2014: At 2012 London Time, two minutes ago, the Red Arrows just flew over our London-based office on their way to the Olympic Stadium a few miles out east. Being in this city right now feels pretty special, I must admit.
2040: It's only gone and stopped raining. I don't know who's powerful enough to make that happen, but that is some trick. Dark is closing in at the Olympic Stadium in London, the odd flashlight is going off inside, and we are seriously close to the start of the Opening Ceremony now.
THE 2012 OLYMPICS IN NUMBERS
According to LOCOG, (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), these are the key stats for London 2012:
- 26 sports
- 39 disciplines
- 34 venues
- 8.8 million tickets
- 10,490 athletes
- 204 National Olympic Committees
- 302 medal events
- 21,000 media/broadcasters
- 17 competition days
- 2,961 technical officials
- 5,770 team officials
- 5,000 anti-doping samples
2049: Frank Turner just got the crowd going with a cheeky pre-Opening Ceremony set inside the Olympic Stadium, while that game of old school football Ben mentions was going on around him. Are your eyes ready for a feast the like of which they have never seen before?
2057: Truly it is amazing, my friend. We are on the cusp now - the Olympic Stadium looks absolutely sensational and it sounds it too as an orchestra plays a little bit of Elgar in the middle of the set of the English countryside. Oh, and what's this...
2059: Tammy, it is supposed to go on until about 12.30 in the morning, London Time. So about three-and-a-half hours. Are you ready? Because we're about to get rocking and rolling...
2100: Without further ado, let 'Isles of Wonder' begin...
2104: "Welcome to the Games of the 30th Olympiad" says an announcer at the Olympic Park. And who is the first man out on stage? Why Britain's first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, of course. He's wearing a yellow jersey, but it's not THE yellow jersey. Here comes 'Jerusalem' next...
2107: From 'Jerusalem' to 'Danny Boy' to 'Flower of Scotland' to 'Bread of Heaven' and back to 'Jerusalem' - that is how to cover England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the space of one choral mastermix. Genius.
2113: Right, what's happening here is the industrial revolution, which began in the UK in the middle of the 18th century and spread throughout the rest of the world. In many ways, this is why you're reading this blog right now. So we should all be very thankful.
2117: WOW. Giant smoking chimney stacks burst from the ground before thrusting into the sky. It's all gone very mechanical, you can't see the countryside anymore. There go the Suffragettes - the movement that obtained votes for women in the UK. This will be the most British thing you ever see in your entire life. Am I allowed to well up?
2122: Honestly, if you can't see this right now, make you do as soon as you can. It's hauntingly magnificent. Passengers from the Empire Windrush, which arrived in 1948 carrying 493 Jamaicans aiming to start new lives in the UK, appear, before a gaggle of Chelsea pensioners and then the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel takes center stage.
2126: The scene ends with steel workers appearing to create a giant ring from molten steel which rises up from the ground to form part of a fiery Olympic rings. The actors promptly applaud the audience inside the Olympic Stadium. Magical. Hang on, here comes James Bond...
2128: You don't need pics, Ben - let me tell you the story... OK, this is the best bit by miles - Daniel Craig, as James Bond, is in Buckingham Palace meeting the Queen. The actual Queen of England, Elizabeth II! It's really her! Bond has to cough to get the Queen's attention, before they jump (they didn't jump) into a helicopter and fly across London. Guess where they're going...
2131: Scratch that - this is the new best bit. Um, it is strongly inferred that James Bond and the Queen of England jump out of a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium below. And now here is the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year, along with the Duke of Edinburgh. Massive applause - let's be fair, we all love the Queen, don't we?