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Queen Elizabeth and James Bond steal the show

Queen Elizabeth

Over the following 17 days, the drama of sporting contest takes hold the length and breadth of Britain as more than 16,000 athletes from 204 countries will strive to achieve their ultimate dream - Olympic gold

July 28, 2012 8:57 by

All around, especially designed “pixel” light boxes installed next to every seat accompanied each scene and created giant images of waves, flags and words.

In the second of three “acts”, Boyle paid homage to the National Health Service, an emotive subject in Britain where people hold the right to free health care close to their hearts.

Hundreds of dancing and roller-skating nurses and doctors pushed beds on to the now empty stage, and when the beds were illuminated, they spelled “GOSH” for the cherished Great Ormond Street children’s hospital inLondon.

“The atmosphere was electric coming out into the stadium – like we could take over the world with our beds!” said Rachel Dobbin, a speech and language therapist from London who performed as a nurse in the ceremony.

“I want to do it again, even in spite of all the rainy rehearsals!”


Giant representations of famous villains from English literature, including J.M. Barrie’s Captain Hook, J.K. Rowling’s Voldemort and Ian Fleming’s Childcatcher, rose from their beds.

They were quickly vanquished by dozens of Mary Poppins characters descending from cables criss-crossing the stadium roof, carrying brightly illuminated umbrellas.

Comedian Rowan Atkinson, adopting the globally recognised character of mischievous Mr. Bean, brought the house down as he joined the London Symphony Orchestra playing a single note throughout the score to Olympic film “Chariots of Fire”.

The final act, starring hundreds of young nightclubbing dancers, was a breathless journey through popular British culture over the last five decades, featuring music from everyone from the Sex Pistols to Queen and the Jam to the Who.

Sitting at a computer outside a small house on stage was Tim Berners-Lee, the Londoner who invented the world wide web and enabled the explosion of social networking that is playing a major part at the LondonGames.

Mid-ceremony he tweeted to his almost 83,000 followers “This is for everyone”.

Soccer player and A-list celebrity David Beckham played a brief part, filmed steering a boat that sped along the River Thames with the Olympic torch on board.

At one end of the stadium stands a grassy knoll topped by a tree and at the other end the 23-tonne bell, which Bradley Wiggins, Britain’s winner of this year’s Tour de France, rang to kick off proceedings.

Among the crowd were celebrities, ordinary Londoners, visitors from abroad and dignitaries including U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as well as presidents, prime ministers and European royalty.

Boyle paid tribute to the 10,000 volunteers, cast and crew taking part in the ceremony which had as its theme “Inspire a Generation”.

“We hope the feeling of the show is a celebration of generosity,” he said. “There’s no better expression of that than these volunteers.”

Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney will be among the many performers on the night, but the biggest secret of all – who has the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron at the end of the show – remains a mystery.

Photo Source: Getty Images

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