Rogue TV icon Lenny Henry stole the show at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
Friday morning’s (AEST) blockbuster at Alexander Stadium celebrated host city Birmingham’s cultural achievements and diversity as athletes from around the globe made their way into the arena.
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The spectacle was headlined by the presence of a giant 10m tall “Raging Bull” but it was a performance by local hero Henry that had plenty of people talking.
The British actor’s light-hearted jokes during the opening ceremony were a major talking point even as the event headed to a musical performance by UK mega-group Duran Duran, who ended things with a bang.
Given the job as master of ceremonies and introducing the athletes as they made their way into the stadium, Henry took a very casual approach.
“What an opening ceremony — I’ve had the wrong kind of mushrooms on my toast this morning,” he said of the crazy, artistic display.
“We are live from the Alexander Stadium with 30,000 spectators, including my brother Seymour who’s down the front.
“All your little faces smiling at me – black, brown, pink, white, sunburnt from last week.
“Please welcome our Commonwealth champions.”
Fans gave the thumbs-up to Henry’s loose approach.
Popular local comedian Joe Lycett also made plenty of noise on social media with a quip as the athletes began to make their way into the stadium.
“Now I’m going to do something the British government doesn’t do, welcome some foreigners,” he said.
There was lots of colour, noise and action inside Birmingham’s main athletics stadium, sparking plenty of reaction among punters who were enjoying the “wild” show.
Earlier it was the “Raging Bull” at the centre of the global discussions.
The Bull Ring is a major shopping district in Birmingham, which also features a sculpture of a bull, while the mascot for these Commonwealth Games is Perry the Bull.
Female chain makers dragged the bull into the stadium, representing the chains used during the slave trade. The bull then broke free of those chains — symbolising the abolition of the slave trade and the 1910 wage strike that paved the way for women to break free from poverty.
The bull was then “tamed” by a performer and plonked in the middle of the stadium, becoming a focal point of the entire ceremony.
Earlier, Prince Charles arrived arrived in style, driving the same Aston Martin the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge famously left Buckingham Palace in on their wedding day.
Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, arrived together at the Alexander Stadium — drawing comparisons to James Bond and his famous Aston Martin.
The Prince of Wales drove his luxury, vintage car out onto the arena before a display where several motor vehicles combined to form a perfect Union Jack on the arena surface.
It takes a lot to upstage a giant bull and royalty, but musical icons Duran Duran — whose career started in Birmingham — gave it a red hot crack at the end of proceedings.
Everyone inside the stadium was loving it, dancing along to the music as the famous British band produced a festival atmosphere with some classic tunes.
TV viewers went wild too, taking to social media to praise the veterans for ending things on a high note as they belted out fan favourites Save A Prayer, Planet Earth and Ordinary World.