I don’t think Thorpe are really a family park as such anymore; while it would be nice to perhaps see them eventually try something a bit less intense, I do think a thrill machine is perhaps a more reliable bet for now.Firstly I agree with @Wazzupnerds that a proper, decent family coaster would be a good choice and work to balance the park’s lineup, but as has been said I think it’s unlikely and could dilute Chessington’s attendance which Merlin don’t want.
I’m also not at all optimistic about a hyper coming but I echo all that’s been said - it would be the ideal coaster: fill the airtime gap and would be a great imposing, clearly thrilling headline coaster.
The UK height record is clearly there for the taking (only needs to be 10ft/3m higher than Stealth to beat PMBO so shouldn’t be toooooo challenging from the planning point of view).
Interestingly though with The Ultimate now SBNO (for now), the UK length record is also up for grabs - it could legitimately be claimed with no forecast on whether The Ultimate will indeed ever run again. Even if it does come back later it’ll hardly matter, who has really heard of it? To be longest in the UK, longer than the Big One, a new hyper would only have to be 180ft/60m longer than decent B&M hyper Silver Star. This is eminently doable and so Merlin could hit tallest and longest coaster in the UK with one go - a proper substantial record, not just a gimmick.
Of course we know Merlin love world’s firsts, and there really isn’t any evidence they’re building/planning a coaster let alone a hyper, but it would be amazing if they do go for one.
In terms of the record suggestion; it’s worth noting that Blackpool markets the Big One as 235ft, so the UK height record is a little harder to reach than the 213ft that RCDB lists.
However, the length record as well as the height record is certainly an interesting possibility to consider. It’s worth noting that the Big One is not only the UK’s longest operating roller coaster, but Europe’s longest operating roller coaster, so if they were to beat the Big One, they would technically have the UK’s tallest and Europe’s longest roller coaster; quite the record breaker indeed, and certainly makes it pretty marketable, especially given that I’d imagine such a ride might also steal Stealth’s UK speed record! “Tallest, fastest and longest coaster in the UK” is a pretty appealing proposition, I’d say, especially if they did call it “longest coaster in Europe”, although I’m unsure that they’d want to reference length for fear of angering Lightwater Valley…
I certainly think it would be doable, especially if the ride was towards the taller end of the 200ft range (like, say, Shambhala-sized); Orion, which was decried as being short throughout its development, is only 176ft short of the European length record!