Piccadilly Circus billboard lights are switched back on after nine months of darkness

The iconic electronic billboards at Piccadilly Circus have been switched on after going dark for the longest period of time since the Blitz.

The tourist hotspot’s six old illuminated advertising boards have been replaced with one ultra-high definition curved screen.

A digital “fly-over” of London marked the return of the lights to Piccadilly Circus at 8am on Thursday morning.

A countdown appeared on the board before viewers were treated to a bright light display.

Piccadilly Circus lights switched back on – In pictures


The advertising screens at Piccadilly Circus in central London are switched on for the first time in nine months

Stefan Rousseau/PA


The lights were turned back on today ahead of the morning rush hour

Stefan Rousseau/PA


The old lights have been replaced by one ultra-high definition curved screen

Stefan Rousseau/PA


The billboards use surveillance-based technology to broadcast adverts based the age, gender and mood of passers-by

Stefan Rousseau/PA


The lights have been illuminated almost constantly since the Second World War

Stefan Rousseau/PA


A crowd of onlookers films the moments the light were switched back on

Stefan Rousseau/PA

Tourists were teased with a preview of the impressive display on Wednesday night when the words PiccadillyOn appeared on the new screen.

Eagle-eyed passersby took to social media to hail the billboard’s return.

Michelle Francis simply wrote: “They’re back!”

While Garbrielle added: “Something’s happening in Piccadilly Circus.”

The fanfare came amid a privacy row after it emerged that the billboard will use surveillance-based technology to broadcast adverts based on the age, gender and mood of passers-by.

The famous billboards were turned off in January for the first extended period of time since 1949. 

They have illuminated almost constantly since the Second World War, except being turned off as a mark of respect during Winston Churchill and Princess Diana’s funerals. 

Watch the switch-on live on the Evening Standard’s Facebook page.

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/piccadilly-circus-billboard-lights-switched-back-on-after-nine-months-of-darkness-a3668206.html