When London Summer Olympics was Inaugurated
The day of celebration began at 08:12 BST (07:12 GMT) with a mass bell ringing. Big Ben rang for three minutes for the first time since King George VI’s funeral in 1952.
The Olympic Inaugural Ceremony started at 9:00 PM BST with a huge budget of $ 42 Millions. The field at the stadium in Stratford in east London was turned into a green meadow, with a cast of 10,000 volunteers taking roles from British history.
Steelworkers began forging material that transformed into golden Olympic rings, which lifted into the air to be suspended above the performers.
“Good evening Mr Bond,” the Queen said in the clip, before they left together, apparently heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter.
A short film showed 007 driving up to Buckingham Palace in a black London cab and, pursued by the royal dogs, meeting the queen, who played herself.
At the same moment, real skydivers appeared in the skies over the stadium. And moments after that, the monarch appeared in person, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip.
Elizabeth stood solemnly while a children’s choir serenaded her with “God Save the Queen,” and members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force raised the Union Jack.
Much of the opening ceremony was an encyclopedic review of British music history, from a 1918 Broadway standard adopted by the West Ham soccer team to the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by still another Queen.
The evening started with fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke and roaring over the stadium, packed with a buzzing crowd of 60,000 people, at 8:12 p.m. — or 20:12 in the 24-hour time observed by Britons.
An explosion of fireworks against the London skyline and Paul McCartney leading a singalong were to wrap up the three-hour opening ceremony masterminded by one of Britain’s most successful filmmakers, Oscar winner Danny Boyle.
The director of “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting” had a ball with his favored medium, mixing filmed passages with live action in the stadium to hypnotic effect, with 15,000 volunteers taking part in the $42 million show.
Actor Rowan Atkinson as “Mr. Bean” provided laughs, shown dreaming that he was appearing in “Chariots of Fire,” the inspiring story of a Scotsman and an Englishman at the 1924 Paris Games.
Headlong rushes of images took spectators on wondrous, heart-racing voyages through everything British: a cricket match, the London Tube and the roaring, abundant seas that buffet and protect this island nation.
A pulsating soundtrack including snippets of the Sex Pistols’ version of “God Save the Queen” — an anti-establishment punk anthem once banned by the BBC.
Tour de France champion,Wiggins wearing his race-winner’s yellow jersey, rang a 23-ton Olympic Bell from the same London foundry that made Big Ben and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell.
Its thunderous chime echoed around the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium. Bells in Britain have traditionally pealed to celebrate the end of war and the crowning of kings and queens, and now for the opening of a 17-day festival of sports.
The show then shifted to a portrayal of Britain that Britons cling to — a place of meadows, farms, sport on village greens, picnics and Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne’s bear who has delighted generations of British children tucked warmly in bed.
The set was literally torn asunder, the hedgerows and farm fences carried away, as Boyle shifted to the industrial transformation that revolutionized Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, the foundation for an empire that reshaped world history. Belching chimneys rose where only moments earlier sheep had trod.
The Industrial Revolution also produced terrifying weapons, and Boyle built a moment of hush into his show to honor those killed in war.
“This is not specific to a country; this is across all countries, and the fallen from all countries are celebrated and remembered,” he explained to reporters ahead of the ceremony.
“Because, obviously, one of the penalties of this incredible force of change that happened in a hundred years was the industrialization of war, and the fallen,” he said. “You know, millions fell.”
The parade of nations featured most of the roughly 10,500 athletes — some planned to stay away to save their strength for competition — marching behind the flags of the 204 nations taking part.
Greece had the lead, as the spiritual home of the games, and Team Great Britain was last, as the host. The tradition of athletes marching into the stadium by nation at the opening ceremony began at London’s first Olympics, in 1908.
Both Bahrain and Brunei featured female flagbearers in what has been called the Olympics’ Year of the Woman. For the first time at the games, each national delegation includes women, and a record 45 percent of the athletes are women.
It fell to the queen to declare the games open. Last month, the nation put on a festive Diamond Jubilee — a small test run for the games — to mark her 60 years on the throne, a reign that began shortly after London’s last Olympics, in 1948.
The identity of the last torchbearer, the one to light the cauldron, was kept secret — remarkable given the intense scrutiny at what have been called the first social media Olympics.
The director of “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting” also laced the show with snippets from British cinema, including actor Daniel Craig as James Bond, and the spine-tingling soundtrack to “Chariots of Fire.
Boyle’s $42 million show, with 15,000 volunteers, promised to take the expected global television audience of 1 billion on a rich and textured journey through British history.
“Beijing is something that, in a way, was great to follow,” Boyle said. “You can’t get bigger than Beijing, you know? So that, in a way, kind of liberated us. We thought, ‘Great, OK, good, we’ll try and do something different.'”
He later tweeted: “Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! Means the world to me.”
A number of cyclists were arrested during scuffles with police close to the Olympic Stadium as the opening ceremony got under way
Rain started to fall over the stadium earlier, despite forecasters predicting dry weather ahead of the ceremony.