Pre-recorded socially-distant light show to see in the New Year12/29/2020
The pre-recorded socially-distant light show to see in the New Year: Up to 300 DRONES illuminate the night sky over London as they form display paying tribute to NHS, Captain Tom, BLM and zoom meetings after Covid cancelled annual fireworks
- New Year 2021 will be welcomed in with pre-recorded light show involving 300 drones over London
- It was filmed at 2am this morning and will be broadcast on BBC One on the night of New Year’s Eve
- It will pay tribute to NHS staff and war veteran Captain Tom Moore’s charity walk which raised £33m
- Display will also mark Zoom calls with phrase: ‘You’re on mute’ and show Black Lives Matter fists logo
- No official fireworks event will take place in London on New Year’s Eve due to coronavirus restrictions
The New Year will be welcomed in with a pre-recorded light show involving 300 drones over London which was filmed in the early hours of this morning, MailOnline can reveal with these exclusive photographs.
The display has been kept secret until now, with the drones flown over the River Thames at 2am to perform the ten-minute routine which will be broadcast on the night of New Year’s Eve when the clock strikes midnight.
It will pay tribute to NHS staff for their work during the coronavirus crisis as well as 100-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore’s charity walk which raised £33million for the NHS Charities Together organisation.
The display will also mark the shift to working from home during the pandemic with a nod towards Zoom video conferencing calls shown by an image of a crossed-out microphone and the phrase: ‘You’re on mute.’
And it will also show the Black Lives Matter clenched fists logo following months of anti-racism protests after black American man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer during an arrest in Minneapolis in May.
The New Year’s Eve display using 300 drones was filmed in the early hours of this morning and pays tribute to the NHS
The display also celebrates war veteran Captain Tom Moore’s charity walk which raised £33million for NHS Charities Together
It will show the Black Lives Matter clenched fists logo after months of anti-racism protests after the death of George Floyd
The display will also mark the shift to working from home during the pandemic with a nod towards Zoom video conferencing
The show will also feature lasers and other lighting effects, but it has already been filmed this week and will now be put together to be shown as one sequence to millions of viewers tuning in from home on BBC One.
No official fireworks event will take place in London on New Year’s Eve, while there will not be any other display in the capital as people are urged to stay home with the capital now in tier four during the coronavirus pandemic.
A support boat based at London Bridge accompanied the display which took place near The O2 in Greenwich in the early hours. The vessel was in place in case there was a mid-air collision or anything fell out of the sky.
A notice to airmen, more commonly known as a ‘Notam’, has been in place along the Thames in recent days. These warnings often go up for special events to alert aircraft pilots about potential hazards along a flight route.
Workers putting together the show are understood to have been practising over the past few nights with a smaller number of drones, before carrying out the performance with 300 of them early this morning.
The BBC schedule gives no indication as to what the display might entail, with programme details simply saying: ‘As Big Ben strikes midnight, the nation comes together to welcome in the new year and light up the start of 2021.’
The show will also feature lasers and other lighting effects, but it has already been filmed this week over the River Thames
The display has been kept secret until now, with the drones flown over the River Thames at 2am today to perform the routine
On December 18, Mr Khan promised a ‘special broadcast to reflect on the defining moments of 2020 and a message of hope for the New Year’ while warning Londoners and visitors to stay at home and not gather in the centre of the capital.
A press release issued by City Hall said the display ‘will take the form of a special broadcast at midnight on BBC One as the capital remembers a challenging year for the country and looks ahead with hope to next year’.
It added that the whole show would only be able to be viewed on TV, so Londoners and visitors to the capital should watch it from home instead of gathering in London at midnight because there will be no public event.
More than 100,000 spectators usually gather to watch a spectacular fireworks display along the banks of the River Thames when Big Ben strikes midnight, with the event having been ticketed in recent years.
Mr Khan said: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has meant we are not able to put on our world-famous public event on the banks of the Thames this year, but it’s important we reflect on and pay tribute to the defining moments of the year and look to 2021 with hope, and that’s why we are replacing it with a unique broadcast on BBC One.
‘We know that New Year’s Eve is traditionally an opportunity to show off our great city to the rest of the world, which we will still be doing this year in a show you’ll only be able to watch from home, on the BBC.
‘It will be a celebration of hope, but also provide a moment of reflection on the challenges of this year and the way Londoners pulled together.
The pre-recorded light show involving 300 drones over the River Thames was filmed in the early hours of this morning
No official fireworks event will take place in London on New Year’s Eve, while there will not be any other display in the capital
The drones display took place over London early this morning with people being urged to stay home on New Year’s Eve
‘Tier Three restrictions for London remain in place (these have since been upgraded to Tier Four) and infection rates are rising once again, which is why there is no public event this year.
‘It’s vital we all continue to stick to the rules to reduce the spread of the virus and I urge Londoners to stay safe by seeing in the new year watching BBC One from the comfort of their home with those they live or are bubbled with.’
Yesterday, the group which represents NHS trusts in England urged members of the public to stick to coronavirus restrictions on New Year’s Eve and beyond, as cases rise across the UK.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: ‘The public should be under no illusions that this is one of the most challenging times for the NHS.
‘It is vital that everyone heeds the new rules and restrictions in the run-up to the New Year and beyond. After all, it takes a lot longer to curb the spread of the virus than it does to contract it.
‘But despite the difficulties the service is facing, there is hope. The vaccine is here and is being rolled out, hopefully to all vulnerable groups by late spring.’
Before the pandemic took hold in Britain, London Mayor Sadiq Khan had revealed in January that he had asked his team to ‘look for new innovations’ related to the New Year’s Eve display and that drones were being considered.
Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in London during the annual New Year celebrations one year ago
People pose for photographs as they gather in London ahead of the New Year firework display on December 31 last year
Labour London Assembly member Leonie Cooper asked him on January 16: ‘Has the Mayor investigated following Shanghai’s example of using drones for some or all of the display to reduce the environmental impact and the distress caused to animals?’
And Mr Khan replied on January 22: ‘London’s large-scale, spectacular New Year’s celebrations are seen across the UK and around the world, promoting our city to millions of people.
‘I have asked my team to look for new innovations when planning for the 2020/21 New Year’s Eve event. We have previously considered the inclusion of drone displays, but as Shanghai’s display showed, there are significant limitations with currently available drones.
‘They are sensitive to weather conditions, producing a much greater risk of cancellation, alongside higher costs. These limitations could be why Shanghai’s drone display was not live but pre-recorded several days ahead of New Year’s Eve.
‘Never the less the team continue to look for options to improve and develop the display. In terms of the environmental impact of the fireworks, this is something we take seriously and always try to minimise.
‘The impact is short lived, localised and minimal, with the emissions from the fireworks display roughly equivalent to 0.00006 per cent of London’s annual NOx emissions, but this is of course something we keep in close review.’
Happy New Year Live! will be broadcast on BBC One from midnight on the night of New Year’s Eve this Thursday
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