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Saving The Titanic

Airs Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 5 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The Titanic ship at night as seen in the film "Saving The Titanic." Follow a dramatic interpretation of the Titanic’s final hours, told from the point of view of the engineers below deck as they struggle to maintain power and keep the ship afloat to save as many lives as possible.

She was the Pride of the British Empire and a leading example of state-of-the art engineering in a time of groundbreaking scientific and technological innovations on a global scale. Yet the RMS Titanic sank less than three hours after striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912.

The Titanic at sea.
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Above: The Titanic at sea.

Everyone knows 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 is how a team of shipbuilders and engineers attempted to save the stricken vessel.

One hundred years after the sinking of the vessel considered unsinkable, "Saving The Titanic" is the untold story of self-sacrifice and dignity of the ship’s engineers, stokers and firemen in the face of impending death.

Seeking to answer the question of what happened in the engine and boiler rooms after the collision, "Saving The Titanic" tells the story of the disaster from below deck, with the action taking place between the time the crew embarked from Southampton until the eventual sinking of the ship.

Frank Bell played by actor Conor MacNeill and Jonathan Shepherd played by Hugh O’Conor.
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Above: Frank Bell played by actor Conor MacNeill and Jonathan Shepherd played by Hugh O’Conor.

Lead fireman Fred Barrett portrayed by actor Ciaran McMenamin and Frank Bell played by actor Conor MacNeill.
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Above: Lead fireman Fred Barrett portrayed by actor Ciaran McMenamin and Frank Bell played by actor Conor MacNeill.

Based upon eyewitness 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 18-year-old electrical engineer Albert Ervine (Andrew Simpson) from Belfast and Chief Engineer Joseph Bell (David Wilmot) — 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 brave actions saved many lives.

Vividly bringing to life the valiant struggle and last desperate hours of those who tried to save her, "Saving The Titanic" features computer-generated imagery and high-end special effects.

The program features an ensemble cast playing the key roles, including David Wilmot, Ciaran McMenamin, Owen McDonnell, Jonathan Byrne, Andrew Simpson, Hugh O’Conor, Douglas Rankine, Paul Kennedy, Stephen Hogan, Conor MacNeill, and Chris Newman.

Video

Saving The Titanic

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Watch Full Program on PBS. See more from Saving the Titanic.

Above: Follow a dramatic interpretation of the Titanic’s final hours, told from the point of view of the engineers below deck as they struggle to maintain power and keep the ship afloat to save as many lives as possible.