Royal preview of 'green and pleasant' land created for Olympics

A 'green and pleasant' land, complete with a menagerie of 70 sheep and three cows will be created inside the Olympic stadium for the London 2012 opening ceremony.

This is the vision of filmmaker Danny Boyle, the man behind the £27-million spectacular, who plans to transform the venue into the 'British countryside'. 

The set will feature meadows, fields and rivers, families taking picnics, sports on the village green and farmers tilling the soil.

It was also include real grass, an oak tree and 'clouds' suspended from wires above the stadium, one of which will produce rain – provided the British weather doesn’t get there first.

Danny – who won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire and also directed Trainspotting – has said the show is inspired by Shakespeare's play The Tempest.

This week Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were invited to see the fruits of his labour.

They also saw costumes that will feature in the ceremony, meeting with volunteers trying on their outfits in Bow, close to Stratford’s Olympic Park.

"Is this the first time you've put it on?" the Prince asked one man. "I love it!"

The countryside theme is evident with a tree in the stadium at one end and an outline of the River Thames.

Oscar-winning Danny has some big shoes to fill after Beijing's "show to end all shows" four years ago.

But, he says, rather than trying to follow that extraordinary display, London's ceremony will be a "fresh start", something that is perhaps "a bit warmer, more inclusive and more involving".

He also promised drama and humour too 

A model of the stadium which will feature real farmyard animals grazing.

The menagerie will include 70 sheep, three cows, 12 horses, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese and three sheepdogs
 Photo: © Rex

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall meeting schoolchildren during a tour of the Olympic Park and surrounding waterways.

Inside the stadium the royals will have seen the bell that will ring out at the start of the spectacle.

The world's largest "harmonically-tuned" bell, it weighs 23 tonnes and is inscribed with the quote from The Tempest: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises" 

Charles talks to 10-year-old  Azid Jaggider as he launches one of the new water chariots.

The schoolboy thought up the name “Usain Boat” for the vessel, one of a fleet that will transport passengers to and from the Olympic Park before and after the Games


Seen here with Sebastian Coe, the former gold medal winning athlete and chairman of the London Olympics committee 

The water chariots are moored next to House Mill, where the Prince and his wife were given a tour of the traditional machinery by the trustees


Meeting cyclist Barney Storey, a Paralympian gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, at the Velodrome 


Aerial image of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London being prepared for the opening ceremony