1. ITV Report

Cows and sheep among London 2012 Opening Ceremony stars

The London Olympic Stadium will be turned into a meadow complete with real animals, grass and clouds that will rain down for the opening ceremony.

With only 45 days to go Boyle unveiled the 'Green and Pleasant' vision that will open the ceremony to an estimated worldwide TV audience of over a billion people.

ITV Correspondent Damon Green reports:

The ceremony is titled 'Isles of Wonder' inspired by Shakespeare's play The Tempest.

It will be opened with the ringing of the largest harmonically-tuned bell in the world, produced by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The bell will be inscribed with the 'Isles of Wonder' speech performed by Caliban in Shakespeare's play.

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again

– 'Isle of Wonder' Act 3, Scene 2, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

The whole of the field of play in the Stadium will be transformed into the rolling British countryside.

Each of the four nations will be represented by their national flower: the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and the flax from Northern Ireland.

Each of the four nations will be represented with their national flower. Credit: LOCOG

Real farmyard animals will graze on the set: 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 8 geese, 70 sheep and 3 sheep dogs. Danny Boyle explains:

The Ceremony is an attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come from and where we want to be. The best part of telling that story has been working with our 10,000 volunteers. I’ve been astounded by the selfless dedication of the volunteers, they are the purest embodiment of the Olympic spirit and represent the best of who we are as a nation.’

More than 10,000 volunteers wearing 23,000 costumes will take part. Credit: LOCOG.

The London 2012 Ceremonies Team will be building one of the biggest sets ever built for the three hour show. The show will feature:

  • 12,956 props, over 100 times more than a West End musical
  • 23,000 costumes
  • 1,110 automated lamps
  • 1,000 conventional lamps
  • 500 LED fixtures
  • 32 follow spot lights
  • The sound system will weigh more than 50 tonnes, and will have 500 speakers
  • 10,000 adult performers, including NHS staff who will feature in a special sequence
  • 900 children aged 7-9 years and 11-13 years from schools in the six host boroughs

Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair said he was sure the celebration will be a fantastic welcome to the 10,500 athletes travelling from all over the world:

With only 45 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony one of the biggest sets ever built for a show is beginning to develop in the Olympic Stadium. With a worldwide TV audience of a billion people and a cast of over 10,000 talented volunteers, I’m sure that Danny’s ceremony will be a fantastic celebration that will welcome the 10,500 athletes from around the world and make our nation proud.

– Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair