Then in a tribute to the British weather, which just hours earlier had soaked the Olympic torch-bearers racing through the streets of the Square Mile, dancers bearing lit-up umbrellas emerged. In this wettest summer on record, the rain splashing on the stadium had to be faked as the real stuff had for once held off.
Wheelchair -bound physicist Stephen Hawking was the star of the show. Speaking through his famous computerised voice system, he urged those in the packed Olympic stadium to: “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Be curious.”