Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Friday, April 13, 2012

A "Bert And Dickie" Update

In the bow Matt Smith as Bert Bushnell and Sam Hoare as Dickie Burnell in the upcoming BBC film Bert and Dickie.
As some of you readers of HTBS might remember, last August we had a few blog posts about the upcoming BBC One film Bert and Dickie about Bert Bushnell and Richard ‘Dickie’ Burnell and their triumph in the double sculls race on the Henley course at the 1948 Olympic regatta. After only training together for six weeks, they managed to become Olympic champions, giving Great Britain one of two Olympic gold medals in rowing events in 1948 (the second British gold went to Ran Laurie and Jack Wilson in the coxless pairs).

On Wednesday evening, there was a private screening of the movie for the involved families, the Bushnells, Burnells, and Beresfords, Sue Bushnell, daughter of Bert, writes to HTBS. Sue continues,

“The rowing scenes are beautifully shot, Matt Smith [playing Bert Bushnell] gives a mesmerising performance and I was particularly moved by the scene where Jack Kelly Jnr., shares his plentiful rations of steaks and cheesecake with his British hosts and fellow Olympians. […]  I think the film will be a great success and be of interest to rowing fans and laymen alike.”

Matt Smith is portraying Bert Bushnell and Sam Hoare is Dickie Burnell. Other cast members are James Frain impersonating five-time Olympian Jack Beresford Jnr., who was an Olympic official at the 1948 Olympic regatta, Douglas Hodge is playing Bert’s father, John Bushnell, and Geoffrey Palmer stars as Dickie’s father, Charles Burnell, who took an Olympic gold medal in the eights in 1908.

As of now, there is no official date when Bert and Dickie is going to air on BBC One, but it’s likely to happen in May or June. Of course, HTBS will keep you updated. While we wait, here is a BBC trailer with upcoming films on BBC, with a few seconds of Bert and Dickie (and a few seconds with Sir Steve, too).


  1. Just seen the screening of Bert and Dickie at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Thames. Wonderful, inspiring stuff! Love the blog by the way!

  2. Hello Karen - that was indeed good news. I'm not really sure when I'll be able to watch it, as I'm living across the pond, but somehow it's going to happen! Thank you for your kind words about HTBS.

  3. Is the film of the 1948 race available on the internet - if not is there any reason why not given that the British Library, Somerset House etc all make their archives available in this way?

  4. I have looked around on the internet, and so far, I have not found Bert's and Dickie's final Olympic race. However, on YouTube there is a very short film clip from the eights' race, which you can watch on HTBS. Go to date 7 September, 2011. Enjoy!