Sunday Times 2

A salute to NHS and bumbling Mr. Bean brings down the house


A celebration of the National Health Service – featuring more than 600 real NHS staff and patients – was one of the Olympic opening ceremony’s centrepieces. Director Danny Boyle had said he wanted to celebrate the NHS as a proud British establishment as part of the show.

During the set, happy pyjama-clad patients – played by children – leaped up and down on 320 giant hospital beds, which doubled as trampolines, while nurses danced around them.Dressed in 1950s uniforms, the nurses used luminous hospital beds to spell out the words ‘NHS’ and ‘GOSH’, standing for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Looking bored: The London Symphony Orchestra played Chariots of Fire as Mr Bean - actor Rowan Atkinson - took to a keyboard

The patients, who later left their beds to join a dance routine, included real patients from the London children’s hospital.

The NHS section of the show also paid tribute to Britain’s contribution to children’s literature, with several villains recreated as spectacular nightmares suffered by the children. They included the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Captain Hook from JM Barrie’s Peter Pan.

Mr Boyle said of the NHS section: ‘One of the reasons we put the NHS in the show is that everyone is aware of how important the NHS is to everybody in this country.’We believe, as a nation, in universal healthcare. It doesn’t matter how poor you are, how rich you are, you will get treated.’

Earlier, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins rang the giant bell which marked the start of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.Wearing a yellow jersey Wiggins, fresh from his victory as the first British man to win the tour, was greeted withcheers at the Olympic Park.

It was the dramatic start of a breathtaking spectacular capturing the best of Britain to launch the long-awaited games as the eyes of the world turned on London.Some of the very British elements of the Olympics Opening Ceremony may have left some viewers across the world bemused, but at least one character was instantly recognisable – bumbling funnyman Mr Bean.

The London Symphony Orchestra took centre stage playing Chariots of Fire as Mr Bean – British actor Rowan Atkinson – took to a keyboard.

Half-way through the performance he took out his phone and then proceeded to sneeze, while playing one key repetitively.
He look around as though he was bored and stared at his wrist watch as the orchestra played on.

The performance cut to a video of Mr Bean running down the beach made famous in the opening scene of the 1981 film.
He looked as if he was struggling against the other runner, but looked jubilant when he finally crossed the finish line.
Last night Mr Bean was trending on social networking site Twitter as well as the words Rowan Atkinson.
Emma J Thomas tweeted: ‘If there ever was a time for the world to get British humour then #mrbean would be it!’

© Daily Mail, London

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