In a city full of surprises it's difficult to shock a Londoner, but those swimming and running through Hyde Park on Monday (July 8) were pleasantly taken aback by the 12 foot tall sculpture of Jane Austen's arguably most famous character ever, Mr Darcy, staring back at them from the middle of the Serpentine Lake.
In a recreation of the scene from Pride and Prejudice, made famous by the 1995 BBC television dramatisation starring Colin Firth as the famously frowning Darcy, the sculpture shows Mr Darcy emerging from the water, voted most memorable British TV drama moment of all time in a recent survey for UKTV channel, Drama.
Two centuries after Pride and Prejudice was first published by Austen, Drama General Manager Adrian Wills said it was the perfect time to bring the character to life and to the London lake.
"It's 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was first published, so it's really appropriate that we're doing this year, and Pride and Prejudice the TV series is the best thing we can use to launch the channel with," he said.
Sketch production director and sculptor, Toby Crowther, said the shock of initially seeing the sculpture was quickly forgotten as people enjoyed being reminded of the famous scene.
"I think people were quite startled, originally, to see such a giant Darcy emerging from the lake, but on the whole everyone seems to be happy with it," he said.
"He is what he is, you know he's an homage to one of the most famous scenes and the public generally seem to be delighted," he added.
The model, which is made from fibre-glass, took a team of three sculptors over two months to design, construct and paint.
The giant sculpture of Mr Darcy's head and torso measures 12 feet, equivalent to the height of a double-decker bus.
Crowther said his main concern though was his weight.
"Obviously he's made of polystyrene so he floats, so he's going to have to be ballasted down with probably about a hundred, no probably more like a tonne -- a thousand kilos -- of ballast on the day to stop him floating away," he said.
"Because he's going into lake and seaside locations, the beaches are the ones with the particular challenge because of the tide, and the pedalos and things to worry about," he added.
"But I'm reasonably confident that I've done my homework and I don't think we'll be losing sight of him floating off into the Channel or anything," Crowther said.
The homage to Mr Darcy is set to embark on a short regional tour, taking in Scarborough beach, before it is installed at Lyme Park in Cheshire, where the now infamous scene from the BBC drama was first filmed.
Presented by Adam Justice