GREMLINS in the system scuppered hopes for a dazzling lunchtime launch of Swindon's biggest TV screen.

Football fans were supposed to test the swish new screen in Wharf Green with a hi-tech virtual penalty shootout competition on Friday.

But a technical hitch scuppered that - though the giant screen was ready and raring for its launch in the evening.

People gathered in the centre of town for the big switch on which was performed by BBC Points West presenter Alex Lovell with a giant remote control.

The BBC Big Screen is the first permanent one in the south west.

Erik Burnett-Godfree, producer for the BBC Big Screen said: "The screen will show the best of the BBC's programmes.

"It will also show movies, documentaries and other features by people in the local community.

"It is way of bringing people together and taking them out of their living rooms and into the public arena.

"This will instil a sense of civic pride in the people of Swindon. It's given them this area where they can meet, relax and enjoy themselves."

Keith Phillips, film and digital media officer at Swindon-based Create Studios said: "It was a great event. We had some of the work produced by us featuring young people broadcast on the screen.

"We also had our camera crews taking shots of the crowd and that was shown on the screen as well."

Bernie Maguire, of town centre management company inSwindon, said: "The screen will draw people to the area and it'll get the heart back into the town centre.

"It'll show people that there's change happening in town and it's for the better."

Carol Heneghan, marketing director of the New Swindon Company, said: "The screen's going to be a focal point for people in Swindon.

"It'll give them a place to relax, meet and enjoy themselves and also be great for live events and other things.

"The council have been great in securing the funding and this is the first step in transforming the town and it's a great start."

The giant 35 sq metre screen is situated on the side of the Brunel Centre's west car park and is the first of seven areas in the town centre to be regenerated under the New Swindon Company's £1bn project.