Olympic opening ceremony: The stars who stole the show

From cycling stars to best-selling authors, they were the reminder of Britain's extraordinary range of talents. Nick Clark surveys the special guests
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Bradley Wiggins

Fresh from winning the Tour de France, the man with the famous sideburns rang the 23-ton Olympic Bell – the largest in Europe and the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world – to signal the start of the Opening Ceremony.

Kenneth Branagh

Striding into a scene of pastoral beauty, of milkmaids and cricketers, rolling fields and verdant hills, Sir Kenneth arrived dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He stunned the crowd with the speech from The Tempest hailing this "Isle of Wonder".

'Good evening, Mr Bond'

Escorting the Queen to the Opening Ceremony was not a job for any old security detail. In a specially commissioned film, Daniel Craig's James Bond strode into Buckingham Palace to escort HM. Ably supported by the corgis, the (actual) Queen aced her line – "Good evening, Mr Bond" – before being whisked by helicopter to the Olympic Stadium.

JK Rowling

The Harry Potter author made a rare public appearance to read from Peter Pan. Children's baddies Captain Hook, Lord Voldemort and the childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, threatened to take over but were banished by Mary Poppins.

Mr Bean

As the strains of the anthem "Chariots of Fire" struck up, the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, it emerged that none other than Mr Bean was on the keyboard. Rowan Atkinson gurned and contorted his way through the tune.

Dizzee Rascal

The local grime star sent the crowd wild rapping his hit "Bonkers" live during the medley of British music.

David Beckham

David Beckham may not have made the GB football team squad, but he made a huge impact at the Opening Ceremony. Becks drove the torch on a neon speedboat through a flaming Tower Bridge. Take that Giggsy.

Seven golden moments that made the night