James Bond, The Beatles, Mary Poppins and Mr Bean all came together in a celebration of British history and culture as Danny Boyle’sOpening Ceremony provided a spectacular start to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In front of a packed Olympic Stadium, British Tour de France winner – and triple Olympic champion – Bradley Wiggins rangthe largest harmonically tuned bell in the world to signal the start of the ceremony, which dazzled hundreds of millions of viewers around the world.
And in the spectacular finale, seven youngTorchbearers – each nominated by one of Britain’s past Olympic greats – ignited the Olympic Cauldron, which was formed by 204 copper petals, representing the competing nations coming together at the Games.The ceremony had begun with an idyllic countryside setting – representing Britain’s “green and pleasant land”, complete with farm animals and maypole dancers – but the stadium was soon transformedinto a gritty industrial landscape as thousands of performers re-enacted the country’s industrial revolution to a soundtrack of beating drums. As the scene reached its climax, a giant, glowing ringwas ‘forged’ before being lifted into the air, where it joined with four others to create the Olympic rings, suspended high above the stadium.
Queen Elizabeth II then made a dramatic entrance –“parachuting” into the stadium with fictional secret agent James Bond after apparently flying to the stadium in a helicopter from Buckingham Palace.
The ceremony then paid tribute to Britain’s NationalHealth Service and its amazing body of children’s literature, as Harry Potter author JK Rowling read the opening to JM Barrie’s classic Peter Pan. To the strains of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, a sceneof children in hospital beds was overrun by literary villains including Captain Hook, Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts and Voldemort, before a group of flying nannies – reminiscent of Mary...