HMS Belfast Concert

Case Study


With only 5 days to put the show together, CUNNING was briefed by Polydor and the BBC to secure a unique central London location and produce an event to be broadcast live on Top of The Pops.

The show would be both visually spectacular and showcase the grand return of Eminem, who was playing in the UK for the first time in 2 years.

The brief covered the running of all the production elements of the BBC’s live broadcast, including; venue hire, council liaison, PLA liaison, staging, lighting, sound, AV, security and logistics.


The first step was to find a location with kudos that was suitable for the event. CUNNING proposed HMS Belfast on the Thames and with only 4 days remaining, secured Council and tenant permissions and supplied all relevant documentation to use of the retired battle ship.

CUNNING then liaised with a series of production specialists, to ensure that every element of the production was covered, including all technical site inspections, drawing up of CAD plans, staging, lighting, sound, AV rigging and catering for 70 crew members.

The time constraints for staging the event were as tight as the planning stage. Preparation began at 3am on the morning of the event and carried on until 9am then it stopped, as HMS Belfast needed to open for the public. Rigging began again at 3pm and, with only 3 hours to go before the live broadcast, the pressure was on to carry out all technical checks and finish rigging all equipment.

Security was of utmost importance on the ship and was heightened even further when it was discovered that Jacques Chirac’s own ship was docked next to HMS Belfast.

Eminem (with his 25 strong entourage!) arrived by Sunseeker Yacht. With lasers, smoke effects and the dramatic back drop of the Tower of London behind him, global superstar performed two songs, ‘Just Lose It’ and ‘Toy Soldiers’ from his new album “Encore”

The performance was broadcast live on Top of The Pops. In a nice touch of irony, ‘Toy Soldiers’ was supported by eight drummer boys performing from the gun turret.


Ian Funnell from Polydor commented, “I’ll never forget Friday night. Eminem performing live on the Thames, with Tower Bridge as a backdrop, was a vision to behold! Seems like the media shared my enthusiasm judging by the coverage”.

Coverage included The Sun, The Star, The Mirror and loads of Radio, as well as the exclusive performance for Top of the Pops.

Back to Top