Each year, approximately 250,000 spectators watch the world famous Oxford and Cambridge boat race from the banks of the river Thames in London, while the global audience is estimated to be 120 million.
For a period of six months, from the start of Michaelmas Term when the young hopefuls trial for a place on the boat race team, through to the great day itself, Oxford Today is taking a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to row for Oxford. The first film shows the September boat club trials, and has a interview with former Blue, and Olympic Gold Medallist, Andy Hodge (St Catherine's 2004). This and subsequent films discuss the commitment needed, the difficulties of juggling academic rigours with a gruelling rowing schedule, the physical pain, as well as the joy of being part of such a celebrated crew.
In addition, each film has a piece of specially commissioned music by David Hughes. David is a third-year music undergraduate at Somerville College, who is specialising in composition. Recent compositional highlights have included a children's opera written collaboratively with Oxford students and members of Garsington Opera, A Quartet which was workshopped by the Heath Quartet, and a setting of the Nunc Dimittis which has been performed in Somerville Chapel, Downside Abbey and Winchester Cathedral.
Filmed with the kind co-operation of the River and Rowing Museum, Henley.
With the big day only weeks away now, this latest video covers media attention to the boat race, from its beginnings right through to the present day. How do athletes, in what elsewhere is a niche sport, learn to cope with performing before an audience of millions? Archive footage courtesy of British Pathé.