This BBC One film first aired amid the buzz of the London Olympics in the summer of 2012, and tells the true story of two British rowers, thrown together just five weeks before the London 'Austerity' games of 1948. Matt Smith and Sam Hoare portrayed the eventual double sculls gold medallists, Bert Bushnell (1921-2010) and Richard Burnell (1917-1995). The BBC News site featured a short interview with Smith on the role: "The story goes that Bert was chippy, but hey, he was a brilliant sportsman and sometimes [they] are built that way. By its very nature there is artistic licence but one would hope that it's sensitive in the right ways. Billy's (William Ivory) writing interested me. There is something heroic and victorious about that story which affected me and as I read it, I'd never got in a boat before, so that was a daunting but exciting challenge. What you learn is that your body is just a mechanism and rowing isn't about pulling it's about force [and] pushing. I keep fit [on] Dr. Who but there are many levels of fit.
If you watch any rowing final, you see the physical agony they're in afterwards, it's like they've been hit over the head with a bat. Every ounce of your body, every muscle is used, it's incredible."
Bert & Dickie was repeated on the Drama channel last night, and featured fourteen other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
- Hoare (pictured above with Smith) voiced Lucius for Serpent Crest: Tsar Wars (AudioGo, 2011)
- Big Finish artist Adrian Lukis (Burghley) voiced Bragg for Cobwebs (2010), Byzan for The Children of Seth (2011), and Harvey Marsh for The Justice of Jalxar (2013)
- Douglas Hodge (John Bushnell) voiced Edge for Urban Myths, and Radu for Son of the Dragon (both 2007)
- Geoffrey Palmer (Don Burnell) played Masters in The Silurians, the Administrator in The Mutants, and Captain Hardaker in Voyage of the Damned
- Greg Bennett (Ajudicator) was a Sycorax Warrior and a UNIT Soldier for The Christmas Invasion, and was an uncredited Guest in The Lazarus Experiment
- Alexandra Moen (Rosalind) was last seen as Harry Saxon's wife, Lucy, in The End of Time
- Clive Merrison (Clement Attlee) was Jim Callum in The Tomb of the Cybermen, and the Deputy Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers
- Ron Cook (Albert) was Mr. Magpie in The Idiot's Lantern
- Graham Padden (Hawkins) was Pa in Gridlock
- Kevin Hudson (Wheelwright) made uncredited appearances in twenty-three episodes, from The Long Game to The Day of the Doctor
- Rory Herbert was also script supervisor on A Town Called Mercy, The Power of Three, The Rings of Akhaten, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS and The Name of the Doctor
- costume designer Suzanne Cave and boom operator Sarah How both worked in those capacities on An Adventure in Space and Time too
- Nick Roberts was also ADR recordist on The Time of Angels, Flesh and Stone, The Vampires of Venice, Cold Blood and The Lodger