London welcomes in 2022 with fireworks and spectacular light show broadcast on TV

·4-min read
London welcomes in 2022 with fireworks and spectacular light show broadcast on TV

London has welcomed in 2022 with a spectacular fireworks and light show over the Thames.

The annual New Year’s Eve celebrations had been cancelled for the second year in a row in October over Covid fears.

While no event was held publicly, the capital welcomed in the new year with fireworks, a light show and drones that was broadcast to millions on BBC One.

City Hall officials kept the details of the “broadcast spectacular” tightly under wraps in a bid to discourage public gathering.

However, Mayor Khan earlier confirmed there would be a live performance, much of which was centred over the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
The show included a tribute to the Euro football championships (PA)
The show included a tribute to the Euro football championships (PA)

The BBC broadcast included performances from Olly Alexander, Kylie Minogue and Pet Shop Boys.

The 13-minute spectacular featured messages from England manager Gareth Southgate, actor Sir Ian McKellen and began with bongs from a restored Big Ben at midnight.

Hamilton actor Giles Terera also performed a poem by Thomas Roberts reflecting on the country’s recent achievements.

“As Big Ben’s chimes ring out around us, signalling a year that’s new, raise a glass, turn up the volume and welcome 2022,” Terera said.

“And as we share this midnight moment, and imagine all that’s still to come, let’s relish the magnificent things we achieved in 2021.

“We rallied around our NHS heroes as they rolled out the vaccination, and we stood beside our Three Lions, heads raised and proud, united together as a nation.”

A light display above the Millennium Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral behind (AFP via Getty Images)
A light display above the Millennium Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral behind (AFP via Getty Images)

Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday: “The best fireworks, the best display and live spectacular show will be live on TV tonight.

“What you’ll be seeing on TV tonight is a live spectacular broadcast showing the defining moments of 2021 and showcasing some of the best things to come next.

“I’d encourage everyone to enjoy New Year’s safely and responsibly and the best way to do so is by watching the London show on TV”.

Asked on Sky News for more details about the show, Mr Khan said he did not want to give too much away, as he wanted it to be a surprise.

He said: “There’ll be a live performance, there’ll be other fantastic parts of London being displayed on TV tonight.

“But what I don’t want to do is have people try and find where the potential fireworks, the potential light show, the potential drones could take place.”

He added: “It’ll be in my view the best one we’ve ever had, great music, showcases some of the creative wonders of our city, and its’ really important people enjoy New Year’s Eve in a sensible and cautious way”.

It was a quieter affair in Scotland, where Covid restrictions caused large event cancellations for the second straight year.

Before Christmas, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people to “stay at home as much as possible” during Hogmanay to limit Omicron’s spread.

But despite the rules, about 1,000 people of all ages climbed to the top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill to make the traditional countdown to the bells at midnight.

Some people were not deterred by the cancelled events and instead chose to make the most of a scaled-down New Year, including Eileen and Chris Chalmers from Dreghorn in Aryshire who had a few days extra holiday to use.

Mrs Chalmers said: “We specifically chose to visit Edinburgh and the site at Mortonhall, in our campervan, because the large scale festivities were cancelled. It seemed an ideal time to come to the city.”

It was also fairly subdued across Wales, which moved to Alert Level 2 on Boxing Day, mainly restricting the number of people who can meet in public events and settings, including reintroducing the rule of six in hospitality venues.

Nightclubs were closed and a maximum of 30 people were able to attend indoor events and a maximum of 50 people able to be present for outdoor events.

The public in Northern Ireland, which on Friday recorded its highest number of daily cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, have been urged by health minister Robin Swann to limit their contacts over coming days.

It was quiet in Belfast due to nightclubs being closed, while dancing has also been banned in hospitality venues.

The muted celebrations took place after Britain on Friday marked its hottest New Year’s Eve since records began, with the mercury climbing to 15.8C in parts of the country and similar temperatures forecast on January 1.

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