Six months to Games: As it happened

Key Points

  • London 2012 organisers have taken control of the Olympic Village site in a ceremony to mark six months until the start of the Games.
  • The 2,818 flats in the Athletes' Village are being fitted out to cater for 16,000 athletes and officials from 200 countries.
  • Creative Director Stephen Daldry and Artistic Director Danny Boyle have revealed the first details of the opening and closing ceremonies.

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    Welcome to our live coverage of six months to go until the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. We will bring you updates as the Athletes' Village is handed over to Games organisers and ceremony details are announced.


    London 2012 organisers are taking control of the Olympic Village site and the 2,818 flats are being fitted out with the 16,000 beds needed for athletes and officials.


    Sprinter James Ellington is having a look round the new Athletes' Village. He tells BBC Breakfast it's "more luxurious than where I live now!".


    The Athletes' Village will host the biggest ever peacetime catering operation. 60,000 meals a day, says Locog.

    GB fencing hopeful Claire Bennett

    tweets: 6 months to go until the Olympics today. Exciting stuff! #daysaway

    0913: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Lord Coe speaking at Locog headquarters says today will "explain what next six months is about, what we're going to do, how we're going to nail it".


    Former GB swimmer Karen Pickering: And less than 5 weeks to go to the swimming trials.......I'm buzzing and I'm not even racing!!


    Sprinter James Ellington said the village is a boost to his training: "It's amazing what they've done and now I am here in person it inspires me to run well during the season and make it into the team."


    The Olympic Delivery Authority is handing over the village to Locog today. Chairman Sir John Armitt tells PA Londoners shouldn't get "hung up" on whether the Games is going to put them out a bit.

    He says: "When you host people at your house you put up with some inconvenience. As Londoners we should be prepared to put up with that for a few weeks when we host the biggest party in the world and show the world just what a fantastic place London is.

    He hopes the Games will top Sydney 2000 when "the Australians welcomed the world".

    Derek from Durham

    texts: What's happening to the accommodation after the Olympics are over? Can I suggest that our MPs are housed there instead of the current practice of second homes and related expenses.


    Adele Carlsen manager of GB/Olympic synchro swim team: "6 months today we will be marching in the Olympic opening ceremony in our home city. Goosebumps just thinking about it

    Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    Paul Deighton reveals recruitment of 98% of the eventual 200,000 Olympic workforce will begin in February with 4 events at Wembley Arena

    Pauline Davis from Nailsea

    The only bit of the Olympics that has engaged me is that the torch is coming through our small town. I keep hearing poeple saying they want to get the whole country on board. But if you're not interested in sport of any type and don't live in London, what is there for you?

    0938: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Seb Coe says the last six months represents "a heavy weight of responsibility but a fabulous opportunity". With demands from 15,000 athletes, 22,000 international media and "tens of millions of UK citizens - the most demanding stakeholder".


    Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt says half the world's population will watch the opening ceremony of the London Olympics - which happens six months today.

    Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Paul Deighton runs through the coming months from planning, to building, to testing, to the torch relay, to the festival (the equivalent of 86 Glastonburies, apparently) to the Games themselves. He says: "There's been six years of planning and we've now got six months to get ready for a six-week event."

    6-6-6. Hope that's not an omen!


    Andy Hunt Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association: @London2012 Athletes village will be a brilliant home away from home for other nations and a true home at home for @Team_GB

    Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt keeps it simple. There are 16 Govt departments involved, the focus is on three things:

    • Security
    • Transport
    • Legacy

    Paddy Brigs: As mentioned my life as a #london2012 volunteer begins in earnest today with first training session in Hackney. exciting

    0954: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Olympics minister Hugh Robertson concentrates on the sport. He says the margins between success and failure are fine. Team GB has had a good sporting year, but expectations are high. In funding, he says Sport will receive an extra \u00a30.5bn over the next five years through the National Lottery. That means investment in sport will happen up until Rio 2016 - "no other host city has been able to achieve this".


    BBC London Olympics Lord Coe says Games will be spectacular but come with a heavy weight of responsibility. We'll be speaking to him live at 6.30 BBC One

    1002: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Locog chief executive Paul Deighton says the last six months run-in is about attention to detail and four themes:

    • Training and mobilising people who will now make the Games happen (we've got to train 98% of Games Maker staff - a million hours of training)
    • Testing testing testing
    • Putting in place materials - to complete the stadia, build the Greenwich site, complete hospitality buildings, install cables, 16,000 fixed line telephones, printing tickets
    • Building up excitement and helping people here to be part of the greatest thing this city has seen in their lifetimes.
    1002: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Away from the six months preparations - Hugh Robertson says there's no evidence to suggest West Ham are no longer interested in the Olympic Stadium tender and he's expecting more details next month.

    Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    Deighton: "July 27 is the mother of all immovable deadlines...this is a massive challenge...under unparalleled scrutiny"


    Commenting on this week's row about babies needing tickets to attend Olympic events London 2012 chairman Seb Coe told ITV1's Daybreak: "It is an anomaly and we accept that. We had a scheme for families called Pay Your Age, which allowed you to take a child and pay the age of the child, but there are people that have bought tickets that have subsequently had babies. We will look at that. We recognise that we want to be a family friendly organisation."

    Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson insists the Olympic budget remains \u00a39.3bn - despite reports on Thursday to the contrary.

    Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Ahead of April resale of tickets, Deighton admits "extraordinary" demand has created "operational challenges". He stresses that 1m who didn't get tickets in first ballot to get priority in final round of sales in April. On effort to recover from recent ticketing resale system meltdown, Deighton says: "For Ticketmaster it's reputationaly critical."

    1030: Tim Franks BBC News

    "The Athletes' Village is not going to be plush but it is perfectly acceptable for the athletes at the moment. It is not furnished but is of a high enough standard that it is not going to be torn down or turned into a borstal afterwards. Half of it will be sold privately and the other half given for social housing. It is in pretty good condition and as with the whole of this \u00a39m jamboree, the Olympic authorities are saying it has been done to a very high spec.

    "The low level of hysteria will be stoked further later today when we get details of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I dare say we won't get all the details. In terms of hype you won't get much higher than Hugh Robertson saying it is a once in a generation opportunity to showcase Britain to the world. So no pressure then on Danny Boyle!"

    Michelle from Essex

    I am one of the performers in the opening ceremony and really excited about it. Looking forward to rehearsals starting. Can't tell you what we're doing though - I love surprises, don't you??

    Richard Barnett from London

    I am 100% for and behind the Olympics. I live and work in London. Other than Trafalgar Square I am amazed that you really would not know London is hosting the Games. Having been to Beijing 14 months before the Games, the moment you got to the airport you were totally aware that they were the host city.


    More than 900 East End youngsters will get the chance of a star turn at the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies. Dubbed the Mass Movement Team, the 7-13-year-olds who all hail from schools in the six east London Olympic host boroughs, have been vying for a place in the spotlight when the Games begin on July 27.


    Don't forget you can contact us with your views on today's announcements and the Olympics. Links to send e-mails, texts or comments on Twitter and Facebook are on the right-hand side of the page, so please get involved.


    BBC World Service has been looking into how residents in Beijing, London and Rio have been affected by the Olympics coming to town. Tales of people being forcibly moved out of homes and businesses, with one man attempting suicide, although another set up a new business with his compensation money. Listen to Part One on the iPlayer. Part Two of the programme is on Saturday night at 19:05 GMT


    Updates are beginning to come through from the Three Mills Studios in East London, where Danny Boyle is set to reveal some details on the opening ceremony.

    1059: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Some number detail on the ceremonies: London 2012 opening ceremony: 15,000 square metres of staging, 13,000 props, million watt PA system with 500 speakers, 64 supplier companies

    1059: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: For all four London 2012 ceremonies: 15k volunteer cast, 23k costumes, 12 hrs of music, 60 musicians, predicted TV audience 4bn


    Ella Bottoms: @London2012 For the opening ceremony, you should have 1,000 or more people making tea at the same time! #british #takethatbeijing

    1102: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Seb Coe on London 2012 ceremonies, there is: "no greater opportunity to showcase the UK... a unique opportunity to promote UK globally"

    1106: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Coe on the Olympic ceremonies: "I sleep comfortably because the best team of British creatives have come together...they'll wow the world."

    1107: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    In a warehousey studio for part two of the six-months-to-go press conference. Off camera even at Mill Lane studios - in London's East End. Off camera briefing but here's a sneak peek.

    Left to right: Stephen Daldry, Seb Coe, Danny Boyle
    Matthew in Hertfordshire

    I'm working at the Olympics as a security guard and I don't even know the ins and outs of the opening and closing ceremonies. Can't wait though, knowing Mr Boyle it'll be worth waiting for.

    1111: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Seb Coe gives some detail on the opening ceremony:

    • Expected 1bn people will watch opening ceremony, (combined audience over the Games will be 4bn)
    • 900 children that will be in the cast will come from the six host boroughs
    • 12,000 cast and crew will gather here in six months ahead of opening ceremony
    1114: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Stephen Daldry, one of two creative directors for the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies: "Four ceremonies are the greatest shows on earth and the task is enormous. It's like putting on 165 West End musicals all at the same time. London is spending considerably less than last two summer Games. We won't give much away at this stage but will give more than any other organising committee."

    "More detailed info on artists in April. Content of opening ceremony in June. All these ceremonies represent one journey to end of paras: who we are, who we were and who we would wish to be."


    London 2012 opening ceremony will be called Isles of Wonder.

    1116: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle, Olympic Games opening ceremony artistic director: "We want kids from host boroughs involved. Legacy is intangible because it's in people's hearts and minds. It's a big honour for the city. I am proud of the regeneration of London - it's where I come from. But how do you get humanity? It's about a land that has been poisoned by industrial legacy and it's based on the the recovery of that land."

    1120: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle: "We've commissioned the biggest ringing bell in Europe, it will hang at one end of stadium and ring at opening of Games."

    1120: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle: "It's inscribed with a Shakespeare quote from The Tempest and we want people to hear it for hundreds of years. Still need a sponsor to pay for it, though..."


    The Bell is inscribed with Shakespeare's Tempest quote: "Be not afeard the Isle is full of noises"

    1122: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle: "One of the sequences in opening ceremony will be taken from the NHS using doctors, nurses and health staff."

    1123: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Boyle says: "You're standing on the shoulder of giants in this job - the spectacle of Beijing was breathtaking & beauty of Athens inspiring... But Sydney has inspired us - it had a feel of the people's games - the reduction in scale is inevitable but it will be spectacular."

    1126: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Artistic director Stephen Daldry has admitted: We will be having a full dress rehearsal in the stadium and there will be problems with details leaking out."

    1130: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle says: "10,000+ athletes will be walking into stadium. Arrival of head of state. Seb's speech which is very, very expensive!

    NHS performers will be costumed but the theme will be linked to their profession. Have had volunteers from outside of the capital but mostly London.

    1129: Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets Danny Boyle says: "We'll be celebrating the whole of the country... there are so many 'Isles of Wonder'".

    Boyle admits he devised a show "then went looking for the money". A third of the \u00a381m for the four opening and closing ceremonies will go on the opening show.

    1133: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Danny Boyle: "We hope to have the show finished by midnight. Underworld are making sure marching music is 120 beats per minute! The pre-show will begin at 12 mins past 8pm - 2012. There will be a 50-minute preshow for 80,000 fans in the stadium before the main event at 9pm, when the big bell will ring.

    He says he will try to showcase the country's sense of humour.

    Mandy from London

    I am performing at the opening cermony. The London 2012 Olympics have already bought the whole community of London closer together. I have experienced this first-hand in my involvement, and it is inspiring and exciting to see exactly how positively it is affecting the city. It'll be an honour for me, and I know the other people involved will agree with me. To lift the spirits of the country and the world in such a difficult time, if even only for a few moments. A little bit of excitement and respite!


    So just to confirm, the theme of the opening ceremony of the Olympics is to be called Isles of Wonder. Some details of ceremony and of the handover of the Athletes' Village also in the story.


    Jonathan Robinson:The Olympic theme Isles of Wonder could mean anything... I presume it's something to do with the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.


    So how will the 2012 opening ceremony compare to those at past Games? Judge for yourself in our photo gallery of ceremony highlights over the years.


    George Nodder: Looking forward to 'Isles of Wonder', hope we don't try and copy Beijing, we should do something uniquely British.


    Jon Pitt: Olympic Opening Ceremony to be called "Isles Of Wonder". I assume this does not include Canvey Island.


    Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics Martin Green has to deliver a three-hour show to possibly the biggest global TV audience ever. He is in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies - as well as the medal presentation ceremonies. He says it's a thrilling honour, but he has moments of "absolute terror"

    Opening ceremony pressure mounts

    1154: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    Bare warehouse style launch - and the bare stadium model here - it gives little away of the Isles of Wonder opening ceremony.

    There will be nurses and children in costume, the story of a land recovering from its industrial legacy, and the biggest functioning bell in Europe.

    Model of Olympic Stadium used by Danny Boyle to help plan the opening ceremony Model of Olympic Stadium used by Danny Boyle to help plan the opening ceremony

    So there is six months to go until the Games, and alongside all the announcements and the handover of the athletes' village, research released today shows the benefits of being a London 2012 sponsor have yet to emerge

    1209: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    On a tour of the park, Paul Deighton tells journalists: "The Anish Kapoor piece (the Orbit Tower) should be finished in May - hopefully 1 May in time for test events.

    "We want it to be one of the things that people come to London and say they've visited. It's idiosyncratic but people are intrigued by it. They think 'Wow! That's quite something'. The capacity will be about 500 people."

    Orbit tower

    The Telegraph's Olympics Content Editor Nick Pearce: The Olympics opening ceremony: dancing nurses for \u00a327m

    1230: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    (Still on the journalists' tour of the Olympic Park) Paul Deighton back on the mic as we go down London Way, which will be pedestrianised come Games time.

    Driving past a big "U" and "N" outside the Copper Box (formerly Handball Arena) - that'll be two-thirds finished then, as the piece will eventually spell "RUN".

    Five 50m pools at Eton manor will be moved to five cities around the country after the Games, says John Armitt, before talk turns to news of .

    Dan Roan BBC Sports News Correspondent

    tweets: Just been speaking to Danny Boyle - he defends the doubling of the budget for the four ceremonies - interview across BBC platforms shortly.

    1232: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    A double-sided screen will be erected on barge in the river running through the park for 10,000 fans to watch ongoing sports, says Paul Deighton. The area's currently populated by cormorants, from the look if it.

    Rickie from London

    I'm dancing in the opening ceremony and was delighted to get my email. I met Mandy from London (an earlier commenter) online, along with several other auditionees. Some are yet to hear if they've got a place so we're all rooting for them.

    Bruce Banner from the UK

    Glad to see that the opening ceremony is giving a big nod to that great British trait of irony. Having NHS doctors, nurses and health staff at the beginning of an event costing \u00a310+ billion whilst hospitals are being closed down is a class touch.

    1239: Michael Hirst BBC 2012

    The Tempest is clearly a major theme throughout the ceremonies - apparently Kim Gavin (artistic director, Paralympic closing ceremony) was inspired by the same Shakespeare quote as on the bell for the closing ceremony.

    Danny Boyle said earlier Shakespeare would have heard a Whitechapel bell in his time. That 27-tonne bell is going to be striking...


    British Fencing To celebrate six months to go until London 2012 fencers Georgina Usher and Jenny McGeever will appear on the BBC's The One Show tonight.


    Billy Cotton tweets (in reply to news that the Olympic effect is not yet being felt by sponsors): The Athletes themselves have created a fantastic event format that is being utilised by Global Sponsors but not domestic ones.


    Danny Boyle tells the BBC that the bell commissioned for the ceremony will be made by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and he hopes it will remain at the site for future generations.

    He says the title Isles of Wonder was inspired by Caliban's speech in the Tempest, which begins with the line: "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises."


    Security for the Olympics will be tested at a Scottish football match on Saturday. Hampden Park in Glasgow will host football during the Games and some fans attending the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final between Ayr and Kilmarnock will be searched in a practice run for London 2012.

    The test is being carried out by Games organisers Locog with security partner G4S and supported by Hampden Park and Strathclyde Police. Locog recently tested security screening at football matches in Cardiff, Newcastle, Coventry and Manchester, which it said proved very successful with no disruption.


    Paul Dudley: Just passing the Olympic site in glorious sunshine on the DLR. So exciting!!!

    Paul from Hull

    I applied to be a volunteer and was lucky enough to be chosen on the transport team based at the Athletes' Village - it looks great, I start my training next week - can't wait!!

    J J Hunsecker

    Personally, I have followed every Olympics from when I was about 10. I always found the opening and closing ceremonies deadly boring, and never watched them. Still don't. I only care about the sports, which I am hugely looking forward to. I feel so priviliged to have tickets to such a unique event.


    So as we near the end of our live text coverage of today's events, here is a rundown on the news which has emerged with six months to go to the start of the Olympics....

    • The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will be called Isles of Wonder.
    • It is anticipated the opening ceremony on 27 July will be watched by one billion TV viewers.
    • The evening's 50-minute pre-show will begin at 12 minutes past eight - 20:12 BST - before the main event kicks off at 21:00 BST when the bell rings.
    • Some 900 youngsters from the six Olympic host boroughs will be given roles in the opening and closing ceremonies. A total of 1,650 children from 18 primary and seven secondary schools in east London have been auditioning for the roles in recent weeks.

    Other content for you to enjoy on our site this afternoon.


    And to wrap up our coverage today, the London 2012 opening ceremony artistic director Danny Boyle tells the BBC about his Tempestuous inspiration, the role of Shakespeare and of the NHS nurses and what he hopes will become of the Whitechapel Bell.


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