Matt Smith, left, and Sam Hoare in Going for Gold - The '48 Games.
Matt Smith, left, and Sam Hoare in Going for Gold - The '48 Games.

Golden boys of the 1948 Olympics

Row, row, row your boat was not a happy tune back in 1948 for the British athletes Bert Bushnell and Richard "Dickie" Burnell as they strenuously pulled the oars to keep their Olympic dreams alive.

Thrown together only six weeks before the Games, the duo embodied the spirit of a nation determined to get back on its feet after the horrors of the Second World War.

But medals seemed a distant hope; the first challenge for Bushnell, the son of a boatbuilder, and the Eton and Oxford-educated Burnell, would be to simply overcome their polar-opposite backgrounds, if they were ever to become a true team.

Their real-life story is the inspiration for the new BBC drama Going for Gold - The '48 Games, which traces their astounding victory in the double sculling event.

The Doctor Who star Matt Smith trades his cosmos-bending phone booth for oars as Bushnell, while Sam Hoare (Captain America: The First Avenger) portrays Burnell, who faced the added anxiety of living in the shadow of his father Charles "Don" Burnell, the gold medal-winning champion rower of 1908 (played by Geoffrey Palmer). In a BBC interview, Hoare said he and Smith were also thrown on to the Thames near Henley - the site of the 1948 rowing contest - with barely a week to learn some semblance of sculling, rowing with two oars rather than one.

"I had rowed a very small bit at school. Matt, I don't think, had ever been in a boat ever before," says Hoare. "We had this amazing coach who works for [the elite] Leander Club and also coaches the GB team."

When they rowed together, the real Burnell and Bushnell did so in a pressure-cooker.

Bushnell, denied an Olympic berth in his usual event of single sculls, carried a huge chip on his shoulder over the difference in social status between himself and "rowing royalty" Burnell who, of course, knew this would be his last chance to equal his father's gold in the Edwardian-era London games.

That the 1948 games - the first since 1936 - happened at all was a marvel in itself, with rationing still the norm as Britain struggled in the aftermath of a war that had destroyed its resources and reduced much of London to rubble. But thanks to the British people's refusal to let the event die, the so-called "Austerity Olympics" scored major success.

The Going for Gold screenwriter Billy Ivory says he believes London 2012 is poised to repeat the success of London 1948.

"There are so many parallels really, the austerity of then and the austerity of now and - personally speaking - I'm hoping that there will be a similar coming together of people and a uniting of spirit. I think the Olympics for Britain is brilliant."

After playing a sculler, Smith says he's desperate to see the sport for real, and would "love to go to the rowing" at this year's Games - if only he could get a ticket.

"But the four guys we were training with, who were going to the Olympics … even they could only get a ticket each for their families," adds Smith.

Even Doctor Who, it would appear, can't pull such a prized ducat out of the time-space continuum.

- Going for Gold - The '48 Games, premieres on Thursday at 9pm on BBC Entertainment

Twenty Twelve ribs the Olympics

While their real-life counterparts may fail to grasp the humour, the star-studded comedy series Twenty Twelve sees Hugh Bonneville, pictured, Jessica Hynes and Olivia Colman cavort before the documentary cameras as civil servants who toil to keep London's Olympic Games on track and on budget.

To say they're paddling upstream is putting it mildly; by the time the torch goes out, this frazzled-but-plucky crew should be able to dog-paddle up Niagara Falls. Their challenges include:

- Finding a way to present the future of the Olympic Stadium post-Games as something other than a complete shambles.

- How to get the Olympic Torch Relay Route to go through Shropshire.

- How best to market "the Jubilympics" as a joint branding venture between the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

"Deliciously topical, wickedly funny and sometimes uncannily close to real life, Twenty Twelve is a cautionary tale on how not to stage a major global sporting event," says the BBC.

Twenty Twelve is broadcast on Sundays and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC Entertainment

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

Tailors and retailers miss out on back-to-school rush

Tailors and retailers across the city said it was an ominous start to what is usually a busy season for sales.
With many parents opting to continue home learning for their children, the usual rush to buy school uniforms was muted this year.
“So far we have taken about 70 to 80 orders for items like shirts and trousers,” said Vikram Attrai, manager at Stallion Bespoke Tailors in Dubai.
“Last year in the same period we had about 200 orders and lots of demand.
“We custom fit uniform pieces and use materials such as cotton, wool and cashmere.
“Depending on size, a white shirt with logo is priced at about Dh100 to Dh150 and shorts, trousers, skirts and dresses cost between Dh150 to Dh250 a piece.”

A spokesman for Threads, a uniform shop based in Times Square Centre Dubai, said customer footfall had slowed down dramatically over the past few months.

“Now parents have the option to keep children doing online learning they don’t need uniforms so it has quietened down.”


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The Ashes

First Test, Brisbane: Australia won by 10 wickets
Second Test, Adelaide: Australia won by 120 runs
Third Test, Perth: Australia won by an innings and 41 runs
Fourth Test: Melbourne: Drawn
Fifth Test: Australia won by an innings and 123 runs


Hoffenheim v Liverpool
Uefa Champions League play-off, first leg
Location: Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim
Kick-off: Tuesday, 10.45pm (UAE)


Euro 2020 qualifier

Russia v Scotland, Thursday, 10.45pm (UAE)

TV: Match on BeIN Sports 

Getting there

The flights

Flydubai operates up to seven flights a week to Helsinki. Return fares to Helsinki from Dubai start from Dh1,545 in Economy and Dh7,560 in Business Class.

The stay

Golden Crown Igloos in Levi offer stays from Dh1,215 per person per night for a superior igloo; 

Panorama Hotel in Levi is conveniently located at the top of Levi fell, a short walk from the gondola. Stays start from Dh292 per night based on two people sharing; www.

Arctic Treehouse Hotel in Rovaniemi offers stays from Dh1,379 per night based on two people sharing;

Where to apply

Applicants should send their completed applications - CV, covering letter, sample(s) of your work, letter of recommendation - to Nick March, Assistant Editor in Chief at The National and UAE programme administrator for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, by 5pm on April 30, 2020

Please send applications to and please mark the subject line as “Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism (UAE programme application)”.

The local advisory board will consider all applications and will interview a short list of candidates in Abu Dhabi in June 2020. Successful candidates will be informed before July 30, 2020. 


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5