the millennium dome

The Millennium Dome redux

I posted these photos of the infamous Millennium Dome back in June, but since then I’ve found more photographs of the place! Turns out my family visited it twice… I kinda suspect it was because the first visit turned out to be disappointing and my parents thought the second time would be better.

I….can’t remember if it was or not.

Here’s me being part of the “net generation.”

This pic here, where I look incredibly sulky and pissed off, gives a good idea of the scale of the Dome. (Absolutely no reblogging this photo please.)

Now I’m curious as to what that wall of screens was.

Turns out it was the Self-Portrait Zone:

And I actually remember those sculptures! My 12-year-old self found them VERY unsettling (especially The Couch Potato, which was a guy melting into his sofa) but sadly I guess we didn’t take any pics of them.

This globe and spaceship marked the entrance to Home Planet, a sort of educational dark ride.

Y’know what? The Dome sold Dome-branded merchandise! And while going through old boxes I found what I myself purchased from the gift shop!

That’s it! Just a notebook with a holographic sticker on it! I wonder how much it cost to produce.

This brochure I found is quite interesting. It says “For one year only” so… Was that always the plan, to only have it open for one year? Or had things deteriorated so quickly by October they’d already decided to close it? Either way, how incredibly wasteful.

I DO remember the Blackadder film! I think it was the first Blackadder I ever saw.

CUl8tr, Dome! Though before I sign off – I ran across this photo from the same era in my boxes and boxes of photos. It’s a little LEGO dome at Legoland in 2001!

…The real thing would’ve closed by then.

The Timekeepers of the Millennium

Remember how I made that post a week or so about getting to visit the Millennium Dome? I mentioned how there was a children’s TV show to go with one attraction, but it was mostly lost. Well, I found the first three episodes!

Presenting The Timekeepers of the Millennium! It used a combination of live-action, puppetry and CGI to take kids on a irreverent ride through British history. Well, sort of. Kids of the time probably wouldn’t have actually learned a damn thing from it, I know I didn’t, but who cares! They built a park inside a doooooome!

….Yeah, about that.

Well, regardless of the quality of the actual Dome, this show isn’t all that bad. The two main muppets are charming enough and all the actors playing historical figures seem to be having fun at least. Also let’s face it, the demographic for this was definitely “tweenagers who would pester their parents into taking them to the Dome so they could meet the characters” and no-one else. There was indeed a Cogs and Sprinx running round the Millennium Dome back in the day!

(no using that image please.)

RIP Timekeepers! I found out recently that their ball-pit-like Dome attraction was about the only one in the building not sponsored by some evil mega-corporation so they got that going for them too.

The Millennium Dome

Recently I stumbled across some photos from when my family went to the Millennium Dome in 2000! OMG!

If you’re not British (or are British but very young) you might not know the history of the Millenium Dome. I didn’t until quite recently. This twitter thread sums it all up perfectly:

Essentially the Millennium Dome was an expensive, extravagant, incredibly entertaining disaster right from the get-go and there’s a part of me that kinda wishes it was still there. Just me? Probably, yeah. Sadly I can’t really remember all the details of it very well either, because I was only about 12 I think and there was a lot to take in.

This picture, featuring as it does both an inexplicable sculpture of a squatting child and a McDonalds, pretty much sums up the essence of it.

This was Timekeepers of the Millennium, pretty much the only thing in the Dome that children would be remotely interested in. It was, if I remember rightly, basically a massive ball pit/play area where you could fire balls at each other with air cannons and generally cause chaos. It was of no educational merit whatsoever, which was probably for the best.

It at one point had a television show to go with it! It had the same name as the ride and aired on CITV. Most of it is lost apparently but I have some old VHS tapes to go through and I’m really hoping I might find some of it on one of them.

Here’s one of the Disney-like Timekeeper mascots. (If you’re viewing this post looking for pictures to illustrate something you’re writing about the Dome, please don’t use this one okay? You can use one or two of the others if you message me in the comments first.)

This here was a seaside-themed area. I think it was the first section completed on the Dome, I remember Newsround telling me so back in 1999. It had, IIRC… pretty much the same charm as your average British seaside.

Wonder if kids were allowed to play in the sand, like on a normal beach? I’m guessing probably not.

Now THIS! This is the Body Zone!

The weirdest and daftest section of the Dome. I clearly remember this beating heart (for it did indeed beat) hovering omniously above guests in this area.

WHAT? The WHAT NOW?

Outside in the slightly more fresh air there were some pretty, rainbow-coloured tents which I believe formed a “rest zone.” Probably for the parents who’d left their kids with the ball cannons.

In the very middle of the dome there was a show on every so often! And I remember it was actually really good?

Or at least, it had music and fire and lights, and that was more than enough for my 12-year-old self.

While going through the photos I also found this leaflet:

There’s a little map in there which gives you some idea of the scale of the thing. Might be safe to say the crowds of people drawn on there aren’t completely accurate, though. In many of the pics I have there’s… Pretty much no people in the background at all.

These photos were taken in May 2000 and by December it had closed. During its brief time on Earth it racked up no end of controversy, ended or at least severely stunted a few political careers, and had a gang of diamond robbers crash in with a JCB digger. We will never see its like again. The Sunday Times, which was I think marginally less crap back in those days, predicted the downfall before it even opened:

At worst it is a millennial metaphor for the twentieth century. An age in which all things, like the Dome itself, became disposable. A century in which forest and cities, marriages, animal species, races, religions and even the Earth itself, became ephemeral. What more cynical monument can there be for this totalitarian cocksure fragile age than a vast temporary plastic bowl, erected from the aggregate contribution of the poor through the National Lottery. Despite the spin, it remains a massive pantheon to the human ego, the Ozymandias of its time.

Look On My Wall Of Giant Animatronic Pubic Lice, Ye Mighty, And Despair.