31 Jul 2012

And the gold medal goes to....Danny Boyle!

I have to admit to having been typically cynical about the prospect of the Olympic opening ceremony last Friday night. My mood wasn't helped by the seemingly endless stream of bad PR coming from LOCOG. From the police and army stepping in to the breach in security left by G4S to LOCOG's heavy handed policing of official sponsors interests I wasn't pre-disposed to look favourably on the £27 million opening extraveganza.

But I have to admit, that was one hell of a show on Friday night. I, along with a peak audience of almost 27 million Britons, had my emotions whipped up into a lather of feel-good British Olympicness by a dazzling piece of storytelling beguilingly soundtracked by Underworld. While audience figures didn't quite match the UK record still held by Angie & Den's Eastenders Christmas Day breakup (although this includes the repeat later in the week)they smashed the UK viewing figures for the opening ceremonies in Beijing (5.4M peak) and Athens (8.7M peak). Even Torville and Dean at the 1984 Winter Games (24M peak), the previous Olympic TV record, couldn't match it.

What's perhaps more surprising in what is being dubbed the first ever Social Media Games is the fact that, despite 200 rehearsals with 7,500 volunteers not one of them leaked a word of what was to come. Apparently this was achieved with nothing more than Danny Boyle asking them politely not to spoil the surprise.

Well done Danny!