First Dome appointments announced

The New Millennium Experience Company board has failed to reveal any substantial details on the Millennium Dome’s contents, despite being grilled by a Parliamentary Select Committee.

NMEC’s evidence follows on from that given by Imagination, when the group revealed it had been paid 7.6m for its work on the project (DW 28 November).

The NMEC has revealed the identity of the first ten designers appointed to create the Dome’s contents, after Imagination’s concepts were ditched. Bentheim, Eva Jiricna Associates, Jasper Jacob Associates, HP:ICM, Land, Media Projects International, Muf, Park Avenue Productions, Spectrum and Work are developing first stage proposals. Further appointments are expected.

NMEC chief executive Jennie Page and fellow board members Bob Ayling of BA and former Channel 4 head Michael Grade took questions from the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee on Tuesday.

They insisted that to reveal the Dome’s contents now would be premature, as designs are incomplete and a major co-ordinated launch is planned in the first quarter of next year. Ayling “utterly refuted” suggestions by the committee that the company wouldn’t reveal plans because it didn’t know what it was doing. “Their work is at an embryonic stage. It wouldn’t be fair to show their first stab,” Grade said of design plans.

He said the Greenwich programme will be a “once in a lifetime experience.” Interactive events and rides will feature, he said, and the Cameron Mackintosh musical planned as a centrepiece will be pre-recorded, rather than live, to ensure consistency.

Minister Without Portfolio Peter Mandelson said when he took over responsibility for the project he seriously considered dropping it. “We were worried about the complete absence of what would go inside,” he said. “I’m a far happier Minister Without Portfolio now,” he added.

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