Officials want details of the $42.3 million London Olympics opening ceremony to be a secret so that viewers can be surprised, but director Danny Boyle has already disclosed select details:
The ceremony’s mastermind, filmmaker Boyle, has stressed that the 3-hour show will take viewers on a sweeping journey through Britain’s history, one that captures the nation’s identity, values, heritage, as well as its present and future. In their own ways, each of the elements represents some aspect of Englishness — though some in quirkier ways than others.
Seventy sheep are set to star alongside 12 horses, 10 chickens and three sheep dogs. Shepherds and the pastoral life have long been romanticized by British writers such as Edmund Spenser, and at every patriotic event Britons belt out the glories of “England’s pleasant pastures” to William Blake’s anthem “Jerusalem.”
Each of Great Britain’s four nations — England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — will be represented by a maypole topped with their national flowers. A pagan folk symbol, the maypole is still commonly erected in British villages during May Day celebrations (as well as elsewhere in Europe) to celebrate the return of warmer weather.
Is there a sport more English than cricket? The sport’s many technical rules — and the lack of fast, exciting action — baffle almost everyone else. Fans love the ”gentleman’s sport“ for the strategy and patience it requires.
Boyle has disclosed there will be a dance number of nurses celebrating the National Health Service, the country’s universal health program. Why? To Britons, nurses are the strong, matronly face of the NHS, a nationally cherished post-war institution.
BOND, JAMES BOND
Fast cars, fast women, Martinis shaken not stirred: The super spy 007 needs little introduction. First introduced by writer Ian Fleming in 1953, the fictional British secret agent is the protagonist in the longest-running film franchise to date. The Bond character’s dress, cars and expensive tastes ooze British sophistication.
Wellies, flooded campgrounds, no showers for days — the Glastonbury music festival is a summer rite of passage for many Britons. Started by farmer Michael Eavis in 1970 the day after Jimi Hendrix died, it has taken place every year since then in Somerset. Rain, hippies, music and mud — sounds like a recipe for an open-air Boyle extravaganza.
—Via: Associated Press