Where sheep may safely graze: Boyle unveils his Opening Ceremony plan


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Real sheep, real cows, real horses, real grass, real ploughing and two battling mosh pits are to open the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

At Three Mills Studios in east London, Danny Boyle, the ceremony's director, unveiled a model showing the beginning of his £27m project. It is, he said, "the green and pleasant land. It is something that still exists, and something that cries out to all of us like a childhood memory."

At one end of the stadium is a replica of Glastonbury Tor in Somerset. Below it is a "Glastonbury-style mosh pit", to be filled by members of the public. At the other will be a second mosh pit, which will be "more like the Last Night of the Proms". At the Proms end will also be suspended the giant bell, "the biggest harmonically tuned bell in the world", recently completed by the Whitechapel bell foundry, and installed last week. "When they ring it, you can hear it all around the Olympic Park," Boyle said.

"The 1948 Games brought to London nations that had been at war. The bells weren't rung during the war. They rang to announce the peace. So we will begin our ceremony with a symbol of peace."

Four cotton-wool clouds sat above Boyle's model, one of which he said rather enigmatically, "will have rain coming out of it". Four huge maypoles sit on the in-field, which will be topped with a giant rose, daffodil, thistle and flax, to represent the four home nations.

Where the Olympic cauldron is to sit is, he said, "one of the pieces of the puzzle". Where the Queen fits in – rumours abound of her having filmed an opening James Bond sequence with Daniel Craig – is also "part of the puzzle". Underworld, the British electronic band, are mixing the music and Sir Paul McCartney has said he is closing the show.