The Olympic opening ceremony was as perfect as it could get.
Danny Boyle captured the spirit, history, humour and patriotism of an expectant nation on Friday night as he pulled off a spectacular Olympic opening ceremony.
Boyle's vivid and vibrant pageant set the tone for these Games.
Earlier the Queen made a seemingly spectacular entrance to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony this evening by dropping in from a helicopter by parachute accompanied by James Bond.
The surreal sequence followed a short film featuring James Bond actor Daniel Craig soaring across the streets of London before the pair apparently took the plunge.
Stuntmen dressed in a tuxedo and a peach-coloured dress really made the leap using Union Jack parachutes, and the Queen accompanied by Prince Philip then emerged and took their seat in the Royal Box.
The Slumdog Millionaire director's Isles of Wonder theme for the evening began with a film of ships approaching the coast, played to the strains of Elgar's Nimrod that grabbed the audience by the heart and refused to let go.
It was followed by a dazzlingly fast-paced journey down the famous Thames river from its source in Kemble, Glos., to the east end of London, taking in Ratty and Mole, village cricket, rowers at Henley and the London Underground, backed by a pulsating procession of British music, from the Clash's London Calling to the Sex Pistols and the theme from EastEnders.
600 NHS nurses and patients from London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for children jived to a live performance of the classic album Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield.
To ensure that not a single corner of the United Kingdom felt left out, choirboys sang the "national anthem" of each of our four countries: Jerusalem, sung from the stadium, Londonderry Air, sung on the Giant's Causeway, Cwm Rhondda, from Rhossili Beach and Flower of Scotland from Edinburgh Castle.
The honour of singing the National Anthem was given to the Koas Signing Choir of deaf and hearing children, from a London-based charity that helps hearing-impaired children get involved in the visual and performing arts.
As the countdown neared its end, came perhaps the most spectacular moment of all, as workers in a furnace produced a crucible of "molten metal", poured down a channel and into a circular mould to forge an Olympic ring.
From the four corners of the stadium's roof came four more rings to join it, which united in mid-air to form the Olympic rings which crackled and then showered sparks onto the stage below.
Then, once the clock reached zero, man of the moment Bradley Wiggins, Britain's Tour de France hero, rang Europe's largest tuned bell, forged for the Games in Whitechapel.
The press world over hailed the Opening ceremony as an event that has never been seen.
The Daily Mail called it 'the Greatest Show On Earth'.
The Telegraph gave the headline as 'London 2012: breathtaking, brash and bonkers...an utterly British Olympic opening ceremony'.
The Sydney Morning Herald heaped praise on Boyle's efforts for getting the 'balance right'.
The Washington Post called it a judicious mix of number of things that are essentially British-glamorous (David Bowie), scary (Voldemort), funny (Monty Python) and punk (mosh pits).
The Daily Express carried a story, proudly claiming that the cultural extravaganza hit the right tone. (ANI)