‘Isles of Wonder’ at the Olympics

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle has unveiled his vision for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics today.

The theme will be ‘Isles of Wonder’ and will reflect ‘the dark side of the industrial legacy of a land and the land’s recovery’. (bbc.co.uk/news)

Oh good, because some people might have thought that a ceremony envisioned by the Trainspotting director might be a tad depressing.

Indeed comedian Jack Whitehall recently joked that Boyle’s idea of an opening ceremony would feature a ‘some drug taking, a bit of dancing and then a bloke cutting his own arm off’.

But Boyle said: “We’ll be celebrating the whole of the country… there are so many ‘Isles of Wonder.”

Boyle is said to be bringing in performers from all over the country, school-children and nurses, because the NHS is “unique about us… along with our sense of humour”.

The largest ‘ringing-in’ bell in Europe has also reportedly been commissioned to sound the opening of the games. The bell will be engraved with a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises”. Cheery.

Generally we British are not wonderful at making a spectacle of ourselves – we’re too restrained, too self-conscious and too busy queuing for tickets…

But Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slum Dog Millionaire proved he can create a lush visual feast, as well as the apocalyptic drug-induced bleakness present in Trainspotting, and a high standard of entertainment is expected.

Boyle is working alongside creative director Stephen Daldry and has been given a third of the £81m budget reserved for the four ceremonies. This is far less than Chinese film director Zhang Yimou who had £65m for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Games.

Referring to Yimou and those who preceded him, Boyle said: “You stand on the shoulders of giants who are your predecessors.

“Not just Beijing, which was extraordinarily eye-wateringly spectacular, and expensive… but you’ve also got Athens, which was incredibly beautiful, so beautiful. And also Sydney before that which was a wonderful ‘people’s games’, as it became known as.

“So you stand on their shoulders and you hope to inherit some of their best features, but also to put your own unique spin on it.”

The four opening ceremonies of the Olympics are expected to be watched by four billion people and generate an estimated £5bn in airtime exposure.