Olympic opening ceremony mastermind Danny Boyle has revealed he did not actually ask the Queen to appear in his James Bond skit - she volunteered.
TV viewers around the world were surprised to see the Queen appearing alongside Daniel Craig in the spoof sequence during the opening celebrations last summer, prior to her arrival in the Olympic Stadium.
And in an interview with ITV's Jonathan Ross Show to be screened tonight, Boyle pointed out he had originally envisaged a lookalike taking part in the film.
The creative director of the London 2012 opening ceremony said: "It was part of the protocol - you have to bring in the Head of State and sing the National Anthem - and we thought we'd (do) something different so we wrote up this idea of the James Bond idea.
"And we sent it in to them, and we were asking really for permission for them to accept that it wouldn't embarrass them and we'd get a double, a good double, and we were thinking Helen Mirren. Who could we ask who's a really good actor?
"They came back and said 'we're delighted for you to do it, and Her Majesty would like to be in it herself' - and the surreal thing, 'she would like to play herself'."
Boyle, who is promoting his new film Trance, went on: "She said 'what do you want me to do?', and I told her and she said 'fine'.
"So we got in and we started doing it and then she said 'don't you think I should say something?' and I said 'yes, OK, what do you suggest?'.
"She said 'I'll do something' and we started shooting and she turned round and she said her lines beautifully."
The interview will be shown in full on ITV tonight at 9.20pm.