Thursday, April 5, 2012

Titanic: 100 Years Later, New Stories to Tell

On April 14, 1912, the world's unsinkable ship... sank. One hundred years later, there are still new stories to tell.

Saving the Titanic (Thursday, 4/19 at 9:00 p.m.) She was the pride of the British Empire. A leading example of state-of-the-art engineering in a time of groundbreaking scientific and technological innovations on a global scale: the Titanic. Yet she sank in less than three hours after striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912. We all know about the many deaths in the icy waters, the fates of the rich and famous on the ship's maiden voyage and the dramas that played out in the Titanic's last hours. What is less known however is how a team of shipbuilders and engineers attempted to save the stricken vessel. Seeking to answer the question of what happened in the engine and boiler rooms after the collision, this program tells the story of the disaster from below deck, with the action taking place between the time the crew embark the Titanic at Southampton and the eventual sinking of the ship. Based upon eyewitness accounts, this is the story of nine central characters from the engineering crew as they work among the huge, coal-fired furnaces heating the boilers and massive dynamos whirring to satisfy the ship's demand for electricity. Their personal stories of bravery are recounted as the men fought courageously to hold back the power of the sea and keep the power systems running, even when they learned that all was lost. Most of these men died but their actions saved many lives.

Iceberg That Sank the Titanic (Thursday, 4/19 at 10:00 p.m.) Many millennia ago, a snowflake landed at the head of a glacier in the Arctic Circle. In an instant, it turned from a symbol of purity to an agent of death as it triggered the creation of an iceberg - spat from the tongue of the mother glacier and into the ocean. Cameras explore every face of this monstrous glacier, revealing an arterial network of melt-water rivers and frozen masses of rocks and vegetation suspended in the ice, and also the nature of the iceberg. There is a duality to its character. Long before it was a life-taker, it was home to an abundance of arctic wildlife. Passing down through the Arctic Circle and into the North Atlantic, the iceberg was set on an unstoppable collision course that would result in over 1400 deaths. Were warnings heeded? Could the crew of the Titanic have done more to save the passengers - perhaps using the iceberg as a giant lifeboat?

Titanic With Len Goodman (Thursday, 4/26 at 9:00 pm..) In this program, Len Goodman, a judge on "Dancing with the Stars," discovers how the impact of the Titanic disaster is still felt a century after the ship sank. Goodman has his own connection to the ship. Before he was a dancer, he was a welder for Harland and Woolf. This was company that, from 1909 to 1912, built the Titanic in Belfast. Goodman worked for the same company 50 years later, at their yard in East London. To mark the centenary of the Titanic tragedy in 2012, Goodman explores the ship's 100-year legacy. He learns how for victims' families and for the survivors themselves, the sinking was just the beginning of the story. Generations later, those stories are still unfolding as Goodman meets the modern-day descendants to learn how, 100 years after it sank, the Titanic's legacy lives on.

Titanic Born In Belfast (Thursday, 4/26 at 10:00 p.m.) traces Belfast’s emergence as a shipbuilding powerhouse in the early 19th century, primarily in the form of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard.  In 1907 the White Star Line awarded Harland and Wolff a contract to construct three superb steam liners that would hit new heights in terms of passenger safety, comfort and style and sheer size.  The first two to be commissioned were the sister ships Olympic and the Titanic, with the construction of the Titanic beginning in March of 1909.  Descendants of ship-workers and historians explore the role of building of the massive Titanic played in the lives of the inhabitants of Belfast.  Sadly the Titanic’s ending is well known and tragic – on her very first voyage, shortly before midnight on the night of April 14th 1912 the ship struck an iceberg in the freezing North Atlantic.  In less than 3 hours she tragically sank to the ocean floor, with the loss of over 1,500 lives.  Thirty-six of those lost lives belonged to men and women of Belfast.