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Hannah Parry
Hannah Parry
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 27th January 2012

The Isles of Wonder, London 2012

2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver2004 Summer Olympics in Athens

The long-awaited theme to the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games 2012 has finally been announced as ‘the Isles of Wonder’, incorporating the story of a land which recovers from being poisoned by industrial legacy.

The theme was announced by the artistic director of the ceremony, Danny Boyle, who says, “we'll be celebrating the whole of the country... there are so many 'Isles of Wonder”.

Furthermore, they have commissioned the largest bell in Europe to hang at one end of the stadium to signify the opening of the Games. Upon it will be inscribed a quote from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises”.

Boyle said he wants people to hear the bell ring '”for hundreds of years” and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt justifies the overall £81m ceremony expenditure as “an extraordinary business opportunity”.

London Olympic Games 1908London Olympic Games 1948

In addition to having advanced considerably from previous Olympic Games in London in 1908 and 1948, less money has been spent on this year’s ceremonies than on previous ceremonies organised by other countries who have hosted the Games.

Boyle, however, evidently still feels the pressure to create a spectacular show as he says, “You stand on the shoulders of giants which are your predecessors. Not just Beijing, which was extraordinarily eye-wateringly spectacular... but you've also got Athens, which was incredibly beautiful, so beautiful. And also Sydney before that which was a wonderful people's Games. So you. hope to inherit some of their best features, but also to put together their own unique spin on it."

The show is due to kick off at 12 minutes past 8 BST on the 27th July and will last for 50 minutes, displaying performances from around 20, 000 performers including 900 young people from the 6 Olympic host boroughs. One billion television viewers are expected to watch the spectacle.

As well as approximately 1,650 children from 18 primary schools, Boyle has stated that nurses will also feature in the ceremony due to the fact that the NHS is "unique about us... along with our sense of humour".

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