Image of Britishness for a billion Olympics viewers worldwide

Danny Boyle’s  set for Olympics Opening Ceremony unveils a pastoral theme of Britishness. (I don’t dare reproduce the model of the transformed stadium for fear of the wrath of the IOC, but you can find it via the link). We’ll have to wait to see what the award winning director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire does with  his 157 rehearsals for the cast of hundreds including farm animals and a budget of £27 million.  The Mail’s snap verdict is it looks more Teletubbies than traditional, but I suppose it could be worse. 

 The Olympic Stadium will be transformed into the “British countryside” for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games on 27 July.

A cast of 10,000 volunteers will help recreate country scenes, against a backdrop featuring farmyard animals and landmarks like Glastonbury Tor.

The opening scene of the £27m ceremony will be called “Green and Pleasant”, artistic director Danny Boyle revealed.

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 reserved a role for NHS nurses in proceedings

Real farmyard animals will be grazing in the “countryside”, with a menagerie of 30 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 set will feature real grass, an oak tree and “clouds” suspended from wires above the stadium – one of which will produce rain, provided the British weather does not provide its own on the night.

Meanwhile, the home nations will be represented by Maypoles topped with a thistle, a leek, a rose and flax.



Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London