So go on, admit it. You sat down in front of the telly at about seven o’clock last Friday night prepared to be embarrassed to call yourself British.
We all saw the pictures in the paper – the Teletubby meadow, the sheep and horses, the fake clouds ready to emit a light drizzle after the three soggiest summer months on record. We thought that Danny Boyle’s Olympic opener was going to be a shocker.
At Beijing the opening ceremony was spectacular. No expense was spared, thousands of extras performed to the very limits of human ability. We knew that we couldn’t compete on the same level – we had to do something different – and it looked like an English meadow would be it. Face… palm.
I’ll admit that it all looked a little bit twee at the beginning... The young lad who sang Jerusalem did it superbly, however. A positive… We found a positive!
Then came Kenneth Branagh reading Shakespeare and along with the thunder and the lightning, something remarkable happened. In a work of absolute genius we saw the workers of the Industrial Revolution forging the Olympic rings and, all of a sudden, the cushions of embarrassment were lowered from our eyes.
Then came James Bond and the ACTUAL Queen followed by Chariots of Fire with the ACTUAL Mr Bean. We had a celebration of all of the film, television, music, theatre and fashion that our nation is famous for and that’s when I “got it”. I understood what the ceremony was all about.
We’re Great Britain, we’re a tiny little island. Our entire population could probably fit in one street in the USA but when it comes to innovation, entertainment and giving the world something to remember, is there really anyone who has ever done it better?
The ceremony was a triumph and made me more proud to be British then I think I’ve ever been before. In the words of the school choir singing on the Giants Causeway… “Oh Danny Boyle, the Knight, the Knighthood’s calling”…