Audience urged to save the surprise

Spectators who attended a sneak preview of the Olympic opening ceremony were urged not to spoil the surprise for the rest of the world by keeping details of the eagerly anticipated curtain raiser under wraps.

Games organisers asked thousands of people who were invited to a technical dress rehearsal of the £27 million spectacular to try and refrain from circulating any revealing pictures or videos taken inside the Olympic Stadium.

The ceremony's artistic director Danny Boyle reportedly addressed the audience and called on them to "save the surprise" ahead of Friday's showpiece by not posting any images on social networks.

The hashtag "#savethesurprise" was also emblazoned on giant screens inside the Olympic Stadium, according to people at the event, before trending globally on twitter.

Movie director Boyle and his creative team have done their best to keep details of the opening ceremony secret and it seemed that most spectators at Monday night's rehearsal followed their wishes by not revealing any of the show's big surprises. Many took to Twitter to show their support.

Dan McNeil tweeted: "I am now sitting on my seat in the Olympic Stadium. But I shall #savethesurprise and not tweet details of the ceremony. Sorry." While Prashant Mistry wrote on the micro blogging website: "I have to #savethesurprise, but todays opening ceremony dress rehearsal was epic! you guys are in for a treat on Friday!"

The event, which is expected to be watched by billions worldwide, received hundreds of other glowing reviews from those lucky enough to be at the rehearsal.

Pete Hendrick tweeted: "If you've got plans Friday night, cancel them. Opening ceremony is out of this world. Danny Boyle, I salute you."

Labour MP David Miliband also took to the website to reveal he was among the audience. After the rehearsal he tweeted: "Danny Boyle is a genius with a wicked sense of humour."

An audience of about 62,000 is expected in the stadium, in Stratford, east London, for Friday's performance which will feature thousands of performers.