Last night was the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. 27 million Brits sat down to watch what we all assumed would be a complete disaster. But then suddenly it became clear that Danny Boyle had done a fantastic job and it was actually pretty awesome.
It all began with Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins ringing a massive bell and shortly after Kenneth Branagh appeared in role as Isambard Kingdom Brunel and read a line from The Tempest by Shakespeare. Then, in a great representation of industrialisation the British countryside was literally rolled away and massive smoking chimneys came out of the ground.
Professor Lockhart still confused after the backfired memory charm. “Do you live here?”
Then something really special happened. A pre-recorded sequence showed James Bond meet the Queen and escorted her to the stadium, where she skydived from a helicopter. You can relive it below (UK only I'm afraid):
After this J.K Rowling appeared and read a line from Peter Pan. Cue a great scene involving nurses looking after children and a group of Mary Poppins defeating Lord Voldemort.
The Ninth Harry Potter film takes an unexpected direction…
We had a showcase of British music from the 60s onwards which ended with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet. Yes world, not only can we claim all that fantastic music and literature, we can claim the internet is ours. There was also a great scene from Rowan Atkinson, as Mr. Bean or at least a Bean type character, as part of the orchestra playing Chariots of Fire. It was hysterically funny and for me the highlight.
Eventually it came the time for the ridiculously long parade of all the Olympic athletes. We had to sit through hours of obscure nations and beige outfits (the amount of beige this year was incredible!). My favouritely dressed country had to be the Czech Republic who decided to have a laugh at how rainy Britain is…
After the parade and a fantastic performance from The Arctic Monkeys, David Beckham’s boat arrived with the Olympic flame. Steve Redgrave and our Olympic legends both literally and symbolically passed the flame onto the next generation, who proceeded to light what became the cauldron. And what a cauldron it is!
All the petals rose up together to represent the coming together of the countries. Nice touch.
Now I have never before felt proud to be British. I’ve not felt ashamed but I’ve never had any reason to feel proud. But by the end of the ceremony, getting on for 1AM, I did feel proud. Look what my country can do. I think it was better than the Beijing opening ceremony. Perhaps not in spectacle but I know which I would rather watch again. We did a fantastic job at opening what will hopefully be a fantastic Olympic games!
I’ll be reporting a bit on the Olympics and have plans for a very special post(s) which will take a rather different look at things. Let me know what you thought of the opening ceremony, especially if you’re not from Britain! See you soon!