Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, July 26, 1999 Published at 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK


UK

Sparks set to fly on millennium night

Artist's impression of River Thames on millennium night

A giant fireworks display will form the centrepiece of millennium celebrations in London.

From Big Ben's first stroke of midnight, a series of 2,000 pyrotechnic candles - one for each year of modern history - will be set off up the river from Tower Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge, creating a 'river of fire'.

This will happen in 10.8-seconds - the same rate at which the earth revolves on our latitude - so that we 'spiritually rotate with the planet into the new millennium'.


[ image: Big Ben tower will light up as midnight strikes]
Big Ben tower will light up as midnight strikes
Michael Lockett, who is co-ordinating the 'Big Time' event said: "That is at the speed of 1,240 kilometres per hour, so you'll get this river of fire which shoots straight down the centre of the river up to a height of approximately 60-metres."

Shortly after, there will be a 15-minute firework display from barges on the Thames.

There will also be fairgrounds at various points north and south of the river as well as events at a 'global village' between Westminster and Blackfriars Bridges.

Celebrations in other capital cities will be relayed to revellers via giant television screens.

Big Ben will also light up at the midnight hour and there will be a firework display at Greenwich in south London.

Global celebration

Nick Raynsford, minister for London said he opened the entertainment would appeal to everyone.

He said: "There is music, fairs, there are spectacular events. There will be dancing, there will be colour, there will be fireworks, there will be something to excite the imagination of every section of the community in London.

"I above all, want people to come and really enjoy themselves, to participate, to feel they've had a great night out and go home safely."

The controversial Millennium Dome will only be able to hold 10,000 invited guests on New Year's Eve, but 'Big Time' will cater for an estimated 2.5 million people who will only have to pay for the rides and their food and drink. Everything else is free.

Mr Raynsford said that even more events would be announced in the autumn.

Police leave cancelled

He said that safety has been a priority for the event and planning has involved all emergency services and transport groups.

Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Johnstone of the Metropolitan Police has cancelled leave for his 26,000 officers over the millennium, to ensure a strong police presence.

He said: "We have a great deal of practice in managing major events in London. We've had the World Cup, we've had Euro Football, we have Notting Hill carnival where something in the region of a million people gather on London streets each year ... together with a wealth of experience around previous new year's eve celebrations."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

02 Feb 99 | UK Politics
Bug fears for big business

22 Feb 99 | UK
2000 'a celebration for everywhere'

09 Feb 99 | UK
Millennium 'Garden of Eden' set to sprout





In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online