The return of the Nantes Giants to Liverpool in 2018 is likely to see the much loved characters taking part in a happy and hopeful storyline with a Gallic twist.
But it will be a surprise and the public won't know any more until the very last minute, Liverpool Confidential has learned.
The giants' French creator Jean Luc Courcoult, who once told Confidential that his love affair with Liverpool was akin to "that between a man and a woman", will add some Breton-style magic to the story as the giants plod the city for the third time.
With previous stories centred on the sinking of the Titanic and World War One, this time it is likely to be happy tears shed as the story unfolds.
Liverpool’s culture chief Claire McColgan says she and her team have already dispatched a mass of the information to enable Jean Luc to devise a story.
The giants, though, will face competition during 2018 when the city holds a year-long celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of its year as European Capital of Culture.
Mayor Joe Anderson has revealed that during 2018 there will be 18 “stunning events”.
Claire McColgan told Liverpool Confidential: “It is over two years away before the giants arrive again, and we have already been talking to Jean Luc about potential storylines. He will come up with something special and spectacular, probably a happy story filled with hope. In his usual fashion he will want to keep his storyline a surprise until the very last minute.
“It is great that Liverpool has such a good relationship with Jean Luc who adores returning to the city where he has always been given such a welcome.
“But 2018 will be more than the Giants. Of the 18 events taking place during the year, more than half will be brand new commissions never before seen in Liverpool. It is going to be a stunning year for the city.”
A series of important anniversaries take place in 2018 including the 30th birthday of Tate Liverpool, the 20th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial and ten years of ACC Liverpool and Liverpool One shops.
Eighteen for 18, as it is called, will comprise as a series of “internationally significant events, exhibitions, seasons and performances which will shine a light on the importance of culture within the ongoing renaissance of the city, and how it will play a key role in the blueprint for the success of the Liverpool City Region moving forward."
One of the seasons planned will focus on “The Future of Work” and will see IFB 2018 and The Uniglobal World Congress be part of a major cultural and social program looking at what the future of work looks like and means for society as a whole.
The18 new commissions will be integrated into the city’s already celebrated cultural programmes. Organisers say they are are aiming to attract audiences of around five million people, creating upwards of £50 million economic impact and push Liverpool to the top of the “must-visit” lists in 2018.
You can take the girl out of Mathew Street. Pics by Wesley Storey
Mayor Anderson said: “We want everything we do in 2018 to build on the wonderful work which has taken place in the city since 2008. 2018 will be the next watershed year in the history of Liverpool and one which will make everyone who lives here proud, and everyone that doesn’t live here wonder why they don’t!
“Our official culture year quite rightly gets huge public and media recognition, but it is the years that followed which I am most proud of, the years which have seen us build on that success.
“We didn't treat 2008 as a one off firework display that fizzled out, turning the lights off when everyone had gone home.
“The last four years alone have seen major events generate £177million for the local economy – which is why government of culture is so integral to this city and why I pushed for it to be at the heart of our devolution deal.”
Liverpool’s cultural sector directly employs 2,000 people and brings in £11 for every £1 invested.
A piece of work will also be commissioned called Impact 18 which will look at how great the impact of the last decade has been in terms of economic, social impact and international perception of Liverpool.A comprehensive participation and education programme will run throughout the year so young people and residents can learn from, and get involved in activities.
Mayor Anderson added: “These are huge ambitions, but I know we will deliver it. If the past few years have told us anything about this city – hosting major events and international cultural moments is something we excel at.
“We are a city which knows where it has come from and where it is going, with the next milestone in that long illustrious history being the ambition and scale of 2018.”
The full 2018 programme will be announced in the autumn.