London 2012: Closing ceremony director Stephen Daldry vows best party ever

When is the closing ceremony? It starts at 9pm London time on Sunday and is due to finish before midnight.

Stephen Daldry, head of the Olympics ceremonies, has promised that the closing event will be an unforgettable party and that everyone should "get the beers in".  

Daldry, creative director for all the ceremonies, predicted audiences, including the athletes, would be as wowed by the Games finale as they were by Danny Boyle’s opening spectacular.

“It’s a celebration, of the athletes and the volunteers and of London and everything London can do. It’s going to be a real party -  like the best wedding party you’ve ever been at,” he said.

“Everyone is calling it the biggest closing ceremony they have ever seen. I’m really hoping that people will gather at the live sites and in their homes and pubs and have the time of their life. Get the beers in and celebrate. Goodness, there’s a lot to celebrate.”

The acts performing are supposed to be a closely guarded secret, but some artists such as George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran have confirmed their participation – with no ticking off from organisers, perhaps conscious that all are appearing for just £1.

Other rumoured performances include The Kinks’ Ray Davies singing ‘Waterloo Sunset’, Paul McCartney, Adele, Pet Shop Boys, Beady Eye, Take That, Queen, Paul Weller, One Direction and Elton John, while the Spice Girls have been photographed rehearsing on top of black cabs.

But Billy Elliot director Daldry said just as no one guessed the crucial twist in Boyle’s James Bond sequence, there were still surprises to come.

“If you think you know what the act is going to be, you still don’t know what they’re going to do or how they’re going to do it,” he said.

“It’s a proper show. It’s got all the bizarre, surreal, funny, camp and moving elements you could want from a really good piece of Sunday night entertainment.”

Daldry said the mock stadium in Dagenham looked like “an old movie backlot from the Twenties” as the stars and nearly 4,000 volunteers rehearsed last night.

“There are dancing girls and sets from different eras and brass bands and Coldstream Guards and more dancing girls and half-naked Brazilian girls and half-naked Brazilian boys – and all this amazing headline talent,” he said.

Creative director Kim Gavin, who usually produces shows for the likes of Take That, and his music director David Arnold have created a giant soundtrack with some performers singing their own songs and others performing music by others.

“They haven’t started by booking acts, they have started from a songbook. It’s personal to them, but they have the best of tastes.”

But Daldry said Sunday will be “totally hairy” as there are only about 16 hours between the final athletics and the ceremony starting.

Technical run-throughs have been held in the early hours but most participants will not have rehearsed in the stadium. “It will be live and one-off.”

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