Kicking off the actionů

The Olympics' Chinese hosts have described the opening ceremony as the most spectacular ever planned in the 112-year history of the modern Games - and it certainly lived up to the hype. With 10,000 performers taking part and a breathtaking appearance from Hertfordshire-born soprano Sarah Brightman, the extravaganza was watched by an incredible one billion people - 15 per cent of the world's population.

The spectacle lasted for over four hours, and there were over 100 world leaders present to see the efforts of House Of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou come to fruition.

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