Queen, Bond and Bean as Games begin

The Queen made her movie acting debut as she joined James Bond in the spectacular Olympic Games opening ceremony.

In a scene filmed in advance and screened for the first time, Bond actor Daniel Craig arrives at Buckingham Palace in a dinner jacket, striding past the corgis towards the royal study.

"Good evening Mr Bond," says the Queen, before they leave together, apparently heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter. Back in real time, to peals of laughter and delight from the crowd, "the Queen" followed by "Bond", parachuted from a helicopter towards the arena.

Seconds later the real Queen and Prince Philip received a standing ovation as they arrived.

Earlier Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins rang the giant bell which marked the start of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Wearing a yellow jersey Wiggins, who less than a week ago became the first British man to win the Tour, was greeted with cheers at the Olympic Park.

It was the dramatic start of a breathtaking ceremony capturing the best of Britain, by turn moving and funny. Some details of the Bond stunt had emerged in advance of the £27 million opening ceremony - the brainchild of Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. But the Queen's role - played to perfection - still left the audience awe-struck and delighted both in the stadium and around the world. "The Queen made herself more accessible than ever before," Boyle said earlier.

In another surprise Rowan Atkinson in his Mr Bean character created comic havoc as Sir Simon Rattle conducted the theme from Chariots of Fire.

The show started simply with the stadium turned into a meadow, a green and pleasant land. The world's largest harmonically-tuned bell, weighing 23 tonnes and measuring two metres tall and three metres wide, rang inside the stadium to start a Shakespeare-inspired spectacle featuring 900 children from the six east London host boroughs.

Another tightly kept secret was how the torch would make its final journey from central London down the River Thames to the stadium in east London. The surprise was that it was former England captain David Beckham, who was shown steering a speedboat with young Arsenal women's footballer Jade Bailey past Tower Bridge. The stadium erupted in cheers for Beckham, who missed out on a place in the Team GB football squad. A spokesman for Games organiser Locog said: "Becks drove the boat down the river live. A bit of the close-up was pre-shot but he drove it live."

Sir Chris Hoy, Britain's flagbearer, joined athletes from the 204 competing Olympic nations as they smiled and waved during their moment in the spotlight.