I love fireworks, and New Year’s Eve is a cornucopia of them. Every year I happily sit down with the laptop and check out various displays that have already happened east of us. Later that night we turn on Sky and watch the live coverage of Paris and Berlin at 23:00, and Edinburgh and London at our midnight.
London was awesome as always, but I still think its high-water mark was 2012. That was the year they actually wired up Big Ben with rockets, which shot out with every bong as the clock tower rang the midnight hour. According to Jim Donald, executive producer of the company in charge of the fireworks, getting permission to fire rockets off Big Ben was quite a feat:
“In previous years there had always been a chance in hell of that,” he told the BBC. “No-one’s ever fired anything off Parliament, the last one to attempt that was Guy Fawkes.
“So we spoke to the clock tower people, they were up for it, but we needed to get Mr Speaker [the highest authority of the House of Commons] and the powers that be to say yes.”
They got London Mayor Boris Johnson to write to the Speaker, John Bercow MP. Permission was finally granted in the second week of December…
…which gave the company just two weeks to get that set up. I can’t imagine the stress. But it looked fantastic.
Here’s the complete recording of that year’s display. Even if you just watch the first minute, do yourself a favor and watch it in HD and full screen.