Viewers have slammed the BBC for ‘forcing politics’ into London’s controversial New Year’s Eve light show after 300 drones made the shape of a BLM fist and shone in EU colours over London’s skies.
Thousands of revellers eager to bid farewell to a miserable 2020 tuned into BBC One to watch the highly-anticipated pre-recorded display.
But outraged Britons slammed the show as ‘ridiculous’ after the drones made the shape of a Black Lives Matter fist and a turtle with Africa on its shell – alongside the NHS logo and a depiction Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky.
The fist – which became synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement which swept the globe this year – first appeared as spoken-word artist George the Poet read an extract of his poem Coronavirus: The Power of Collaboration.
The writer – who turned down an OBE last year due to the ‘pure evil’ of the British Empire – read: ‘The future holds unexposed danger, but no stress. Humankind is no stranger to progress. And as we have proven, when we collaborate, progress follows fast.’
Many also pointed out that the first shape which appeared above The Millennium Dome – a blue and yellow bird – was in European Union colours, on the day Britain officially left the EU.
Several viewers took to Twitter to slam the display, with one person writing: ‘Can’t believe the London firework display. BLM, all about change, new ways… never seen so much politicized bulls***.’
Another said the show was ‘going well’, but said organisers ‘just had to force politics into it’.
While it is unclear who organised or arranged the show, criticism has been levied at both London Mayor Sadiq Khan and at the BBC.
The display also featured an extract from a poem written by New Zealand-born Tomos Robertson – who goes by the name Tom Foolery – titled The Great Realisation.
As fireworks lit up the sky, a narrator read: ‘In 2020, a new virus came our way. We knew what must be done and so to help we hid away.
‘Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new. And every simple act of kindness was now given its due.’
Later in the display, a bird appeared in the sky – in reference to the building of the Nightingale hospitals – after a clip of a news broadcasts states: ‘Builidngs were lit up in blue, the colour of the NHS’.
But many have wondered why the bird also featured yellow in its wings on the night the UK left the European Union for good.
Sadiq Khan shared a clip of the BLM segment of the show with the caption: ‘Our New Year’s Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism – tonight and always.’
Earlier in the evening, fireworks lit up the sky over Newcastle in an incredible display watched by thousands from their windows.
Viewers have slammed London’s controversial New Year’s Eve light show as ‘politicized bulls***’ after 300 drones made the shape of a BLM fist and shone in EU colours over London’s skies
Viewers slammed the display as ‘ridiculous’ after the drones made the shape of a Black Lives Matter first and a turtle with Africa on its shell – alongside the NHS logo and a depiction Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky
The 300 drones lit up the night’s sky writing NHS with a green heart around it as fireworks erupted by the Millenium Dome in London
Sadiq Khan shared a clip of the BLM segment of London’s light show with the caption: ‘Our New Year’s Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism – tonight and always’
LONDON: The brightly-lit Christmas tree in Trafalgar square in the capital stood alone as large barriers blocked off rule-breaking pedestrians
LONDON: Normally-bustling Trafalgar Square in London was eerily deserted with officials putting up barriers to keep rule breakers away
EDINBURGH: Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations have been moved online this year leaving streets deserted (pictured), with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier warning people to celebrate ‘responsibly and in line with the restrictions’
EDINBURGH: The city was nearly-empty today as traditional celebrations were moved online. Just a handful of people walked the streets
LONDON: Images of the deserted streets of London this year (The Mall, pictured) were a stark contrast to the bustling crowds last year (left)
EDINBURGH: In 2019 a large Christmas Market was in Princes Street Gardens n Edinburgh and several live music stages were erected on the city streets (left). This year, however, the same streets were almost empty due to Covid rules (right)
LONDON: The street opposite the London Eye was jam-packed last year with revellers keen to get a glimpse of the fireworks (left). But with the display cancelled this year, those same streets were empty (right)
BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham were empty tonight (right) in stark contrast to scenes this time last year (left)
EDINBURGH: The Royal Mile in Edinburgh this evening resembled a ghost town as weary Scots followed Government advice and stayed at home
LONDON: A man holds a sparkler in front of the London Eye, in what would normally be a ticket-only area filled to capacity waiting for the annual fireworks display
LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty tonight as revellers stayed at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic
LONDON: London’s China Town was nearly empty tonight as New Year’s Eve celebrations were cancelled amid the Covid pandemic
LONDON: A mask-wearing couple kiss while holding a sparkler in front of the London Eye. The annual firework display will not go ahead this year due to coronavirus
BLACKPOOL: Blackpool – a traditional New Year’s Eve hotspot – was equally abandoned by rule-abiding citizens who stayed at home
LONDON: Rows of police vehicles stand guard near to the London Eye, where this year’s fireworks display has been cancelled to avoid crowds gathering
BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham were deserted tonight as New Year’s Eve celebrations were canceled due to Covid
BIRMINGHAM: The street’s of Birmingham were lit up by lights on New Year’s Eve as revellers remained at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic
LONDON: Police officers were seen on the streets of London in what should be a quiet New Year’s Eve with most people staying indoors
LEEDS: The Tier 3 city was left deserted this year with only takeaways from bars and pubs permitted. Revellers will be celebrating New Year’s Eve indoors this year
LEEDS: The streets of Leeds were bare this evening as locals stayed at home. Lockdown rules mean New Year’s Eve will look very different for countless Britons this year
LEEDS: Leeds locals were forced to welcome the new year in with alcohol bought from off licenses as pubs and bars remained shut
LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty this evening as revellers were banned from attending raucous New Year’s Eve parties due to Covid
LONDON: A busker performs to a handful of people in Covent Garden on New Year’s Eve this year as lockdown rule put a halt to normal gatherings
EDINBURGH: The streets of the Scottish city were empty tonight. Strings of Christmas lights and brightly-lit shops cast an eerie glow over the pavement
LONDON: Soho’s normally-bustling streets were nearly empty this evening as London’s bars, pubs and restaurants remain shut
EDINBURGH: Locals walked past a shut pub in Edinburgh as Hogmanay celebrations take place online this year
LONDON: Buckingham Palace in London was deserted tonight – in stark contrast to last year – as revellers opted to stay at home instead
CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff were empty tonight – in contrast to last year – as the country remains under its highest alert level
LONDON: Police officers stand guard in London to deter rule-breaking revellers on New Year’s Eve while the city remains under Tier 4 lockdown
CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff are usually a hotspot for eager New Year’s Eve revellers. They were empty this year due to lockdown
LONDON: A trio of police officers keep watch over Leicester Square this evening, with two pedestrians seen walking past. The Government hopes eople will stick to Tier 4 rules and celebrate New Year’s Eve at home
LONDON: Parliament Square is empty, except for a few police officers standing guard near a gate. People around the country are celebrating New year’s Eve differently this year, holding their festivities at home
LONDON: Two police officers speak to a group of people this evening as Tier 4 restrictions mean New Year’s Eve celebrations must be held in people’s own homes rather than out partying
LONDON: The London Eye cuts a lonely figure in the centre of London this evening, with the usual New Year’s Eve crowds advised to stay home and celebrate safely
NEWCASTLE: A number of people stand around outside a restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside this evening. Some of them are seen holding and enjoying drinks
LONDON: Police officers and stewards are seen in Piccadilly Circus in a near-deserted London on New Year’s Eve
LONDON: People stand outside a pub that is open for takeaway drinks during the New Year’s Eve. London is in Tier 4 meaning pubs are takeaway-only
LONDON: The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace in London was nearly-deserted as New Year’s Eve parties were banned under Covid lockdown rules
GLASGOW: Party hotspot Glasgow was also empty tonight as revellers were urged to celebrate at home this year
GLASGOW: Hogmanay in Scotland has moved online this year to ensure that huge crowds don’t gather in breach of Covid lockdown rules
ISLES OF SCILLY: In stark contrast to the rest of the UK, locals on the Isles of Scilly were pictured enjoying a New Year’s Eve drink in the only three pubs in England which are open tonight
ISLES OF SCILLY: There are normally around a dozen pubs on the archipelago but a number have closed this year, leaving punters with few options for welcoming in 2021 (some revellers pictured), but more than those on the mainland
ISLES OF SCILLY: The islands’ 2,000-strong population (some revellers pictured) is the only part of England still in Tier 1, with all other parts of the country having moved into Tiers 3 or 4
Normally-bustling Trafalgar Square in London was eerily deserted as the clock struck midnight with officials putting up barriers to keep rule breakers away.
But some Londoner’s appeared to push their luck earlier in the evening with crowds gathering in Piccadilly Circus and on Westminster Bridge.
Under Tier 4 rules only two people from different households can meet outdoors, but police were seen speaking to crowds of at least five.
Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations have been moved online this year, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier warning people to celebrate ‘responsibly and in line with the restrictions’.
She added: ‘To be clear, and I take no pleasure in saying this, that means no gatherings, no house parties, no first-footing. Instead, we should bring in 2021 in our own homes with just our own households.’
Blackpool – another traditional New Year’s Eve hotspot – was equally abandoned by rule-abiding citizens who stayed at home.
Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff also saw nearly-empty streets as Covid-conscious locals stayed indoors.
Meanwhile in Primrose Hill, revellers gathered outdoors in their household groups to watch people’s back-garden fireworks erupt across the city’s skyline.
In stark contrast to the rest of the UK, locals on the Isles of Scilly were pictured enjoying a New Year’s Eve drink in the only three pubs in England which are open tonight.
The islands’ 2,000-strong population is the only part of England still in Tier 1, with all other parts of the country having moved into Tiers 3 or 4.
There are normally around a dozen pubs on the archipelago but a number have closed this year, leaving punters with few options for welcoming in 2021, but more than those on the mainland.
Even though the rules are clear in banning gatherings, thousands still plan on attending illegal raves and street parties. But 96 per cent of Britons plan to stay home tonight, according to a YouGov poll.