Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Gold for Danny Boyle in the battle of Olympic ceremonies

London 2012 opening ceremony
London 2012 closing ceremony
Queen Elizabeth II (left) makes a speech at the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

After the eye-watering spectacular that opened the London Games, taking the gold medal in the closing event was always going to be a big ask.

If the TV viewing figures were anything to go by, it was a photo finish.

But the response to the Olympics finale on Sunday was mixed, with many saying it did not live up to the standard set by Danny Boyle's opener two weeks previously.

Like many of those passing judgment, Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow took to Twitter to deliver his verdict: “Great spectacle... But Danny Boyle takes Gold!”

Broadcaster Piers Morgan said: “This show's been like a @Mo Farah race; slow start, exploding nicely...”

Across the Atlantic, US critics praised the show for its quintessentially British quality.

“With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games on Sunday in a spectacular, technicolor pageant of landmarks, lightshows and lots of fun,” was the verdict at CBS News.

The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney said it would be “regarded as a wonderfully chaotic treasure trove by some and a hot mess by others”.

The Sydney Morning Herald response was the most succinct: “London, you didn’t half do a decent job.”

The New Zealand Herald described it as “a pop culture smorgasbord.”

Daily Telegraph music editor Bernadette McNulty said that the closing ceremony had been “pitched somewhere between a wedding reception and tuning into Magic FM”.

The ‘Best of British’ concert party that was the closing ceremony — featuring performances by acts such as Take That and the Spice Girls — drew a peak audience of 26.3m viewers across BBC digital channels.

An average of 23.2m saw the three hour-plus show — created by artistic director Kim Gavin — amounting to four-fifths of TV viewers.

It was a whisker away from the 23.4m who watched the opening ceremony a fortnight earlier, put together by movie director Danny Boyle.

The figure for Boyle's acclaimed extravaganza now includes an extra million digital viewers which the BBC initially failed to include.

Some spectators said they felt as though they were part of history after witnessing the closing ceremony.

Fans said they were emotional watching the final hurrah for the London 2012 Games.

Patricia Rowe (60), from Bolton, said: “I am speechless.

“It was very sad, the extinguishing of the flame — it put a tear in my eye.”

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