On learning that I was to be responsible for lighting ‘ 2000 Today ‘, the BBC’s welcome to the new millennium my first thought was to surround myself with a team that would help me survive this project. The show was after all 28 hrs long and being transmitted from TV Centre’s biggest studio, TC1. There was also the small matter of lighting up the front of the building, to entertain the passing traffic passing tube trains and to provide an additional beacon for planes flying to and from Heathrow.
I was fortunate in persuading James Campbell to forgo New year celebrations north of the border and join me as co-LD . Many others including Gill Hersee, Paul Holroyd, Roger Williams, Andy Dobbs and Les Lamont, illuminated the proceedings with their presence, for which I am eternally grateful.
Rummaging around the already depleted warehouses of Richard Martin Lighting and Vari-Lite Production Services with the help of Steve Wells and Jon Cadbury I was able to assemble a kit that that hopefully would do justice to Simon Kimmel’s impressive and challenging set. The centrepiece of which was a water feature that Charlie Dimmock would have been proud of. Naturally the theme of time was to feature in this production. This was reflected in the design by a revolving clock suspended above the centre of the set. While pondering on lighting’s contribution to this theme I received a picture of Harrisons 4th clock from the shows executive producer. This before I’d seen Channel Four’s excellent film Longitude which explained all. I decided to use the idea of this clock face which bore a passing similarity to that in the DHA gobo catalogue, and project it in segments onto the set. The Vari-Lite VL6B proved to be a very versatile instrument for this and the many other images projected.
Among the assortment of Martin MAC’s in use was the new Mini-MAC 150W profile.Smart to look at fun to use and small enough to attach to the set. Clay-Paky Stage-Zooms and Stage-Colours also helped give us the variations needed on this uniquely long production.
Exterior lighting was taken care of by a selection of City-Colours, Irideon AR500’s, Boosters, and a very bright Space Cannon. All these along with the studio automated lighting were controlled by Messers Williams and Dobbs via a Compulite Sabre.
When all was said and done, all our efforts along with those of Parky, Gaby, Peter and Co were a mere backdrop to the fantastic images transmitted from around the world showing the dawning of the new Millennium It is rumoured that we are going to repeat the excercise at the end of this year, in case 1st January 2001 really is the beginning of the new millennium—–where are those leave chits!