A spectacular pyrotechnic stunt for the launch of a new TV series featuring survival expert Bear Grylls led to emergency calls to the London fire service last night.
Images of flames were projected onto the side of Battersea Power Station in south-west London and there were ground-level fireball explosions as Grylls abseiled down its side.
Two tenders turned up to the giant listed building after nearby residents mistook the PR curtain raiser for a real-life blaze.
A London fire brigade spokesperson explained: “We were called at 7.50pm. We attended and as soon as we got there we realised it wasn’t an incident for us," adding “we take every call seriously.”
BBC presenter Richard Bacon, who was hosting the Discovery Channel event, later revealed that worried residents on the opposite side of the River Thames had called out the fire service.
“This is a proper launch, the London Fire Brigade is here,” he joked excitedly.
“At least it shows they’re not still on strike,” Grylls chipped in, laughing.
Other members of the invited audience were not so sure. “Surely someone should have warned the fire service that this was happening. It seems a terrible waste of their time.”
The series introduced by the stunt spectacular is Grylls’ Escape from Hell. He talks to people who have had a brush with death and re-creates their dramatic escapes.
During a Q&A with Bacon he spoke of some of his own extreme encounters – eating raw goats testicles was top of the list of culinary horrors – and of his love for returning home.
“I remember making a wet-suit out of the skin of a dead seal,” he told the large audience of journalists, channel executives and other supporters. “It was a pretty snug fit, but it kept my core really warm.”
Asked about his favourite location in the world he replied: “The world is an amazing place, but I have also learned the value of home…the value of the people you love. That’s the important stuff.”
Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell will follow the adventurer as he meets survivalists and ordinary people who’ve found themselves in unusual situations around the world – including being attacked by rebels, trapped in avalanches or coming face to face with wild bears. Grylls will account these stories from the forests, mountains and deserts and evaluate how each person faired and what they could have done better.
Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell airs at 9pm on 7 October on Discovery Channel
Experience a holiday on the wild side, with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details