Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today announced that Phil Redmond, Grange Hill and Brookside creator and all-round Liverpool champion, has been appointed as the new chairman of National Museums Liverpool.
Redmond, pictured, replaces broadcaster and cultural ambassador Loyd Grossman who quit recently after a troubled period for the NML. The publicly funded organisation operates eight museums and galleries at the core of Liverpool's tourism industry but has repeatedly courted controversy and criticism in recent months amid a series of spats: Danish architect 3XN was replaced by Manchester-based AEW on the flagship Museum of Liverpool after rows over budgetary and design changes; planning consent on the new museum had to be revised after the original cladding material was found to be deficient; the long-standing Friends of NML supporters group was disbanded after rows over exhibition content in the new slavery museum.
Redmond will take up his new, unpaid position on 1 August for a period of four years. His wife, Alexis, is also on the board of trustees, as is Urban Splash co-founder and chief executive Jonathan Falkingham.
A statement issued by Redmond said: "Having been closely associated with the NML for such a long time, I'm really looking forward to sharing my passion and excitement for the arts with so many people and working with NML's committed staff.
"It's also great for me to be taking on this position at such an exciting time in Liverpool's cultural history. I'm also looking forward to engaging with and supporting the fantastic work NML does with all Liverpool's communities, as well as help promote much more collaborative working with other cultural sites around the city. My experience in television, working with Liverpool John Moores University and with the Capital of Culture project has reinforced my personal belief that great things can be achieved through working with other key stakeholders.
"For a Scouser, this is one of the greatest positions you could be offered and I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to be involved in leaving behind one of the real great legacies of Liverpool's time as European Capital of Culture: the building and opening of the new Museum of Liverpool."
Redmond is also a board member of the Liverpool Culture Company, overseeing the European Capital of Culture events, a role in which he has excelled. His straight talking and dry wit – he diverted bad publicity late last year over the perceived shambolic preparations for 2008, likening it to a Scouse wedding – not short of fights but it turns out well in the end. He has another, albeit less high profile, PR job to do now.
The eight venues in the National Museums Liverpool group are:
- World Museum Liverpool
- Walker Art Gallery
- Mersyside Maritime Museum
- International Slavery Museum
- National Conservation Centre
- Lady Lever Art Gallery
- Sudley House
- Museum of Liverpool