Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony review and 32 photos with Malala, Duran Duran & more

Now the world knows how great Birmingham really is - see our review from inside Alexander Stadium and photo gallery here

What a night. Birmingham brilliance was beamed across the world as our bashful city shook off its modesty and dazzled near and far.

That enormous bull, the Union Jack cars, the fireworks, the dancers - the athletes - where do you start to explain how magnificent it was?

Well maybe we should begin with Malala Yousafzai. The young woman’s homage to her adopted home city - where she fled to after being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan because she wanted an education.

Emotions were high as the Brummie Nobel Prize winner told of her pride in Birmingham where skillful medics at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital saved her life and the people embraced her and celebrated her desire for girls to be educated.

The two hour show at the Alexander Stadium in front of its audience of 30,000, including Prince Charles and Camilla, was incredible.

Another mega highlight was that bull! He was even bigger than the Bullring bull - 10 metres high from ground to the tip of his horns.

He roared, and he raged as he made his way across the stadium ground with prowess and power - despite being chained up by women.

The creative team, led by Martin Green who headed up the ceremonies for London 2012 and including Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight, produced the show from the backdrop of some of Birmingham’s amazing history - but it’s not all pretty.

The show story was based around a group of young athletes called Stella and The Dreamers from Commonwealth countries across the globe who explore Birmingham’s history - in a bid to represent a better, brighter future for us all!

You may be interested to know that the women alongside the bull were representing the female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution - who were actually making chains for the slave trade. The irony being that they too were slaves of sort, as they were underpaid and overworked.

However they got to take back control in 1910 by participating in the 1910 minimum wage strike.

Back at the show the bull was running away and escaping, which becomes a catalyst for the women to break free from their chains at the same time.

When Stella and the Dreamers catch up with the bull on their journey through time they choose not to be scared. Instead they embrace the traumatised and scarred creature - a touching reminder of how everyone is worthy of love, whatever their circumstances.

It’s also a poignant pointer to a key part of the Brummie spirit - embracing diversity and multiculturalism and giving everyone a warm welcome. Alright Bab!

Even the Queen bigged up Brum in her message delivered in her Baton which has travelled through all 72 nations and territories around the world and has been making its way through Birmingham earlier in the week. Read out by Prince Charles, the stadium cheered as the message said of Birmingham: "Tonight, in the words of the founder of the Games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham, a pioneering city which has drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history.

"It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, and one which now welcomes you all in friendship.

With so much going on it was easy to almost forget that Duran Duran were playing too. The local music stars wowed the stadium with some of their greatest hits including This is Planet Earth, Wild Boys and Ordinary World.

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, and members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra also performed during the night.

It’s a great time to be a Brummie - let’s make the most of it and celebrate the Commonwealth Games!

Here’s our picture gallery of all the action at Alexander Stadium for the Opening Ceremony. Enjoy!

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