UPDATED: 5:15 p.m. EST

Famous Brit Kenneth Branagh was one of the first celebrities to be seen at the pastoral, "Isle of Wonder"-themed opening ceremonies to the 2012 London Olympic Games, which kicked off in London on Friday night, 4:00 p.m. EST, and will air with the time delay at 7:30 p.m. EST tonight on NBC.

Branagh appeared after the opening number to do what he does best — recite Shakespeare of course, reports the New York Times in their live coverage of the opening ceremonies. The theme of the evening comes from The Tempest, so Branagh recited Caliban's famous lines from the play: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises, / Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not."

Then the lights and lavish performances that honored British history began, with references to World War I, the labor movement, and even the Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, before a video played showing Daniel Craig jump out of a helicopter with none other than Queen Elizabeth II. Okay, so there were special effects involved.


Just as the opening ceremonies to the 2012 London Olympic Games are about to kick off and the Olympic torch is making its way to the mysterious "Isle of Wonder" of Olympic Park, fans, media, celebrities, politicians, athletes and royals are all gathering to cheer on their country's contenders in the games … and to see a good show.

One day before the official lighting of the Olympic torch, the flame made its way through London toward Olympic Park and stopped off Buckingham Palace in London, where Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth II stepped out to greet it, wearing sporty clothing and grinning broadly, reports CBS.

The royals watched as Wai Ming handed over the flame to John Hulse to continue its trek through London. It is rumored that British Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute mile, will have the honor of lighting the Olympic torch, reports USA Today in their coverage of the build-up to the opening ceremonies.

Meanwhile, reporter Christine Brennan is tweeting about some of the more surprising developments at the Olympic ceremonies. "Just arrived inside Olympic Stadium," she tweeted. "Stunningly easy to get in as a member of media. Even more surprising: no scan of ticket or credential. Basically, it's easier getting into Olympic opening ceremony with a ticket than it is to get into an MLB game. Who knew?"

The opening ceremonies, directed by 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, will feature various performances and appearances by celebrities Daniel Craig and Paul McCartney. The event will air tonight on NBC at 7:30 p.m.

For more on the 2012 London Olympics:

Olympic Athletes Disqualified For Doping

U.S. Olympian Josh Lakatos Shares Details Of 'Debaucherous' Condom-Filled Olympic Parties

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Diver David Boudia On London And Thomas Finchum

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Gymnast Jordyn Wieber On Training For London Games

PROFILE: The Audacity Of Hope Solo

Alex Morgan, Women's Soccer Star, Looks Forward To London

Who Got Kicked Off 'Dancing With The Stars'?

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Swimmer Brendan Hansen Lost His Olympic Gold Medal

The Phelps Family Reflects On Michael Phelps' Olympic Career

EXCLUSIVE: Olympic Gymnast Jonathan Horton Talks His Competition Day Routine

Daniel Craig To Open Olympics At Buckingham Palace

Uinterview | News: Lolo Jones Qualifies For London Olympic Games

Uinterview | News: LISTEN: Muse Song 'Survival' Chosen As Official Song For London Games

Michael Phelps To Retire After London Games

SLIDESHOW: Michael Phelps

SLIDESHOW: Nastia Liukin

Double Amputee 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius Blazing A Trail For South Africa

Ryan Lochte Beats Michael Phelps At World Championships


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