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Saving the Titanic

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 RMS Titanic. Yet she sank in less than three hours after striking an iceberg on 14th April 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, producer Stephen Rooke and director Maurice Sweeney's film Saving the Titanic 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.

Narrated by leading Irish actor Liam Cunningham and based upon eye-witness accounts, this is the remarkable 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. These nine men - among them leading fireman Frederick Barrett, chief engineer Joseph Bell, Sligo man electrician Alfred Middleton, assistant electrician William Kelly from Dublin and 18-year-old electrical engineer Albert Ervine from Belfast - are the heroes of this epic film. 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.

PRODUCER - Stephen Rooke
CO-PRODUCERS - Reinhardt Beetz & Keith Farrell
DIRECTOR - Maurice Sweeney
WRITERS - Lyall Watson & Colin Heber Percy
COMPOSER - Steve Lynch
NARRATOR - Liam Cunningham

Saving the Titanic
  • RTÉ One, Monday, 9.30pm