London 2012 Inside Track: Let the fun and Games begin!

From our right-royal new Bond girl to canapé-munching ministers and cyclists caught short, Matt Chorley takes a light-hearted run at Olympic life

Bark worse than bike

The joy, the pain, the endeavour, the huge crowds, the high hopes and shattered dreams. The men's road race, which saw Mark Cavendish denied the gold, had it all. And the most watched video on the BBC website yesterday? A dog which ran amok between the riders. Heel!

Square eyes of the world

Viewing figures for the Opening Ceremony peaked at 27 million in the UK, putting it just behind Den and Angie's divorce papers (30m) but well ahead of the end of series one of To the Manor Born (23.95m). Comedian Katy Brand declared: "So if the UK viewing audience was 27 million, and it cost £27m, then it's the best bloody pound I have ever spent."

Not amused

New Bond girl, the Queen, was "delighted" to have been part of the show, Buckingham Palace stressed yesterday. But at one point the cameras cut to her as she was taking very detailed interest in her nails. Huw Edwards, still bruised by the charge of lacking deference during the Jubilee jamboree, helped out: "The Queen, looking on proudly… I'm sure."

Ministerial munchies

It's worth keeping an eye on the waistline of schmoozing government ministers, who are going for gold in the canapé-munching relay. One buffet monster said: "I could tell you which embassy has got the best sandwiches. Just don't ask what is actually happening in the sport."

Nightmayor

Every day a special Olympics Cabinet is updated on how well it is all going. Boris Johnson has been in attendance. Is he behaving himself? "Ish," says a source.

Hazel's nuts

The helicopter shots of the cyclist hurtling through Surrey were spectacular, and only lacked Alan Partridge's memorable piece of The Day Today commentary: "They look somehow like cattle in a mad way. But cattle on bikes." But who needs Alan Partridge when we've got Hazel Irvine, who has a devastating line in trivia: Paraguay's flag is different on both sides; Kyrgyzstan is one of just four countries with only one vowel; Barbados comes from the Portuguese for "bearded one". She was at it again yesterday, telling viewers: "A huge percentage of Great Britain's gold medals have come in sports in which you sit down." And a huge percentage of the BBC's best telly waffling comes from presenters who are sat down too.

A wee problem

Few viewers have been gushing about the BBC coverage. Except for the, well, gushing witnessed during the men's cycling road race. Imogen Middleton (as far as we can tell no relation to everyone's favourite Duchess) spoke for the nation: "So nice of the BBC to show us a line of cyclists having a wee... cheers."

Hunger games

Spectators at the equestrian venue in Greenwich complained of food stocks out. Debbie Pearce said: "My friend's vegetarian and there's nothing for her to eat." So hungry, in fact, that she could eat a horse.

Refund my fire

One of the seven youngsters chosen to light the Olympic cauldron, sailor Callum Airlie, is already a high flyer. Yesterday, his 17th birthday, he jetted off early to the 420 Youth World Championships in Austria. But the choice of up-and-coming athletes dismayed bookies, with William Hill refunding £50,000 because no-one could have guessed it. Graham Sharpe clarified: "It's like a horse coming along the final leg, then along comes another horse and the jockey jumps off and gets on the other one."

Underweather

Just trying to name all the songs in the show was tiring enough. But it seems the whole experience was too much for Rick Smith, one half of Underworld, the dance-music duo who devised the soundtrack. He cancelled pre-arranged interviews after being taken "unwell due to exhaustion". Exhaustion has its rewards, last night the official album, Isles of Wonder, went to number one in the iTunes chart. Showing a clean pair of heels to Now That's What I Call Music! 82.

Bums on seats

TV viewers expressed dismay at the part-filled venues. Alastair Campbell tweeted that "the big gaps at beach volleyball, swimming, equestrian have to be explained". Locog has launched an empty-seats investigation. No word yet on who will chair it.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil