Queen, Bond and Bean as Games begin
The Queen turned Bond girl in a blockbusting opening ceremony as the London 2012 Games opened in spectacular fashion.
There were moments of humour and emotion and some stunning surprises in the breathtaking ceremony capturing the best of Britain and masterminded by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle.
The Queen stole the show with her movie acting debut as she joined James Bond. In a scene filmed in advance and screened for the first time, Bond actor Daniel Craig arrives at Buckingham Palace in a dinner jacket, striding past the corgis towards the royal study.
"Good evening Mr Bond," says the Queen, before they leave together, apparently heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter. Back in real time, to laughter and delight from the crowd, "the Queen" followed by "Bond", parachuted from a helicopter towards the arena. Seconds later the real Queen and Prince Philip received a standing ovation as they arrived. Even as the show was going on, there were calls for Boyle to have his own date with the Queen - to receive a knighthood.
In another surprise Rowan Atkinson in his Mr Bean character created comic havoc and loads of laughs as he joined Sir Simon Rattle conducting the theme from Chariots of Fire.
Another tightly kept secret was how the Olympic torch would make its final journey from central London down the River Thames to the stadium in east London. The surprise was that it was former England captain David Beckham, who was shown steering a speedboat with young footballer Jade Bailey past Tower Bridge.
Sir Kenneth Branagh, dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, recited Caliban's speech from Shakespeare's The Tempest as some 62,000 spectators saw Boyle's spectacular Isles of Wonder unveil.
Dancers dressed in red, representing the struggle between life and death, were picked out by a spotlight in the darkness of the stadium as the clear powerful vocals of Emeli Sande pierced the air with Abide With Me. Emeli said: "I am extremely proud and humbled to be part of the amazing ceremony which will allow the world to see some of the best up-and-coming and established talent the UK has produced."
Dizzee Rascal, who sang his hit Bonkers, said: "It is exciting to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. It is a good time for the UK and I am glad they asked me to perform one of my greatest tracks to represent the country. Huge respect to all the athletes who are taking part and let's get the party started."
Other musical contributors included Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys, who played I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, and Sir Paul McCartney, who belted out Hey Jude.