In pictures: Sky Atlantic polar bear lands in London

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To mark the launch of Sky Atlantic's arctic crime drama Fortitude, the brand has unleashed an eight-foot-long animated polar bear at landmarks in London today (27 January).

The bear, which was created by a team of Hollywood special effects experts and commissioned by Sky Atlantic, was spotted at locations around London including Hampstead Heath, Charing Cross Underground station and the South Bank.

A team of 19 prop specialists spent eight weeks designing and building the replica animal, with up to eight people working on the costume at any one time. More than 60 types of materials, which included a 90 square foot of sheet fur, was used for the creating the animal.

The prop used internal monitors linked to hidden cameras, allowing the two performers inside to see. The puppeteers, who spent three years working together as Joey in the award-winning West End production of War Horse, studied footage of real polar bears before spending five days rehearsing in order to get the gait and other movements right.

Zai Bennett, director of Sky Atlantic, said: "In Fortitude, there are 3,000 polar bears to 713 residents. Polar bears are the most dangerous animal on land and present an ever-present threat to Fortitude's inhabitants.

"To launch our new Arctic-noir thriller we wanted to bring a realistic polar bear to the streets of London to give people an up close experience of what it must be like to come face to face with one of the biggest, but uncredited stars of our new show."

The stunt was created and executed by creative brand communications agency Taylor Herring. 

Sky Atlantic’s new series Fortitude will be premiering this Thursday (29 January).

Earlier this month, Sky Atlantic confirmed that The O2 will host the first leg of the experiential Game of Thrones: The Exhibition's international tour in February.

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