Swindon has become the host of the first permanent BBC Big Screen in the South West of England.
On 2 May local films were screened and a penalty shoot-out took place followed by urban dance demonstrations before BBC Points West presenter Alex Lovell, right, started the big count down to officially launch the facility
BBC producer Erik Burnett-Godfree, left, is looking forward to programming the Big Screen to reflect what’s going on in the town and encouraging people to look outwards. "The Big Screen in Wharf Green is a window on the world, a mirror to Swindon and a showcase for talent. It will broadcast the best of BBC TV, screen the work of independent filmmakers and cover local news and events round the clock."
"In the past we have tended to withdraw into our living rooms to consume television. The Big Screen aims to bring people together to enjoy and participate. There will be tremendous interactive opportunities; the camera on the screen can pick up the crowd and it will be possible to transmit Bluetooth signals from your mobile to the screen."
"We are working with in Swindon, the town centre management company, on public space events which will be organised in association with Swindon Borough Council. Open air performances, game playing and live relays of sport and culture will transform the newly refurbished square into a major civic arena."
However he added that the police will have a say on whether big sporting occasions can go ahead when public order issues have to be considered.
The Wharf Green development forms only part of the extensive plans to transform Swindon town centre into an appealing and exciting business and leisure district for residents and visitors alike. Regeneration in Swindon is being co-ordinated by The New Swindon Company on behalf of Swindon Borough Council and the South West Regional Development Agency. (Pictured right, Big Screen audience watching the Royal Ballet)
Coun Phil Young, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and development, said, “it’s great to see work coming along so well at Wharf Green and it’s thrilling to see the regeneration of the town centre gathering some momentum.
“Big Screen Swindon will be something special for the people who live near and visit the town centre. I hope it will provide the local community with an outdoor space they can use and enjoy.”
What’s in store for 2008
5 May – For those who couldn’t make the 5.30am launch of the Swindon Festival of Literature, relive it at 12.30pm
28 – 30 May – BBC Blast, Creative Workshop Bus
1 June – The Royal Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet (3pm, take a picnic and enjoy one of the most famous ballets)
5 – 6 July – Wimbledon Finals Weekend
18 July – First Night of the Proms
8 – 24 August – Olympics from China
6 September – Last Night of the Proms
2 November – BBC Children in Need
See more Big Screen news and programming at: www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen