UK & World News
Olympics: Queen's Double On Parachute Jump
The man who played The Queen leaping out of a helicopter in one of the most memorable moments of the Olympic Games' Opening Ceremony has told Sky News how the stunt took months to perfect.
Gary Connery said he had carried out a number of test jumps at various airfields and over the Olympic Stadium before the main event that was watched by hundreds of millions around the world.
Mr Connery, who landed on a nearby bridge, described the jump as "unsurpassable" and" absolutely stunning", adding he "thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as queenie".
As he came down to earth, the real Queen then made her entrance alongside her husband Prince Philip as they were introduced to the crowd.
The monarch had not only appeared in her role as head of state of the host nation for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, but also starred in the show.
The Olympic Stadium erupted with cheers and applause as Her Majesty arrived in spectacular fashion, seeming to jump out of the aircraft with James Bond in film footage shown to the audience.
It showed 007 (Daniel Craig) walking into Buckingham Palace in a dinner jacket, striding past corgis to pick up the Queen, who was sitting at her writing desk and simply said "good evening, Mr Bond", before the pair walked off through the palace.
The two then boarded a helicopter which flew across London to the stadium, hovering above as they parachuted down to the ground.
But at the last moment the head of state - in the same peach cocktail dress seen in the film - along with the Duke of Edinburgh, appeared in the arena to take her seat.
The Queen's role - played to perfection - left the audience awe-struck and delighted both in the stadium and around the world.
"The Queen made herself more accessible than ever before," Boyle had said earlier.
In May, Mr Connery entered the history books when he became the first skydiver to land safely without using a parachute.
He leapt 2,400ft from a helicopter while wearing a specially made "wing suit" and swooped towards a "runway" of 18,600 cardboard boxes in an Oxfordshire field.
The start of the opening ceremony was heralded by a giant bell rung by Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins, complete with his winning yellow jersey, who was greeted with cheers at the Olympic Park.
In another surprise, Rowan Atkinson in his Mr Bean character created comic havoc as Sir Simon Rattle conducted the theme from Chariots of Fire, dreaming of coming first among the runners on the beach in the opening scene of the 1981 film.
Actor Sir Kenneth Branagh, dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, entered the scene reciting Caliban's speech from Shakespeare's The Tempest as some 62,000 spectators saw Boyle's spectacular Isles of Wonder unveil.
Among the musicians appearing was Mike Oldfield, playing his hugely successful 1973 hit Tubular Bells.
And the cast of celebrities included a rare public appearance by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who introduced a section of the ceremony showcasing Britain's best-loved children's books by reading from JM Barrie's Peter Pan.
Baddies from Britain's best-loved children's books, including Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil and Lord Voldemort, threatened the stage but were quickly banished by a troupe of Mary Poppins-type characters who descended from the skies.
Some of Britain's best-loved songs, from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Underworld's Born Slippy and Tinie Tempah's Pass Out, encapsulate each era.