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Getting ready for the London 2012 opening ceremony

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Guest Blogger | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 27 July 2012

Archer in Barcelona


By 5 live's John Murray - Olympic Opening Ceremony commentator

For my London 2012 opening ceremony preparation I've been listening to CD's of previous opening ceremonies. Peter Jones in 1988 in Seoul; Barcelona in 1992 with John Inverdale, Terry Wogan and Karen Keating; Jon Champion in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000; and Nick Mullins in Athens 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

All that listening has really got me in the mood for what is one of the great moments in sporting history.

I know there have been, and will be, criticisms over the cost of the event, but the one thing I would say to people is that you can't put a price on the general feeling of worth that it brings to a country - and how the ceremony will showcase the city and the country.

I was at the final rehearsals in the Olympic Park on Wednesday evening and I think that Danny Boyle and his team have achieved that for London's ceremony.

There are points where people could criticise some of the ceremony but I am massively impressed by the job done.

Boyle was very specific about what he was trying to do in reflecting the British sense of humour and eccentricity, and I think that comes across really well.

However, there's still quite a lot of detail I don't know. There were various points in the rehearsal where I genuinely don't know who is going to be the person doing certain things; I can only guess and prepare for who it might be.

But I'm used to expecting the unexpected in football commentary so at points I will have to work like that and just be honest in my commentary when, inevitably, something unexpected happens.

Listen live to the Opening Ceremony on 5 live with coverage from 6.30pm, and a live audio description on 5 live Olympics Extra from 8.55pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    I am off to Bingo...... £6 all in and the chance to win a box of teabags.

  • Comment number 2.

    Shame zelds, I cannot wait. Stuck to the tv tonight, then off to watch the road racing tomorrow. Who wants it to be a militaristic money no object display as Beijing apparently was? Who wants it to be a branded nightmare like LA? Or boycotted because of politics? No, what most non-cynical people want is a great show and something that continues the lovely feeling experienced by those who went to the torch relay. Anyway good luck at Bingo!

  • Comment number 3.

    I have felt more excitement over going to Perry Barr dog track and this continuous OTT Olympic coverage on 5live has finally warn down any interest I may have had.

  • Comment number 4.

    Enjoy yourself Carrie. Britain may win a gold but I may win the teabags!

  • Comment number 5.

    John, I think this is one of the most exciting moments for London in a long time. There has been a lot of news commentary about the Olympics legacy and the doubtful long term benefits of the event - for me though, I think seeing everybody united in the quest for medals is legacy enough! Go UK!

  • Comment number 6.

    @Emma (#5): definitely agree with you - the boost to the national pride and spirit is a much needed one and it's great to see everyone getting behind the UK. Hopefully the naysayers shut their traps now and enjoy the event.. curious to see what Danny Boyle and his team have put together (hopefully the rest of the world gets the British humour!)

  • Comment number 7.

    Didn't win the teabags. Have caught a bit of the ceremony... Hmmmmmm........

  • Comment number 8.

    Any corporate state like the UK can with the use of technology and established journalists create an 'amazing' (an adjective constantly used by the latter) spectacle to keep the gullible masses happy for a short period until afterwards when they realise they're picking up the tab!.

    Typically many Tories are saying already the opening ceremony was too left wing! Yet the more the Tories
    fail in power the more they'll accuse anything of being left wing, even a corporate multinational fat cat driven event like London 2012 all packaged up as if its in recognition of athletics!

  • Comment number 9.

    The opening ceremony was amazing - incredibly well-coordinated, excellent humour, and totally the spirit one would expect of such an event! Well done Britain... and now to the medals!

  • Comment number 10.

    What a night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I loved it all and I could not believe so many secrets had been kept, the MOST amazing cauldron, 'Abide with me' sung so incredibly beautifully by Emele Sande, that child singing 'Jerusalem', and Doreen Lawrence. Plus the comedy of course, but what sticks in my mind is the use of music and the joy it brought me. Even Dizzee Rascal.

    OK I live in London, I am just so happy that everything leading up to last night was just so incredible, topped by all those drummers and volunteers transforming the stadium in front of our eyes. That does have to be the best lighting of an Olympic cauldron EVER!!

  • Comment number 11.

    So true carrie... the event was stunning and humour excellent... 007 and the Queen - classic! certainly the stuff legacies are made of in my opinion - something to remember!

  • Comment number 12.

    Blimey the first thing you notice on tv is the many empty seats at certain events.Haven't the sponsors or corporate bodies even got the courtesy to just phone some bod at the stadia and say we can't be bothered turning up and let the general public use the seats ? Its a damn poor show.Also the Derbyshire/Chapman programme was dreadful, the crew spent most of the time talking amongst themselves and the cycle race seemed to take secondary importance.Couldn't make out what was going on in the race.As usual the presenters seem too fond of the sound of their own voices ( yet again ) instead of giving a decent commentary.

  • Comment number 13.

    Today I have been at women's Hockey and I can tell you all 15,000 seats were being sat on. It was great to see.

  • Comment number 14.

    Anybody hear Colin Murray this pm? An embarrasment to broadcasting. Those around him sounded bewildered by his simply bizarre presentation. What was he on - a bit morethan adrenalin I suspect.

  • Comment number 15.

    I count myself as being very fortunate about not hearing that Jack because basically I have to switch off because each time I switch on now and try and listen to 5live for some actual news, I am bombarded with enough sporting statistics and figures to make my head explode.Please make it stop ....my love of sport is being worn down by 5live and there is still another two weeks to go ! I'm not surprised there are empty seats at venues , they have obviously been listening to this 5live Olympic overload and have lost the will to attend.

  • Comment number 16.

    I did try to give 5live the benefit of the doubt... oh I can't be bothered writing what's on my mind. Nothing will change for the better :-((

  • Comment number 17.

    Day 3's Must See Moments. Actually there are four, because the Men's Gymnastic (Artistic) Team are in the final and they qualified third, which means they are in for a medal, and as Louis Smith is so awesome, it could be a good or even great medal. I don't like the way this team is a bit forgotten in the build up to Daley/Waterfield.

    I am enjoying the Breakfast section of 5Live coverage, I think they are all doing a great job.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nicky Campbell and Alan Green in conversation this morning. Unmissable. Campbell trying to assert throughout - 'this is MY show, shut up Greeny' while Greeny having non of it and (for once) being very conrite in his view that rowing commentry is more rewarding than football. But the Campbell ego is always lurking ...

  • Comment number 19.

    ...lurking; it's enormous. Big enough to fill the whole of the Olympic park.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'd like to give FiveLive a belated congratulations for the coverage of the opening ceremony, especially John Murray who still managed to convey the images with words far better than certain people on the TV managed with pictures to help.

    I only hear Breakfast between 6 & 7 so I don't usually hear Mr Campbell. I have therefore also been shocked by the extent to which he is overbearing when speaking to anybody. I assume that most people tune into for news & sport and not to listen to Campbell & Riley joking and talking about their personal circumstances.

  • Comment number 21.

    The egos of the 5live presenters/commentators seems to get larger and larger with each passing day.

  • Comment number 22.

    To be fair Binkie, they are juggling quite a bit of co-ordination of different events as well as presenting, having to listen to several things via an ear piece whilst talking about something inb front of them is pretty hard and you don't get a second chance. Although I will NOT listen to Murray. He doesn't give anyone else a chance to speak.

    I did not like Vicky correcting Mark's grammar this morning, a piece of churlish one-upmanship which could have waited until off-air.

  • Comment number 23.

    Murray was at it again this afternoon - childish, not remotely funny and of course missing the point of a great GB cycling performance while he conducted his own pantomime.

  • Comment number 24.

    I couldn't agree more with the comments about Murray. Yesterday afternoon was one of the greatest ever British sporting achievements and he seemed to be more interested in where the next joke was coming from.
    I have no idea why there isn't a serious sports presenter hosting the afternoon programme.

    The commentary on the cycling road race was excellent though!

  • Comment number 25.

    Agreed mistered, commentry was great. Shame about the 'presenter'.


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