London

The making of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony

Industrial revolution props inside stadium Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption The opening ceremony featured the transformation of Britain via the industrial age

Four years ago, Danny Boyle unveiled his opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Isles of Wonder was based on the transformation of Britain, from a "green and pleasant land" to the internet era, via the industrial age.

A cast of 10,000 volunteers were involved in the memorable £27m show, which featured farmyard animals, several Voldemorts and even James Bond.

Its creation was captured by Ben Delfont, a stage manager for the event.


The opening ceremony in numbers

  • 1,100 automated lamps
  • One million watt sound system with 500 speakers
  • 50 tonnes of sound gear
  • 15,000 sq m of staging
  • 12,956 props
  • 24,570 costume buttons for one of opening sequences

Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Rehearsals began at the 3 Mills Studios near Bow in east London
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Thousands of volunteers were put through their paces as they went through their routines
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption A huge site in Dagenham became the production base as larger props were brought in
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Director Danny Boyle was on site as members of the NHS went through their dance routine
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption A total of 12,956 different props were used in the performance
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Cast members found time to make use of the cricket pitch featured in the opening scene
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Part of the rehearsal time was spent working out how the production would be filmed
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption The weather was not always kind to the performers
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Dress rehearsals were held during the week leading up to ceremony
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Voldemort appeared alongside Captain Hook and Cruella di Vil in the NHS scene
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption David Bowie may not have appeared during the show but there were plenty of lookalikes
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Pyrotechnics and fireworks played a large part in the performance
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption Even the moment "the Queen" jumped out of a helicopter had to be practised
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption The "flaming" Olympic rings were put through their final tests
Image copyright Ben Delfont
Image caption An audience of nearly a billion people were estimated to have watched the show

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