London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony details revealed

The opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be called ‘Green and Pleasant Land’ and will see the Olympic Stadium transformed into a replica of the rolling British countryside.

Model for the opening ceremony
Model for the opening ceremony

Art directed by Danny Boyle, the set design will feature meadows, fields and rivers, as well as families taking picnics, sport being played on the village green and farmers tilling the soil while real animals graze – including 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheepdogs.

The set will also feature the national flowers of all four home nations – the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and the flax of Northern Ireland.

Model for the opening ceremony
Model for the opening ceremony

Boyle says, ‘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.’

Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, says, ‘With only 45 days to go, one of the biggest sets ever built for a show is beginning to develop in the Olympic Stadium.

Detail from opening ceremony model
Detail from opening ceremony model

‘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.’

The opening ceremony will be held on 27 July.

Detail from opening ceremony model
Detail from opening ceremony model
Hide Comments (28)Show Comments (28)
  • Jonny Muirhead November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Wow! This set looks great. It really reminds me of my old Hornby 00 train set. It’s just missing a life size Hogwarts Express or perhaps Wallace and Gromit careering at speed in their Austin A7 van through the faux country lanes for a truly authentic re-presenting of our great nations. Speaking of which it appear that Scotland is represented twice and Northern Ireland not at all, or is that a typo?

  • Rob November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I cannot wait for the first fireworks to go off and cause a stampede!

  • Rob November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Has he never heard of the expression “Never work with animals of children”? It’s going to be mayhem.

  • andrew bloke November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Wake up and smell the coffee. Pastoral scenes of village life, farmers tilling soil? Please! It’s the 21st century.The world’s a slightly edgier place than that. Have people been paid to put together this bit of blue sky thinking that a primary school teacher could have dreamed up with a class of seven year olds? Shocking

  • aileen crossley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I love it. It would be amazing to see huge giant puppets roaming about….

  • Tallpaul November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Will the chickens be sporting their own McDonalds branding whilst the morris dancers sup pints of Coke?

    I can’t wait!

  • Richard Gregory November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Where’s Michael Bentine when you need him?

  • Jeff Wode November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is AMAZING – what a great idea using the earth they dug up for the stadium, to build some allotments inside. Let’s build a great olympic village and show how great the landscape is… what do you mean there’s none left?

  • David November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Danny Boyle has not ventured into the countryside recently. From what I have seen it is covered in those big wind turbines.

  • Anna Cotton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Looks lovely and twee but a bit 19th century. I don’t think it is particularly representative of Britain today. Of course the countryside and our rural heritage is important, but where are the cities, urban culture, technology, etc, the things which make Britain current and relevant in the world?

  • Dan Desaleux November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think to create an idea that visualises ’21st Century’ would not portray our great nation.
    Beijing, Athens, Sydney, all these past host nations visulised and payed homage to there past and origins within there opening ceremony so why not us? I feel we have a far richer heritage and history then any of these other nations. you can step outside to see this 21st century whenever you feel

  • Sarah Davey November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hobbitshire! Pleasant, nice and totally at odds with the values of diversity and urban grit expressed in the Olympic logo

  • Mary Jones November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Where is Gandalf…ohhhh wait I have spotted him…

  • James Nelson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    how are they gonna fit all the people in there though? its tiny!

  • Steve Carter November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    No doubt the abandoned burnt out car, the supermarket trolley in the river, the discarder mattress in the hedgerow and the travelers’ camp on the village green won’t be overlooked

  • Kat November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The Olympics are the London Olympics, not the British Olympics, so I don’t really understand why the idea focuses on rural life, unless it’s all meant to be an ode to Hackney City Farm?! I like the way it looks, but it doesn’t feel very on-message.

  • Stephanie Brown November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think this is actually a good idea. We could never top Beijing’s opening ceremony in terms of 21st century wow factor, so Danny Boyle’s being clever to do something completely different. The reality is that people outside of the UK like the romantic ‘twee’ quintessential Britain. And with 1BN people watching it, they’ll love this!

  • Mike Bell November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Just a pity the ‘model’ looks like it was glued and stick-back-plasticked by John Noakes…

  • Fiona November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I will reserve judgement as DB has proved he is a talented director. And obviously he was chosen for a reason….. However, I would have thought it would be a little more representative of 21st Century and show a little more of the diversity, lifestyle and technology that London – the host city – embodies. Just saying :s

  • Match C November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Excellent work – the combination of the rather twee, idealised, countryside pastiche and the inevitable grumbling about how bad an idea it is will, together, illuminate our national character rather well.

  • peter higgins November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    That’s great, what a laugh
    Now show us the real idea !

  • Nick Bowman November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    As someone who’s actually involved in the opening ceremony, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the uninformed, unconsidered and ignorant comments here. The quality of the commentary here doesn’t reflect well on the industry does it?

  • sylvia slinger November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Have I missed the church ?

  • Bridget Graham November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This bizarre – and a completely missed opportunity. The ceremonies don’t have to escapsulate any national characteristics; they have to be spectacles and have style.
    Are the animals going to be trained, tranquilised or fitted with ear protectors; they just don’t belong there.

  • mark November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    the model looks quite impressive and I look forward to seeing this in action. However I will be holding my breathe (not literally) the whole thing as I fear might be some elements I wont like to see appear before me. I look forward to it though

  • Sigh November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    So we live in the shire apparently… I do hope they have that pesky problem with the one ring all tied up.

  • TENDULKAR SINGH November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    really this is ammazing i great london

  • devendra madan November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    it was fantastic show, unbelievable. I can say its just like a dream salute to danny boyle, set desigher, light designer and also all the 15000 artiest, excutive production team.. It was amazing show

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