The Olympic Games has finally arrived in London! After seven long years of organising, anxieties and dreams, the games have finally arrived for the third time in the capital of Great Britain. Marking the opening, the opening ceremony on Friday, July 27 celebrated the flame being lit at the Olympic Park, along with the arrival of athletes and the IOC president, Jacques Rogge.
But that wasn’t the main reason for Friday’s ceremony and why a predicted one billion people across the globe watched the ceremony. You see, the real reason many of us tuned into watch the ceremony was to see the work of director Danny Boyle, famous for directing such hits as Trainspotting and the Academy Award winning Slumdog Millionaire, organise one of the most spectacular and humble opening ceremonies the world has ever seen.
The man behind the ceremony kept quiet throughout the planning and rehearsals, only giving away a few details about what the crowds could expect. The ceremony was based around the ‘Islands of Wonder’, using Shakespeare’s The Tempest as the main theme. There were rumours of Europe’s biggest bell, farm animals and thousands of NHS staff and patients all playing a role too throughout the ceremony (all which did play a role in the ceremony.)
It was a difficult task to undertake, especially when the media continued to undermine the ceremony by comparing in to the Beijing Ceremony. Beijing 2008 may well have had the budget and power for special effects, lights and fireworks, but what did they not have? A heritage, a sense of humour and, most of all, the pride of an entire nation.
You see, what Danny Boyle managed to produce was a humorous, heartfelt homage to Britain. He showed how Britain dominated the world through the industrial revolution, through literature and music, through film and the birth of the internet and of course, through its wonderful health care service. The story and history behind the scenes were emotional and struck a chord with those watching.
He was also incredibly clever too, and used the British humour to the best of his ability. The bit with Mr Bean (played by Rowan Atkinson) and the fantastic sketch between the Queen and James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) were fantastically funny. On the other hand, the one minute silence to those who lost their lives in the war, and in the July 7/7 bombings, was a poignant tribute to a world which continues to be besieged by war.
With cameo appearances from singers Emeli Sande, Sir Paul McCartney and Dizzee Rascal, Kenneth Branagh, JK Rowling, David Beckham and a handful of others, not to mention the thousands of volunteers and audience members who all got involved, the ceremony will go down in history as one which put humans and history before money and jazzy pyrotechnics.
If you didn’t see the ceremony, you can watch snippets on YouTube, or relive the whole ceremony on BBC iPlayer.
The jourknow was lucky to win a ticket to see the rehearsal for the opening ceremony, and the above photos were taken whilst at the venue, or from wikipedia.