is pretty hideous and not getting any better."

And he said the Gateshead Millennium Bridge "looked like an old-fashioned machine that you use for slicing eggs".

Today Gateshead Council leader Coun Mick Henry hit back at Sewell.

He said: " Since the bridge was opened almost two years ago, it has been showered with awards from around the world, for not just its construction, but also for its amazing design.

"And well over a million people have crossed the bridge to see the developments in and around Gateshead Quays.

"So I think the entire region would join me in saying that once again Mr Sewell has got it very, very wrong."

Sewell also criticised the Angel of the North as "bad engineering", describing it a "totem" .

"It's just there, but don't tell me it's a work of art," he said.

His scathing assault on Newcastle and Gateshead began from the moment he stepped off the train at Newcastle Central Station, when he sniped: "It's very Eastern European, isn't it? Sort of the outskirts of Zagreb."

Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards, who is backing our bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008, said he was appalled by Sewell's attack. He said: "I think what he has said is outrageous.

"Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but I think what he thinks puts him in a minority, both in the North East and in England as a whole. …

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