Opening show cut short over transport worries

The organisers of the London Olympics today scrapped part of the opening ceremony due to fears that an overrunning show would cause bottlenecks on public transport.

Organisers LOCOG said a sequence involving stunt bikes had been cut to ensure that the spectacle, which kicks off the Games on July 27, finishes on time.

"We need to make sure the show comes in on time to make sure spectators can get home on public transport, so we have taken the tough decision to cut a small stunt bike sequence of the show," a LOCOG spokesman said.

He added that the 27-million pound ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in east London was due to finish between midnight (2300 GMT) and 12:30 am.

The show is designed to transform the stadium into a rural British idyll, complete with cows, sheep and synthetic clouds to provide traditional British rain -- in the unlikely event that the weather does not provide it.

The ceremony's artistic director Danny Boyle, whose film "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars, has said it would give Britons "a picture of ourselves as a nation".

But the British press has poured scorn on the plans, comparing the set to the one seen in hit children's television series "Teletubbies".

One billion people are expected to watch the ceremony around the globe, while an audience of around 62,000 will see the show in the stadium.

The budget for the opening and closing ceremonies was doubled to 81 million pound in December, reportedly after British Prime Minister David Cameron intervened. 

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