Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Titanic: Still Down But Definitely Not Out at 100 Years...

Television is having a field day with this week's 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, and The Flaming Nose is all for it.  We're Titanic buffs around here and love nothing more than great TV commemorating an unforgettable historical moment.  Many of our favorite networks are loading up their schedules with Titanic-related programming, starting this past Sunday on Smithsonian.  They premiered two very interesting specials, one with Titanic movie director James Cameron further exploring one of his favorite subjects, and another with the actual Titanic's amazing 1985 re-discoverer Bob Ballard.  (Both are repeating this week, so don't worry if you missed them on Sunday.)

We thought the best way to cover this already-started seminal week of television was to go day to day, beginning today, and let you know what's coming on.  Obviously Sunday is the biggest blow-out, but Titanic treasures are on tap all week long.  We will cover ABC's new Titanic dramatic miniseries in another post coming up, plus we also have some looks at historic television references to Titanic which have intrigued viewers over the years. 

But first -- the documentaries!!

Tonight, Tuesday, April 10th:

The Titanic With Len Goodman:  PBS, 8pm - 9pm  (Definitely check PBS local listings!)  Also airs Friday 4/13 at 10pm (Check local PBS listings!)  Click here for Program Website.

We're thrilled to see PBS get into the Titanic action; too often cable nets steal all the thunder for historical documentaries.  Dancing with the Stars judge Goodman leads viewers on a tour of Belfast and other Titanic-related cities, and talks with descendants of Titanic passengers and crew.

Saving The Titanic:  PBS, 9pm - 10pm  (Again, check your local listings!)   Click here for the Program Website, and the entire special is available for viewing there, too.

This doc-with-drama focuses on the efforts of the fireman, stokers and engineers of the Titanic who worked so courageously to keep Titanic aloat as the minutes ticked away to her inevitable doom.

Titanic Belfast: Birthplace of a Legend:  PBS, check your local PBS outlet for dates & times!
Click here for more information on the special.

This documentary focuses on the construction of the Titanic at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, where work began on her in March of 1909. 

PBS outlets are also featuring several other Titanic-related specials:

Titanic: The Wonders Exhibit:  PBS, check your local PBS outlet for dates & times.

This special is about the 1997 exhibit of artifacts from and relating to the Titanic and her demise.

Words from the Titanic: PBS, check your local PBS outlet for dates & times.  Click here for more information on the special. 

The actual words of Titanic survivors are read by actors including The Iron Lady's Richard E. Grant, bringing to life the terrible night from those who were able to escape with their lives.

(You may also be interested in a NOVA episode from a couple of years ago entitled Titanic's Lost Sister about the Brittanic; lots of resources and a transcript available, too.)

I can't emphasize enough the importance of looking up your local PBS outlet to find out when they will be airing some or all of these programs.  PBS schedules are not standardized across the country and you need to figure out where your particular station will be airing these. 

Wednesday, April 11th:

Titanic's Final Mystery:  Smithsonian Channel, 9am - 11am.  Also airs Friday 4/13 at 6pm and Saturday 4/14 at 3am.   Click here for Program Website

This terrific documentary follows Titanic researcher Tim Maltin as he investigates the various theories surrounding the sinking and comes up with some fascinating optical, meteorological and other scientific evidence that brings more understanding to the tragedy.  I watched this the other day and I highly recommend it!  Very science-y and completely riveting!

Last Mysteries of the Titanic:  Science Channel, 10p - 11pm, 1am - 3am and Friday, 4/13 at 5am.  Click here for Program Website.   Also airs on Discovery Channel on Saturday 4/14 at 1pm. 

This 2005 documentary  features director James Cameron on another trip back to the site of the shipwreck to examine the Titanic's final resting place once more.

Thursday, April 12th:

Modern Marvels -- Titanic Tech: H2 Channel, 9am, 3pm. 

From their website: 
Welcome aboard the luxury liner Titanic, the world's largest ship and pride of the White Star Line. Watertight compartments and a steel-plated hull render it all but unsinkable. Nearly every technological breakthrough of the previous 50 years is employed onboard, providing comfort and safety for passengers and crew. But none of this will matter on April 15, 1912, when the ship bears down on an iceberg on her maiden voyage, sinking within hours with more than 1,500 lives lost. Learn the details of her construction and how the achievements of technology may have masked her vulnerabilities.
Building the Titanic:  H2 Channel, 10am, 4pm.  Click here for info and whole video to view.

From their website:
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."

Titanic's Tragic Sister:  H2 Channel, 1pm, 7pm. 

From their website: 
Considered the "Everest of wreck diving," the Britannic was discovered in 1976 on an Underwater Exploration by Jacques Cousteau. The Britannic is the larger sister to the ill-fated Titanic. On November 21, 1916, Britannic was steaming through the Kea Channel in the Aegean when an explosion ripped through the ship causing the world's largest ocean liner to sink. Whether it was a German mine or submarine torpedo that sank her, a bigger mystery remains: Why did this giant ship sink so fast? It took her only 55 minutes to disappear beneath the ocean waves, three times faster than Titanic. Join wreck divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler as they lead an expedition to unravel this mystery of the Britannic's final hour.

Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces:  H2 Channel, 10pm - 12m, 2a - 4am.  Check here for more information on the special. 

The hosts of History's hit series Deep Sea Detectives took a dive to the Titanic in 2005, discovering several lost hull pieces that may hold the answers to questions about the ship's last minutes. 

Titanic's Achilles Heel: H2 Channel, 8pm, 12am.  Click here for info and whole video to view.  This is the follow-up show to Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces.

From their website: 
Did Titanic have a fatal design flaw? In August of 2005 John Chatterton and Richie Kohler (of "Deep Sea Detectives") led an expedition to Titanic, where they discovered two huge intact sections of the ship's bottom, the red paint still on. Naval architect Roger Long, along with a panel of experts concluded that Titanic broke apart earlier in its sinking than has been believed, due to a previously unknown design flaw. Chatterton and Kohler return to the wreck in 2006 searching for evidence to support this theory, but when their research vessel is recalled by the Russian government they head to Greece to dive Titanic's lost sister ship Britannic. Was Britannic quietly modified to correct the problem?
Friday, April 13th:

The Real Story--Titanic:  Smithsonian Channel 5pm, also Sunday 4/15 4am & 10pm.  Click here for more information on the special.

This special looks at the differences between the Titanic story as presented in James Cameron's epic film Titanic and many newly-discovered facts and theories which are causing experts to look at the tragedy in a new light. 

Saturday, April 14th:

Titanic-Birth of the Legend:  Discovery Channel, 2pm - 3pm. 

From their website:  The story ended with the loss of 1,500 lives in April, 1912. But it had begun exactly three years before with a dream to build the largest moving object ever made. This extraordinary story is about the building of the Titanic and the men who built her.
What Sank Titanic?:  Discovery Channel, 3pm - 4pm. 

Trial records from the inquiries following the sinking of the Titanic provide insight into the technical and personal stories behind the monumental event.

Nazi Titanic:  H2 Channel, 9pm - 11pm, 1am. 

Premiere of a brand new documentary.  From their website:  
To the Nazis of WWII, film was a weapon used to justify murder and even genocide. Joseph Goebbels, the head of the Nazi propaganda machine, personally commissioned The Titanic; he saw it as a potent weapon in demonizing the English. In his pursuit of creating what was to be the Third Reich's cinematic masterpiece he was ruthless. He had the first director murdered and poured in unrivalled resources even bringing troops back from the front to use as extras. The film was intended to show German valor and Allied weakness, but when it was finished it portrayed an entirely different message. It had become an allegory for Nazism itself. There was an all too apparent parallel of a country heading towards its own iceberg and sinking. The story of the Nazi Titanic had an unpleasant sting in its tail. The boat used to play the Titanic in the film, the Cap Arcona, was sunk by allied bombers with an even greater loss of life than the original ship.

Sunday, April 15th:

Titanic's Final Moments-Missing Pieces:  H2, 9am - 11am. See Thursday's listings for description. 

Titanic's Achilles Heel:  H2, 11am - 1pm.  See Thursday's listings for description.

Antiques Roadshow, Belfast:  Ovation, 1pm - 2pm.  From the offices of Titanic shipbuilder's Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland.

Rebuilding Titanic:  National Geographic Channel, 10am - 3pm.  Click here for more information.

A five-part series where modern engineers and craftspeople tackle the question of how to bring the Titanic back to life via authentic re-creation.  Episode titles and times:  10a -- Raising the Bow; 11am -- Forging the Anchor; 12n -- Powering a Giant, 1pm -- Floating Palace; 2pm -- Preparing for Disaster.   A two-hour version of this aired in May of 2011, but this one seems to be expanded. 

Secrets of the Titanic:  National Geographic Channel, 3pm - 4pm.  Click here to watch the documentary online.

This is the original documentary chronicling Bob Ballard's discovery of the wreck of the Titanic.  More information here.  Highly recommended!

The Final Word with James Cameron:  National Geographic Channel, 4pm - 6pm, and also Monday 4/16 4pm - 6pm.  Click here for more information on the special.

One of the two documentaries that Nat Geo premiered this past Sunday, this is a fascinating documentary exploration featuring Titanic director James Cameron along with a cadre of Titanic specialists and maritime experts who look at all the recent discoveries and come up with some new conclusions regarding the most famous shipwreck of all.  I've watched this one; very interesting, clearly an extremely emotional subject and interest for all these men (no ladies in the group!).  Although Cameron sort of leads the pack and the discussion, all the smart guys in the room get their turn to speak.  It's a great example of passionate individuals seeking the truth about a fascinating and tragic event.  Highly recommended!

Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard:  National Geographic Channel, 6pm - 7pm, also Monday 4/16 6pm - 7pm.  Click here for more information on the special. 

The other new documentary which debuted last Sunday.  Bob Ballard looks back on his discovery of the wreck of the Titanic, reflecting on the current condition of the ship and what "Titanic-tourism" might be doing to hasten the demise of the remains.  He also visits Belfast and the birthplace of the Titanic, coming to some serious conclusions that don't bode well for the Titanic.  This is a really sober look at the current state of affairs about the wreck, coming from the man who made it all possible and who knows what an awesome step it was but also realizes that the Titanic needs careful attention and protection.  Highly recommended!

Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved   :  History Channel, 8pm - 10pm, 12m - 2am, also Tuesday 4pm - 6pm.  Click here for more information on the special.

Premiere of a new documentary.  From the website:  Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved
As the 100th anniversary of Titanic's sinking approaches, a team of scientists, engineers and imaging experts have joined forces to answer one of the most haunting questions surrounding the legendary disaster: Just how did the "unsinkable" ship break apart and plunge into the icy waters of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912? Two years ago, HISTORY took part alongside the world's top underwater experts in the most thorough and exhaustive study of the wreck ever made. The undertaking yielded unprecedented new discoveries and the first comprehensive map of Titanic's watery grave. This 2-hour special documents this mission, captures the high-tech mapmaking process, unveils astonishing pieces of never-before-seen wreckage and presents the expedition's unexpected findings.

We also recommend taking a look at some nice tributes and general Titanic info at some of the network websites.  History Channel has this user-friendly "Titanic by the Numbers" infographic and a good selection of resources hereNational Geographic Channel has set up a very informative page with tremendous links and much fascinating info to be explored at your leisure.  You also might enjoy reading some of the other compilation articles about the wealth of Titanic programming coming our way, such as the Reuters coverage by Julian Rieffe and Scott Timberg's for The Los Angeles Times.

FYI, a bit of good news on the Titanic front came through today -- UNESCO has extended protection to the Titanic wreck site, as detailed here.  This will certainly make Bob Ballard a little happier, though as he points out in his new documentary, there are no police out there to make sure people follow the rules. 

We'll be updating this post if we learn of any other Titanic documentaries coming our way.

Happy viewing!


Jane said...

Personally, I can't get enough of the Titanic, so I love this post which gives us a guide to go for all the specials. I'm also fascinated by how the director James Cameron can seem like such a Hollywood ego blimp, but the part of him that loves science and history is actually rather loveable. My favorite Cameron movie to this day is The Abyss, because it showed such a reverance for the ocean. For a modern day ship wreck tale that will curl your toes, I highly recommend the Vanity Fair piece on the grounding of the Costa Concordia in Italy a few months ago. What a complete and utter cluster f@#$%. They are lucky there wasn't a greater loss of life!

Lisa said...

The Titanic is always fascinating; the two main PBS docs were terrific last night. Watch the Cameron docs -- he is genuinely touched by the Titanic and does defer to the guys who really know. Some very emotional moments, too. I will read that Vanity Fair article; we had a great lecture at our local boat club by a former nuclear sub captain and maritime expert who went over the whole incident. Very amazing, definitely shoddy management and he said HE wouldn't go on a cruise ship, not until procedures are changed.

Jane said...

I've been on two cruise ships, one Royal Carribean to Mexico and one Disney to the Bahamas. I never had a speck of worry the whole time, I just don't fear the water, and maybe that's irrational. I figure even on the Titanic there were SOME survivors. But when a big jet goes down on land or at sea, sorry that's all she wrote for everyone! Sometimes I just wish I could travel everywhere by train! How cool that sub captain lecture must have been. I have a dear friend who was stationed on a nuke sub through much of the 80's during the cold war!

david l.surjik said...

A persistent thru the last trip ,coal fire is credibly reported by CBC,would logically explain the breaking in half,metal fatigue on steel plates
of the ship after a starboard impact on the berg .The unabated 22 knot speed
would speak to the captains state of mind,while his stevedores fought the
persistent fire unsuccessfully to the end...dlsurjik@hotmail.com