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. A bit Berlin 1936 though (the bell that is)!

Exactly. That's what first came to my mind. I think they should rethink that. I think Bell and Shakespeare do NOT quite go together. Further, AT&T Bell is NO LONGER an Olympic sponsor. ;)

"Boyle said it would be about a land that has been poisoned by industrial legacy and the recovery of that land." - Except that there are no underground passages in this stadium, so any "rebirth from the land" moments would be a little hard to stage without that. Hmmmm. Will Wendlock and Mandeville reappear in this Ceremony?

NHS and nurses? God, hope it doesn't turn out to be like that "wedding dress" sequence at the Torino closing. Really, kinda odd.

- Noticed those styrofoam balls behind Boyle. Those were in that mysterious 'test sequence' in August last year. So, they're going to have some "bouncing white balls" number, a la Salt Lake 2002 Closing??

No mention of "cultural diversity"? Hmmmm. This is the Year of the Water Dragon. Where's that? (j/k) But at least Boyle has the idea of "stadium scale" and narrative right..concepts which Papaioannou could not make gel in 2004. I have a feeling this show might go the way of Melbourne 2006 which was actually a very innovative show which told its narrative very well.

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I wonder if Danny Boyle was in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games opening, he is from Bury after all. They also had a "rain" segment". I can only imagine how much better it would look with the budget of the London 2012 ceremonies. :D

Edited by Lee
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Sounds intriguing from those teasers. Just hope it's not too dark and somber. I suppose ultimately it sounds like an environments theme, though.

my god that interview makes me even more excited - will be there in six month...

Yeah, it's ratcheted up the excitement factor for me too!
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This puts it in a bit more contest IMO:

London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony to reflect 'people's Games'

Olympics ceremony titled Isles of Wonder will involve NHS nurses and hundreds of children, says its creator Danny Boyle


Be not afeared. The isle is full of noises." As a welcome to London for athletes and spectators arriving for the 2012 Olympics, opening ceremony director Danny Boyle has decided Caliban's line from Shakespeare's The Tempest is particularly apposite.

So much so that the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire director has chosen it as the inspiration for a £27m four-hour spectacular that will feature a tribute to the NHS, Europe's largest bell, a torch lighting sequence and a cast and crew of 12,000 – all shot through with "British humour" and set to the music of Underworld.

Unveiling a handful of details of his vision for the first time with exactly six months to go until the ceremony, Boyle said it would not match the jaw-dropping scale and expense of Beijing in 2008 but would aim to repeat the humanity of Sydney in 2000, which earned the sobriquet "the people's Games".

His chosen title, Isles of Wonder, was inspired by a speech in The Tempest. "It is about the wondrous beauty of Caliban's island and his deep, deep devotion to it," explained Boyle.

Stephen Daldry, the Billy Elliot director who is overseeing the artistic vision for all four ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics, said it encapsulated the "heritage, diversity, energy, inventiveness, wit and creativity that defines the British Isles".

He said the theme of The Tempest would run through the opening and closing ceremonies for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games: "It is a journey that will celebrate who we are, who we were and indeed who we wish to be."

Previous opening ceremonies have proved iconic and embarrassing in equal measure, but Daldry said the live sense of "jeopardy" was one of the things that made them exciting.

He said further details of the show, which will be watched by 80,000 ticket holders paying up to £2,012 and including 130 heads of state and an estimated 1 billion global television viewers, would be confirmed in April.

The method of the lighting of the Olympic flame, expected to arrive by water after its 8,000-mile journey around the UK, will be among them.

Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Take That and ballerina Darcey Bussell are among those rumoured as potential participants.

The biggest bell ever cast in Europe has been commissioned to hang at one end of the stadium and will be rung at 9pm to signal the point at which the world will tune in to watch the opening ceremony.

Boyle said that the use of a giant bell in his production of Frankenstein at the National Theatre last year had helped persuade him to incorporate it into the ceremony.

After the Games, it will be moved to the Olympic Park – where on Friday the finished Athletes Village was handed over by the Olympic Delivery Authority – where Boyle said he hoped it would "ring for hundreds of years".

Boyle said that for one sequence, all the performers had been recruited from the NHS and local schools. "It is something that we are really proud of. It celebrates something unique about this country," he said.

The four ceremonies will feature a total of 15,000 performers and 25,000 costumes and Daldry equated the task to producing 165 West End musicals at the same time.

Rick Smith and Karl Hyde from dance group Underworld will provide the soundtrack for the opening ceremony. Boyle joked that they would compose marching music at 120bpm in order to speed up the athletes' procession around the stadium. Organisers have promised to avoid the lengthy waits and overruns of previous ceremonies and finish by midnight.

A film of rehearsals involving 15,000 performers across four ceremonies gave a few further clues to how the event will unfold: ballet dancers, painters, huge "zorbing" balls that could roll over the crowd, BMX displays, lasers and cyclists with wings all featured. A total of 900 schoolchildren from the six Olympic boroughs will be involved.

The government recently agreed to provide organisers with an extra £41m from the £9.3bn public sector funding package to double the budget for the Games ceremonies, justifying it by saying it was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to promote the UK and boost tourism.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We are absolutely clear this is one of the biggest events that will happen in this country in our lifetimes. We do not underestimate the massive responsibility that entails. We see it as a huge opportunity to profile everything we're proud of in the UK."

Boyle said his opening ceremony would use around a third of the overall £81m budget for the four ceremonies, but was still significantly cheaper than Beijing or Athens.

The Guardian

I'm relieved a bit - seems to be he wants a "light-hearted" Sydneyesque ceremony.

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What are those white ballons???

It seems to me the're clouds or something like that

OK,so now, we can tie them together. The above was apparently a test for the "zorb" balls...styrofoam balls that will roll down over the audience. However, why? It seems like a Winter Games stunt, and this was already done at the Salt Lake 2002 Closing. So another..".been there-done-that" moment.

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Well this kind of brings the whole back to Danny's first post in this thread.

The whole revitalisation sequence fits in perfectly with the Take That Wembley show - enjoy 'The Garden' - a song about mankind recovering from industrialised chaos.

There have been huge hints that Take That are appearing in the ceremony - and this song fits the shows storyline perfectly. Plus with Robbie having left Take That again and this song being from an album done by the band as a four piece (as well as being the 'elephant' moment hinted at in Danny's first post) we may have cracked it!

Or not!


(I'd rather the show opening with 'Greatest Day' or the closing ceremony ending with 'Never Forget' personally).

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The bell is a great idea. On the morning of the opening ceremony the whole country is to be awoken by the sound of bells ringing so its a fitting start that the bell will sound the start of the games.

I thought that too about the bell, its rung at the start and at the end it turns to become the cauldron, interesing idea.

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And how would a 27-ton iron bell, sit atop a 180-foot tower suddenly become the cauldron? It just sounds too much like living in a firehouse. I think that bell idea will recede in importance as the show gets put together. The "bell" idea sounds great on paper but in reality, execution-wise, there's NOT much you can do there. 84 seconds I think it was before the Countdown for LA 1984 began, they had all the church bells around LA County peel. That was it, and then the show just proceeded from there. And they didn't have to have some 27-ton behemoth structure on stadium grounds at all. There just seems to be too much fixation on one particular huge, object now.

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An upturned bell shaped cauldron though could be quite ugly. I'm not so sure about the bell myself - if anything I think I'd put it in a permanent home outside of the stadium within the park to start with and ring it from there rather than have it stuck in the stadium throughout the ceremony.

It does seem Diversity will be involved in some way. There has been reports this week Ashley Banjo has been asked to choreograph a large scale "street dance" routine for the ceremony and he pretty much confirmed he'd been approached on This Morning and would be involved without doing the whole usual "can't talk about that" routine.

And thankfully The Spice Girls are now talking about hijacking the Diamond Jubilee for an unwanted reunion rather than the Olympics (I suspect Danny Boyle told them where to go!).

Has any more been said about a series of concerts being staged during the games featuring several top acts. Had to laugh when I saw that in the paper a couple of weeks ago being highlighted as "giving London something to celebrate" and plans to screen them across the world. I suspect it was someone trying to get in on the act rather than a LOCOG idea as obviously the Olympics themselves are more than enough for Londoners to celebrate - and TV companies around the world will probably be otherwise engaged during the Olympics.

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Ok, I think now i'm starting to get more excited for this ceremony.

The bell thing with the Shakespear line sounds like a fitting start for the opening ceremony (I already imagined the Big Ben bells would signalize the beggining until now, something a la Moscow 80 Kremlin bells), although it's true that Berlin '36 did it before (Athens did it as well, although with smaller bells, signalizing the entrance of the Olympic Flag).

The concept of a society revitalizing after industrial chaos sounds a bit like there could be some Steampunk segments involved onto it. I'm also glad that he's going to focus on a narrative. The "What we were, who we are and who we want to be" sounds like the cultural performances will be divided in three big segments. Maybe the "what we were" thing could be the typical segment which shows the ancient history of not just England but the british islands as well, like celtic culture, middle ages, victorian age, etc. I'm kinda liking as well that he's considering the actual stadium scale.

I'm not fully convinced about the nurses thing, but if it's a small part of the ceremony (like a tribute) then I wouldn't mind. (I was never a fan of Zorbing balls to be honest. I think the Sochi 2014 handover could have been done without that)

Overall, and with the promise of featuring never seen before CGI film techniques (projections, without doubt) sounds like it's going to be a very well made ceremony, which reminds me a bit of the 2002 and 2006 CWG ones so far. Can't wait to see more details in April.

PS: Pardon my ignorance but i do recall that Take That was pretty much confirmed to be at the closing ceremony, but i'm not sure about the opening.

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Insidetherings has an awesome spoof of the ceremony. Hilarious!

Sir Trevor: "And finally..."

An early draft of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony has come intoinsidethegames's possession

The draft includes a number of handwritten annotations mainly signed 'DB'; these are reproduced in italics.

9pm sharp. The Great Olympic Bell tolls. BONG, BONG...

Cue Sir Trevor McDonald (applause)

Sir Trevor: "And finally...

"Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement's..."

As Sir Trevor reads the words of the children's rhyme, which have been modified to capture the Olympic spirit, church bells across the city of London begin to peal out.

By the time the last line - "I do not know, says Sebastian Coe" – is reached, every bell from Heathrow to Harlow is ringing. [Muezzins? DB]

9.10pm The main stage rises up from the centre of the stadium to reveal Pink Floyd, the great British rock band, who play the song Time from Dark Side of the Moon, the great British rock album.

As they play, children from East London schools act out the lyrics; on the line, "No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun", they are joined by Usain Bolt.

Meanwhile, a giant plastic pig floats slowly into position above the stadium. [Memo to self: Get Dave to tweak that line "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way". Too close to the bone...DB]

9.15pm As Gilmour sings "The tolling of the iron bell...softly spoken magic spells" we realise that the Great Olympic Bell has indeed started tolling again.

9.16pm Lights down. Silence. Spotlight on the figure of Caliban (actually David Tennant), who addresses Olympic dignitaries: "Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises..."

As he speaks, children from East London schools appear and cavort around the arena waving the Official Caliban Puppet ™, available in Official Olympic Merchandise Outlets from tomorrow.

An Underworld soundtrack, incorporating blaring horns, sirens, pneumatic drills etc, starts to play.

9.20pm and 12 seconds [see what we've done there? DB] As Caliban/Tennant declaims "I cried to dream again", the procession of great British institutions begins.

Pink Floyd provide the soundtrack – Wish You Were Here, Another Brick in the Wall and so on.

The procession includes:

- Arthurian knights [Antonio is requesting exclusively black horses. Seems harmless enough. DB]

- Eton College schoolboys [actually children from East London schools in costume]

- Bobbies on the beat (from the forces which won a clean sweep of Olympic Tug-of-War medals at the London 1908 Games).

- Posties waving sheets of Official Gold Medal Winners stamps ™, available from tomorrow

- NHS nurses [Lansley assures me he can find at least half- a-dozen who can be trusted not to use the occasion to protest against his bill. DB]

- Bank of England [May need re-thinking if Euro-zone collapses. Too provocative?]

- The obligatory London bus, open-topped, with proverbial 'Man on the Clapham Omnibus' (in this case, the member of the London 2012 backroom team who came up with all those useless but endearing London bus-related stats) waving from the upper deck.

9.45pm sharp. Athletes' procession starts. [To prevent viewing figures from imploding, this MUST be kept moving briskly. To that end, as well as the upbeat Underworld soundtrack...]

Each team to be led by a man in unkempt blond wig riding a penny-farthing bicycle. [As luck would have it, the Coventry factory where penny-farthings were made was called "Ariel". Ariel/Caliban. Geddit? Doncha love it when a plan comes together!? DB]

[Memo to self: Don't order the wigs yet. We may need to rethink some of this in light of the result of the London mayoral election on May 3.]

By convention, the Greek team is first to enter the stadium [Apparently the Germans want them to go up to the crowd rattling collecting buckets to help pay for the 2004 opening ceremony. What do we think? DB]

11.59pm (Following all the solemn Olympic pageantry) Cue Sir Trevor McDonald (applause)

12 Midnight. The Great Olympic Bell chimes twelve times.

As the twelfth chime dies, the Olympic torch arrives in the stadium, carried by...Ariel, Shakespeare's "airy spirit", or in this case the Procter and Gamble employee who did most to lift the company's profit margins in 2011, as assessed by an internal global competition.

[For pete's sake, make sure the costume doesn't look too much like a packet of Excel Gel. DB]

As the cauldron is lit, "Ariel" turns to the crowd and speaks a single word: "Brrrrrilliant!"


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you forgot to put a big bell!

Actually, I was a bit rushed to finish it ... hubby didn't appreciate me spending time on the "GamesBids" club when he thought I should be spending it with him. But I've actually since made a few tweaks ... but don't have it with me at work today.

I'm surtprised the Brits haven't pointed out my mistake with HRH for the Queen instead of HM.

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Well, London certainly does it differently! ;) When was the last time an Olympic ceremonial team told beforehand which content the opening ceremony will have? It's amazing that even want to provide more details in April and June.

But I think this is actually a clever move. As someone pointed out already: In times of mobile phone cameras, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter it's impossible anyway to keep a ceremonial concept secret. Vancouver failed to keep everything secret, just like Beijing. But, and that is the good thing: Even if larger parts of the ceremonial concept leak beforehand, it's still possible to offer nice surprises and to present an impressive ceremony. Just take Vancouver's case: Although I got a strong notion what the ceremony will look like by the descriptions and Youtube videos of dress rehearsal spectators, I was very impressed by its human touch and even sometimes surprised by its special effects or musical choices when I finally watched the whole thing on opening night.

Regarding London's concept itself (as far as we know it at this stage), it sounds interesting, although it could even turn a bit cheesy and 80s-like with those "Zorb balls" (Sochi will probably eat its heart out now that London is copying that concept) rolling down the grandstands, BMX and laser displays. But I'm somehow certain that the whole ceremony won't be cheesy at all, in fact. I trust Danny Boyle that he'll create a beautiful and very human show. And what I find best (although it was actually inevitable) is that it will contain the legendary British humour. It would simply not be a British ceremony if it hadn't that laid-back, tongue-in-cheek and very dry-humoured attitude.

The bell is also a great idea -- even if it's not completely new, remembering the bells rung at one end of Athens' Olympic Stadium for the entrance of the Olympic Flag. But hey, drums and/or bells have simply become an indispensable element of modern Olympic ceremonies, so I'm OK with that as long as they all give that element an individual touch. It's the same with projections.

And the slogan "Isles of Wonder" is also great and sounds very promising -- proud and yet heart-warming and inviting.

So I think we can expect an interesting mix of grandeur, civility and openness. If it wouldn't sound so stereotypical, I would say: A typically British mix. I'm looking very much forward to seeing it, even if only in front of my TV set (sigh...).

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