The London 2012 Olympic Games got off to a spectacular start on Friday night, with an opening ceremony featuring Great British icons from The Queen to Mr Bean.
More than a billion people are believed to have watched the opening of the Games, when Danny Boyce transformed the Olympic Stadium into scenes from the Great British countryside, industrial revolution and a 21st Century house party. As well as special appearances from Daniel Craig as James Bond and Rowan Atkinson, playing a character similar to his globally famous Mr Bean, the event featured live performances from Dizzee Rascal, the Arctic Monkeys and Sir Paul McCartney, and appearances from famous Brits such as Kenneth Branagh, JK Rowling, David Beckham, Sir Steve Redgrave and the inventor of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, along with supporting cast of 7,500 volunteers.
The opening ceremony’s artistic director Danny Boyle paid tribute to the volunteers, who gave up their weekends and evenings to take part in almost 250 rehearsals.
“Our show was really the volunteer’s show. If you want to judge us as an island, these people are the best of us, and we hope the feeling of the show was a celebration of their generosity,” Boyle said.
The event also included 12,956 props – 100 times more than a West End musical – as well as spectacular fireworks and special effects.
Following the opening ceremony, the Games was officially opened by The Queen, and the 205 copper petals representing all the competing nations were lit to form the Olympic flame.
The Olympic Games will run until 12 August.