Wednesday 26 Jul 2023
Star guests see Ozzy the bull roar back into Birmingham New Street station
The much-loved centrepiece to last year’s Commonwealth Games – Ozzy the bull – has been officially unveiled in his new home at Birmingham New Street station.
Over the last month the huge moving mechanical sculpture has been installed on the station’s concourse for thousands of people to admire in the heart of Birmingham and at the heart of Britain’s railway network.
It’s nearly a year since Ozzy – then known as the Raging Bull – endeared himself to millions across the globe when he formed the climax of the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony alongside 50 women chain makers to tell the story of the West Midlands’ industrial past*.
This morning (Wednesday 26 July) more than half of the original cast members helped unveil the 10-metre-high beast, which has been named after Birmingham music legend Ozzy Osbourne.
Watching on proudly was his wife, Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's older sister Jean Powell and Birmingham 2022 Gold medal winning super heavyweight boxer Delicious Orie.
Today's unveiling follows an overwhelming public vote for the Raging Bull to be renamed Ozzy - in honour of the Black Sabbath frontman who appeared as a surprise performance in the Games' closing ceremony last year.
Ozzy the bull's new home at New Street has been made possible by Network Rail and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Both organisations worked together with the Birmingham 2022 Games organisers** to secure the future of the iconic artwork, when it was removed from public display last September.
In February it was revealed that New Street station would become the bull’s new home, and a major six-month redesign and rebuilding project began***.
- Approx 50% of the original bull retained with the other half remade.
- New mechanisms installed so the bull can move its mouth, head, eyes, eyelids, and tail, and speakers to make it roar.
- The opportunity was taken to rebuild the legs and underside which will now be seen in full 360 degrees.
- The bull being painstakingly dismantled, trucked to the station and rebuilt
- Over 7,000 hours of work to make all of this happen
Today’s big reveal was timed to happen ahead of Birmingham Festival 23, which starts this Friday in Centenary Square to mark a year since the games began.
Peter, Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, and Network Rail chair said: “We are really proud to have given Ozzy a new home at Birmingham New Street for thousands of people to enjoy, right at the heart of Britain’s railway network.
“A huge amount of work has gone into making this happen, by many, many people over many months. Ozzy will now not only be a reminder of last year’s unforgettable summer of sport, but also a new icon for the city and its future.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It’s wonderful to see Ozzy the Bull make its triumphant return to Birmingham – taking pride of place in New Street Station with this official unveiling.
“Ozzy was the iconic and quite simply unforgettable centrepiece of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. One year on from the Games, it’s a brilliant reminder of the pride we all felt, perfectly captures the spirit of the Games and will be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. My thanks to Network Rail for providing a base fit for this hometown hero.”
Gary Beestone, Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony technical director, said: "I’m delighted that the Bull that captured the imagination of so many in last summer’s show now has found a permanent home in the heart of the city creating an iconic meeting point which will capture people’s attention.”
Mike Kelt, Artem Special Effects CEO, said: “It has been a delightful challenge to rebuild the Bull for the people of Birmingham, who reacted to it with such emotion during and after the Games. I feel that part of my soul now belongs to the city and hope to visit often to see how Ozzy is getting on.”
On the unveiling day there has been a brass band, face painting and limited giveaways for people welcoming Ozzy to his new home in the heart of Birmingham.
For the first ten days he will perform at quarter past the hour between 8am and 8pm, moving his head, roaring to the crowds and swishing his tail.
For more updates on Ozzy you can follow the @NetworkRailBHM Twitter account.
Notes to Editors
*Raging Bull featured in the official Opening Ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The ceremony was held in the Alexander Stadium on 28 July 2022. Created from the machinery from industry and factories of Birmingham and the West Country, the Bull was pulled on stage by 50 women representing the female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution who made chains in the slave trade. This segment of the ceremony featured the women breaking free from their chains to symbolise release from oppression.
** The Bull was commissioned by Birmingham Ceremonies Ltd, a joint venture between GBA and Done+Dusted, for the Opening Ceremony under the artistic direction of Iqbal Khan. The original creative concept for the Bull was created by Misty Buckley and the structure fabricated by Artem. The Raging Bull and its Intellectual Property was formally handed over to Network Rail on 7 February 2023.
*** The original Bull was 10 metres high, weighed 2.5 tonnes and it was designed, built and mechanised by a team of more than 50 people by UK based special effects company Artem. They have been behind the rebuild of the bull so it could be permanently displayed inside Birmingham New Street station, Britain’s busiest railway station outside of London. The Bull was originally constructed of lightweight aluminium tubing but has now almost been completely rebuilt in lightweight fire-retardant glass-reinforced plastic moulds to meet fire regulations.
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