THE storytelling skills of a St Helens-born author will be at the heart of the Olympics Games’ Opening Ceremony tonight.

Frank Cottrell Boyce, a professor of reading who is a respected screenwriter and novelist, is among a select cluster of imaginative minds, led by the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, who have spent the past two years mapping out how the biggest show on the earth should begin.

Frank, who grew up in Rainhill, and studied at Keble College, Oxford. He wrote children’s novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again and is perhaps best known for writing Millions (which Boyle successfully turned into a movie).

He has given little away about the spectacle, although he has revealed how his role has been to bring a narrative structure to Danny’s kaleidoscope of ideas.

Speaking earlier this year, Frank, 52, a former pupil at St Bartholemews Primary School, in Rainhill, said: “Danny has amazing ideas, and I have been helping putting them in order to make an emotional sense.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the country must show the world "the best of Britain" over the next two weeks after describing previews of Friday night's £27 million opening ceremony as "spine-tingling".

David Cameron pledged Britain was ready to welcome the "greatest show on earth" after US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney cast doubt upon the country's readiness on Thursday.

"It's very exciting, I think there is a huge sense of excitement and anticipation because Britain is ready to welcome the greatest show on earth," Mr Cameron said. "It's going to be an incredible few weeks for our country."

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added: "London is ready."

The big stage rehearsals for the ceremony are now complete and more than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations are preparing to compete for a coveted Olympic title.

Millions more globally are expected to tune in on television but many competitors will be missing from the long and late-starting athletes' parade.

Competition clashes or just preferring to rest instead as part of vital preparations mean that British swimmers, athletes, track cyclists and rowers will skip the ceremony.

The identity of the person who lights the flame will remain secret up until the final moment, but some of Britain's greatest Olympians will take part in the closing stages of the ceremony.

These will include five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave and double Olympic decathlon gold medallist Daley Thompson, but neither are expected to light the cauldron.

At least one bookmaker stopped taking bets on Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute mile, but it may be that the honour is shared between a legendary sporting figure and someone else who is symbolic of London's ambition to inspire an international generation of youth.