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Thursday, 26 November, 1998, 18:50 GMT
Step inside The Body
Body Zone
Arm in arm: The Body Zone will be eight storeys high
Visitors to the Millennium Dome will be able to take a trip through a man's right arm, hear his heart beat and his stomach gurgle, before leaving through his partner's right heel.

With exactly 400 days to go to the year 2000, the organisers of London's major millennium attraction have been unveiling details of the human sculpture which will dominate the dome.

They have also dismissed claims by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker that the type of sponsors being used were turning the dome into a "trade fair".

Boots, the Chemist, will sponsor the Body Zone in which the giant abstract sculpture will appear.

Body in Dome
The structure will dominate the dome
The steel-framed body is 90ft tall and 200ft long and has been designed by Nigel Coates, professor of architecture at the Royal College of Art.

Four thousand visitors an hour will take an escalator up the male's right arm to the central area.

Inside, there is a vast chamber where they will hear sounds of the internal body before leaving through the woman's left heel.

Mr Coates said he had wanted to design something "that said something in an almost legendary way about what we could aspire to with our bodies".

The firm behind the dome, the New Millennium Experience Company also gave details of Our Town Story.

plan
Floor plan showing the yellow body
This is an area where more than 200 towns and cities around Britain will be able to tell in dramatic style the history of their area.

Stirling, in Scotland, will be the first of 250 towns to tell its story in the dome - on 4 January, 2000.

Again, there is a sponsor with McDonald's taking the fast food franchise for the dome in return for its support here.

Mind games

The NMEC has also given details today of its Mind Zone, where visitors will be able to have a brain scan and interact with robots.

Mind Zone
The Mind Zone promises brain scans and robots
Leading defence suppliers, GEC and British Aerospace are supplying the cash.

But Michael Grade, chairman of the Millennium Experience Creative Review Group, said their military work would not be featured.

"It will be about technology, an exciting exhibition we hope is going to inspire a lot of young people going through there to think about careers in science and technology," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

He also denied sponsorship would turn the Dome into a trade fair.

"The company itself is in control of the design process and the sponsors are not fools," he said.

"They know jolly well that if they were to try to push us into turning exhibits into a trade show, it would rebound on them and be out of keeping with the whole spirit and rest of the Dome."

The sponsors may be controversial, but they are necessary to help fund the 748m project.

NMEC chief executive Jenny Page said 120m of the required 150m had been found.

Half the shortfall was under "detailed negotiation" and she was in "no doubt that full sponsorship will be achieved".

Train link pledge

On the same day as MP's said they had "lost faith" in another controversial aspect of the development, Ms Page insisted it would be ready.

The London Underground Jubilee Line extension is essential to carry almost half of dome visitors, but is now well-behind schedule, suffering from strikes and even sabotage.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Media Correspondent Torin Douglas: "A sculpture and a building in its own right"
Video
Nick Higham's report including video graphic of the dome's interior
Audio
Michael Grade on dome sponsors, the Jubilee Line and "the wow factor"
Video
Nick Higham's report including video graphic of the dome's interior
See also:

19 Jun 98 | Millennium Dome
24 Feb 98 | UK
14 Oct 98 | The Dome Zone
26 Nov 98 | UK Politics
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