Live updates

'Local Hero' Mark Knopfler to perform by the Tyne

Ex-Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler Credit: Bupa Great North Run

Geordie rock legend Mark Knopfler will perform at the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony on Thursday 4 September. Organisers say a spectacular opening ceremony this year will herald the race which will see a millionth person complete the course.

This is believed to be a world first, and the milestone will be celebrated with an opening event which will feature live music, film and a dance performance, as well as star appearances, all held on the Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside.

Organisers say it will transform the River Tyne into an outdoor arena ahead of the Great North Run three days later.Mark Knopfler said: “I’m proud to have been a supporter of this great event from the beginning and am looking forward to being there to play ‘Local Hero’ "

Mark Knopfler is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the global rock legends Dire Straits, who have sold over 120 million albums to date, and he was ranked number 27 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.


The Straits' story

Two years ago, Dire Straits' keyboard player Alan Clark and sax player Chris White were in Rome when they decided to form The Straits. They had the opportunity to play at the Albert Hall and they formed a band around Terence Reis, who would become their new front man.

Guitarist Phil Palmer left the band to tour with George Michael and Adam Phillips replaced him. Steve Ferrone took drums; Steve met Alan when they played with Eric Clapton. Initially, they'd decided to use an ex-Dire lineup but they handpicked a new group. Micky Feat and Jamie Squire were recruited.

After a prolonged standing ovation at the ALbert Hall, the Straits decided to keep going.