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The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

May the power of the brolly live on!

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Bert and Dickie, BBC1 (1948 London Olympics)
Me with Red Ribbon
rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly
Photo credit: http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/rjbpz/bert-and-dickie

Cut and pasted from the Radio Times:

Writer William Ivory’s unabashedly sentimental fact-based drama about plucky rowers Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell, who won gold in the double sculls rowing at the 1948 London Olympics.

Bert (Matt Smith) is a working-class young man who’s chippy and rude when he first meets his sculling partner, Dickie Burnell (Sam Hoare). Dickie is Eton and Oxford educated and a member of the Leander Club (the rowing equivalent of the MCC). But they soon bury their differences as they power through exhaustion to find glory.

Follow the link for the full feature:

There was a great feature on Bert and Dickie in the Radio Times, with an in-depth interview with Matt Smith, which can be found here:

You can read all about the programme here on the BBC One Website:

Raks's Reaction

I finally got around to watching this very belatedly over the Christmas and New Year break - I had Skyplussed it eons ago (way back in the Summer).

As most people know, I have zero interest in Sports of any kind, and I am not a Sports fan. Competitive sport really is NOT my thing at all. However, I wanted to see this because 2012 was London Olympics year and it starred Matt Smith who is always worth watching. So, a bit like Chariots of Fire, I thought that this would be a better way of commemorating the 2012 London Olympics Year than watching any real Olympics action!

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I LOVED this to pieces and I thought that it was outstanding. Matt Smith was excellent as Bert and he caught my interest right from the off. I was very interested in Bert the person and I wanted to hear his story.

The blurb about the show makes a big play on the class differences between the two main protagonists - Bert being working-class and Dickie being upper-class. For me personally, there were other themes in the piece which spoke to me more powerfully.

The first was the whole father-son dynamic and relationship. Both fathers were first-rate sportsmen and so there was a huge weight of expectation on the shoulders of both sons to perform to the best of their ability. In Bert's case, his father had sacrificed his own sporting career to provide for his family, and so his father wanted Bert to live out his own dream. In Dickie's case, his father was an Olympic gold medallist himself, and so his father wanted Dickie to follow in his footsteps and match his own achievements. Both fathers took a great interest in their sons' rowing, and acted as mentors and coaches, providing plenty of advice, whether the sons asked for it or not! I thought the father-son relationships were beautifully brought out and played by both sets of actors.

The second theme that spoke to me was teamwork. Bert and Dickie were from different social classes, different backgrounds, and had totally different personalities. What they learned, and what they proved, was that by working together, and pooling their knowledge and experience, they could win. I am a great believer in collaboration and so this spoke to me!

I was very interested in the whole concept of "fair play", and where the boundaries are between being competitive enough to ensure that you win and yet not over-stepping the boundaries of what is deemed fair play. The English, as epitomised by Dickie's upper-class father, were very big on "fair play"! Particularly in this day and age, I think this concept of Playing Fair against Playing to Win is worth exploring.

Finally, I really liked the whole backdrop of the "Austerity" Olympics and how Britain was determined to put on a good show, come what may, because they had given their word re hosting the Olympics. More so than other dramas focused on War, this drama actually brought home to me what food rationing meant for ordinary British people.

To sum up, a drama ostensibly about Sport, that I loved to pieces because it was actually about human beings and what makes them tick. Highly highly highly recommended.
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