2012’s Got Talent

The 2012 opening ceremony should appeal to the masses, so says Jonathan Byrne, chief operating officer, Royal Aeronautical Society and 4 Hamilton Place…


As with all the major international games, the eyes of the world will be firmly fixed on the 2012 opening ceremony. The ceremony China delivered has given London an awfully hard act to follow. We would have expected nothing less from the nation that seems to breed excess; the 8,000 terracotta warriors and a wall that’s nearly 9,000 kilometres in length spring to mind…

And their ceremony was nothing short of spectacular, with around 14,000 performers taking part and lasting over an hour. But unless we rope in the entire population of a small British town we cannot compete with the sheer scale of what they did, so what do we do?

The ceremony should appeal to the masses and that’s where I just hope that we don’t get it wrong. The general public like a bit of “pizzazz” and sparkle. They want to see a “show” that is worthy of one of the biggest and best events the world ever sees. How about getting members of ISES involved?

You personally may not like TV shows such as X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, or even the music of Boyzone or Steps, but Joe Public does – and that’s why they sell in their millions. Many look down their noses at these examples of popular culture but we cannot deny that they were indeed popular, and were embraced en masse across the western world.

So are we going to learn from this and give the public the show it is expecting to see? Or will we see a ceremony that has been designed by committee, like many of the other 2012 symbols appear to have been (Wenlock and Mandeville anyone?). Or, heaven forbid, a ceremony that is seen as highbrow or even ‘worthy’?  The opening ceremony should be memorable because it appeals to the masses – please don’t let it fall flat on its face!

Much has been said about the 2012 games being London’s chance to show the world what its creative events industry can do, so I just hope that we get the opening ceremony right. Although perhaps getting Simon Cowell involved may be a step too far…?