15:40 30 July 2012
Oscar winning 'Slumdog Millionaire' filmmaker Danny Boyle has triumphed with his London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, smashing records in the process.
More than a billion people tuned in to see the spectacle which saw industrial era chimneys tower from the ground after thousands of dancers and volunteers removed the fake grass from a quaint first segment of the show.
The industrial section, which represented Britain's leading advances in mass production as well as their damage to the landscape and changing attitudes, saw massive towers rise from the ground and the Olympics rings forged from a melting pot.
Sir Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel was made up in a stovepipe hat as he channelled Shakespeare's Caliban with: "Be not afeared: the isle is full of noise."
And noise there was. Up next staff and patients from the NHS, namely the Great Ormand Street Hospital, performed an act that tied in with our rich history of inspiring (yet scary) children's literature.
A more modern section projected famous images from film and television (including 'Kes' and 'Coronation Street') onto a typically British, multi-cultural home at the centre of the stadium. As this went on, music from key eras of British pop were blasted out. British 'invasion' rockers provided the bulk of the soundtrack with the likes of David Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and The Jam getting the crowds rocking. Contemporary acts such as Dizzee Rascal and The Arctic Monkeys performed while former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney closed the ceremony with 'Hey Jude'. Artists such as McCartney, Mike Oldfield, Underworld and Frank Turner all agreed to play for free but were nevertheless paid a token fee of £1.
Other segments included a film of actor Daniel Craig in character as James Bond parachute towards the stadium after The Queen herself all before David Beckham arrived via a speedboat on the Thames to pass the final Olympic torch to Sir Steve Redgrave.
Lasting over three hours in total, the ceremony was one of the longest and came in at less than half of Beijing's £65m budget in 2008.
Viewing figures of the UK's BBC coverage peaked at 26.9 million, with an average of 22.4 million viewers, making it the UK's 13th most watched programme ever. It was the most watched Olympic opening ceremony ever on US television, even topping their own Atlanta games in 1996.
In all, the 2012 opening ceremony was an incredible achievement that brought together 7,500 volunteers each of whom put in on average 150 hours practice. The show was rehearsed over 200 times and adopted well over 10,000 props and an immense audio system of a million watt power.
The Guinness World Records confirmed that the ceremony smashed these records:
London 2012 also holds Guinness World Records for:
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