UK & World News
Olympics Opening Ceremony Lives Up To Hype
The Queen has opened the Olympic Games for the second time in her 60-year reign after a spectacular ceremony that more than lived up to its billing.
Director Danny Boyle's £27m production kicked-off London 2012 with imagination, style and a very British sense of humour.
It attracted a UK TV audience of 26.9 million, according to the BBC - more than four times the number that watched the opening ceremony in Beijing four years ago.
At its heart was a show-stealing performance by the Queen who made her movie acting debut alongside James Bond star Daniel Craig.
But appearances from Bradley Wiggins, Rowan Atkinson and David Beckham added to the occasion, showcasing British talent and a sense of fun.
Entitled Isles of Wonder, the opening ceremony was devised by Oscar-winning Boyle with the aim of celebrating all things British and charting the nation's history.
It started with the ringing of a giant bell by cycling hero Wiggins, who last weekend became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.
The stadium was then turned into a 'green and pleasant land' with hills, a cottage and people enjoying an idyllic version of British life.
Animals including 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs also appeared in these opening scenes.
The peace was shattered as the age of industry sprouted from the ground with loud banging.
A cast of hundreds swarmed on to the centre of the arena as the darker, grimier, urban landscape emerged, with giant smoking chimneys rising up from the ground.
Suddenly, everything stopped as silence descended and a poppy field was revealed in a tribute to those killed in war.
A tribute to the NHS featured musician Mike Oldfield playing Tubular Bells and Harry Potter author JK Rowling reading from JM Barrie's Peter Pan.
In another comedy film sketch Rowan Atkinson in his Mr Bean character created havoc as Sir Simon Rattle conducted the theme from Chariots of Fire.
Sir Paul McCartney performed Hey Jude as the audience waved flags and sang along with him.
In keeping with tradition, Greece led the parade of the 205 national teams competing in the Games. As the host nation Team GB brought up the rear, led by Sir Chris Hoy, the winner of three track cycling golds in Beijing.
A short while before the show began the Red Arrows flashed across London in a thrilling flypast, leaving behind red, white and blue trails of vapour.
The world-famous RAF aerobatics team flew above the capital at exactly 8.12pm - 2012 on the 24-hour clock.
The opening ceremony was held in front of an audience of 62,000 including Prime Minister David Cameron and US First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as the Queen.
At the end of the three-and-a-half-hour spectacular Her Majesty declared the Games open and the Olympic cauldron was lit.
Mystery had surrounded who would perform the ceremonial event, with Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Roger Bannister and Daley Thompson all tipped as contenders - but the honour was handed to seven talented young athletes.
Another tightly-kept secret was how the torch would make its final journey from City Hall to the Olympic Stadium.
The surprise was that it was former England captain David Beckham, who was shown steering a speedboat with young Arsenal women's footballer Jade Bailey past Tower Bridge. The stadium erupted in cheers for Beckham, who missed out on a place in the Team GB football squad.
The show has been praised by those who travelled from all around the world to see it.
American Bill Howells, 48, from Oklahoma, said: "It's definitely been one of the best opening ceremonies for an Olympics."
Javier Gonzalaz, 26, from Guadalajara, Mexico, said: "It represented Britain in the best possible light and showed the rest of the world what a proud country this is."
After the ceremony, Boyle tweeted: "I just want to take a moment to thank everyone involved tonight, couldn't have worked without you. Thank you, thank you so much."
Before leaving for east London, the Queen and Prince Philip held a reception for foreign heads of state and VIPs at Buckingham Palace.
She told them: "To me, the spirit of togetherness is a most important part of the Olympic ideal, and the British people can be proud of the part they have played in keeping the spirit alive.
"Many sports played in these Games have their historic roots in this country, and as a nation we have an abiding passion for sport, as well as a tradition of fair play and a good-natured sense of fun."
The transport network was said to be running extremely well as crowds flocked to the opening ceremony.
Earlier, thousands of people lined the River Thames to cheer the Olympic torch as it made its way across London from Hampton Court to the Tower of London.
Bells rang out around the UK to mark the final countdown, among them London's Big Ben which chimed non-stop for three minutes from 8.12am.
David Cameron said Britain was ready to welcome "the greatest show on Earth", adding: "This is a great moment for our country, so we must seize it."
IOC boss Jacques Rogge added: "London is ready."
what do you think?
what a complete waste of money .Ridiculous .
Robin Van Der Spiegel
In your opinion which you are of course entitled to. I enjoyed it personally
As Robin above has so rightly stated, you're entitled to your opinion-----as crass as it is!
quote "Animals including 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs also appeared in these opening scenes." really---, how interesting. Probably forgot a few thousand earthworms in the turf
London olympics?? Why the .... are they talking in french first i thought english was the language here?
The Olympic movement is French, and look at it this way, some kids there last night probably learnt more French than they would have in a year in school lol
French is the official language of the Olympics ...any medals ceremony,announcements etc will be done in French then English.
We've got to let the French come 1st in something during the games :-)
French is the worlds diplomatic language, try getting an education, you could start by learning French and discovering part of our own roots!
I tried to be cynical buy Danny Boyle has won me over, fantastic opening ceremony.
History of Britain ...did they show the genocide committed by William the Conqueror, 200,000 slaughtered, did they show field workers crippled by the toil, the satanic mills, the stealing of the common land, the 200 crimes you could be hung for in the late 18th century, the sheep clearences, Peterloo, Wat Tyler taken under a flag of truce, our Victorious sailors kept on ship in harbour brought to the point of stavation after the Spanish Armada had been defeated, Tollpuddle martyrs, the Jarrow march, little boys shoved up chimneys. No they did not....I could go on....injustice piled on injustice...and now we are going to be driven insane by the media for 19 days
They showed the jarrow March they walked round the athletics track during the industrial revolution section With a huge "JARROW CRUSADE" banner
all i can say is thank god you had nothing to do with the opening ceremony:)
But they showed Kenneth Branner looking proud. I reckon 90 % of the crowd didn't have a clue who he was supposed to be , or what was supposed to be happening. It's ok for a west end musical, but it flopped here, on a big scale. Throw a few big names in and it'll be ok....... errr , no!
The Jarrow march was in it even Danny Boyle said it would be in from the start. They paraded a huge JARROW CRUSADERS Banner round the athletics track
Haha so true mate. I have to admit the atrocities we committed and still do are firmly etched into my mind, but gotta give it to um - that was the greatest show on earth.
I know we're going to get a few "Bah Humbugs" on here but (for the most part) I thought it was a fabulous show, and I felt really proud! (And this is coming from someone who has no interest in sport!)
wonder how many operations or homeless people could have been housed for the millions that vulgar display cost tonight.I cannot wait for the financial hangover this is going to cause .When all the staff are back on the dole and we are all out of pocket to the tune of 24 billion quid.Disgusting.The olympics are about who can run,jump,swim or what ever faster than anyone else that is all.But no it had to be turned into an oversized episode of B.G.T......with james bond for gods sake.Why not just show the teams off walking round the track with a flag ,in their blazers and maybe a marching band .Thats all it needed.And change out of a million quid i would presume.No we have to waste tens of millions.
It's all about our national pride------GET IT?
Your a fool with no clue ! The money raised to pay for all this was private money for the most !
Does the 27million include the electric bill?
Lee Bennett is the true waste of money and waste of space, Answer me Lee, what is patriotism? What an advert for London and England. Absolutely fantastic. Just ignore the time wasters and morons like Lee and Fish4 and the rest of the posters that love to run this truly wonderful country down.
Tripe, this wonderful country only recognises one thing, and that's the rich. Beckham ???? what happened to the people who've actually won something for this "wonderful country ", and not just used it to fill their accounts.
Will someone please tell Paul McCartney that he past it as a singer.
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Why is bekam involved to such a degree? Honestly, he's a footballer who married a no-talent. I could name many more footballers - let alone sportspersons - who would be more deserving; If it has to be a footballer, Bobby Charlton, for me, is the most dignified and utterly representative of the thousands of footballers, past and present, who have graced the game. Bekam? The tabloids made him, a good player - but ONLY a good player, into something he just isn't. As for his wife - what a disgraceful example of undeserving and arrogant petulance she portrays. Well-done Stuart Pearce, he is the first person I recall ever having the 'audacity' to question the emperor's new clothes.
Too true, mate. Why do we have to suffer this ex pat and his pouting pratt of a wife, every time something big happens. He should stay where he is, in the US.
I have to admit I am not a supporter of the Olympics, I feel with Great Ormond St Hospital screaming for help, and local Hospices etc closing, it could have been money better spent, but last night's ceremony was superb, Well done to all, but the most memorable moments for me were Rowan Atkinson's cameo, and the look of total pride on David Beckham's face. This guy deserves all the credit for being big enough to appear after his snub for the GB football team.
David Beckham !!!!! are you kidding . He dumped this country for even richer pastures. Snub...... !!!!! don't be ridiculous. It's him who deserted this country, for money. Just dropping in, every time there's a photo opportunity, royal wedding , etc....
David Beckham keeps his riches away from our taxman- don't pity him.
Good show well done. But is the whole extravagant Olympics expenditure appropriate in a time of financial hardship for many? Could it have not have been done cheaper allowing poor countries to be able to present it at some time. Surely we do not need to show off. We should have broken the mould. Surely not a return to bread and circuses in this age?
Paul Mc yet again! It seems he goes to an opening of an envelope these days, be warned when you opening your next gas bill!
He is a great talent and a national treasure, particulary for those of us of the same generation. ARE YOU?
couldnt get to grips with it until after the athletes appeared and then it and the lighting of the cauldron was supurb.
Lee and Thomas, boy I bet you two are fun at Parties! I enjoyed it, it was brilliant, baffling and totally bonkers, just like us! get a sense of humour lads, who could nt enjoy the queen "jumping" out of a Helicoptor with James Bond? yes, at times it was like we had all died and become trapped in a Pink Floyd video, but it was the Opening Ceremony , it was supposed to be over the top!! did you have a go at the Bejing Ceremony because of their Human Rights record? or is it just Britain who gets your goat, (btw are you including the NHS and the 10 million WW1 troops in your rant?).
Complete and utter tripe. Why on earth we needed Kenneth Brannagh standing around looking thoughtful, is beyond a joke. It was like some west end show, pandering to the acting profession (lol).Beckham, (there's a surprise) getting the prime slot. McCartney... again !!!! The farming theme...... ???? Industrial scenes, which could only be of the North, (which of course will never benefit from these games,show the hypocrisy of this land. 2 second slot for Brad Wiggins.... should have been the main man. Just a showcase for all the luvvies, and thespians.... typically .
I've ranted and raved about the Olympics in London how it was going to be a shambles at the opening ceremony. But last night won me over(except for macca who needs to call it a day) and I remembered how much I enjoy watching the Olympics. I've been up since 6 like a excited little kid at Christmas watching Olympic breakfast. COME ON GB!
I do try to keep an open and good humoured mind when reading others postings though I do wonder about the standard of education and worth of some folk. I have to confess there was no greater cynic than myself during the run up to these events, but I have seriously had my thoughts changed and for the better (I hope)! I felt a surge of national pride whil'st watching the opening ceremony and a lot of humility too. It was a spectacular event and performed so well by many different peoples in a coming together of human spirit from many different peoples. Although our past has it's darker sides, which country doesn't? I'm at the end of my life/timeline, but when the that dreadful time arrives I shall go with one thought for all mankind......HOPE!