What's on: Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony, BBC One, 9pm

hard act to follow The opening ceremony at Beijing in 2008

hard act to follow The opening ceremony at Beijing in 2008

First published in Blackpool Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Features editor

Let's not be cynical...let’s get enthusiastic. This could be the greatest show on earth, given that Oscar-winning Lancastrian Danny Boyle is behind the whole thing.

The Olympic Stadium will be transformed into the ‘British countryside’. A cast of 10,000 volunteers will help recreate country scenes, against a backdrop featuring farmyard animals and landmarks like Glastonbury Tor.

And the opening scene of the £27million ceremony will be called ‘Green and Pleasant’, according to Boyle. He added the show would create ‘a picture of ourselves as a nation’.

“The best way to tell that story is through working with real people,” said Boyle, who has even reserved a role for NHS nurses in proceedings.

The set will feature meadows, fields and rivers, with families taking picnics, people playing sports on the village green and farmers tilling the soil.

Real farmyard animals will be grazing in the ‘countryside’, with a menagerie of 70 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese and three sheepdogs. One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the opening ceremony.

The world’s largest ‘harmonically-tuned’ bell, weighing 23 tonnes and measuring 2metres tall by 3metres wide, will ring inside the stadium to start the Shakespeare-inspired spectacle, featuring 900 children from the six Games host boroughs.

We also know that the panorama also includes two mosh-pits, representing the Glastonbury festival and the Last Night of the Proms, while the music — if recent reports are to be believed — is an eclectic selection ranging from the Beatles to the Monty Python theme tune.

The performance is followed by the athletes’ parade, in which more than 200 countries are represented. Then the Queen will carry out the official opening, before the arrival of the Olympic flame, when the identity of the final torchbearer — who has the honour of lighting the cauldron — will be revealed.

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