Saturday 28 July 2012

History and the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics

Now I'm not the type of person glued to the tv when this four yearly sport event is taking place. But I do like to watch the opening and closing ceremonies.

Well the opening ceremony last night (Friday) was brilliant- considering there was 90 minutes to encapsulate UK history, culture and society in both an entertaining and thoughtful way, but still spectacular enough for a world-wide tv audience (27 million in the UK alone) and the thousands watching in the stadium.

Starting with a green 18th century pastoral scene- including a group of young ladies in Jane Austen style dresses with bonnets and shawls strolling around the base of the Glastonbury Tor- a big mound of green with paths and a big tree at the top (later used for placing all the national flags of competing nations).

Then moving to the emerging chimneys and dirt of industrial Victorian England with the 'forming' of the giant rings.

Films, books and music played a big part.

My favourite bits were, first, James Bond (actor Daniel Craig) turning up to escort her majesty Queen Elizabeth to a helicopter for the ceremony- yes the actual Queen.
Of course we know it was then actors jumping out of the helicopter and deploying their union jack parachutes, but it was fun...

And then when the orchestra under the control of Simon Rattle began to play the opening chords of Chariots of Fire, that was when the audience saw Mr Bean (actor Rowan Atkinson) was involved and the audience waited to see what chaos he might create.

The fantastic beach running scene from the film had Mr Bean included as his daydream while he is bored playing the same note on the keyboard...

There were the serious moments too- silence for those lost in wars, and the victims of the explosions on the day after it was announced London had won the games seven years previously.

The UK can do spectacle, pageantry and humour.

There was so much included covering so many aspects of life in the UK past and present; the NHS, and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Congratulations to everyone, be they volunteers, or paid staff, it was a fantastic evening.

And good luck to all the athletes taking part.


Helen Baggott said...

An inspiring ceremony.

Carolb said...

I don't think it will be forgotten in a hurry.
The Queen and James Bond will probably be remembered for years to come...