Light show planned for Crystal Palace
8:30am Friday 30th March 2012 in Local news
A spectacular light show visible across London will light up the night sky over Crystal Palace.
More than 200,000 watts of energy-efficient lighting, the same wattage used to light the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will illuminate the 219m tall structure on April 18.
The light show is to mark the digital switchover and is being organised by Arqiva, the company behind the changeover.
It is installing more than six tonnes of lighting equipment on the tower in readiness for the light show at 9.15pm.
The 7,000 watt, billion candlepower search lights that will beam out across London weigh 100 kilos alone and are being installed 130 metres above the ground by a team of 20 riggers. For more than 50 years the Crystal Palace tower has broadcast the best of British TV, from the first episode of Blue Peter in 1958 to last year’s Royal Wedding, to more than 12 million people in the Greater London area and surrounding counties.
With a coverage range of over 40 miles, it’s the most important transmitter of the 1150 masts in the UK broadcast network.
Crystal Palace broadcast the first colour TV test transmissions in November 1956, with a regular colour service starting on BBC2 in 1967.
More recently, in 2009, Londoners were the first in Europe to receive free-to-air terrestrial HDTV broadcasts.
In addition to the public lighting display, Arqiva is hosting a special VIP event at the foot of the tower to mark the switchover.
Hosted by Chris Evans, the event will feature an appearance from Sir David Attenborough, who is celebrating his 60th year in broadcasting and will talk about the evolution of broadcasting during his lifetime.
He said: “Thanks to public service broadcasting, for the past 75 years we could all take part in the most memorable moments in the UK’s history.
“Think about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 or England winning the World Cup in 1966.
“Now with the switch to digital TV, we’re celebrating the start of a new, very exciting time in UK broadcasting when viewers will have more channels to choose from and a better viewing experience than ever before.”