Danny Boyle to recreate the British countryside for Olympic opening ceremony

The Slumdog Millionaire director's lavish show will open London 2012 with animals, grass and 10,000 human volunteers

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Danny Boyle to recreate the British countryside for Olympic opening ceremony
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Danny Boyle has unveiled the first details of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, revealing plans for a display that celebrates Britain’s countryside.

The Slumdog Millionaire director is to turn the Olympic stadium in Stratford into a meadow for the inaugural show on 27 July, featuring real animals, grass and even man-made clouds that rain.

10,000 volunteers will take part in the display to help recreate country scenes on a stage that will also include rivers, a village green, and models of British landmarks such as Glastonbury Tor.

Boyle explained a little about what the world could expect from the £27m display: “The opening scene of the ceremony represents a traditional and idyllic view of the British countryside. It is a green and pleasant land because it is something we are really proud of."

There will be families having picnics and sports being played on the village green in what London 2012 is describing as "one of the largest sets ever built".

A scale model of the planned stage was also revealed today, giving viewers a taste of what they can expect to see in the arena during the show:

Boyle also said that the ceremony will pay tribute to Britain’s tradition of outdoor music festivals and house some of its spectators in a series of “mosh pits”.

And each of the United Kingdom's four nations will be represented by maypoles topped with their respective national flowers: the rose of England, thistle of Scotland, daffodil of Wales and flax from Northern Ireland.

"The ceremony is an attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come from and where we want to be,” said the director.

"The best part of telling that story has been working with our 10,000 volunteers. I’ve been astounded by the selfless dedication of the volunteers, they are the purest embodiment of the Olympic spirit and represent the best of who we are as a nation."

Those volunteers, alongside the ceremony’s cast and crew, have been rehearsing intensely in order to make the opening show a success, and work is now under way to create the set in time for Friday 27 July.

Lord Coe, who is overseeing this summer’s Games, said: "With a worldwide TV audience of a billion people and a cast of over 10,000 talented volunteers, I’m sure that Danny’s ceremony will be a fantastic celebration that will welcome the 10,500 athletes from around the world and make our nation proud."