London, 2012: VIDEO


After an iffy start involving horses and pitchforks, last night's Olympic opening ceremony was dazzling. Sadly, NBC is being stingy with video. The bulk of the thing has yet to make it online, and what has made it online is un-embeddable. Hopefully that'll change soon. The lighting ceremony and subsequent fireworks show is very worth seeing, and is so far absent from the web.

In the meantime, please enjoy:

Towleroad-roadicon A clip from a segment of the ceremony celebrating British children's literature, in which Voldemort, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella DeVille, Mike Oldfield, and assorted nasty things menace a stadiumful of sleeping children;

Towleroad-roadicon A stirring clip of "the forging" of the Olympic rings (so called because that's what everyone's calling it, though nothing's actually being forged);

Towleroad-roadicon The Queen being escorted to the Olympics by 007. (The pair proceeded to jump from a helicopter, though NBC hasn't released that footage, either.)


  1. VDUFFORD says

    I caught the first part by chance thought the Olympic rings forging was nothing short of fantastic when they came together loved the way they used the industrial age theme then on to digital age.
    There was nothing on the web but obnoxious covering of that lunatic in Colorado.
    Something beautiful and moving is just not this countries thing it seems…its no wonder we are falling behind and drifting into are own lunacy.

  2. MikeW says

    I’m sure NBC are trying to butcher it in the way that the Sydney Games’ ceremony was, with talking heads interrupting the presentation, entire sections excised to destroy the story and context of later items, music edited and looped. Somehow despite great sections of the event going missing, the US delayed broadcast still managed to run longer than the original event.

  3. JD says

    The whole thing was a superb display of our Isles of Wonder. As a Brit and Londoner it made me incredibly proud.
    It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – I think non-Brits probably won’t ‘get’ a lot of it – but it exceeded all of my expectations and it extinguished any remaining cynicism about the Games here. And that’s no mean feat!

  4. peterparker says

    @Brandon K Thorp: Do you mean to tell us that the Queen of England actually jumped from a helicopter and parachuted into the Olympic stadium?

  5. James C says

    NBC is seriously the worst American network for sports. They ruin everything they touch in terms of accessibility. They don’t even have the market cornered on moving fluff pieces anymore. Awful. Glad I managed to access the BBC feeds. Just terrific.

  6. LincolnLounger says

    “Dazzling”? That is among the last adjectives I would use to describe that ridiculous display. I will allow that it finished better than it started, but that is setting a very low bar. Musical hospital beds, sick kids, and a celebration of managed care is not my cup of tea, guv’nor. But, I’m sure I just don’t “get it”.

  7. Mike in Houston says

    Hopefully, one day we’ll be able to see it all – and I pray without the incessant chattering of Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera who pretty much ruined an otherwise awesome ceremony.

  8. ratbastard says

    *eye roll*

    Yes Brits, only you Brits get you fabulous sense of understatement, irony and sarcasm.

    *eye roll*

    And what was up with the Olde to NHS? Is the NHS some kind of substitute for other organized religions? Trust me, if socialized healthcare is your cup of tea, others do it FAR BETTER than the Brits, France, the Netherlands and Germany for example. And no, Health Canada [another sacred cow] is not any better than NHS.

  9. andrewS. says

    It was spectacular, they did a fantastic job. London is buzzing with pride and the atmosphere is wonderful.

    P.S. Please take Mitt Romney back, he’s a idiot.

  10. say what says

    the childrens literature celebration followed the celebrating of NHS

    national health service with children jumping on sick beds and actual nurses and doctors

    & HA rombot the father of romneycare/Obamacare which he denies now having to watch the britts celebrating their National health care…something even the torries (conservatives) would never touch

  11. say what says


    UK and Candaian NHS are better than US health system

    1- longer life spans in both UK and canada vs US

    2- cheaper health care with canada able to deliver at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost via cutting out the middle man leaches = for profit insurance companies

    Nationalized health Care is a National Security issue with for profit health care unable to deal with plagues, outbreaks, health threats to a Nation like a national system is

  12. Spode says

    One day maybe I’ll get to see it, although I’ll probably forget about it before then. Did not air here in time delay, as far as I could find dialing around my hotel room channels (on holiday in Thailand). Have not seen ANY footage of actual games or competitions yet either. A few stills on the news, nothing else. NBC and IOC – very effective at crushing Olympic spirit. I hear it is much better where bbc reigns in the uk.

  13. Sasha says

    It featured David Beckham and Daniel Craig! What more do you want?!

    But seriously, being British and a London resident I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic. It has received almost universal acclaim in Britain which, for a nation known for its mocking and cynicism is unprecedented.

    The ceremony had warmth and wit and showed the world Britain for what it is: an open, tolerant nation which a rich and deep history, a culture of innovation and creativity and often contradictory and hard (even for the British) to understand. International viewers may not have understand every reference (reading reviews this morning I noted a lot of references that I didn’t pick up on first viewing) but the organisers had to straddle a fine line in avoiding a clinical precise ceremony that would have left viewers cold or an overtly jingoistic patriotic ceremony that would have left most Londoners cringing with embarrassment.

    Some moments were genuinely moving and touching (the 7/7 tribute which NBC shamefully edited out) and allowing the athletes of tomorrow to light the beautiful structure of pedals that merged to become the Olympic flame was a nice gesture.

    Other moments were surreal. I don’t think anyone watching believed it was actually The Queen in the Bond feature until she turned around to face Daniel Craig.

    It is also thanks to the opening ceremony that many of the host broadcasters showed a lesbian kiss for the first time.

    All in all a superb and unique opener by Danny Boyle.

  14. D.B. says

    I didn’t really find the opening ceremony to be “dazzling.” It seemed like Danny Boyle had many, many ideas — a few successful, and many more less so.

    Clearly, the forging of the rings part of the industrial revolution bit was the show’s highlight — it was the most visually beautiful moment, and perhaps the only truly moving moment of the show.

    But so much of it didn’t really work — the whole “lost cell phone” number was a mess. And trying to integrate filmed segments into the show (to cover for painfully slow transitions) seemed a bad idea. And while having young “athletes of tomorrow” light the flame might have seemed like a good idea on paper, it robbed the ceremony of one of its more traditional highlights.

    Overall, I think perhaps Boyle aimed his show a little too heavily towards a British audience, forgetting that the opening ceremony is a world event. And by attempting to be “cheeky,” he lost the potential to create indelible, beautiful moments. Unlike China, this wasn’t a ceremony that will be remembered or referenced long past these games.

  15. vwdavy says

    1. the zero zero seven & HMQ full video can be found at Michael K’s site.
    2. opening ceremonies are supposed to highlight the brilliance of the host country as well as embrace the rest of the world. the Brits seem to have the best sense of humour worldwide (most importantly, self-effacing) and have managed to inject a large amount in with their own cultural, social and economic heritage. if you wanted to better Beijing, then conscript thousands of under-age children along with thousands of others and force them to do what they did in 2008. or let North Korea host them next.
    3. NBC has a proud heritage of broadcasting dating to the 1930’s. unfortunately, what they now have, and boast about, is nothing more than Entertainment Tonight style investigative journalism and sports reporting. Viera and Lauer should be banned from everything but the Today show and the View, to mitigate aural and visual affront and damage to the viewing public.

  16. say what says

    yes china was more impressive with the regimented people…so much so that it scarred a lot of countries

    UK had more, longer, and better BOOM BOOM fireworks thus basically saying “Meh, so you can field a billion mind controlled soldiers but we have the bigger , better, and more bombs.” Though those bombs are actually NATO thus US bombs but the point was made

    China = #s


    & the propaganda keeps rolling on

  17. Tanoka says

    Rowan Atkinson! <3

    I didn’t care much for the ‘lost mobile’ plot, but I loved, loved, loved the Olympic Torch! Gorgeous!!!

    Not enough Daleks, though. I was expecting Daleks during the story-telling plot.

  18. Henry Holland says

    “showed the world Britain for what it is: an open, tolerant nation”

    I love the UK, I’ve been there on vacation 7 times and I have to say, that’s a load of rubbish. England is horribly xenophobic, the class system is still a smog that covers everything, and once you’re outside of London and a few other places, woe to you if you have dark skin.

    The people on an individual level can be awesome but I daresay that the people of the Republic of Ireland would laugh in your face if you told them how “open and tolerant” their longtime tormentors are.

    The ceremony was OK, but NBC’s coverage was terrible. Plus, I felt bad for Paul McCartney, he was in awful voice.

  19. Josh says

    If gay issues are so relevant why no mention of it? Could that be because “the world” is against it? The opening struck me like a big school play. Liked the new style torch, and the Queen’s Corgis.
    The music segment was awful. Lot of blacks in England, or was that “inclusive” casting? Could have axed the entire children can’t sleep segment — way off.

  20. DD says

    I was nervous. As a Londoner and an Englishman, I’m quite happy to take the piss out of my country (and don’t consider myself patriotic) but the idea that the rest of the planet might think we’re crap wasn’t one I’m comfortable with. After this ceremony, I don’t really care what the rest of the planet thinks.

    To see the letters NHS glowing massively made me want to cry with pride – yes, Ratbastard, it is something most Britons have faith in (because it’s ours – we pay for it, not the Government, and what better to believe in than something secular, inclusive, effective and real?). That Boyle managed to tip a hat to the pageantry we’re associated with but keeping it irreverent was a relief. To hear our ridiculous national anthem sung by children with disabilities, with no pomp or sentimentality but beautiful tuning… and who needs 10 bajillion drummers in perfect sync with one another, when you can draw on Bowie, the Beatles, the Stones, New Order, the Pet Shop Boys and Dizzee Rascal?

    Sure, I might have found Branagh’s Brunel/Caliban turn a bit odd, but this was a ceremony that was completely off its tits, and I loved it.

  21. Icebloo says

    Towleroad is very anti-London Olympics it seems. Are you jealous because NYC didn’t get it this year ? Get over it !

    The opening ceremony was excellent. Much better than I expected.

    The “forging” of the Olympic ring was supposed to represent the steel workers that were common in the UK many years ago you dumbass ! Did you really expect them to forge a REAL ring in the middle of the arena ? REALLY ?!

    The more I read Towleroad, the more I realise the guy running it is a queeny, petty, dumbass little girl.

  22. Icebloo says

    @SAY WHAT I – actually the idiot Tories introduced legislation to start the destruction of the NHS earlier this year. They are evil. They want to get US style healthcare so they can take everyone’s money and screw the patients like the US does.

  23. Tim says

    Hmm, questioning what Ratbastard hates more? Kinda irrelevant. He hates everything and himself. And knows very little about anything.

    I wish those of you that hated the ceremony would use it as an opportunity to learn a bit about the UK (and not just by buying an Amy Winehouse album). The segment with the poppy to commemorate the war dead was stunning and chilling.

  24. Michael says

    @Steve – LMFAO!!!! Man, someone needs to buy you a beer… Is that what kept interrupting the commercials???

    Look, Brits, we get it. You’re proud of the opening ceremony. However, it SUCKED!!! Sorry, 1st off the whole “well it was a lot only Brits would get…”… Um, you do realize the entire world was watching, right? Mr. Bean? Yeah, that’s something only Brits get. The opening segment was the most, by far, cringe inducing piece I’ve ever seen at the Olympics. I mean you guys set the bar so low that anything that came after it must appear as a masterpiece in comparison.

    The smoke stacks were OK, kinda boring still and the celebration of health care. It’s a pity your health care didn’t cover buckets for the rest of the world to gag in. Sure, you might have a better health care system over there but at least here we realize health care never equals fun entertainment. The rings coming together were fantastic. But that’s like saying the lollipop you got as a kid really made up for the shot you got in the butt from the doctor.

    At least you guys were able to get the athletes in there in record time. Props to that one.

    The 2nd half was better than the first but you guys were making the rest of the world OD on the “look, we have cute kids AGAIN in this segment just in case the first 5 times didn’t fill up the bucket for you!” The birds on the bike were cool but, again, this is all in comparison.

    What I’m really disappointed at is the cell phone piece segment. HUH? A lost cell phone? Here was a chance to remind the world you guys put out better music than anywhere, that you guys actually started punk and New Wave and whatever else and you squander it on some TV show and a lost cell phone. Quick grab me another bucket.

    And the ending. Paul McCartney? It would have been more entertaining if he had brought along his walker with him. His voice has never, ever, sounded so horrible.

    Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but you Brits need to stop acting as if the show last night was nothing short of a complete train wreck.

  25. D.B. says

    @Michael: While I don’t agree with you about the ceremony being a complete “train wreck,” I would say that it was definitely a mishmash of ideas that didn’t really work as a whole.

    (The most recent train wreck of an opening ceremony was Vancouver’s sad little show — the inoperable cauldron, and Wayne Gretzky on the back of a pickup truck in the rain. But they totally made up for it with a fun and charming closing ceremony.)

    It should have been a no-brainer to celebrate British pop music, as it is arguably the best in the world. But to do so by couching it in a lame salute to social media was a mistake. It’s like an idea some old marketing guy would have thought up to be “popular with the kids.”

  26. Rob says

    What a surprise that US broadcasts cut the tribute to the 7/7 bombing victims, what because it didn’t happen in the good old United States so no one interested? Utterly disgraceful. As someone who missed his bus to work that day I was genuinely moved by it and grateful that I’m still alive today, but I’m not surprised by the vile queens on here bitching about it – We have a tribute to 9/11 and a minute silence each year and that didn’t happen here, but we’ve still got you harping on about 9/11 as if it’s the only thing to have happened in history.

  27. Stewart says

    @Michael, anyone who puts that much effort into slagging off what was flat out the most creative, crazy and fun Opening Ceremony clearly has a chip on their shoulder. The Queen and Bond moment was genius – guess you missed that. What happened, did a Mini Cooper run over your pet kitten?

  28. Stewart says

    @Michael, anyone who puts that much effort into slagging off what was flat out the most creative, crazy and fun Opening Ceremony clearly has a chip on their shoulder. The Queen and Bond moment was genius – guess you missed that. What happened, did a Mini Cooper run over your pet kitten?

  29. D.B. says

    @Rob: In complete agreement with you over the exclusion of the 7/7 tribute in the U.S. broadcast. But I don’t think it was because Americans don’t care about it. It was really the decision of NBC, the network broadcasting the games in the U.S.

    NBC has basically marketed their Olympic coverage, at great expense, around one specific athlete — Michael Phelps. NBC was caught off guard when Phelps announced this week that he would not be present at the opening ceremony. Not wanting to kick things off without their star, they opted for a boring Phelps interview over the tribute. It was the wrong decision.

  30. Rob says

    @Michael – You Madam are a typical vapid queen aren’t you?

    Are you telling me that if the Olympics had been held in the US that the entire ceremony wouldn’t have been a big “Whoop America We’re Amazing!”fuckfest? You’re allowed to be patriotic and bang on about it every single chance you get but us ‘Brits’ can’t be because this is a global event and we should have tailored the ceremony to fit your tastes?
    If you hated and despised it as much as you did then why watch it in it’s entirety?
    Crawl back under your rock mate

  31. jsb says

    To all those bitching about the opening ceremony last night, I have 3 words for you, “Salt Lake City”! Mittens little show was as hokey as anything I’ve ever seen.

  32. mike says

    As a Canadian,all I can say was it was fantastic, I enjoyed every minute of it,Boyle did an incredible job.I think everyone in the UK should be proud, truly special

  33. Darrell says

    Try watching it online at as the Network broadcasting it here in Canada did not butcher it nearly as bad as NBC (not perfect) but better. Though you will have listen to the announcers yap about Canadian athletes facts sometimes (just head to the can at that point) LOL.

  34. arthur says

    There was some eejit on earlier saying that the Irish would hate the opening, but I’m Irish and I loved absolutely every moment. It was an extraordinary piece of theatre. It embodied everything I love about the English – the madness, the tolerance, the humour, the history. Please don’t tell me what to think about the English. Hav’nt enough Irish people died in the North of Ireland with guns bought with the money of cretinous Americans. I am SO angry.

  35. ratbastard says


    Ratbastard doesn’t hate black folks or Brits. Ratbastard’s mom was born and raised in England.


    I still think celebrating the NHS in an Olympic’s opening ceremony is pretty amusing, and yes, the UK NHS is inferior to the French, Dutch and German healthcare system’s IMO. If the U.S. is going to completely socialize or nationalize our healthcare system, we’d be best advised to emulate the French, Dutch or Germans, not the single payer Brits or Canadians. That’s not a gratuitous slap at Brits or Canadians. People need to grow up.

  36. ratbastard says


    Wow another person from those isles who has scorn for Americans. I’m shocked…shocked. And who exactly funded the IRA? I grew up in NYC and Boston and all the adults around me always condemned the bombings and the violence. The IRA were and are still [what still exist of them] far leftist, even Marxist, and they received funding from certain governments and from criminal activities primarily. They also became completely infiltrated by the the British no later than the mid 70s. So please spare me the effing lies about the Americans helping the IRA. It’s untrue. Why do you people take some responsibilities for your own home grown issues and problems rather than blame the Americans for everything. You’d blame Americans for the weather if you could.

  37. ratbastard says

    And yet these mother effers who are so ‘angry’ at ‘Yanks’ and so scornful, still come here in droves to visit, work, go to school, shop, etc., NYC, Boston, etc are full of them. They’re easy to spot because they usually stick with their own kind, not mix with the ‘locals’.

  38. Gordon says

    All I can say is… The man that invented the internet was honoured to be part of the proceedings & not one of you have commented or even said ‘ta mate’ for allowing such a bitchfest, with less depth than a Scottish puddle with piss in it… What would ye’s do otherwise?? Eat, drink schnapps & have more letterbox sex???

    All I recall of Beijing was a child sung something but was too ugly for global recognition so they had a better lookin child mime, we kindof did same with McCartney, chew ma baws!!!

  39. robert says

    All Olympiad opening ceremonies are a mess. The simplest stuff works the best…

    It bewilders me that anyone would sit through three hours of anything.

    The BBCNews site gave me enough video information about what worked and didn’t work.

    You either get the humour of the ‘Queen’ descending from the sky, showing her bloomers, or you don’t.

    Blimey, some of you people writing sure have got a lot of anger…

  40. robert says

    All Olympiad opening ceremonies are a mess. The simplest stuff works the best…

    It bewilders me that anyone would sit through three hours of anything.

    The BBCNews site gave me enough video information about what worked and didn’t work.

    You either get the humour of the ‘Queen’ descending from the sky, showing her bloomers, or you don’t.

    Blimey, some of you people writing sure have got a lot of anger…

Leave A Reply