“I was buzzing after my visit and what a friendly and vibrant club” – the words of BBC sports correspondent Mike Bushell after filming the club for BBC Breakfast.
The agreed brief for the film was “community rowing”, and that this was best summarised as “fun” and “wide cross section of community taking part”. Over 50 members of the club volunteered to come for a mid week row for the cameras to demonstrate this; and we put the full range of boats, ages and styles. Many thanks to Kelly who volunteered to have her first Learn-to Row lesson in front of the cameras.
Mike himself went out in an Edon with floats; and under Richard and Andrew’s expert guidance, quickly progresses to a recreational quad; all under the eye of cameraman Pete.
With the sun shining, the new flag and banners flying, and the members euphoric at just being allowed to row again after a long lockdown, there was a happy carnival atmosphere, accentuated by all the Boat Race crews (and their super-launch) weaving around us. The afternoon was best summed up by Nicki who later said “it was magical”
Mike Bushell took time out to cross the river to film a couple of interviews with Oxford and Cambridge rowers, to tie our story into a national news event.
BBC’s original plan was to show a 3 to 4 minute feature. He stayed with us filming for 5 hours, and agreed afterwards he had enough material for a “one hour special” (if only….). I now understand that the first cut of the feature has extended to over 5 minutes, which is a long piece for this kind of show (although still subject to final editing). The only regret is that not everyone who was filmed will make it to the final cut; but I’m sure that everyone will agree it was fun to be there and take part.
Watch BBC Breakfast – starting 6am on Saturday 3 April