Posted July 26, 2012 on AP on Fox
There will be sheep. A cricket game. Nurses. Plus Paul McCartney and possibly James Bond. Officials want details of the 27 million-pound ($42.3 million) London Olympics opening ceremony to be a secret so that viewers can be surprised, but director Danny Boyle has already disclosed select details: Real farm animals on meadows; plows and maypoles; an idyllic picture of England as the ''green and pleasant land;'' a dance number featuring nurses and a closing song by McCartney. Many reports are also suggesting a pre-recorded segment filmed inside Buckingham Palace featuring actor Daniel Craig as Bond, and a stuntman dressed as 007 who will parachute into the stadium to start the show. Later, the pastoral first act will be replaced by a grim scene reenacting a coal-blackened, industrial Britain at the mercy of towering chimney stacks and giant cogs. How will it all come together? SWEEPING VISION The ceremony's mastermind, filmmaker Boyle, has stressed that the 3-hour show will take viewers on a sweeping journey through Britain's history, one that captures the nation's identity, values, heritage, as well as its present and future. In their own ways, each of the elements represents some aspect of Englishness - though some in quirkier ways than others. BAAH, BAAH Seventy sheep are set to star in the ceremony, alongside 12 horses, 10 chickens and three sheep dogs. Britain may no longer be the farm-based economy it used to be, but no less than 50,000 sheep farms still dot the nation's fields - the largest sheep flock in the 27-nation European Union. But the animals have been chosen for a far more symbolic reason: Shepherds and the pastoral life have long been romanticized by British writers like Edmund Spenser, and at every patriotic event Britons belt out the glories of ''England's pleasant pastures'' to William Blake's anthem ''Jerusalem.'' Animal rights activists are none too pleased that farm animals have been roped in to perform, however. The group Viva! has complained that the show ''smacks of the Roman gladiatorial arena. MAYPOLES Each of Great Britain's four nations - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - will be represented by a maypole topped with their national flowers. A pagan folk symbol, the maypole is still commonly erected in British villages during May Day celebrations (as well as elsewhere in Europe) to celebrate the return of warmer weather. ''It's an essential part of rural life,'' said Peter Halfpenney, the ''squire'' - or president - of a Morris dancing group. He was delighted that Boyle chose to feature maypoles but disappointed that Morris dancers - often ridiculed for their folksy costumes - don't get to take part. CRICKET Is there a sport more English than cricket? Played and followed avidly in Commonwealth countries like New Zealand, South Africa and India, the sport's many technical rules - and the lack of fast, exciting action - baffle almost everyone else. Fans love the ''gentleman's sport'' for the strategy and patience it requires. NURSES Boyle has disclosed there will be a dance number of nurses celebrating the National Health Service, the country's universal health program. Not only that: performers were recruited from the NHS. Why? To Britons, nurses are the tough, strong and matronly face of the NHS, a nationally cherished post-war institution. BOND, JAMES BOND Fast cars, fast women, Martinis shaken not stirred: The super spy 007 needs little introduction. First introduced by writer Ian Fleming in 1953, the fictional British secret agent is the protagonist in the longest-running film franchise to date, with Craig the latest incarnation in a long line. The Bond character's dress, cars and expensive tastes ooze British sophistication. GLASTONBURY Wellies, flooded campgrounds, no showers for days - the Glastonbury music festival is a summer rite of passage for many Britons. Started by farmer Michael Eavis in 1970 the day after Jimi Hendrix died, it has taken place every year since then in Somerset. Rain, hippies, music and mud - sounds like a recipe for an open-air Boyle extravaganza.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Olympics Opening Ceremony in London Expected to Feature Paul McCartney, James Bond and Lord Voldemort

The Summer Olympics are back, and the good people of London are ready to put on a show for the rest of the world to see. The Games have already begun with a couple of days of soccer competition already in the books, but the unofficial start will come Friday with the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony, which won't be streamed or broadcasted live in order for NBC to make it a primetime...

2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremonies

Friday night the 2012 Summer Olympics from London, England kicked off in an opening ceremonies presentation that displayed the history of Great Britain using a middle earth like setting. The ceremonies certainly had its moments from the forging of the Olympic Rings and Mr. Bean playing the keyboard to the Queen jumping out of a helicopter and Paul McCartney capping the night offâ...
Entertainment News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.