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Saving The Titanic
Saving The Titanic“The tragic sinking of the Titanic has
  been the subject of countless films
  and documentaries from the perspective
  of the passengers; but the story of
  those working fearlessly below deck
  attempting to keep the liner afloat has
  been sadly neglected — until now, with
  the fascinating dramatised true story
  Saving The Titanic..

THE MANY FILMS RECOUNTING the catastrophic final hours of the RMS Titanic include James Cameron's 1997 Titanic and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, but the riveting docu-drama Saving The Titanic is the first to actually go below deck to the heart of the ship to tell a remarkable story of courage as nine dedicated men give their all in an attempt to keep the doomed liner afloat.

The dramatised events are a unique tale based on the testimonies of surviving crew members that highlights how a team of engineers attempted to save the stricken vessel. The story begins with the days prior to the ship's maiden voyage, counting down from 2 April 1912 when the Titanic undergoes its sea trials in Belfast Lough and including the iceberg warnings three days before the disaster.

RMS Titanic was born to drama in an unsettled Ireland. There were many disputes between the Protestants and Catholics who worked on her and these continued on board. Even among these workers was a set hierarchy that some would not see breached.

The pride of the British Empire, Titanic entered the Atlantic Ocean on 12 April; having changed course because of warnings of the ice field. Despite assurances by designer Thomas Andrews (Stephen Hogan: Injustice; The Tudors); of Harland & Wolff that her design would make her unsinkable, disaster struck this magnificent vessel just four days into her maiden voyage when she hit an iceberg at 11.40pm on the night of 14 April before disappearing beneath the waves in the early hours of 15 April 1912.

A century later this intriguing true story is dramatised in Saving The Titanic, a docu-drama that recounts how nine men valiantly, and despite the knowledge that all was lost, attempted to hold back the might of the sea and keep the power systems running — essential for the ship's lights and the electric lifeboat winches.

Most of these brave men died, but their actions saved many lives. Based on eye-witness accounts, Saving The Titanic introduces the key characters with an insight into their private lives and looks at how they lived on board from day to day. The main character of the drama is Chief Engineer Joseph Bell (David Wilmot: The Guard; The Tudors; Intermission), who stoically oversees the attempt to keep Titanic afloat.

When the news broke, it was one of the most profound moments in modern history; one that signalled the end of the trust and belief that had been put in technology. Southampton felt the loss deep in the heart of the working class community — high unemployment had driven many to sign on for work on the liner.

The tragedy was twofold. Not just the enormous death toll — of the 2,223 people on board only 713 survived — but man challenging nature and losing. Saving The Titanic is a story of selfless bravery and duty; a story of class structure, where the 'Blackgangs' — the firemen, greasers and trimmers — all knew their place. The largest ship yet, there were too few lifeboats and the first to be launched was carrying just 28 people despite a capacity for 65.

Leading Fireman Fred Barrett (Ciaran McMenamin: Young James Herriot; Primeval) is to be one of the witnesses at the Board of Enquiry and he is asked to give his version of events to Titanic's owners, The White Star Line, which is desperately trying to shift the focus from tragedy to heroism and reassure the public that they will be safe travelling on their ships. They needed heroes and they have just that.

Saving The Titanic is an insightful look at one of the biggest maritime disasters, approaching the subject matter in a unique way. It is supported by a strong cast and a superb production design. A brilliant, riveting intelligent docu-drama that is informative, poignant and a tribute to those who gave their lives that others might live.

The film features a stellar ensemble cast of leading actors, which also includes: Hugh O'Conor (Your Bad Self; Killing Bono) as Assistant Engineer Jonathan Shepherd; Chris Newman (Love/Hate; Love Is The Drug) as Assistant Electrician William Kelly; Conor MacNeill: (Cherrybomb; 50 Dead Men Walking) as Joseph's son Frank Bell; Owen McDonnell as Thomas Dillon; Andrew Simpson as electrician Albert George Ervine; Jonathan Byrne as electrician Alfred Pierre Middleton; Paul Kennedy as assistant engineer Herbert Gifford Harvey; Douglas Rankine as greaser Alfred White; Ciaran O'Grady as Leading Fireman; Dermot Magennis as Tailor; Johnny Eveson as Second Officer; Helen O'Reill as Female Passenger; Owen Roe as White Star lawyer; and David Heep as White Star official.

Narrated by Liam Cunningham; Written by Colin Heber-Percey and Lyall Watson; Music Composed by Steve Lynch; Director of Photography is Richard Kendrick; Co Producers are Keith Farrell and Reinhardt Beetz; Producer is Stephen Rooke; Directed by Maurice Sweeney.

Saving The Titanic comes to DVD for the first time, courtesy of Arrow Films, on 16 April 2012. Certificate: PG | Running Time: 92 Minutes | RRP: 14.99 | Catalogue Number FCD644.

"Saving The Titanic a brilliant, riveting intelligent docu-drama that is informative, poignant and a tribute to those who gave their lives that others might live" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar