The London Paralympics Opening ceremony is about to start in London. To avoid spoilers for those watching on tape delay (if available at all in your areal!!), I will put a brief description of the events as they happen and some background to the images etc below the orange swirl. It is known that Stephen Hawkins will take an integral part in the ceremony introducing the segments and that it will end with a mass signing and singing of "I am what I am".
The importance of this for Britain is very sigificant. This is the Paralymics "coming home" to the country the idea of the games was born.
Note this is being broadcast by Channel4 which has a catchup service, 4OD which should not be as difficult to access as the BBC iPlayer
Starts with a flypast of a plane piloted by a wounded veteran.
Opening with Hawkin explaiig how man has sought to expalin the univers. A fiery all desends to the cetre of the area to create the "big bang"
Event to be a celebration of British scientific discovery,
Now massed umbrelas againt the "rain" Flying umbrellas bear more dancers (includig disabled) with circus skills into the sky.
Ian McKella reads from "The Tempest" calling upon a wheelchair bound Miranda to go out into the world to enjoy the diversity of humanity.
The unbrellas form into a shape surrounding a hyge central unbrella to form the shape of "Miranda's eye" through which we will see the rest of the ceremonyg
Spheres enter - an apple representing the discoveries of Newton, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a Higgs boson particle
12:43 PM PT: The central umbrella opens to reveal a globe from which diverse people emerge to form a choir
12:47 PM PT: After a specially composed song (Principia, named after Newton's book principia mathematica) The Queen enters. The Union flag is raised by members of the armed services
12:52 PM PT: Choir sing and sign the first two verses of "God Save the Queen"
12:56 PM PT: Parade of nations
12:58 PM PT: Crowd enthusiastic (place is a sellout aprt from a few highest price seats). Overall 2.4 of 2.5 million tickets have been sold
1:19 PM PT: For the sharp eyed, you may notice the nations' flags are not being accompanied by a child carrying their "petal" for the flame caldron, unlike the opening of the Olympics. The caldron has already been prepared and is currently domed (or umbrella) shaped. It has a reduced numbers of petals as they represent each competing nation
1:56 PM PT: Parade of nations continues. Athletes having such a good time being welcomed that the organisers hae sped up the music to encourage them to move onto their seating and wheelchair places more quickly.
Channel 4 currently on a short ad break. The broadcast is being sponsored by a big supermarket chain, Sainsburys and the telco BT
1:57 PM PT: Small paralympic team from Libya get huge cheer
2:05 PM PT: Mexico by far the most colourful nation so far. Programme is massively overunning but "nobody cares"(Channel 4 presenter)
2:28 PM PT: Enormous welcome for South Africa and their flag bearer Oscar Pretorious
2:42 PM PT: HUGE contingent from the USA enters.
2:47 PM PT: The two Channel4 co-presenters are one of their news readers and a very knowledgeable Canadian retired wheelchair racer. As well as some of the athletes' back stories he has been outlining the state of paralympics in most of the countries. Interesting discussion on how poorer counties' paralympians are disadvantaged by lack of access for the latest technology.
2:48 PM PT: Paralympics GB enter to standing ovation and clouds of ticker tape
3:01 PM PT: Parade ends. Special song "Spirit in motion" composed for the event sung by Denise Leigh and signed by Deepa Shastri. Name is also that of the three element Paralympic symbol
3:08 PM PT: Lord Coe (chief of LOCOG) extends welcome home to Paralympics. Gives brief history of games.
Sir Phillip Craven (President of International Paralympics Committee) welcomes athletes to "biggest paralympics ever"
3:13 PM PT: Queen declares games open
3:15 PM PT: Fireworks circle the stadium.
Paralympic flag brought on by members of the GB under 22 Basketball team
3:16 PM PT: Take flg to the pole to the sound of "I vow to thee my country"
3:18 PM PT: Flag is handed over to the military escort who raise it.
3:19 PM PT: "Those who can" are asked to stand for the Paralympic Anthem as the flag rises to the top of the staff
3:21 PM PT: Paralympic oaths to repect rules are recited.
3:24 PM PT: Presenttion restarts
McClellan ricites more for the Tempest praising books.
3:27 PM PT: The stadium becomes a great reading room, the umbrella a lampshade.
Handel's "Eternal source of light devine"
The lampshade breaks apart to reveal the globe seen creating the big bang
3:28 PM PT: Paralympians "fly" into the stadium on wires
3:29 PM PT: "Miranda": how beatious the world is.
3:31 PM PT: Miranda is borne from Prospero's island in a boat made from an upturned umbrella
Hawkins explains there is no boundary to the universe, there should be no limit to man's ambition
3:33 PM PT: on her way Miranda encounters whales and a flock of seabirds. A tribute to navigation and the scientific instruments used for it
3:34 PM PT: A whirling dervise with the hem of his skirt alight dancesa on top of a orary (model of the solar system)
3:35 PM PT: Dancer becomes the eye of a storm that has blown up
3:36 PM PT: Ballet sequence by a legless male dancer
3:38 PM PT: The storm is calmed and the dancer flies out of the stadium. Miranda flies from her chair to perform an aerial duet
3:42 PM PT: The stage is reset with giant apples and a Newtonian telescope. Miranda finds herself in a maze - the book has become a garden.
Miranda is told to imperse helself in the wonders of science.
3:43 PM PT: A giant gold apple descends and the audience is asked to bite into the apples they have brought.
Tribute to Sir Isaac Newton
3:45 PM PT: Dancers perform an interpretation of a renaissance masque
3:48 PM PT: Miranda told to be herself. "Our greatest adventure lies ahead"
3:51 PM PT: Hawkins explains the exploration for fundamental particles. The stadium transforms into the Large Hadron Collider where ideas as well as particles are collided.
3:53 PM PT: Massive copy of a sculpture of a pregnant armless woman
3:54 PM PT: Miranda flies up to break the glass ceiling and "set us all free"
3:55 PM PT: Channel4 showing sequence of the lighting of the flame and it being carried round the country.
3:59 PM PT: Hawkins closes show, paralympic flame enters carried by a disabled veteran from the top of the Orbit (350ft high sculpture) into the stadium
he hands it to a blind soccer player
4:01 PM PT: Its handed to Britains first gold medal winner who lights the cauldron. The petals rise to form a single flame
4:04 PM PT: Song: "I am what I am"
First run through as a slow tempo with mixed (wheelchair and ambulant) dance trouper. Fireworks begin
4:06 PM PT: Fireworks explode as choir joins in, all of stadium swaying to the song.
Volunteers form the paralympic symbol on the stadium floor
4:09 PM PT: The stadium lighting transforms into a giant prompt for the whole audience to join in signing and singing the song.
4:10 PM PT: Ceremony ends with wishes for a safe journey (last trains will soon be going as it is after midnight here)