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Wednesday, November 10, 1999 Published at 22:21 GMT


A Millennium task

The focal point of the Millennium Dome

The BBC's June Kelly reports on the battle to get the Dome finished in time.

"It will be ready on time," that was the unequivocal message from the organisers of the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, with just over seven weeks to go to the opening.

They were addressing scores of sceptical journalists who had been invited to have a first glimpse of the Body Zone - one of the Dome's fourteen exhibition sites.

[ image: Organisers have deined that ticket sales are poor]
Organisers have deined that ticket sales are poor
Many of the media brigade have lived with the Dome since its foundations were dug, following every phase of its development as it has risen up on the south side of the River Thames.

But for me this was my initial visit to what will be the centrepiece of the millennium celebrations in London - my first chance to see the mighty Dome up close.

Size-wise it's certainly impressive - it's like stepping into a tent from a giant kingdom.

You wonder what larger than life things you'll find inside.

Immediately you see a massive brightly-tiled model of two figures reclining in an embrace.

This is the Body Zone.

Visitors will be able to get inside this strange couple and see all sorts of state of the art exhibits which will give them an insight into the human body and they'll learn about technoloigical discoveries which will affect them in the next millennium.

At the centre of the Body Zone is a large beating heart inside a model of a human ribcage.

It looks like something out of a modern art exhbition and the organisers say its designed to induce an adrenaline rush in visitors.

People travelling through the Body Zone will be able to use the special effects to experience a range of human emotions - from humour through to apprehension and fear.

The organisers deny that they are already in a state of anxiety over the level of ticket sales.

Bookings are good and, they say, and there is no truth in media reports that the Dome - which was the dreamchild of politicians - has failed to capture the imagination of the British public.

Countdown starts

So ticket sales are good and the Dome will be ready for the 31 December according to the organisers.

But having had my my first glimpse, the workmen appear to have a tough task ahead of them, as they try to meet their deadline and have the place ready for the big party.

They look like tiny figures as they beaver away in the Dome's towering edifice.

With just 50 days to go, the project looks far from completion.

But the organisers know that come the turn of the century Greenwich will be a focal point of the international celebrations and so they'll have to deliver on their promise - the Dome will have to be ready.

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