“Good afternoon and welcome to another exciting round of construction hurdles. The two competitors today started their careers as millennium projects?” “That’s right, Brian, both in honour of the three big zeros.”

“And it looks like being an exciting race, Brian, although I don’t think the result’s really in much doubt. Here’s the line-up … It’s Lord Foster’s Millennium Tower and Marks Barfield’s Millennium Wheel.” “I know which my money’s on, Brian. A landmark project for a graceful 385 m tower in the heart of the City designed by a superstar architect with a two-year head-start versus … a Ferris wheel. By two outsiders. In a World Heritage site. On land they don’t own.”

“That’s certainly a lot of hurdles. And they’re off …” “Well, the wheel’s hardly moving – no funding, no planning permission”

“Oh my God! the tower’s fallen at the first hurdle! ‘Too tall and too bulky,’ says English Heritage. It’s back to the drawing board for Foster.” “But no … it’s back … but now it’s got nothing to do with the millennium! It’s the Swiss Re headquarters, and it’s only 180 m high.”

“And a rather peculiar gherkin shape, reminds me of a …” “Sorry to interrupt Brian but the wheel’s on a roll! It’s got funding from BA, a new name and steel suppliers. But planning permission may prove to be a problem.” “No, Brian, it’s cleared that hurdle easily by dropping 15 m and ducking under it. And it hasn’t been called in. Only construction left now …” “Look at that! The Baltic Exchange is calling for an inquiry! It says Foster’s gherkin breaks some sort of deal it had with Kvaerner! The tower’s really in trouble now …”

“Talking of gherkins, the wheel’s having a bit of an erection problem … They’re going to have to go back to try that hurdle again … And they’ve done it! It’s up, and it looks like it might make it for December!” “No chance of the gherkin going up before then …” “And the wheel’s heading for the last hurdle … Will it turn when Tone pulls the switch?” “Oh, dear … A stumble at the last hurdle there … But it’s made it, it’s up and running, with the gherkin only just getting planning permission. It’s an easy win.” “Quite remarkable.”


Event: Hurdling Winner: London Eye