The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony opened this year’s Games with a bang, with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Sir Kenneth Branagh, JK Rowling, the Arctic Monkeys and Mr Bean involved in artistic director Danny Boyle’s spectacular production. Catch up on the parade of athletes, speeches, lighting of the cauldron and more with our minute-by-minute blog below.

After months of torch-bearing, stadium building and arguably tenuous Olympics-based TV programmes, the Games have reached London.

London 2012 got underway with an Opening Ceremony featuring a cast of 15,000, a simultaneously bucolic and pyrotechnic display called Isles Of Wonder that was designed to show off the best of Britain – its history, its countryside, its inhabitants, its athletes, even its farmyard animals.

It saw reenactments of British history, performances from the Arctic Monkeys and Paul McCartney, colourful displays of dance and even a few celebrity cameos
As for who lit the Olympic flame? The honour was given to seven young British athletes who were passed the torch by rower Steve Redgrave.

As the spindly cauldron was ignited fireworks lit up the sky over Stratford, with McCartney initiating a sing-a-long of seminal track Hey Jude.

Whether you viewed it as dazzling or deranged, let us know what you made of the ceremony and catch up on all the action with our live blog below.