How the papers reported the Big One stoppages

The Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Once again in a quest for clicks – and in-turn advertising revenue – the virtual non-event of a rollercoaster stopping on a lift hill has been leapt upon by the British tabloids.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Big One, a particularly tempting target for sensationalism due to its title of the UK’s tallest rollercoaster, has twice stopped on its lift hill in the last two weeks.

On both occasions, people have been walked down from the ride as the train was safely evacuated.

The Sun initially missed one of the oldest tricks in the sensationalist book, when it reported the “terrifying” ride’s height in meters rather than feet. It later recovered though when it described a “horror at 235ft”. Strange, since the train “ground to a halt” at only about half of that height.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express reported the age-old inaccuracy of the Big One’s apparent “maximum speed of 85 mph” – even rounded up to 90 mph on occasion but in fairness, also stated on the Pleasure Beach’s own website. The paper also covered the Big One’s newly-alleged extended reach towards the sea, with people left “stranded high above Blackpool beach”, apparently.

Despite its locality and, you would think familiarity, with the Big One, the Blackpool Gazette said it was a “dramatic stop mid-ride” that saw the “giant roller coaster” come to a “hair-raising halt”. Thankfully the “huge flight of emergency stairs” guided everyone to safety.

The Daily Mail said it was a “a terrifying walk down”, in an otherwise surprisingly un-sensationalist article.

And the Guardian described the event as seeing “one of Britain’s most terrifying – or thrilling – rollercoasters” became “even more terrifying and less thrilling.”

One great point by the BBC though was that people can (and do as it happens) “pay to walk the ride once a month with full safety equipment”.