John Whittington, creative direction

London Lights, World Events

Between 1980 and 2003 John Whittington worked as a producer, creative director and then leader in the theatre, brand expression and public events sector – in part through his own creative production company, World Events.

As he transitioned into his second career in personal and leadership development he was invited to respond to one last creative brief – to put London back on the map at New Year.

In competition with many other original thinkers he was invited to develop a range of memorable and iconic ideas to celebrate the dawning of the new year in London that would create a spectacular event and global photo opportunity.

John’s single recommendation, to use fireworks and lighting to transform The London Eye into the world’s largest ‘Catherine Wheel’, won the bid and has been produced, expanded and evolved every year since by some of the world’s leading practitioners.

John’s concept has become a landmark London fixture, eagerly anticipated at midnight every New Year and enjoyed by many millions across the world.

John’s original sketch and idea notes, created in a one hour meeting in July 2003 and re-discovered 9 years later: