April 15, 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of one of history’s most famous passenger ships. To mark this event the History Channel presents a selection of programs that delve into the Titanic disaster like never before from Thursday April 13 to Sunday April 15.
Thursday April 12
7.30pm – Lost Worlds: Building the Titanic
The construction of the unsinkable Titanic needed an army of workers and the resources of a purpose-built town complete with an array of specially built docks and facilities to construct it. This is the forgotten story of Belfast’s Titanic Town.
8.30pm – Titanic’s Final Moments: Missing Pieces
In August 2005, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, hosts of THC’s Deep Sea Detectives, led an expedition to the wreck of RMS Titanic. Diving two and a half miles down in Russian submersibles, they searched outside the known debris field for new evidence. On their final dive they made an extraordinary find, two large intact sections of Titanic’s bottom hull, in pristine condition with the red bottom paint still on them. For four months, a team of historians, marine architects, and engineers has been conducting a forensic analysis of this find. All agree that it is the most significant new discovery since the wreck was located in 1985. Analysis is ongoing, but preliminary indications are that these bottom sections will change our understanding of how the ship broke apart, and rewrite the story of Titanic’s final moments.
Friday April 13
7.30pm – Titanic: Born in Belfast
The definitive story of the building of this magnificent ship includes interviews with people who saw the great vessel being built and launched and whose lives it has touched in different ways. It also revisits the slipway at the Harland and Wolff shipyard where, in 1911 15,000 shipbuilders worked on the construction of Titanic and her sister ship Olympic. It features an interview with Belfast-born film director Bill MacQuitty whose 1950 film A Night to Remember, first told the epic story of the Titanic disaster. Clips from this film are also included in this absorbing documentary about the ill-fated Titanic and the city where it was built. The legacy of failure that haunted Belfast for the past century, following the Titanic disaster, has finally given way to a much more positive mentality where the achievement of actually building such an engineering marvel is being recognised and celebrated.
8.30pm – Titanic: The Real Jack Dawson
This is the true story of the most famous Titanic victim. In a quiet anonymous cemetery in Nova Scotia, Canada, there are many graves, belonging to those who died on the Titanic. Amongst them is one, newly decorated with flowers and love tokens. It is the grave of J. Dawson. After the tragedy, his body was fished out of the water and identified as body number 227: “Fair hair, moustache, no marks”. Later identified by his Union Card as James Dawson, it seems that he was not a simple passenger. He worked for the White Star line as a “trimmer”. But where did he come from?
9.30pm – Sea Hunters: Search for Carpathia
She is most well known as the ship that rescued 706 survivors from Titanic in April 1912. The Carpathia was sunk by a German U-Boat while traveling in convoy from Liverpool to Boston in July 1918. Just off the beautiful Irish coast, in 500 feet of cold, clear water, the Carpathia was found and identified in September 2000 by Clive Cussler’s NUMA crew after a lengthy and costly search.
Saturday April 14
7.30pm – The Nazi Titanic
New Zealand Premiere
During a bizarre chapter of WWII, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels decided to make an obsessive movie based on the sinking of the Titanic. This epic movie was so large in scale that the Nazis were forced to divert men, material and ships from their war effort in order to complete the film. Over clashes on the film’s vision, the movie’s director Herbert Selpin was arrested by the Gestapo and found dead the next day. However, the film never received the large premiere that Goebbels intended and only surfaced in Nazi-occupied Paris and footage used in the 1950s Hollywood film, A Night to Remember. This special will reveal this little known story by investigating the making of the film, as well as the fate of the German ship Cap Arcona, which was used as the double for the Titanic in the film.
8.30pm – The Titanic Inquiry
New Zealand Premiere
The Titanic Inquiry is a wholly fresh look at what really happened on that fateful night in April 1912. An entire century later we seek to ensure that the story of the Californian Incident does not remain the greatest story never told!
The Titanic is one of the twentieth century’s most enduring cultural icons, not only because of the world beating engineering its construction involved but also because of the huge loss of life it’s sinking in April 1912 caused. This drama explores the theory that it might not have been so, but for the fatal mistakes of Captain Stanley Lord and the crew of the Californian, which was within range of the Titanic on that fateful night, almost 100 years ago. This courtroom drama, based on the official British Inquiry into the “Californian Incident” held in Westminster in 1912, recreates the actual events and evidence as presented by the various witnesses to the tragedy. Despite a concerted attempt by Captain Stanley Lord to cover up his mishandling of the crisis, the Inquiry ultimately found that “…the Californian could have pushed through the ice, come to the assistance of the Titanic and saved most, if not all, of the fifteen hundred lives that were lost.”
9.30pm – The Lost Liner and the Empire’s Gold
In 1915, the liner Persia was torpedoed by renegade U-boat ace Max Valentiner and sank without a trace with the loss of 334 lives. The location of the fated vessel and her precious cargo of gold has remained a mystery until now.
Sunday April 15 – The Actual Titanic Centenary Anniversary
6.30pm – Raising the Titanic
New Zealand Premiere
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in April 2012, History seeks to answer these questions once and for all. In a major, exclusive underwater expedition, History partners with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and RMS Titanic, Inc. to conduct the most extensive exploration and imaging of Titanic’s wreck site ever undertaken. CGI will illustrate what happened structurally to the ship –minute by minute– after the collision with the iceberg.