Coverage left me wondering, but still loving Danny Boyle and his sense of humour

July 28, 2012

Huge Danny Boyle fan – loved Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Millions and Slumdog. Adored Frankenstein at the National. And by all accounts he’s a great guy, so I was hoping against hope that the Opening Ceremony would do him proud. And us.

Woo hoo! Its the Jubalympics!

We cracked open the champagne at the start of the TV build up and had text updates form my sister as she was there. Not only that, we knew our parents would feature in the actual ceremony itself as all ticket holders were asked if they’d like to send a photo of anyone they had recently lost if they would like them to be remembered in the ceremony. And sure enough the photo of them in Venice celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary was part of the photo montage during Abide with me. Have to admit I didn’t actually spot it, but my sister did!

So, how was it? I think it was fabulous in parts but was let down by the BBC coverage.  Let’s not even mention the twatty children’s TV presenter-type who was fronting various bits (apparently he isn’t a kids TV presenter but F1), but Gary Lineker was good – and of course I love love love Michael Jordan and John Macenroe so enjoyed their brief mots juste.

Funamentally, I feel it would have been so much better if Doyle himself had control of the cameras and sound as all of the prerecorded footage was absolutely fabulous. The surprise when it really was  HRH herself when she turned round from her desk to set off with 007. Priceless.  And the Rowan Atkinson/Chariots of Fire montage – brilliant. But we had no sense of the crowd – where was the noise of the interaction with the audience? And often the shots we were shown didnt give us the visual feast Danny Boyle had intended. What the hell were the BBC doing showing us a bizzare angle of the cauldron rather than letting us watch it evolve from all the individual horizontal petals rising up to form the bowl of flame?

I’m not sure we saw all the elements or neccessarily understood exactly what everything represented, but I imagine being there would have been awesome. The transformation of the idyllic countryside in to a belching foundry casting those five glowing rings looking exactly like molten steel was stunning.


But much as I love Kenneth Branagh having seen him perform at the National (mesmerising as Edmund – a New Yorker whose life disintigrates after one seemingly small disagreement. Took my parents only to discover he spends half the time stark bollock naked (and with Anna Friel as a hooker  in similarly minimal attire) which made for interesting interval chat!). Anyway, I digress. I was saying I do love him, but think his role wasn’t big enough or explicit enough to have real impact. The commentators told us he was Isambard Kingdom Brunel ( could have guessed that from the hat, although non UK-ers probably thought it was Lincoln!) so not sure why he gave a speech from the Tempest. I think Shakespeare could have featured a bit more, but maybe he did and we weren’t shown it . I flleetingly spotted WWI soldiers, but then Sergeant Pepper lookylikeys so wasn’t clear what was going on. i would probably have liked a bit more recognition of the military contribution to society.

Enjoyed the celebration of the NHS – the jiving doctors and dancing nurses and those huge beds with fluorescent sheets. The children’s literature  chose darker themes and the BBC didn’t appear to notice the Mary Poppins’ until they’d landed to save the day. The musical montage was great but not sure  I would have chosen Sir Paul to finish the whole event off.  Emile Sande had sung beautifully earlier on  and I would have liked to see a young artist up there with him – ideally of course my fave Adele.

Hardly classy but at least they’re happy

The team parades took forever as usual, but they are the reason we have the Games so it is difficult to moan, but the uniforms were shite. Ours may have been the worst. Nasty white shell suits with gold trimmings. Chavtastic. Other countries too though were disgusting, but Nigeria got my vote for best uniform – plain white with emerald green trimmings. they looked stunning.

The Nigerian team resplendent in white and green

The lighting of the cauldron lacked the dramatic emphasis it needed. We wanted a star to light it but were given the upcoming athlesetes nominated by 7 previous Olympians. The idea was good – handing the baton to the next generation, but it didn’t work. At the very least those Olympians should have been part of that actual ceremony.

So overall I’d give it 4 stars I think as a TV spectacle.  Probably 5 if I  had been there and felt the buzz of the crowd and been able to see everything the way it was meant to be seen, not filtered and fucked about with. And 2 stars for the BBC coverage.


2 Responses to “Coverage left me wondering, but still loving Danny Boyle and his sense of humour”

  1. Janet Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly Sarah..except for the musical montage which I thought was embarrassing sh1te (memories of the red bus thing at Beijing!). I actually wish DB had filmed the whole thing a week earlier and we had been shown his recording on big screens all over the country!

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