July 28, 2012
Was Olympic opening their cup of tea?Brits split on Opening Ceremony spectacle
By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency
LONDON - The 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was a cavalcade of Britishness, with a 21st century twist.
It had David Beckham on a boat, a Beatle under a big bell, Queen Elizabeth II gaining an acting credit and it ended with a flaming flower-like Olympic cauldron in the middle of a field. The product of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle and his 27-million-pound budget.
So how did the Brits feel about it?
The most-animated reviews came from politicians.
Conservative MP Aidan Burley went to Twitter to call it “leftie multicultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones.” Evidently the salute to the National Health Service and the dancing nurses wasn’t his cuppa tea.
“The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?” Burley continued.
Lord John Prescott of Labour shot back: “That opening ceremony made me proud to be British. Your tweet made me angry that you are too.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson had none of it.
“It wasn’t global Brito-pap,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t just Big Ben and Beefeaters and red buses and stuff. It was actually the truth about this country in the last two or three hundred years told in a big, dynamic way.”
Johnson, a Conservative, said he had “hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning.”
The Telegraph’s Jim White called it loud and defiant.
“Above all it was gloriously, tumultuously, spine-tinglingly British 90 minutes of dazzling theatre, dance, film and music, a mash-up of our cultural history delivered at breakneck speed,” White wrote. “Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony last night was everything we could have hoped for and more. It spun the head, brought a tear to the eye and made everyone lucky enough to witness it smile hard and long. Which is not something we have generally been able to say of an Olympic Opening Ceremony.”
The Guardian dubbed it “the biggest, maddest weirdest, most heartfelt and lovable dream sequence in British cinema history.”
Jan Moir of the Daily Mail called it, in true British fashion, “the barmiest Opening Ceremony in Olympic history, an explosion of nonsense and tremendous good fun. Though, she conceded it was “a bit tinky winky and laa-la at times.”
Sky News revealed Queen Elizabeth’s stunt double in the James Bond segment was, coincidentally, named Connery, Gary Connery.
He is also an expert jumper. In May, Connery wore a wing suit to land on 18,600 cardboard boxes from 2,400 feet.