A gigantic, 27 tonne bell - the biggest cast in Europe apparently - will ring from the Olympic Stadium in North London, at 9pm, as 1 billion people join the 80,000 capacity live audience for the start of the 30th Olympiad.
Before the London ceremony officially starts, the Festival Square big screen live site will host an Opening Ceremony Event from 6pm. A torchbearer parade will take place at 8.30pm, following scene-setting performances from Jimi the Piper, the Ceilidhdonia ceilidh rock band and Pulse of the Place samba band.
Danny Boyle, the director behind Slumdog Millionnaire and Edinburgh-shot Trainspotting, is the artistic director for the £27m Olympic Opening Ceremony.
With a cast of 12,000 and Underworld duo Rick Smith and Karl Hyde providing the soundtrack to the three hour ceremony, even those with a low opinion of the Olympics might be tempted to tune in for the opening night.
A humourous, short film featuring James Bond, shot at Buckingham Palace, is expected to kick the televised ceremony off.
The ceremony which has an "Isles of Wonder" theme, inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest (Caliban's line is: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises"), will be about a land recovering from its industrial legacy with central roles for hundreds of NHS nurses and children.
The ceremony will include a rendition of Flower of Scotland by the Broomhouse Choir.
Boyle had said humour is an essential ingredient of the ceremony.
Certain aspects of the ceremony are dictated by Olympic protocol:
- The Queen is received by LOCOG Chair Seb Coe and President of the IOC Jacques Rogge
- Parade of Athletes
- Speeches Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge
- Playing of the Olympic anthem and bearing and raising of the Olympic flag
- Taking of the Olympic oath by a circle of flagbearers
- The finale is the entrance of the Olympic flame and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron
Edinburgh's Opening Ceremony Event
The day starts with the rousing All The Bells, where at precisely 8.12am people across the UK (and world) will ring out bells of any kind as part of Martin Creed’s Work No. 1197. It calls for all the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes.
The day's celebrations are marked at 12.30pm with the RAF aerobatics team, the Red Arrows, flying past Edinburgh in the flying V, "Big Battle" formation at 12.30pm. Festival Square will also have lots of free, come and try sports activities for the general public.
Edinburgh’s own Opening Ceremony Event will get underway in the Square from 6pm. Hosted by BBC Scotland news presenter Catriona Shearer, the free event will include entertainment from the Pipefest Pipers, Ceilidhdonia ceilidh rock band, Pulse of the Place samba band, a highland dance troupe and an exclusive live performance of ‘Flower of Scotland’ by The Big Project Choir.
At 8.30pm Olympic torchbearers in Edinburgh will lead a parade with the London Opening Ceremony starting at 9pm.