Millennium Experience hires chief to spearhead 50m local events

The New Millennium Experience Company has appointed a national programme director to head the 50m Millennium Challenge, a series of local events to herald the Greenwich celebrations.

The company has hired Joe Simpson, who has worked as co-ordinator of the ITV Telethon and with the Community Service Volunteers.

A spokesman says: “The Millennium Challenge is a programme of events being staged up and down the country and starting in January. It’s aim is to get people excited about the year 2000.” He says details of the events will be announced shortly before they begin.

Ideas are understood to include an It’s a Knockout-style TV series, where local communities compete against each other to devise ways to celebrate the millennium.

The Challenge is seen as a crucial part of marketing the celebrations at the Millennium Dome, to attract people from all over the country to attend the exhibition.

Plans for the celebrations have been criticised for failing to take into account public opinion. Consultation has included a touring roadshow which has canvassed public views on the exhibition, and an NOP poll which asked 1,000 people if they would visit the Dome. Only 32 per cent said they would consider attending.

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