Paralympic Opening Ceremony may be to star Stephen Hawking

Lead role: Professor Stephen Hawking

Professor Stephen Hawking will be the star turn at the Paralympics’ opening ceremony.

The Big Bang Theory scientist, who has been left severely disabled by motor neurone disease, has been included in the spectacle in ­recognition of his remarkable talents.

A source said: “Stephen has never let his disability stop him pursuing his dreams, so it feels right that he will be part of the opening ceremony celebration.

“He is one the greatest minds that Britain has ever produced, and organisers are thrilled that he has been included.”

Hawking, 70, is the world’s most famous scientist.

He has used a voice synthesizer to communicate since he lost the power of speech in 1985, due to a tracheotomy after suffering a bout of pneumonia.

His best-selling book, A Brief History Of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, sold more than 10 million copies.

He has also appeared in The Simpsons and hit US TV show The Big Bang Theory.

Performers have heard his distinctive computerised voice as final rehearsals are taking place before the show, confirming he has a role to play.

It is hoped that he will be in the Olympic Stadium for the opening, but he may appear on the giant screens instead.

London 2012 is already the most successful Paralympics ever, with more than 2.2 million tickets sold.

The opening ceremony, called Enlightenment, starts at 8.30pm next Wednesday.

“Having worked together in outdoor theatre over a number of years we’re ­determined that the ceremony should speak from the heart, whilst rising to the emotional and historic occasion of the homecoming of the Paralympic Games.”

Jenny added: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work collaboratively with leading deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists to create a unique, unforgettable spectacle to be enjoyed by millions across the globe.”

A spokesman for London 2012 organisers Locog said: “The Paralympic ­ceremony is going to be a fantastic event but we don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

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