set the Thames on fire

set the Thames on fire

To do wonderful or exciting things; to cause a great or remarkable sensation in the world; to be extremely exciting, popular, famous, renowned, etc. (Refers to the Thames river in London. Often used in the negative to indicate the opposite.) Primarily heard in UK. I wouldn't be too concerned with what he thinks of you. For all his money and education, he's hardly setting the Thames on fire, is he? When she was a child, Janet dreamed of setting the Thames on fire as a famous actress.
See also: fire, on, set, Thames
References in classic literature ?
With Higgins's physique and temperament Sweet might have set the Thames on fire.
The Baronet will never set the Thames on fire, but there seems to be no harm in him.