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SBD Global/July 25, 2012/Olympics

Danny Boyle Meets With BBC To Talk Over Network's Opening Ceremony Commentary

Dancers rehearse Tuesday for the Opening Ceremony in Olympic Park.
The BBC has met with London Games Creative Dir Danny Boyle, who is leading the Opening Ceremony, to “head off any concerns over its commentary to accompany” the $42M show, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. BBC’s Huw Edwards, who will anchor the ceremony, and BBC London '12 Olympics Dir Roger Mosey “outlined the corporation's plans" ahead of Friday's showpiece event. The soundtrack -- the subject of “almost as much speculation as the ceremony itself -- will be released as a digital download, Isles of Wonder, and viewers who want to watch it commentary-free will be able to do so on cable and satellite television.” Mosey said, "We are still impartial and the commentary is ours but ... the more you understand what Danny Boyle is trying to do, the more you can give an informed commentary" (GUARDIAN, 7/24). In London, Ian Burrell noted Edwards also “has held private talks” with Boyle. Edwards and Mosey met with Boyle last week to “explain the need to layer pieces of commentary over the music to give ‘context’ to less obvious elements of the spectacular," which is inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Mosey said, "The audience will need pointers to some of the things that are happening" (INDEPENDENT, 7/24).

MUSIC MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND: In L.A., Todd Martens wrote music is “sure to play a pivotal role at the opening event.” This will be the "first time in Olympic history that music" from the Opening and Closing Ceremony will be digitally released. LOCOG also commissioned “five original songs for the Games, featuring selections from artists as diverse as rapper Dizzee Rascal and theatrical rockers Muse.” But the “two-week marriage of sport and music has not come without tension.” A “small but vocal group of artists have started an online petition against what they believe is a lack of proper compensation on the part of Olympic organizers” (L.A. TIMES, 7/24).

GUESTS OF HONOR? The GUARDIAN’s Owen Gibson reported former boxer Muhammad Ali and former England football captain David Beckham “appear increasingly likely to play a role in the Olympics opening ceremony, after flying into London four days before it takes place” (GUARDIAN, 7/24). In London, Paul Kelso noted LOCOG officials will consult with Ali's family "before finalising what role” he will play in Friday's Opening Ceremony (TELEGRAPH, 7/24).

SNEAK PEEK: The GUARDIAN’s Esther Addley reported Boyle “invited 60,000 people, around three-quarters of the stadium's capacity, to witness the first of two technical rehearsals.” The Olympic Stadium's “giant screens helpfully suggested a hashtag: #savethesurprise.” Boyle reportedly asked the audience to “not tweet pictures.” There was a “collective goodwill toward the enterprise, and what appeared to be general delight over the show's contents persuaded the majority to do no more than tease” (GUARDIAN, 7/24). The AP’s Jill Lawless asked, “The London Olympics Opening Ceremony will be a grand spectacle -- but will it be a surprise? In a word, no.” In the age of “camera phones and social media, with 10,000 performers in the ceremony, thousands of Olympic security and staff and more than 10,000 journalists already at the Olympic Park, not much can be kept out of the public domain” (AP, 7/23).

TRAFFIC CHECK: In London, Tom Peck wrote that one of London's “main Olympic transport routes failed its first major test ahead of the Games [Monday] when tens of thousands faced severe delays as they journeyed to the Olympic Stadium to watch a dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony.” As 60,000 people “filed out of the stadium, large parts of the Central line … were closed” (INDEPENDENT, 7/24). The GUARDIAN’s Peter Walker noted the rehearsal visitors praised the “efficiency of military personnel at checkpoints” (GUARDIAN, 7/24). The GUARDIAN's Gibson also reported that Transport Secretary Justine Greening claimed transport problems following Monday night's Opening Ceremony test were a "successful dress rehearsal" for Games-time travel. Greening said, "We got everybody home. It was a successful dress rehearsal. We look forward to delivering the real thing on Friday." London Commissioner for Transport Peter Hendy said while he was "sorry that two lines serving the Park went down" the problems proved there was enough "redundancy" in the system to cope (GUARDIAN, 7/24).

FINGERS CROSSED: Also in London, Blitz & Kortekaas reported that IOC Exec Dir Gilbert Felli said that "London will have to rely on luck to avoid serious transport problems" during the Games. Felli said, "We all cross our fingers." He added the organization had "done what they had to do." Felli: "Now we need to make sure we have a bit of luck" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/24).
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