NBC scored the highest ratings ever for an Olympics opening ceremony held outside the US, with 40.7 million people tuning in last night to watch Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s beautiful and occasionally mad love letter to Great Britain. It featured fireworks, Kenneth Branagh, the NHS, the Queen joining forces with James Bond, adorable corgis, epic sets, a hundred-foot tall version of Lord Voldemort, Rowan Atkinson playing piano, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling reading everyone a bed time story, David Beckham on a speedboat, the guy who invented the internet live tweeting from the stage, and Sir Paul McCartney leading the world in a singalong of Hey, Jude. Yeah, it was pretty awesome.
But a couple of the best bits from the London 2012 Opening Ceremonies never made it to air in America, including the fantastic kickoff to the BBC’s television coverage introduced and narrated by none other than Sherlock Holmes himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. The Sherlock star gave the world an introduction to London and a welcome to the 2012 Summer Games, and provided the sort of superquick history reminder that might have helped some Americans catch more of the many historical, literary and cultural references that were jam-packed into Boyle’s opening.
Click through for a look at Cumberbatch’s opening introduction for yourself, as well a memorial dance tribute, and a little snippet that might be of particular interest to Doctor Who fans.