Organisers of the Olympics have revealed some of the highlights that are coming in the Opening Ceremony.
The largest bell in Europe will ring inside the stadium to open the extravaganza, which has been named “Isles in Wonder” after a speech from William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”.
The 27-tonne bell is inscribed with a quote from one of the play’s characters Caliban: “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises”.
Each of the four nations in the United Kingdom will be represented by their national flower: the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and flax from Northern Ireland.
“On entry to the Olympic Stadium in East London the audience will see a scene that represents a traditional and idyllic view of the British countryside,” Games organisers LOCOG said in a statement.
“The set will be complete with meadows, fields and rivers, and featuring families taking picnics, sport being played on the village green and farmers tilling the soil whilst real farmyard animals graze.”
Real farmyard animals will be grazing in the country scene, with a menagerie including 30 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats and 10 chickens, plus three sheepdogs.
The opening scene promises real grass, real plows, real soil and, according to director Danny Boyle, clouds that would supply “rain” if there is none on the night.
Fresh from headlining last week’s spectacular concert at Buckingham Palace marking Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney is to close the ceremony, which will be attended by the queen.
Boyle said the opening show would not be a musical but a narrative set to music.
British electronica band Underworld has recorded two lengthy tracks at Abbey Road to score the action.
The Closing Ceremony promises to be a more traditional celebration of British music.
The London Olympics will air on Nine and Foxtel from July 27th.