Thursday, August 02, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony (Wikipedia)

I still haven't found any on-line version of the 3 hour ceremony, but wikipedia has a great running commentary on what you missed.

2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony (11).jpg
Date21:00, 27 July 2012 (+01:00)
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Coordinates51°32′19″N 0°01′00″WCoordinates51°32′19″N 0°01′00″W
Also known asIsles of Wonder
Filmed by

The 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony took place on the evening of Friday 27 July, in the Olympic Stadium, London. The Gameswere opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The spectacle entitled Isles of Wonder[1] was designed and co-ordinated by film director Danny Boyle, with musical direction by electronic music group Underworld.[2] It began at 21:00 BST and lasted almost four hours, ending at 00:45 BST.[3]It was watched by an estimated audience of 62,000 in the Stadium, a peak UK BBC TV audience of 26.9 million with an average of 22.4 million viewers, more than 1 million online on the BBC Sport website, and an estimated worldwide audience of over 1 billion. In the US on NBC, the ceremony was the most-watched Olympic opening ceremony ever, with 42 million viewers.[4][5][6] It was praised by numerous publications and spectators as a "masterpiece" and "a love letter to Britain".

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games selected Danny Boyle as the director of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Boyle acknowledged that the scale, extravagance and expense of the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony at Beijing was an impossible act to follow—"you can't get bigger than Beijing"—and that this had in fact liberated his team in designing the 2012 ceremony.[7] Their budget was £27m (as opposed to Beijing's £65m).[8] The different sections of the presentation were designed to reflect different aspects of British history and culture.
The enlisted cast included professional performers and 7,500 volunteers, with further volunteers helping with security and marshalling.[7][9] Mark Rylance, who was to have taken a leading part in the ceremony, pulled out after a family bereavement, and he was replaced by Sir Kenneth Branagh.[10]
The theme "Isles of Wonder" was taken from Shakespeare's play The Tempest. As part of the preparations a 23 tonne aluminium bell, the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world,[11] had been cast under the direction of Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel by Royal Eijsbouts of Holland and hung in the Stadium.[12] This was inscribed with a line from a speech by Caliban in The Tempest: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises".[13] A key source was the bookPandaemonium (the capital of Hell in Paradise Lost), by Humphrey Jennings, which collated contemporary reports from those who witnessed the industrial revolution.[14] In preparing the ceremony Boyle gave significant emphasis to the London 2012 theme 'inspire a generation' and devised a programme relying heavily on children and young people, and that was built around themes that would relate to the young. 25 schools in the six original East London host boroughs were used to recruit child volunteers for the performance. 170 sixth formers (16-18 year olds) speaking more than 50 languages between them were also recruited from colleges in the host boroughs.
In June 2012 Boyle had given a preview that promised a huge set of rural Britain that would include a village cricket team, farm animals, a model of Glastonbury Tor, as well as a maypole and a rain-producing cloud. The intention was to represent the rural and urban landscape of Britain. The design was to include a mosh pit at each end of the set, one with people celebrating a rock festival and the other the Last Night of the Proms. Boyle promised a ceremony in which everyone would feel involved. He said, "I hope it will reveal how peculiar and contrary we are – and how there's also, I hope, a warmth about us." The set was designed with turf of real grass and real soil.[15][16] The use of animals (40 sheep, 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, 9 geese and 3 sheep dogs were involved, looked after by 34 animal handlers) drew criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Boyle assured PETA that the animals would be well cared for.[17]
Danny Boyle chose as musical directors Underworld, with whom he had worked on several of his film projects.[18] The overwhelming majority of the music was to be British. "Survival" by Musewas announced as the official song of the Olympics,[19] to be played before medal ceremonies and by international broadcasters reporting on the Games.[20] A.R. Rahman, who worked with Boyle on Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, said he had composed a Punjabi song 'Nimma Nimma' for the ceremony, intended to be a part of a medley to showcase Indian influence in the UK, according to Boyle's wishes. More Indian music, Ilaiyaraja's song from Tamil-language film Ram Lakshman, had also been chosen as part of the medley.[21] Sir Paul McCartney was to be the ceremony's closing act.[22]

[edit]Officials and guests
Seated in the Royal Box for the ceremony were The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and other members of the British Royal Family. They were accompanied by The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, by David Cameron with his wife Samantha Cameron, by former Prime Ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blairand Gordon Brown and by Boris Johnson with his wife Marina Wheeler. Officials of the Olympic movement included Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, and Lord Coe, Chairman of the LOCOG.
Michelle Obama, The First Lady of United States was also present, as well as Dilma Rousseff, The President of Brazil, and Julia Gillard, The Prime Minister of Australia.
[edit]Introduction and Countdown

Scene representing rural Britain
At exactly 20:12 (8:12 pm) the Red Arrows performed a flypast over the Olympic Stadium and the concert in Hyde Park.[23] The prologue to the ceremony included a performance of Sir Edward Elgar's "Nimrod" from the Enigma Variations performed by LSO On Track, an orchestra of 80 young musicians aged 7 to 17 from ten East London boroughs with 20 London Symphony Orchestra members. This celebrated Britain's maritime heritage and was accompanied by extracts from the BBC Radio Shipping Forecast, with the audience holding up blue cloth sheeting to simulate the seas surrounding the island, while cast members held up clouds. The ceremony began at 9pm after a one-minute '60 to 1' countdown film made up of shots of numbers on house doors, street nameplates, london buses, market produce labels, etc.
[edit]Green and Pleasant Land
A two-minute film Green and Pleasant Land, directed by Danny Boyle and produced with the involvement of the BBC, opened the ceremony.[24] From the sourceof the River Thames the film followed the river to the heart of London, juxtaposing images of contemporary British life with pastoral shots. The characters Ratty, Mole and Toad from The Wind In The Willows are briefly seen, as is a Monty Python hand pointing towards London, displayed on umbrellas; an intercity train passes the Olympic rings as crop circles. As it passed Battersea Power Station, a Pink Floyd pig was flying between its towers; the clock sound from another Pink Floyd song "Time" can be heard as the camera points to Big Ben. The soundtrack featured music clips, including the theme tune of The South Bank Show, the theme tune of EastEnders, "London Calling" by The Clash, as well as the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen", which played as the camera travelled the route of the band's infamous 1977 river cruise to promote the song during the Queen's Silver Jubilee.[11][25] After a sky-view of East London that resembled the opening title sequence of the British TV show EastEnders, the film flashed through shots of the Thames Barrier, then the perspective switches to below the surface, where the London Underground is seen (and "Mind the gap" is heard), historic footage of Brunel's Thames Tunnel, and the Rotherhithe Tunnel. A sequence filmed outside the stadium shortly before the ceremony followed, to display posters from all the modern summer Olympic Games except 1900 Paris, 1936 Berlin, 1984 Los Angeles, and 1996 Atlanta. It ended at Olympic Stadium where three cast members held up posters for this year's competition. A 10-second countdown followed in which children held clusters of balloons that simultaneously popped while the audience shouted out the numbers. Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France just five days earlier, opened the ceremony by ringing the stadium bell. Then four upper-atmosphere balloonswere released, each carrying a set of Olympic rings and a camera, expected to float up to the mid-stratosphere.
Youth choirs began a cappella performances of the informal anthems of the four nations of the UK: "Jerusalem" (from England, sung by a live choir in the stadium), complemented by filmed performances of "Danny Boy" (from the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland), "Flower of Scotland" (from Edinburgh Castle in Scotland) and "Bread of Heaven" (from Rhossili Beach in Wales, sung in English).[26] These were inter-cut with footage of notable Rugby Union Home Nations' tries and drop goals. During the singing the cast in the stadium mimed various rural activities, this section of the performance billed as "a reminder and a promise of a once and future better life".

Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
This section encapsulated British economic and social development from rural economy through Industrial Revolution to the 1960s. At the beginning, the stadium included a model of Glastonbury Tor, a model village and a water wheel, replete with live animals (removed shortly before the ceremony began), and actors portraying working villagers.
As the last choir performance concluded, vintage London General Omnibus Company stagecoaches entered the stadium, carrying men in Victorian dress complete with top hats. Led by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (played by Sir Kenneth Branagh), the men exited the carriages and surveyed the land approvingly. After walking up Glastonbury Tor, Brunel delivered Caliban's "Be not afeard" speech from Act 3, Scene II of Shakespeare's The Tempest, reflecting Boyle's introduction to the ceremony in the programme.[27]

Scene representing Industrial Britain
Suddenly the proceedings were interrupted by a loud shout, recorded by volunteers during the rehearsals, followed by drumming from 965 percussionists performing Underworld's "And I Will Kiss", led by Dame Evelyn Glennie. The 3 tonne oak tree on top of the tor lifted, and industrial workers emerged to swell the cast from the tor's brightly lit interior and through the main entrance to the stadium. As the cast rolled away the grass and other rural props, seven smoking chimney stacks with accompanyingsteeplejacks symbolising the Industrial Revolution rose from the ground, along with other industrial machinery such as five beam engines, six looms, one crucible and one water wheel. Workers began to mime forging what was to become a large Olympic ring. Boyle said that this section of the ceremony celebrated the "tremendous potential" afforded by the advancements of the Victorian era.[26] This part of the show also included a silence in remembrance of the sacrifice and loss of life of both the World Wars, featuring British 'Tommies' and poppies. Actors paraded around the stadium representing historical groups who changed the face of Britain: the woman's suffrage movement, theJarrow Crusade, the first Caribbean immigrants arriving in Britain on board The Empire Windrush, a 1970s DJ float, a nostalgia steel band, and The Beatles as they appeared on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Also included were real-life Chelsea Pensioners, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and a group of Pearly Kings and Queens.[28] Many of the participants mimed repetitive mechanical movements associated with industrial processes, such as weaving. As the parade progressed, four glowing orange Olympic rings high above the stadium began to move toward the centre, carried by overhead wires, and the ring being 'forged' on the stadium floor began to lift. The five rings came together above the stadium, still glowing and accompanied by steam and firework effects to give the impression they were freshly forged steel. When the five rings were in position to form the Olympic symbol, they ignited and rained fire.[11]
[edit]Happy & Glorious
A short film directed by Danny Boyle called Happy and Glorious (after a line in the national anthem) featured the literary character James Bond, played by the current Bond actor Daniel Craig, entering the front gate of Buckingham Palace in a black cab. His entry is noticed by Brazilian children in the throne room (a nod to Rio de Janeiro, the 2016 summer Olympics host city). Bond escorted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (who played herself) out of the building and seemingly into a waiting AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter, which flew across London to the stadium, with music from British films including Dambusters. The film finished with Bond and The Queen apparently jumping from the helicopter. Immediately afterwards, two stuntmen dressed as Bond and the Queen jumped from a real helicopter and descended over and down alongside the stadium, using Union Flag parachutes and accompanied by the James Bond theme tune.[11][29] The Queen was played by BASE jumper and stuntman Gary Connery, who wore a dress and hat identical to that worn by The Queen.[30] Bond was played by Mark Sutton. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, along with Jacques Rogge were then introduced. The Union Flag was raised by members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces, while the national anthem was performed a cappella by the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children.[26]
On 29 July 2012 The Mail on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph (based in Sydney) revealed how Lord Coe was instrumental in asking the Queen to star in the film sequence. Director Danny Boylefirst pitched the idea to Lord Coe, who loved it so much he took it to his friend the Deputy Private Secretary to The Queen. Word soon came back that Her Majesty would love to take part.[31]
[edit]Second to the right, and straight on till morning
The next sequence celebrated the National Health Service (NHS - "the institution which more than any other unites our nation", according to the programme), with music by Mike Oldfield. 600 dancers, all of whom are NHS staff, along with 1,200 volunteers recruited from hospitals around the UK, entered the stadium with children on 320 hospital beds, some of which functioned astrampolines. They started a short jive routine. Watching from the tor were nine specially invited hospital staff and patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital.[32] The beds' blankets illuminated, and the beds were arranged into a child's face with a smile and a tear (Great Ormond Street Hospital's logo) and its acronym "GOSH",[33] then into the initials NHS, turning into the shape of a crescent moon as the children are hushed to sleep.

Representations of British children's literature villains.
A celebration of children's literature by British authors began with J.K. Rowling reading a section from Sir James M. Barrie's Peter Pan (from which Great Ormond Street Hospital receives royalties), and inflatable representations of children's literature villains The Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook,Cruella de Vil, and Lord Voldemort. The Child Catcher appeared amongst the children. Then 32 women playing Mary Poppins descended on flying umbrellas as the characters deflated and the actors resumed dancing.[11] The music for the sequence included partially rearranged sections fromTubular Bells (played in part on a giant set of tubular bells at the rear of the stage), Tubular Bells III and In Dulci Jubilo.[34]
Sir Simon Rattle was then introduced to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire". Rowan Atkinsonappeared, in character as Mr Bean, comically playing a repeated single note on synthesiser. He then lapsed into a filmed dream sequence in which he joined the runners from the film Chariots of Fire, beating them in their iconic run along West Sands at St. Andrews by riding in a car and tripping the front runner.[35]
[edit]Frankie & June say... Thanks Tim
This sequence highlighted British popular culture.[36][37] To the accompaniment of famous signature tunes, including the BBC newsreel theme 'Girls in Grey', and the theme song from The Archers, a young mother and son drove up to a full-size replica of a modern British house in a Mini Cooper. The 1987 'don't worry about a hurricane' weather forecast by Michael Fish is shown on the stadium big screens as rain suddenly pours on the house. Another larger house in the centre of the arena was used on all four sides as a projection screen to show clips from various British films, television programmes and music videos including A matter of Life and Death, Gregory's Girl, Push the Button, Kes, Four Weddings & a Funeral, and Boyle's own Trainspotting.[38] A large group of dancers, centred around Frankie and June (19-year old Henrique Costa and 18-year-old Jasmine Breinburg) on a night out, perform to an assortment of British popular songs arranged broadly chronologically, beginning with "Going Underground" by The Jam, suggesting their ride on the London Underground. Throughout the sequence, cast members are seen to send text messages to each other or to place social networking status updates on the Internet. Frankie and June first notice each other as a snippet from "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton plays, but when Frankie notices that June had dropped her phone on the Tube, he sets off to return the phone to its owner. An extended dance sequence follows, with songs including "My Generation" byThe Who, "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, "She Loves You" by the Beatles, "Pretty Vacant" by the Sex Pistols (during which several dancers on springs appear wearing large heads withMohawk hairstyles to perform the pogo dance), "Blue Monday" by New Order, "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (during which Frankie reveals one of the band's "Frankie say..." T-shirts), and "Firestarter" by The Prodigy, ending with a sequence where the cast sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" as Frankie and June walk towards each other. A sequence from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral is projected behind them; when they kiss, a montage of memorable kisses from film and real life is shown. A live performance of "Bonkers" by Dizzee Rascal follows, along with a further sequence in which all the cast attend a party at June's house.[34] At the close the house is raised to reveal Sir Tim Berners-Lee working at a NeXT Computer, like the one on which he invented the World Wide Web. He tweeted: "This is for everyone",[39] instantly spelled out in LCD lights held by the audience.[11][40] The programme explains "Music connects us with each other and with the most important moments in our lives. One of the things that makes those connections possible is the World Wide Web".
[edit]Abide With Me
A filmed sequence then showed extracts from the Torch Relay from around the UK, cutting live to show David Beckham driving a motor boat down the River Thames and under Tower Bridge to the music "I Heard Wonders" by David Holmes, while footballer Jade Bailey held on to the torch in the boat.[41] This section was directed by Stephen Daldry.[42]
In tribute to victims of war and the 2005 London bombings (which had happened the day after London was awarded the 2012 Games), photos of people who had died were displayed on screens as a memorial, accompanied by an excerpt from Brian Eno's ambient work "An Ending (Ascent)". The hymn "Abide with Me" was then performed by Emeli Sandé[11][34] while a group of dancers including Akram Khan performed an interpretive dance item. NBC did not air this segment for US audiences [43], the broadcaster citing that it did not feel honoring the victims of terror attacks outside the US relevant to a US audience. The act drew criticism in the British press, and in the US.
See also: 2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations

Team GB enter the 2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations
The Parade of Nations of athletes (drawn from the 10,490 competing) and officials from 204 nations was led, according to custom, by the Greek team followed by other competing countries in alphabetical order and finally the host nation Great Britain. The parade was accompanied by mainly British popular songs, including "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees and both "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Beautiful Day" by Irish band U2, with the British delegation entering to David Bowie's song "Heroes".[26] During the Parade an Indian volunteer was seen to join the Indian team walking around the arena Once all of the athletes were inside the stadium, 7 billion small pieces of paper were released, one for each person on the planet.
Each nation's flag was planted on Glastonbury Tor.
[edit]Bike a.m
After the Parade, the Arctic Monkeys performed "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and a version of The Beatles' "Come Together", the latter whilst 75 cyclists circled the stadium with wings lit by LEDs representing Doves of Peace, which were traditionally released as part of the ceremony (although real birds were last used in 1992). A single dove cyclist, his beak painted yellow in honour of Bradley Wiggins, appeared to fly out of the stadium.[44]
[edit]Let the Games Begin
The formal part of the ceremony was introduced by Lord Coe, who welcomed The Queen, other visiting monarchs, the athletes, the spectators and worldwide television viewers to London. He expressed his pride in being British and part of the Olympic movement and stated that the Olympics were "to celebrate what is best about mankind".[45] Jacques Rogge responded by thanking London, and stating that it was the third time that London had held the Olympics, previously at very short notice when Rome was unable to do so, and secondly in 1948, three years after World War II. Rogge acknowledged the important role that the UK had played in establishing the "fair play" ethos of sport, and in making sport a part of the school curriculum. Rogge thanked the thousands of volunteers. He pointed out that for the first time in Olympic history, every team had women participants. He enjoined the athletes to play fairly and be drug free, reminding them that they were role models for the future generation. Rogge then invited the Queen to open the Games.[45]
The Queen declared the Olympic Games open, immediately followed by a fireworks display.[11] The 2012 ceremony is the second time the Queen opened an Olympic Games, the first being inMontreal, Canada in July 1976.
The Olympic Flag was carried by eight people chosen from around the world as symbols of the Olympic values: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Daniel Barenboim, Sally Becker,Shami Chakrabarti, Leymah Gbowee, Haile Gebrselassie, Doreen Lawrence and Marina Silva.[46] This was a break with tradition as the Flag had previously been carried only by athletes. The flag paused in front of Muhammad Ali, who touched it. Ali, who lit the Olympic flame at the 1996 games in Atlanta, Georgia, wore a white suit and tie with sunglasses, appeared frail, and was accompanied by his wife Lonnie.[47] The Flag was received by a colour guard of Her Majesty's Armed Forces[48] and hoisted to the Olympic Hymn, performed by the LSO and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. The Olympic Oaths were taken by taekwondo athlete Sarah Stevenson on behalf of the athletes, by Mik Basi, British AIBA Referee, on behalf of the officials and by Eric Farrell on behalf of the coaches.[49][50]
[edit]There is a Light That Never Goes Out
David Beckham's motorboat carrying the Olympic Flame arrived at the stadium via the Limehouse Cut. Sir Steve Redgrave lit his torch from that on the boat, and carried this into the stadium, through a guard of honour of 500 construction workers who built the Olympic Park. He passed the flame on to one of a team of seven young athletes (Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds, and Adelle Tracey), each nominated by a famous British Olympian to convey the 2012 Games' aim to "inspire a generation".[51]
The teenagers made a lap of the stadium, taking turns to hold the torch, while Alex Trimble, the lead singer of Two Door Cinema Club performed the song "Caliban's Dream",[52] with the Dockhead Choir, Elizabeth Roberts, and Esme Smith. The song was written specifically for the ceremony by Rick Smith of Underworld.[52]

The Olympic cauldron during a rehearsal.
The cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick was described as "one of the best-kept secrets of the opening ceremony"; until this point, neither its design, nor its location, nor the identity of the persons lighting it had been revealed.[53][54][55] Each young athlete was greeted by their nominating Olympian, and each presented with their own torches, which were lit from the Olympic flame. The young athletes then jogged through a passageway formed between the assembled athletes to the centre of the stadium, where the copper petals inscribed with the name of each country, which had been carried by a child accompanying each of the 205 teams during the Parade of Nations, were now seen attached to long pipes in a circular formation (the petals will accompany each team home after the Games). The seven young athletes lit some of the petals, and when the flame had spread to all of them, they slowly rose to converge and form the Olympic cauldron. This was witnessed by 260 of Britain's greatest Olympians, including six medal winners from 1948.
[edit]And in the end
This was then followed by more fireworks, soundtracked by Pink Floyd's song "Eclipse", interspersed with images of memorable Olympic victories, the climax of which was a view of the Olympic rings 34 km above the Earth from one of the balloons launched at the beginning of the ceremony. The ArcelorMittal Orbit was illuminated and Sir Paul McCartney and his band then performed the ending of "The End" and "Hey Jude", with its chorus-like finale sung by the entire stadium, to close the ceremony.[11]

The Times described the Ceremony as "a masterpiece" with The Daily Telegraph saying it was "brilliant, breathtaking, bonkers and utterly British".[56] The BBC's chief sports writer Tom Fordycecalled it "eccentric" and "tongue-in-cheek", saying "What no-one expected was that it would be quite so gloriously daft, so cynicism-squashingly charming and—well, so much pinch-yourself fun."[57] Aidan Burley, a British Conservative M.P., denounced part of the ceremony on Twitter as "leftie multicultural crap."[58][59] Burleys's comments were dismissed by many fellow Conservatives, including David Cameron and Boris Johnson.[59][60]
Foreign reaction was positive. The New York Times said "With its hilariously quirky Olympic opening ceremony, a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off-the-wall, Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is."[61][62] Forbes called it Danny Boyle's "love song to Britain".[5] The Sydney Morning Herald said it was "an unforgettable start"[62] and The Times of India said "London presented a vibrant picture of Great Britain's rich heritage and culture as a colourful opening ceremony marked the inauguration of the 30th Olympic Games."[62][63] The Chinese news agencyXinhua described the opening ceremony as "dazzling" and an "eccentric and exuberant celebration of British history, art and culture".[64]
[edit]Criticism of NBC's TV coverage

See also: Criticism of NBC's Olympics coverage
Criticism was levelled at NBC's coverage of the ceremony, mainly of the decision to tape-delay its broadcast of the opening and closing ceremonies and not make a live version available even to cable and web users, along with its frequent interruption of the ceremony with commercial breaks.[65] Many US viewers resorted to looking for alternative ways of watching the Olympics aside of NBC (such as the live BBC feed for the opening ceremonies),[66] despite both NBC and the IOC vowing to crack down on such unauthorized streams.[67] More significant criticism was levelled at NBC for cutting to a Ryan Seacrest interview with Michael Phelps during the "memorial wall" tribute section.[68] An NBC spokesman said the network left that segment out because its Olympic programming was "tailored for the U.S. audience."[69] There was also criticism of the apparent belief of Today Show hosts and commentators Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira that the Queen had actually jumped out of a helicopter.[70] There was an indication that Vieira did not know who Sir Tim Berners-Lee was,[71] stating during commentary to the television audience, "If you haven't heard of him, we haven't either", before co-host Matt Lauer told the audience to Google the inventor of the World Wide Web.[72] These failings were picked up during the NBC broadcast by users ofTwitter with the hashtag #nbcfail.[73]


The choice of music for the ceremony was a wide and eclectic selection to showcase mainly British music,[74][75] with a range of pieces selected to represent the Four Nations of the United Kingdom.[76] The music programme included classical works by British composers such as Charles Hubert Parry and George Frideric Handel, and performances by range of UK choirs and orchestras. The focus was mainly on the music of the 1960s onwards, causing one Chinese journalist to ask "Will this be the most rock and roll opening ceremony ever?".[77]
Danny Boyle chose the electronic music group Underworld, with whom he had worked on several of his film projects, as the musical directors of the opening ceremony.[18] Underworld composed pieces specially for the ceremony, including "And I Will Kiss",[78] performed by Dame Evelyn Glennie and drummers during the "Pandemonium" Industrial Revolution section, and "Caliban's Dream"[79] during the lighting of the cauldron. Underworld's original pieces were favourably reviewed. Writing in The Guardian, Michael Hann said "Underworld, in fact, had a bit of a triumph: the builds and fades they learned in the world of dance music lent the sometimes overwhelming visual spectacle a sense of structure".[80]
Musical motifs were used to bind the whole programme together: for example, the 'whistling' theme from "Caliban's Dream", first heard during the minute's silence within the Pandemonium section, returned frequently—behind the fury as the ring was being forged, emerging triumphant as the five rings came together, and again later as the flame was passed on to the young athletes. Similarly much of the music contained 'bell' references, linking to the large bell forged for the ceremony and the concept of bells as "the sound of freedom and peace", with modified sequences based on the traditional British eight-bell peal underlying both the Pandemonium music "And I Will Kiss" and carried through into the "Tubular Bells"/NHS section, with handbells and a tolling large bell featured on "Caliban's Dream" and at other points in the ceremony. A handbell chime also played at the end of the ceremony as the stadium emptied. Bells were the theme of the opening day of the Olympics, starting at 8.12am when artist Martin Creed's Work No. 1197: All The Bells took place, with bells being rung across the UK, including 40 strikes of Big Ben.[81]
The soundtrack is called Isles of Wonder and was released to download on iTunes at midnight of 28 July, and the 2-disc CD will be released on 2 August 2012.[82] Less than two days after its release, the download album had topped the iTunes album charts in Britain, France, Belgium and Spain, and reached No. 5 in the United States, as well as being at No. 5 in the overall British official album charts.[75]

[edit]Technical aspects

The stadium was rigged with a one million watt sound system and more than 500 speakers.[13] Some 15,000 sq m of staging and 12,956 props were used,[87] as well as 7,346 sq m of turf including crops.
Around the stadium including between every seat were placed 70,799[citation needed] 10 inches (25 cm) pixel panels. Each electronic panel connected to a central computer and was fitted with nine full-colour LCD squares. With these devices audience members were able to participate in broadcasting images of a 1960s Go-go dancer, a train in the London Underground, and a representation of the birth of the internet. The audience also danced with the paddles to create a twinkling effect. The animations were designed by the London arm of Chinese animation company Crystal CG.[88]
In the Olympic ring forging scene amber lights lit in sequence created the illusion of a 100 feet (30 m) molten steel river, with pyrotechnic smoke and dry ice as the steam.[89]
Technical director for the opening ceremony, Piers Shepperd, masterminded the complex change from rural to industrial. He revealed that banks of fans were used to blow up the 100 feet (30 m) chimneys like bouncy castles and that life-size steam engines were constructed on stage by teams of stage hands.[90]

[edit]Ceremony key team

  • Artistic Director: Danny Boyle[91]
  • Producer: Tracey Seaward
  • Designers: Suttirat Anne Larlarb and Mark Tildesley
  • Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce[92]
  • Music Director: Rick Smith (Underworld)
  • Associate Director: Paulette Randall
  • Movement Director: Toby Sedgwick
  • Choreographers: Temujin Gill, Kenrick "H2O" Sandy and Akram Khan
  • Executive Producer, production design: Mark Fisher [93]
  • Executive Producer, creative: Stephen Daldry
  • Lighting Designers: Patrick Woodroffe
  • Lead Lighting Programmer: Tim Routledge [94]
  • Lighting Programmers: Andy Voller and Pryderi Baskerville
  • Followspot Captain: Terry Cook
  • Associate Lighting Director: Adam Bassett
  • Technical Director: Piers Shepperd
  • Technical Manager (technical design and staging): Jeremy Lloyd
  • Technical Manager (aerial): James Lee
  • Technical Manager (lighting, audio-visual, power): Nick Jones
  • Technical Manager (services and special projects): Scott Buchanan
  • Senior Production Manager (audio and communications): Chris Ekers
  • Executive Producer, broadcast: Hamish Hamilton
  • Executive Producer, production: Catherine Ugwu
  • Bike Choreographer: Bob Haro
  • Bike Project Manager: Paul Hughes [95]


  1. ^ "Isles of Wonder". 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  2. ^ Hanna, Laurie (7 December 2011). "Underworld to create London 2012 opening ceremony music"Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
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