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NHS segment

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One of the parts of the Opening ceremony I got a little confused by was the segment(The NHS segment was it called?) where the children where sleeping in the beds and then the various figures came out(Mary Poppins, Captain Hook etc..). Was it suppose to be about a child's dreams or related the children who went through the London blitz bombings of 1940?

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Was it suppose to be about a child's dreams or related the children who went through the London blitz bombings of 1940?

That's deep.

I figure it's just about fairy tale stories and villains such as Voldemort.

But I guess the flying Mary Poppins could represent the RAF if you want ;)

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You can read the explanation in the official media guide (page 26):

As Mike Oldfield plays ‘Tubular Bells’, one little girl reads beneath the sheets. Soon her imagination conjours nightmarish villains from British children’s literature – Voldemort, Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts. After a terrifying chase, the villains are vanquished by Mary Poppins.

http://www.london2012.com/mm/Document/Documents/Publications/01/30/43/40/OPENINGCEREMONYGUIDE_English.pdf

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Well they must have got the message across quite well:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2191252/NHS-hospitals-set-China-Gulf-Drive-cash-Olympic-opening-ceremony.html

NHS hospitals to set up in China and Gulf: Drive to cash in on Olympic opening ceremony

  • Hospitals expected to set up centres around the world include Great Ormond Street, Royal Marsden and Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Libya are also thought to be prime targets for the new hospitals

Some of Britain’s best hospitals are to set up outposts in China and the Middle East to generate more cash for the NHS.

Great Ormond Street and the Royal Marsden are among those expected to build centres around the world, spreading their expertise in paediatrics and cancer care and generating much-needed income.

The Health Service is hoping to capitalise on the publicity from Danny Boyle’s depiction of the NHS in the Olympics opening ceremony – watched by an estimated one billion worldwide – by launching a major push to win contracts with foreign health services.

ETC. ETC.....

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As a non-brit, I found this the absolute bottom of an otherwise great opening ceremony. The NHS, really? and then celebrating a single hospital? And that creepy giant baby? Uggghhh.

On the other hand, the Brits I speak to, loved it. Go figure.

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As a non-brit, I found this the absolute bottom of an otherwise great opening ceremony. The NHS, really? and then celebrating a single hospital? And that creepy giant baby? Uggghhh.

On the other hand, the Brits I speak to, loved it. Go figure.

I imagine the subliminal political message behind it was that healthcare is a right, and not a luxury. In the UK the government is trying its hardest to scupper the NHS, and that piece set the process back at least a decade!

Remember, the circle was closed because the writer of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, gave all the profits of that work to Great Ormond Street Hospital, thus rounding that section off nicely.

That certain individuals could not handle it was also exactly the type of reaction Danny Boyle was hoping to arouse in the NHS's detractors, thus assuring the fat cats' place as the bad guys in it all, whilst making the NHS a cause célèbre - genius :P

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Im not sold or dismissive of the NHS segment. I understand in the greater scheme of things how it did represent a key *British revolution* which the opening seemed to be based around, but I can see how alot of people question how a segment of an opening ceremony of the greatest peace time event in the world focused on a hospital.

Visually, I think it was decent, especially as the Marry Poppins came flying down.

I will agree though, if they wanted a giant representation at the end (where they had the baby) they should have been abit more abstract or something. I dunno, it can't be seen as anything but creepy can it?

I think some kind of light formation of a scan of a baby in the womb would have been a more effective finale to the segment.

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As a non-brit, I found this the absolute bottom of an otherwise great opening ceremony. The NHS, really? and then celebrating a single hospital? And that creepy giant baby? Uggghhh.

On the other hand, the Brits I speak to, loved it. Go figure.

Not only the Brits liked it, I liked it, too. I thought it was a nice fun segment, and done in a classier way than I originally feared -- because at first, I expected it to become overly political and sentimental. It was a political statement nevertheless, of course, regarding the cuts by the current Coalition government in Britain -- which still raises the question whether an Olympic opening ceremony was the right place to do it. But nevertheless, I enjoyed it - and I found especially the part with the dancing nurses and doctors and the kids jumping in their beds very endearing.

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I will agree though, if they wanted a giant representation at the end (where they had the baby) they should have been abit more abstract or something. I dunno, it can't be seen as anything but creepy can it?

I think some kind of light formation of a scan of a baby in the womb would have been a more effective finale to the segment.

That's true, and that baby element was another example of the sometimes rather poor camera work at the opening ceremony. If I remember it correctly, it suddenly was shown there in a long shot of the stadium's infield, but they never showed it in a close-up and really explained by camera work what it stands for.

And yes, it was rather creepy. A light formation of a baby in the womb could have come across as a slight copy of Athens' projected DNA helix, combined with the glowing belly of the pregnant woman, though. ;)

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I think the idea of featuring the NHS was excellent however I thought the whole segment was poorly executed and lacked historical context and meaning. Essentially it was a segment about childrens fairy tales and also a step forward in time to the post war era from the industrial revolution. I'm not sure it was a political statement aimed at the current government. They're just tinkerinmg with the NHS and even they realise that as a principle and in practice universal healthcare in the form of the NHS enjoys broad and deep seated support in the UK and is one of the things which most Brits see as a huge achievement and priviledge, despite what views Amercans may have about "socialised medicine" and Obama Care.

The NHS was created out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. When it was launched by the then minister of health, Aneurin Bevan, on July 5 1948, it was based on three core principles; that it meet the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery, that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

I think this was a remarkable achievemnt for a class based society like Britiain's to pioneer such a radical social policy and this should have been ther focus of the post war segment.

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I think some kind of light formation of a scan of a baby in the womb would have been a more effective finale to the segment.

This is another case of where the cameras didn't necessarily pick everything up and even many of the spectators might have missed it; I'm sure I only spotted it during the second dress rehearsal.

But, at the start of the NHS section, even before the heartbeat blip starts to go round the stadium on the LED pixels, there's a shot on the big screens of an ultrasound. The baby at the end is, I supposed, the fruit of the NHS labours. But, yes, the first time I saw them put the baby up, I wondered what was going on but then spotted the ultrasound on a later run-through and it made more sense.

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I imagine the subliminal political message behind it was that healthcare is a right, and not a luxury. In the UK the government is trying its hardest to scupper the NHS, and that piece set the process back at least a decade!

I fear the above was the motivation. However, it is true hypocrisy if it was - remember athletes get stripped of their medals if they make political statements. For the opening ceremony to be used to make a political statement is simply not acceptable then.

However, like I say, the Brits loved it, so more power to them - their show and they did their nation proud overall. For a lot of non-Brits, like me, I assume it was a WTF moment :-)

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This is another case of where the cameras didn't necessarily pick everything up and even many of the spectators might have missed it; I'm sure I only spotted it during the second dress rehearsal.

But, at the start of the NHS section, even before the heartbeat blip starts to go round the stadium on the LED pixels, there's a shot on the big screens of an ultrasound. The baby at the end is, I supposed, the fruit of the NHS labours. But, yes, the first time I saw them put the baby up, I wondered what was going on but then spotted the ultrasound on a later run-through and it made more sense.

Re the giant, mystery "baby." Finally heard from my 'inside' source who finally got a breather after all the Olympic period work. She designed the baby. To close out the NHS segment, a projection (i.e., being the ultrasound reading) was supposed to flash "Good Night." Didn't happen because they forgot to cue the projection person. She said same thing for Closing; due to lack of rehearsal, they failed to use a few important projections as well.

Am looking forward to the Obamacare number at the Democratic National Convention. :lol:

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Re the giant, mystery "baby." Finally heard from my 'inside' source who finally got a breather after all the Olympic period work. She designed the baby. To close out the NHS segment, a projection (i.e., being the ultrasound reading) was supposed to flash "Good Night." Didn't happen because they forgot to miscue the projection person. She said same thing for Closing; due to lack of rehearsal, they failed to use a few important projections as well.

Did she specify which projections they failed to use at the closing? I noticed that according to the media guide, the pictures of the Games should originally be projected on that box pyramid. They also originally planned to have "printed grey rain clouds on the floor cloth" which should be pulled away after the national anthem to reveal Damien Hirst's Union Jack artwork. But if I'm not mistaken, Damien Hirst's artwork was visible on the ground from the very start of the ceremony, and there never were any grey rain clouds on it.

I never heard before that organisers left out elements of their ceremonies because they didn't rehearse enough. Did you ever hear such thing?

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I noticed that according to the media guide, the pictures of the Games should originally be projected on that box pyramid.

I never heard before that organisers left out elements of their ceremonies because they didn't rehearse enough. Did you ever hear such thing?

Yes, she mentioned that one -- because building the pyramid by itself didn't make too much sense. Well, that train running thru the London Eye was also dropped at the last minute because again, there wasn't enough time to rehearse it in place. I think the nearly zero-rehearsal time at Olympic Stadium precipitated some shortcuts,

We will be in touch again tomorrow night. Will try to ask more.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Hmmm... that shows again that you can't create a too lavish ceremony for the closing, at least not for the Summer Games where you don't have the stadium available for rehearsals already several days beforehand. Kudos to the organisers that they still wanted to have so many props, projections and mechanisms in the closing ceremony in order to not let it appear as an afterthought of the opening ceremony - but they obviously wanted too much.

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Speaking of which, it seems to me there was an important mistake during Rio's handover segment. According to the media guide, when the giant logo appeared at the end, Rio's skyline should have been projected with the stadium LEDs. I've been rewatching that part and I can't see anything there...

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There were projections, but they were more colourful and abstract than those shown in the media guide. But I believe I recognised the Sugar Loaf in those abstract shapes.

Here's a screenshot:

9vjxhc.jpg

You can recognise the Jesus statue on Corcovado (in red, in the background) and I believe the round mountain in pale green to the left of it is the Sugar Loaf.

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Speaking of which, it seems to me there was an important mistake during Rio's handover segment. According to the media guide, when the giant logo appeared at the end, Rio's skyline should have been projected with the stadium LEDs. I've been rewatching that part and I can't see anything there...

That giant logo also just appeared OUT OF NOWHERE (or no build up to its appearance). For those who hadn't seen it before, it was like...WTF is that? And the lower part was covered by the Rio performers...so it wasn't a good, clean unveiling of their logo to the world.

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That's because they cut away right when the logo was inflated. Another example of the not always good camerawork during the ceremonies...

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You can recognise the Jesus statue on Corcovado (in red, in the background) and I believe the round mountain in pale green to the left of it is the Sugar Loaf.

Oh, yes. I had noticed the colours but I hadn't realized they were the skyline. Imagination has to run wild to see it! :P

Anyway, I think a more realistic background, as in the media guide, would have look better, at least for the very last moment when they're all together with the logo.

That giant logo also just appeared OUT OF NOWHERE (or no build up to its appearance). For those who hadn't seen it before, it was like...WTF is that? And the lower part was covered by the Rio performers...so it wasn't a good, clean unveiling of their logo to the world.

I agree. Fortunately, the Spanish commentators explained what it was and that it was inflatable because, you're right, all of a sudden the logo was there, and nothing had been shown on TV... I think it's small details like this that made the handover look somewhat messy.

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Not only the Brits liked it, I liked it, too. I thought it was a nice fun segment, and done in a classier way than I originally feared -- because at first, I expected it to become overly political and sentimental. It was a political statement nevertheless, of course, regarding the cuts by the current Coalition government in Britain -- which still raises the question whether an Olympic opening ceremony was the right place to do it. But nevertheless, I enjoyed it - and I found especially the part with the dancing nurses and doctors and the kids jumping in their beds very endearing.

It wasn't about this ie cuts from the present government. Danny Boyle saw that there had been 3 revolutions in the UK - industrial - social - the digital age.

The NHS section encompasses the social changes that the industrial revolution harnessed. During "Panadamonium" we witness the up rooting of agricultural Britain & the flood of people to urban centres (something that is universal & still occurs today). We also see industrialisation as the mechanisation of slaughter (something we sadly still see today) - hence we pause to remember all the victims of all wars.

Out of the last slaughter (WW2) the UK saw a massive social change where those who had fought the war (the working people) demanded greater social provision & the welfare state was born - the NHS its corner stone. This wouldnt have happened without the suffragettes & the jarrow crusaders (sadly most people are still denied equal access to healthcare in the world).

The NHS segment was a metaphor for who we are - a society that cares for everyone no matter who or where they are from - something most British people really hold dear as a national characteristic. The melding of our most priceless asset - our children - to this along with one our greatest cultural exports (children's literature) was a master stroke!

Edited by adrianme17

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Thanks for the explanation, Adrian.

Since we talked about the camera work as well - did you re-watch the opening ceremony as it was broadcast on TV and were you satisfied with the camera work?

I thought while it worked great during the Pandemonium segment, it had its flaws during other segments. For example, when they covered the stands with that blue cloth at the very beginning; they never showed the whole stadium with that blue cloth but only particular sections of the stands - so the "sea surrounding the Isles of Wonder" effect didn't work at all for TV viewers. And as we already mentioned, the camera work wasn't good either when they revealed the baby.

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Yes, she mentioned that one -- because building the pyramid by itself didn't make too much sense. Well, that train running thru the London Eye was also dropped at the last minute because again, there wasn't enough time to rehearse it in place. I think the nearly zero-rehearsal time at Olympic Stadium precipitated some shortcuts,

We will be in touch again tomorrow night. Will try to ask more.

Myles - I heard this too - they just couldn't get time in the stadium (for obvious reasons). Btw hope you are well?

Edited by adrianme17

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