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Liverpool's Sea Odyssey branded 'disgusting' after Little Girl Giant urinates in street

by Chris Bradley. Published Fri 20 Apr 2012 15:56, last updated: 25/04/12
The Little Girl Giant urinating on a Liverpool street
The Little Girl Giant urinating on a Liverpool street

An event to mark 100 years since the Titanic sank has been slammed as "disgusting" after a 30ft Little Girl Giant appeared to act out urinating in the street.

One relative of RMS Titanic ship owner J. Bruce Ismay described the puppet being seen to relieve itself as "totally inappropriate" in marking the loss of more than 1500 lives.

The #2m Sea Odyssey spectacular began on Friday morning when the mechanical figure awoke in Stanley Park in Liverpool and began the first leg of her journey.

She is telling the story of an 11 year-old girl named May McMurray who wrote to her father, William when he was aboard the Titanic three days before hitting an iceberg and sinking.

More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished in the freezing Atlantic waters on 15th April 1912 and the body of William McMurray was never found.

He never read his daughter's letter and the storyline of Sea Odyssey will see his fictional brother reunited with the grief-stricken daughter in the 'heart-warming finale' on Sunday.

But in a shocking scene soon after the start of a 23-mile route around the city where Titanic was registered the Little Giant Girl stopped and appeared to "urinate" on the floor.

Thousands of spectators gasped as she squatted down and a geyser of water sprung from beneath her green skirt.

Cliff Ismay, the great-great nephew of former White Star Line boss J.Bruce Ismay, condemned Liverpool City Council and creators Royal De Luxe over the incident.

Mr Ismay, curator of the Titanic Heritage Museum in Cumbria, said: "A performance like this is disrespectful not only to those who died, but also to their families.

"The centenary of the disaster should be about showing respect to those who lost their lives.

"It should not be any kind of spectacle and I'm very saddened and shocked that it has descended to this level.

"To have a giant puppet urinating in the street in this context is an outrage and quite disgusting.

"I feel for the family of May McMurray. Their story is important to them and it should be treated with respect."

Creators Royal De Luxe artistic director Jean Luc Courcoult took inspiration from the letter May sent to her father which is on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

But he has adapted the story to focus on the relationship between her "uncle" who has been searching the sea-bed for 100 years to lay his brother to rest.

During the search he discovers the letter written by the Little Giant Girl and vows to return it to the author and tell her what happened to her father.

He will begin his journey from Albert Dock on the waterfront of the city at 2pm but the weekend event has been criticised for causing three days "of havoc".

Leading Titanic tour guide in Liverpool Philip Coppell agreed that Sea Odyssey is not the correct way to commemorate Titanic's sinking.

Philip said: "I am absolutely appalled that they think it right to commemorate the loss of 1514 lives with images of a girl relieving herself in the street.

"This is a deplorable insult to the memory of the people who died aboard the Titanic and it's an embarrassment to the city.

"The French firm who are running Sea Odyssey must be ordered not to repeat this stunt of urination, or anything else so disgusting."

A Liverpool City Council said: "These negative comments about Sea Odyssey are not worthy of a response. It is an event being enjoyed by thousands of people."

Sea Odyssey was originally supposed to be the street spectacular that launched Liverpool's 2008 Capital of Culture.

At that time it was then deemed "unsuitable" and the city council instead opted for a giant spider show "La Princess".

Similar design to the Royal De Luxe puppets a 50ft spider stalked Liverpool city centre and more than 250,000 spectators turned-out.

But with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking council officials decided to revive the project with a maritime theme and the complex planning began 12 months ago.

The £2m price tag is being funded by the National Lottery, the Arts Council, the ERDF and "the last of the cash" from Liverpool's Capital of Culture funds.

The creators of the Sea Odyssey giants said the reason their giant urinated on the street is because "that is what little girls do".

Patrick Smith, a puppeteer from Royal De Luxe, said: "We have had a pleasant walk with the giants in Liverpool and met many people along the way.

"Many people were really surprised when the Little Girl Giant urinated but a lot of them were delighted and they shouted as if it was a Beatles' show.

"It's what little girls do - even giant little girls - and all of the giants have many other surprises in store for the people of Liverpool."


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"'They were puppets...' but they were SUPPOSED to be a tribute to the dead of the Titanic! A puppet taking a leak in the street? An insult!" Joe Green, Aintree around 2 years, 11 months ago

"they were puppets!!!! some people are just stupid" eamondo, edinburgh around 2 years, 11 months ago

"Well done. Very moving. Spurt of water, not urine. Morons. Everyone enjoyed, good way to remember all who died. YNWA" Bandit Queen, Liverpool around 2 years, 11 months ago

"Totally awesome, makes me very proud to have come from Liverpool. And yes I\'ve seen people all over the world peeing in public places too." Pat, Canada around 2 years, 11 months ago

"I have read the comments,no problem with what I saw.On previous to your city I have seen many people peeing in the streets. " Dave , St.Asaph around 3 years ago

"superb ,superb,stop moanin ,naff all better to do ,put ye slippers and dressing gown on and close ye venition blinds!!!!!" mike griff, cheshire around 3 years ago

"it was not disgusting you idiots, all little boys and girls get caught short - shut up you morons!" sonia, liverpool around 3 years ago

"This was one of the most impressive events I have ever seen.It was great the way the touching story was played out all over the city. " Ste, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"the dog had a wee aswell ,get a grip liverpool were is y sense ove humour it was brill,never satisfied well we loved every bit ." louise, liverpool around 3 years ago

"It wasnt wee she wasnt real, the dog weed too and that wasnt real either! get a life it was brilliant street theatre!" sue carney, liverpool around 3 years ago

"The planners are French, hello, has nobody been to Paris and breathed in or queried the stains down the subway stairs?" atSirCelebritaire, Toronto around 3 years ago

"Why didn't they have the little girl throwing away Mcdonald's takeaways? That would have really added to the realism of Liverpool!" gary wakefield, wirral around 3 years ago

"The whole event was wonderful, not forgetting the music played by the live band, " John F, Crosby around 3 years ago

"I am appaled at the whole event. Why would they have the girl puppet wee in the street, teaching little kids to do the same. waste of money!" lucy and emma, liverpool around 3 years ago

"I'm sorry I missed the little giant having a wee, I bet it took some planning. We loved watching the talented puppeteers ! It was magical !" Carol, Manchester around 3 years ago

"We saw a little of the Sea Odyssey on Tv but I wish we could see the whole event on National Tv. It looked an amazing event." Violet Gray, Suffolk around 3 years ago

"Fantastic, what an amazing fete, too bad about the nay sayers, they'll always have something to moan about. " Pat, Ontario, Canada around 3 years ago

"100 years ago people pee\'d in the street. It\'s just funny. Get a sense of humour - we can\'t all stand there crying about Titanic." Justine, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"and I thought you were GREAT Britain!you just got peeded on by the French and they had the last laugh. " Deborah, US around 3 years ago

"What a truly wonderful day we have had and the Giants spectacular well done to the creator and all the people envolved Magical day" sue, liverpool around 3 years ago

"Brilliant and entertaining for all age groups what makes me mad is the people that moan about a simple act of urinating. Get a life . " diana, rainhill around 3 years ago

"so the little girl had a wee so do the drunks every weekend say no more hers was a spray of water get a grip you protesters" malhug, huyton around 3 years ago

"Speaking as a US citizen, I've never seen a child or woman squat and urinate in the US. The only cases I am aware of unless lost in woods." dl, NE around 3 years ago

"Why are there so many sad, miserable negative, whining penny pinching people out there! Best thing that's happened in liverpool for years." Marg, Bootle around 3 years ago

"Amazing. Little girls would have 'peed' where they stood 1 hundred years ago. Loved every bit of the show. It made my L'pool heart swell." Suzanna, Calif. USA around 3 years ago

"A truly amazing and successful event, showcasing a magnificent city Well Done Liverpool and Thanks to Royale de Luxe." Vera, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"i have been spellbound this weekend and totally captivated by this story being acted out on our streets. Well done it was FANTASTIC " denise, crosby around 3 years ago

"Just got back from the last day events.Makes me wish had been to all 3 days.Rivals the spider for spectacle.Also found it a very moving." Ade Brown, St.Helens around 3 years ago

"Just got back from the last day events.Makes me wish had been to all 3 days.Rivals the spider for spectacle.Also found it a very moving." Ade Brown, St.Helens around 3 years ago

"I can't believe how narrow minded some people are, it was ONLY WATER not actual urine. Get a grip you moaners. It was a FANTASTIC event." Lynne, Winsford around 3 years ago

"well done liverpool,wonderfull.also to the policemen who let the little children have the pleasure of photos be taken whilst sat on the moto" tony tunley, alsager stoke around 3 years ago

"Truly magical is all I can say & a big thank you to all involved.I wouldn't have missed it for the world." Diane, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"it was not as digusting as any Fri/Sat nite at closing time. Male & female do it, " S Holding. , nelson lancashire around 3 years ago

"What a fantastic event and weekend this has been for Liverpool.The city looked fantastic, atmosphere was brilliant and the people wonderful!" Allison, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"What an absolutely amazing event! Pathetic comments about being disgustingIf you had followed the show it depicted sadness joy love and hope" C Riley , Crosby around 3 years ago

"brilliant, best thing the council has spent money on, and free to see" Steve, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"Disrespectful? Not quite in the same league as Hollywood making Officer Murdoch a murderer while coining millions for the film studio." Robinllj, Macclesfield around 3 years ago

"get ya facts right , ismay helped nobody only himself , he was branded a coward , look it up. anyway wots the ismays ever done for liverpool" eddie, liverpool around 3 years ago

"Her "weeing" conveys her distress at wandering the streets with no comforts for days. look to the symbolism of the action you dummies!" Anna, Rossett N Wales around 3 years ago

"We seen the uncke and it was FANTASTIC! I've never seen anything like it, thank you Liverpool for a wonderful free day out, I just love my " wendy, liverpool around 3 years ago

"dear oh dear. You Mancunians have been wishing rain on the show via TV weather reports and now pissing on a great event, bad luck it was ace" Bill Major, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"i agree with nellydean , how disrespectful was it when ismay deseerted the titanic and watched little babys dying while he was watching " eddie, liverpool around 3 years ago

"how is this disrespectful? it's a celebration to mark 100 years, not a wake that has gone on for more than 100 years.take a good loo-k again" Alan, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"You can view video of the incident here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wTXF_NkujQ" GwladysStreetEnder, Lancashire around 3 years ago

"Saw a few little children with their mums' caught short. Why not the giant little girl? I have really enjoyed the giants in Liverpool." Simon, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"It's not like she weed on the memorial, it was in the same street, she needs to do her business somewhere!" Katie, Wirral around 3 years ago

"another great day for liverpool you should be proud and the media attention is all good for the city. forget about a puppet weeing ???" debra, chester around 3 years ago

"No publicity is bad publicity,it wasn't a real girl peeing in the street,get a grip" Jedi, Mancheser around 3 years ago

"It is a great spectacle, but a waste of money, considering all the services being cut, elderly care suffering,NHS. We need to make cutbacks" lesley richards, liverpool around 3 years ago

"I think this article misses the point , of course it's respectful an a little girl puppet having a wee is a bit of theatre" alison , liverpool around 3 years ago

"She also had a shower,nap,dance, boat and scooter ride but no one moans about this.Get a grip you small minded idiots!" sarah, st helens around 3 years ago

"People are talking of nothing else, great for the city, money well spent." Barbara, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"Disgusting waste of money when we have libraries closing and other cuts by the council. As for urinating, great example for the kids!" Dave, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"i think possibly the 'urination' was superfluous and sensationalistic. The article does have a generally negative feel though" charlie one, liverpool around 3 years ago

"This is a wonderful event anybody that enjoys art will be bowled over by this event. I think that people should stop thinking about the cost" debra, chester around 3 years ago

"complaining idiots. stay at home and watch Eastenders and spawn idiot children. Sea giants will be remembered for its brilliance. " Steve, Bootle around 3 years ago

"she had a wee, so what, everyone does it, its a puppet show,makes it all the more lifelike,stop the whinin an get out from behind ya comps x" lizzie g, liverpool around 3 years ago

"It is disgusting. There was no need for it, it was done to shock and to make headlines. It should have been respectful, it wasn't. " Cathherine, City centre around 3 years ago

"Nice one Chris - find one "controversial" aspect and use it to knock the whole magical experience. A proud journalist?" Alf, Merseyside around 3 years ago

"another amazing event that has come to our city,my children and i enjoyed everythiong we seen on friday.well done all concerned." m.taylor, liverpool around 3 years ago

"This is so wonderful, and so sad the story it is telling pulls the heart strings. Well done to all concerned and those that don't like it .." Ian , Allerton around 3 years ago

"superb i went to stanley park to see her awake stop moanin.put this way wouldnt have fitted in the pub to go to the loo" tony, liverpool around 3 years ago

"Mr Ismay needs to remember that we would not be commemorating the sinking if it was not for his ancestors incompetence!! and we all urinate!" Dave, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"the little giant girl was brilliant today, i dont think weeing incident was, awful." paula, stoneycroft around 3 years ago

"What a brilliant event, money well spent, so people please dont moan at the costs, Oh, the little girl had a wee bless her." John F, Crosby around 3 years ago

"its a great thing and I hope theres more suprises from the giants. Don't spoil it for Liverpool, they make the puppets seem so real!" Poppy, Chester around 3 years ago

"Nellydean: I think you've fallen foul of James Cameron's artistic license. Ismay helped many before escaping. Survior's guilt ruined him." Vicky, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"It is not disgusting it is art. And it is wonderful bringing people out onto the streets. It is a fantastically creative spectacle." Thomas, Wirral around 3 years ago

"all stop moaning it ha been one of the most fantastic events to come to liverpool and even more so anfield and everton such art" vicky, liverpool around 3 years ago

"A street party is not the way to commemorate the deaths of over 1500 people. Girls of 11 DO NOT urinate in the street. Disgusting spectacle" Bill, Anfield around 3 years ago

"Alan M: This is a link to the route for 21/4/12 http://www.giantspectacular.com/content/route-2" Larry Harding, Wirral around 3 years ago

"Stop trying to justify it! How can a puppet peeing be a tribute to Titanic or its dead? Disgusting is not a strong enough word. Shameful!" Jeff Spencer, Crosby around 3 years ago

"Theatre can be very offensive,imaginary or not. This jamboree offends the memory of the dead. A real blunder to link this with Titanic." Larry Harding, Wirral around 3 years ago

"Has Mr Ismay never been to the theatre or read fiction? Using imagination to delight an audience is in no way an insult to anybody. " Bernardo, London around 3 years ago

"Well I thought it was amazing. Why can't people just stop whining and enjoy it instead of being complaining dingbats! " sarah pilkington, liverpool around 3 years ago

"John, get the story right she wasn't homeless... " carol, liverpool around 3 years ago

"where is it on 21-4-12" Alan Murphy, Runcorn around 3 years ago

"Agree with Coppell. Disgusting! Wrong to mark Titanic sinking with a parade. Girl's waterworks just last straw. Please show some respect!" Frank Williams, Old Swan around 3 years ago

"what a pathetic artical,firstly the cost is 1.5 million liverpool city council is paying 20% of that the rest is coming from local business" j graney, liverpool around 3 years ago

"this is a fantasy, A dream, go with it and stop being so small minded. Celebrate the work and acheivement this really is, I wish I was there" R K Hunter, Bournemouth around 3 years ago

"Typical of the press to focus on yet another negative. Are these so called Click Journo's mancunian by any chance? Pathetic story!" Andy, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"How prudish of these people to complain! Urinating is a natural act and doing it modestly in the street is what little homeless girls did." John, Liverpool around 3 years ago

"I'll tell you what is more disrespectful and inappropriate, the fact that Ismay deserted Titanic with women and children still onboard." nellydean, west midlands around 3 years ago

"r u people for real take another look at what she was doing dah brains " haley, liverpool around 3 years ago

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