Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics was held on 27 July and called "Isles of Wonder".[126] Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle was its artistic director, with the music directors being the electronic music duo Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of Underworld.[127] The Games were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[128] It was the second Games the Queen had opened personally, the first being the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. All successive Olympics held in Canada or Australia have been opened by their respective governors-general. A short comic film starring Daniel Craig as secret agent James Bond and the Queen as herself was screened during the ceremony.[129] Live musical performers included Frank Turner, Mike Oldfield, London Symphony Orchestra (accompanied by Rowan Atkinson), Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys and Sir Paul McCartney, who performed the song "Hey Jude" at the end of the ceremony.[130][131] The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Games attracted a peak viewing audience of over 27 million viewers (around half of the population of the United Kingdom watched BBC1 live simultaneously). The opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games took place on the evening of Friday 27 July in the Olympic Stadium, London. As mandated by the Olympic Charter, the proceedings combined the formal and ceremonial opening of this international sporting event, including welcoming speeches, hoisting of the flags and the parade of athletes, with an artistic spectacle to showcase the host nationís culture. For London 2012 the Games were formally opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The spectacle was entitled Isles of Wonder[1] and directed by Academy Award-winning British film director Danny Boyle, with music specially written by electronic music group Underworld.[2] Prior to London 2012 there had been considerable apprehe

sion about Britainís ability to stage an opening ceremony that would reach the standard set by the Beijing Summer Games in 2008,[3][4][5] where the ceremony had been noted for its scale, extravagance and expense, and been hailed as the "greatest ever".[6] The Beijing ceremony had cost ?65m whereas London spent an estimated ?27m (out of ?80m budgeted for its four ceremonies), which was nevertheless about twice the original budget.[7] However, the 2012 ceremony was generally seen as a tremendous success, praised by numerous publications and spectators as a "masterpiece" and "a love letter to Britain".[8][9][10] The ceremony began at 21:00 BST and lasted almost four hours.[11] It was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of 900 million,[12] becoming the most-viewed Olympic opening ceremony in both the UK and US.[13][14][15] The content had largely been kept secret until the performance itself, despite involving thousands of volunteers and after two public rehearsals. The principal sections of the artistic display represented Britain's industrial revolution, National Health Service, literary heritage, popular music and culture and were noted for their vibrant storytelling and use of music. Two shorter sections drew particular comment, involving a filmed cameo appearance of the Queen, and a live performance by the London Symphony Orchestra joined by Rowan Atkinson. These were widely ascribed to Britain's sense of humour.[16] The ceremony featured children and young people in most of its segments, reflecting the 'inspire a generation' aspiration of London's original bid for the Games.[17] The BBC released footage of the ceremony on 29 October 2012, edited by Danny Boyle and with background extras, filling more than one disc of a five DVD or Blu-ray disc set, which also consisted of more than seven hours of sporting highlights and the complete closing ceremony.