27 Jul 2012

London 2012 opening will not be ‘global pap’

The Olympics opening ceremony will not be “global pap”, Mayor of London Boris Johnson tells Channel 4 News, but “ingeniously traditional”.

Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson, speaking to Channel 4 News Presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, said that though he would not reveal what was happening in the ceremony, he hoped that people “without being jingoistic or chauvinistic, would be proud and moved”.

“This isn’t just global pap you know, ” he said. “We’re not just doing a show that could be on any in-flight thing about Britain, this is for us too, and I think people will enjoy it. I hope they will.”

Asked if he was nervous ahead of the Games, with his reputation staked on its outcome, he said he was “cautiously optimistic”.

He added that the response by Londoners to the torch relay had been a surprise in the run-up to the Games. He said he thinks it will be approaching five million people who have seen the torch as it passed through London over the past week.

He asked: “What primitve, neolithic feelings is it unlocking in the breast of the British people as they see the tiny flickering bit of burning gas going by?”

Festivities ahead

The torch has now completed its 70-day tour around the UK, with the final leg taking place on the Gloriana, the £1m barge which transported Queen Elizabeth in the Diamond Jubilee pageant in June.

Its 8,000 mile journey finished at the Tower of London in front of thousands of spectators at midday. It will next be seen at the opening ceremony tonight in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

Mystery still surrounds the identity of the fiigure who will light the cauldron, with Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-four minute mile, emerging today as one of the favourites.

The identity of the torch lighter has been kept a closely guarded secret. Another favourite is five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Redgrave. The Queen, Daley Thompson and David Beckham are also in the running.