set the Thames alight

set the Thames alight

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 alight, is he? When she was a child, Janet dreamed of setting the Thames alight as a famous actress.
See also: alight, set, Thames
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, Richard Lambert, directorgeneral of the CBI, said: "The Chancellor didn't set the Thames alight, but then he didn't have anything to set it alight with.
After winning his maiden over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown, he came over to follow up in Sandown's Derby trial in taking fashion, although the bookies didn't think he was going to set the Thames alight and made him 33-1 for the Derby.