Doctor Who takes to the water

Doctor Who star Matt Smith exchanged the home comforts of the Tardis for the wetter environs of a sculling boat for his role in a new BBC drama. Smith stars alongside Sam Hoare as an Olympic rower in the period piece Bert and Dickie, set during the 1948 Games in London.

It’s the stirring tale of a couple of glorious amateurs thrown together at the last minute and asked to row for king and country. Given the events happened 64 years ago, it’s probably not too much of a spoiler to reveal that they won gold in the double sculls.

The role required a crash course in rowing for Smith. It nurtured a new respect for Olympic oarsmen. "Just even to stay in the boat is a very hard skill because it's all about balance," he told The Guardian, "which is what the film is about – if you're not a team then you're dead. The moment one of you tips you're dead and buried, or the moment one of you breaks the rhythm of the stroke then you've lost a length, two lengths. Me and Sam had to really develop on all of those ideas."

Intense training was a vital part of the acting for the role, not something he is used to as Doctor Who. There’s a new series of the Time Lord’s adventures coming up in the autumn, and Smith is very pleased with the new shows.

"I think we have one of the strongest seasons yet coming up, I really do. We go into the 50th year all guns blazing and I'll be around," he said, adding that he was happy to carry on playing the Doctor indefinitely.

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