1246 That’s your lot, internet lands. The 20th Olympic Summer Games are now go. After a truly amazing night, it’s down to business bright and early. Let’s go get ‘em.
1240 Wowzers. A bit of Floyd, some fireworks and then Paul McCartney appears from nowhere to play The End and a bit of Hey Jude.
1235 So… when I said case closed… Redgrave passed it on and then seven young British athletes took over. There was no more celebrity surprise but the symbolism is clear. And remember those copper kettles? Well they’re the cauldron essentially. ‘Breathtaking in it’s beauty and ambition’ says Hazel Irvine.
1223 Ali watches the Olympic flag hoisted to the top of the flagpole from his seat after his brief cameo on his feet. He looks incredibly frail. As I type, David Beckham – remember him? — is seen completing that boat journey up the Thames with the flame to be met with Steve Redgrave who looks like he’ll light it up. Case closed.
12.21 Muhammad Ali makes an appearance for a moment. The greatest.
12.18 We’re open for business, baby. She didn’t use the cúpla focail she learned on her trip to Ireland last summer, but Queen Elizabeth has just opened the Games.
1207 Where do I start? The Arctic Monkeys got the music back up and running with Look Good on the Dance Floor before they started into Come Together and a troupe of people on bikes with shimmering moths wings cycled around the arena. When it seemed Paul McCartney would be next out we instead went straight into the dry bit with Seb Coe while Rogge looks over his shoulder.
1156 Like Frank Gallagher in Shameless, the Brits know how to throw a party. As Team GB dance out at last, the volume is cranked up a little for David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. Flag-bearer Chris Hoy looks stunned and teary at the ticker-tape reception. The shot switches to their Queen…. and she’s playing with her nails. It is late for a nan, in fairness.
1152 Paddy Barnes is playing a blinder tonight. Here he is with Novak Djokovic. Paddy’s the one on the left.
1145 Remember that straight-arm salute for the Germans? Well, this is one of the pics whizzing about online at the moment. The best part is Boris Johnson laughing up his sleeve next to Camilla Parker Bowles in the background.
1135 Ireland’s hope in the pentathlon has tweeted a couple of nice, little images. Katie with the flag behind the scenes and then emerging into the arena.
1124 Paddy Barnes… always be closing, as Alec Baldwin might say. The Belfast boxer used his time on centrestage to hustle for sponsors. Take a bow, son.
1120 Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl asks “Would be curious to know the world’s most uniformly loved country. Ireland?” Are we? We’re up to Mozambique in the parade.
1118 We’re looking at a 12pm finish up here, chaps.
1113 How do you top Katie, Sonia and the rest of the Irish team trotting out? Well, Mr U Bolt in the spotlight isn’t bad. He looks at home.
And then this guy from Kazakhstan. Top marks for effort big man.
1105 Proper proud moment as Katie leads in our gang with a big smile to the biggest cheer of the proceedings so far. She’s a dinger. The director cuts to the most powerful Irishman in the stadium, Pat Hickey, and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny too.
1105 Anyone see that unfortunate arm-waving by the German gentleman as his country’s team paraded in? Twitter and Facebook is ablaze with reaction.
1100 Guatemala’s lime blue blazer and white polo shirt combo is the worst of the night for me, Trinny. This isn’t Los Angeles ’84 dudes.
1055 Here’s Fiji to the sound of the BeeGees. Or is that Feegee to the sound of the Bijis? It’s been a long day.
1047 RTÉ have decided to throw their hat at it and go to an ad break. The Cubans are rocking some pretty snazzy canary yellow blazers and some big smiles. I should not too that each team is planting their flag into the Tellytubbies-like set in the middle distance and each outfit has a little copper kettle, so there’s something in store there too, you’d suspect. God only knows what. Possibly something to do with Begbie from Trainspotting.
1039 We’re onto the ‘C’ countries. *mops brow*
Images are starting to drop in from our colleagues in Inpho. Here’s a shower of Mary Poppinses (Mary Poppii?) earlier tonight. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
1026 Danny Boyle is having a sneaky fag at this stage, I reckon. We’re only up as far as Australia. This will take a while. And Hazel is already asking Trevor Nelson about capital cities.
1020 As Barry Davies once said: look at his face, just look at his face:
Emile Sande just sang the FA Cup hymn, Abide With Me. Not bad either. Oh… and the athletes are coming in now to the sound of the Chemical Brothers.
1013 Becks is driving (is that the word) the flame up the Thames on a boat (obviously)! He looks like he’s having fun. In the meantime, there’s a rare moment of reflection as the crowd are asked to remember those not with them tonight.
10.08 There’s a dude sitting behind a desk now, claiming to be the inventor of the internet. But we all know that was Al Gore, right? Tim Berners Lee is taking the applause of the crowd and trots off happy.
10.05 I mentioned Bonkers and Dizzee earlier and here he is. Meanwhile, Hazel Irvine — a woman more used to asking John Parrott about cue action — is trying to explain what this beautiful madness means. I think someone’s given her a script.
9.56 Are you watching? What do you think? Me? I never thought I’d see Sally Webster AND Bill Cosby pop up! Boyle knows how to pick the hits though – The Who, Weller, The Rolling Stones, Bowie, The Beatles. When can I buy the soundtrack on iTunes, Mr Rogge?
On a side note, Trevor Nelson just basically told us that Paul McCartney will be out later with a Beatles reference. It’s either Macca or Ringo’s doing a Thomas the Tank Engine tribute. Which is very possible.
9.46 Right, the weirdly magical celebration of the NHS and children’s literature is wrapped up with the kids milking the applause as they roll off. And we go straight into something for the international audience who must have been a little confused so far. Yes, it’s Mr Bean on a Casio keyboard with the London Symphony Orchestra doing Chariots of Fire. At last.
9.40 Harry Potter author JK Rowling in the house. Makes sense, Danny Boyle is so Gryffindor.
9.34 “James Bond is supposed to be a secret agent, yet he’s accompanying the Queen in a helicopter to the Olympics opening ceremony,” writes Fredorrarci on Twitter. He’s not wrong there, James. As I type Mike Oldfield enters the fray along with staff from the NHS. This is the weirdest — but best — opening ceremony I’ve seen I reckon.
9.28 This is bonkers, as Dizzie Rascal would say. James Bond — aka Daniel Craig — just called in for the Queen of England. The pair then flew over the city in a helicopter and have just sky dived into the the arena. Well, kind of.
The head of state, as is customary, really does now arrive with Prince Philip a couple of steps behind and will declare the Games open.
9.20 And we’re back, after some technical difficulties — with me now, not Danny Boyle — and we’ve skipped form England’s rural history through the industrial revolution, two World Wars and into the 60s. Kenneth Branagh, playing Brunel, is standing above ’1,000 drummers’ and under a stove-pipe hat surveying the changed landscape. The crowd seem to like it so far. What do you reckon?
9.03 Boom. First man out is Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France champion. The Sky sider — who has a busy day tomorrow too — rings a giant bell on a platform which seems to send a balloon into the night sky and a single boy’s voice sings the first few bars of Jerusalem. As he and his friends then start into Danny Boy and Flower of Scotland a rustic, Village Green is played out in front of them. I feel like my feet should be up in front of a psychiatrist as I describe this.
901 *Deep breath* We’ve already had Eastenders, the Sex Pistols, Todd and Ratty, The Jam, Lily Allen. And we’re barely 60 seconds in. This is gonna be different.
8.56 Here we go then… and they’re playing Elgar already. I’m going to watch this with an open mind but forgive me if I slip into jealous neighbour-style sniping by the time we see Gary Lineker’s face again. And since you ask I’m going for Tim Westwood or Steve Redgrave for the final flame gig.
8.53 So… apart from what pizza topping to get this evening, the big question on everyone’s lips tonight is: who’ll light the Olympic cauldron at the climax of tonight’s proceedings? Who do you reckon?
8.50 Good evening sports fans, interpretative dance enthusiasts and those of you who can’t find the remote control. Welcome to the opening ceremony for London 2012.
Breaking news? It’s raining in London and the ponchos are out for the first time in the stands in Stratford. We’ll remain dry throughout a night that promises plenty of surprises, live animal action and Danny Boyle-inspired theatre. Let’s see how it unfolds.