The London 2012 Olympics was watched, at its peak in the UK, by 27 million viewers and over a billion people around the world. So there should be plenty of views on the ceremony as we find out in a Word on the Web…
The BBC’s coverage gained plenty of views about the spectacular – designed by the man behind hit movie Slumdog Millionaire, the director Danny Boyle.
“The Arctic Monkeys were top of the bill and Dizzy Rascal was given airtime, sorry but that spoilt it for me, is that really the best they could manage (Chavtastic) Loved the Queen with 007 and Mr bean, and the rest was good, so well done to all those who took part. The press and tv media are making it all sound the best, but shame lots of people left so early..” said one Facebook user.
Another said “She [the Queen] went to bed after Dizzy (I can’t sing so I have to rap) Rascal” while also on Facebook, “Where is Vera Lynn when you need her, I know she is 95 but that would have made my night.” A poster added.
Back on Facebook a commenter added “Couldn’t help laughing about Queenie having to sit and listen to the Sex Pistols. Nice one Danny.”
“I loved it all, but I went a bit ner ner when it went more contemporary” said radio presenter Jonathan Miles.
“Poor old Queen, she looked bored towards the end, bless her.” Said a Facebook user. While Sky News’ Facebook page gained many comments, including:
“Anyone can let off millions of fireworks and bang drums but to be able to charter the history and evolution of a whole nation and its culture through theatre and artistic expression on this scale is not only very special but blessed to have such a great knowledge of the British as a people and understanding of our sense of humour, It was very British, I am so proud x”
Another added, “The most stupid thing I have seen. I’d rather watch cold play rock the world the stupid stunt of a Queen parachuting herself into the sky. Awful it was. Is it the best of the British???”
And “I’ve never seen her Maj looking as pissed off as she did last and she made no attempt to hide it.”
While another added “We should be proud to be British anyway without this rubbish. [The Olympics are a] waste of a money, it’s the governments fault were in debt.” Another echoed the sentiments of the amount of money spent, “I almost forgot about the 50,000 people that die of poverty daily.”
And “So we are in debt but funny how we can afford 27 million [for the games]. I think David and the Queen are on happy fags… Here is an idea what bout spending 27million helping old people who went to war for us..”
While a user on Facebook noted, “The Queen Elizabeth hospital has a shortage of pillows, yes they’re using bloody blankets as pillows!! Prioritise Cameron rather than just showing off to your rich mates!!”
Back on the Facebook Sky News page a poster sums up the financial views, “Is that just the cost for the open ceremony?! What’s been the total cost from building the complex, mini town etc and not to mention cost off the torch coming through towns?… Yes I know we are making history and yes it was fantastic to watch but in today’s financial society should really be spending this amount of money we don’t have?”
A more lighter view, “I thought it was fantastic and it shows what a great country we are, proud to be British!” and on the TV Times Facebook page a poster added,“Got to say it was out of This world. Very British humour.”
Others on the TV Times page noted, “Loved it! The lighting of the cauldron was fantastic!! Such a shame that it ended with old Paul McCartney warbling though.” And “It’s embarrassing cos this country’s no good at nowt.”
Another added, “It was something to be proud of, you can only do your best, I won’t see it again in my lifetime, so proud to have the games in the UK..” and another “A.M.A.Z.I.N.G we have done our country proud and left Atlanta and Beijing waaay in the background!”
Troubled Media mogul Rupert Murdoch commented on Twitter, “London Olympic opening surprisingly great, even if a little too politically correct. Danny Boyle a creative genius.”
And our own ATV Today soap expert Chris Stacey, who was one of the volunteer performers, said, “I have to say last night was the best night of my 52 almost 53 years as the best night of my life being part of history in the making and making new friends. 3 months of weekly rehearsals in the rain wind and baking hot sun. Thank you Danny Boyle for a truly great life changing experience.”
However in America NBC’s coverage of the ‘greatest show on Earth’ hasn’t been so successful.
“A scattershot collection of lights, songs and music, London’s ceremony lacked the awe-inspiring, heavily rehearsed, synchronized mass madness of Beijing. On the plus side, if it seldom made you marvel, it also never forced you to consider the amount of state-organized repression required to get that many people to drum as one.” Said USA Today adding, “too much of what they had to say was delivered in that bland, all-is-grand-and-glorious style NBC so often imposes on the Olympics. And one does wish Olympic hosts would realize that they don’t have to share every single fact about the Games or their participants contained in the media guide.”
“You British are clearly very strange people. It’s a wonder you were able to run the world as long as you did.” A poster said on the USA Today website, with another adding “Devise a way to exclude an entire nation from the festivities by going over our heads. Your plan is coming together nicely, United Kingdom. Next thing you know you’ll be telling us there’s some sort of box with a machine inside that can encrypt messages to send signals back and forth.”
On the same site others added, “Oh, for Pete’s sake lighten up! I thought the ceremonies were great fun, much like the Brits themselves. Lots of great music, special effects. I like to see the athletes march into the stadium. Reminds me of how varied our world is but we can all get excited about athletes who will put on a great show. Can’t wait to see the competitions!”
And “I thought the opening ceremony was great (maybe cause I watched it without the inane commentary of NBC correspondents. The story of Britain was very well done, and the elements of British humor (i.e. the brilliant rendition of Chariots of Fire with Mr. Bean) and the salute to the NHS was touching. I think they did achieve the goal of outshining Beijing, and if you think this was weird then you need t check yourself into a museum and learn some appreciation for art, history, and get a dose of humour~ I think it was a brilliant ceremony.”
Also on the USA Today site further comments included, “Concur with the bizarre assessment. Also, very disappointed in Underworld’s ‘score’, “talking you through 40 years of British music”. Train wrecks galore, barely any transitions and very little temporal dimension. I think the videos conflicted with the music, waynes world in the seventies?” and “Seemed like good fun to me….I get the impression that if you didn’t follow it then you’re not the type of person who’d ever follow something unless it is clearly spelled out to you? It was meant to be fun, weird and a talking point…which it was. It celebrated the eccentricities of the Brits and the opening of the Olympics. People always think they can do better…yet I bet the critics aren’t exactly changing the world themselves!?”
“I thought it had its moments. I always loved the parade of nations and lighting of the torch. I liked the Chariots of Fire/Rowan Atkinson segment, that was funny to me. But the one with the girl losing her cell phone and other material related with that, very weird. And NBC of course, being NBC, in its coverage of the ceremony. The sad thing is that it will be around in covering future Olympics.”
May listeners inundated Radio Newcastle in the North East complaining that Sir Paul McCartney isn’t that great a singer anymore and should possibly retire. This isn’t covered in the printed press with the Daily Mail noting the opposite when reporting, “David Haugh from the Chicago Tribune said: ‘McCartney can still bring it… Na, na, na, na, na,na, na, na… show ending appropriately on a high.”
McCartney’s vocal inability had also been commented on after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert earlier this year.
A fan of Her Maj, on Facebook, said at that time “I think you need to give the singing a rest Paul, your voice is past it, sorry.”
In Australia ABC Sports presenter Karen Tighe said, “It was a fantastic start to the Games. I’m so glad there was no temptation to be better and bigger than Beijing – it was wonderful in its own way and it all came across so well.” She told the BBC.
While Greg Baum of Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald concluded, “Boyle’s vivid and vibrant pageant set the tone for these Games and perhaps even a new direction for the Olympic movement. Rio has a hard act to follow, which won’t deter it at all… His show did not take itself too seriously, but was never trivial. It was irreverent, but never disrespectful. It was clever, but did not outsmart itself. It was at once subversive and sublime. This is a country of royals and aristocrats, but Boyle’s show rejoiced in the commoner.”
China’s reaction was relayed to the BBC by Zhuang Chen of the corporation’s Chinese Service, “China is quite positive in general because it was broadcast live… it has become a very hot topic on China’s vibrant cyber sphere. The Chinese official Wang Ning, director of the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, said he would give 90 out of 100 marks to Britain, which is quite high. He liked the innovative ways to illustrate British culture, its influence and also its new image. But the downside to that – the TV cut-aways during the show might compromise the experience of the live audience inside the stadium… And also talked about by Chinese audiences was the human side of the opening ceremony, which was not that illustrated four years ago at Beijing.”
Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, now the Commonwealth Games choreographer, told the BBC, “I wished I had seen it live because I found the camera shots sometimes focusing on quite small moments which were exciting, but it didn’t make your heart pound. And of course, there were some amazing things to see. I didn’t feel I got it all as a viewer… But I also thought after the ceremony Danny Boyle should be running the country because this was a people’s ceremony.”
And controversial views came from Conservative MP Aidan Burley who said on Twitter, “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?…. Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!”
And for those baffled by the proceedings Fox Sport have decided to explain all to American audiences as they state, “If elements of Danny Boyle’s three-hour opening ceremony for the London Olympics went over your head, fear not. We are here to help.
“The opening ceremony production is replete with inside jokes and cultural references that many non-Brits may find baffling. The Anglophile dream tour embraces the director’s complex and by turns dark and whimsical vision of life on this island nation.”
To see Fox Sport’s explanation of the event click here.