Titanic: Blood and Steel
|Titanic - Blood and Steel|
Region 1 DVD cover
|Distributed by||Tandem Communications|
|Directed by||Ciaran Donnelly|
|Produced by||Guido de Angelis|
|Screenplay by||Mark Skeet
|Story by||Mark Skeet
|Music by||Maurizio de Angelis|
|Original channel||History Asia|
|Original run||May 13, 2012 – July 29, 2012|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|No. of episodes||12|
Titanic: Blood and Steel is a 12-part television costume drama series about the construction of the RMS Titanic. It is one of two large budget television dramas aired in (April) 2012, the centenary of the disaster; the other is Titanic.
The series premiered in Germany and Denmark on April 15, 2012, in Italy on April 22, 2012 and in France on December 2012. Part of filming took place in Serbia, where it aired beginning September 9, 2012. In Canada, it began to air September 19, 2012 on CBC. It was aired in the United States as a six-part mini-series with two episodes back-to-back from October 8, 2012 until October 13, 2012 on Encore.
|Kevin Zegers||Mark Muir/Marcus Malone|
|Alessandra Mastronardi||Sofia Silvestri|
|Derek Jacobi||William Pirrie, 1st Viscount Pirrie|
|Neve Campbell||Joanna Yaegar|
|Ophelia Lovibond||Kitty Carlton|
|Billy Carter||Thomas Andrews|
|Branwell Donaghey||Michael McCann|
|Martin McCann||Conor McCann|
|Ian McElhinney||Sir Henry Carlton|
|Valentina Corti||Violetta Silvestri|
|Denise Gough||Emily Hill|
|Jonathan Harden||Walter Hill|
|Edoardo Leo||Andrea Valle|
|Gray O'Brian||J. Bruce Ismay|
|Michael McElhatton||Albert Hatton|
|Liam Cunningham||James Larkin|
|Chris Noth||J. P. Morgan|
|Massimo Ghini||Pietro Silvestri|
The series follows the lives of the people who made the Titanic: from the workers who built it to the rich financiers. Dr. Mark Muir, an engineer and metallurgist, convinces American tycoon J.P. Morgan to hire him for the biggest shipping project in the world, the construction of the RMS Titanic at Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard. Mark is in truth a native of Belfast born Marcus Malone. Now with a new name and identity, he tries to hide his heritage from his employers, as he is Catholic and his employers, the Protestant elite that rule Belfast, dislike Catholics. While working there, Mark falls in love with Sofia Silvestri, an Italian immigrant. However, during the construction of the Titanic, tensions rise between the lower-class workers and the rich elite. More setbacks stall the construction: Harland and Wolff want to save costs and use cheaper materials, the workers wish to form a Trade union, the women suffrage movement in the UK and the battle between pro Home Rule and pro-Unionist groups. Mark attempts to deal with it while trying to escape his past.
There are many historical inaccuracies, some of them so fundamental that if they were corrected, it would completely alter the series. Below is a selection of some of these:
- The riots and labor unrest in the series are portrayed as safety and wage related; however, they were caused by Harland and Wolff's hiring practices. Harland and Wolff, like most Northern Irish employers at the time, practiced sectarian discrimination and hired predominantly Protestant workers. Catholics rioted against this and the Royal Irish Constabulary were called in. For the period, Harland and Wolff's wages were considered fair, as were the death and injury benefits paid to workers, or to their families, who suffered mishap in their yard. That said, in the plot the sectarian tensions are shown to be a driving force among the various socioeconomic levels and how they relate to each other; including in the fifth episode Lord Pirrie regretfully acknowledging to Dr. Muir that he could have never been employed at White Star at his level if it was known that he was a Catholic, even with a letter of recommendation from J. P. Morgan himself.
- It is also insinuated that Harland and Wolff favored cheaper steel of lower quality to save money, with the implication that cheaper steel played a part in the sinking and loss of life. It has been thoroughly documented, however, that the ship's steel plates were of good quality for the period. Indeed, the R.M.S. Olympic showed great inherent strength prior to the Titanic disaster, and remained in service on the Atlantic until the mid-1930s; Titanic's hull strength is demonstrated by the fact that, even after her bow section plunged 2 1/2 miles to the sea floor, still remains largely intact. Although her hull broke apart in the final few minutes of the sinking, this was because the strains imposed upon it were simply greater than any ocean liner was designed to bear, and not a symptom of structural weakness. In fact, a scientific analysis of some of the rivets indicated the presence of impurities in the material from which they were made, which made them weak or brittle, which proved a contributory factor in her sinking.
- Thomas Andrews, Jr. is portrayed early in the series as being a temperamental, indifferent man quite separated from the workers of the yard and unconcerned with furthering the abilities of Harland and Wolff's capabilities if it meant losing money. In reality, Thomas Andrews was well-loved by all who worked in the yard, from his Uncle, Lord Pirrie, to the laborers in the yards. His kindness and generosity and ease of temper was well-documented. If there were imperfections in the building of his ships, he'd have been one of the first to have realized it. Moreover, he would have been eager to fix it. However, after the third episode he is shown to be sympathetic to Dr. Muir's safety concerns regarding the steel plates and iron rivets of the Titanic's hull. He is shown accurately insisting on having 64 lifeboats to be carried on the ship, more than the British Board of Trade mandated by law, but was over ruled.
- American Financier J. P. Morgan is portrayed as overseeing construction of the Titanic, heavily involved in decisions regarding the liner's construction. Although Morgan had acquired the White Star Line in 1902, and had rolled it into his shipping combine, the International Mercantile Marine (or IMM), the White Star Line was run by its Managing Director, J. Bruce Ismay. Ismay, in turn, became President of the IMM in 1904. It was in fact White Star, not Morgan and IMM, which financed the construction of Olympic, Titanic and R.M.S Britannic (which was to be named originally Gigantic, as correctly noted in the series). However the series does correctly show that it was Ismay, not Morgan, who was involved in decisions regarding the ships' design, interior appointments, safety features, etc. His domineering character which is the traditional depiction of his reputation is intact. Morgan is also shown to have been the one who recommended the fictional character Muir to Harland & Wolff to be employed by them in the project but since Muir himself is fictional this action doesn't go against actual history.
- The timeline of events during Titanic's construction and fitting out is significantly distorted in this miniseries. Olympic and Titanic were built side by side on Harland & Wolff Slips Nos. 2 & 3, with Olympic enjoying a lead of several months' progress over her sister. Olympic was launched on October 20, 1910; Titanic was launched on May 31, 1911. On that date, Olympic had just finished her trials, and she began her maiden voyage in June. Olympic's collision with the H.M.S. Hawke was September 20, 1911 - well into the time of Titanic's fitting-out. However, in the series, the Olympic had entered service close to the time that Titanic's keel was laid, the collision with the Hawke happened long before Titanic was launched, a significant inaccuracy.
- In the show, Titanic is seen under construction on the slip that Olympic was actually built on.
- The blueprints for Titanic, as seen in the series, are actually all of the Cunard liner R.M.S. Lusitania (1907).
- Throughout the production 1920's jazz music is heard which is completely incorrect for the period.Ragtime jazz, such as that from composer Scott Joplin, would’ve been appropriate.
- Titanic did not embark passengers in Belfast. Titanic departed Belfast on April 2, arrived in Southampton 28 hours later, and did not depart Southampton until April 10. With just one exception, the only non-crew members embarked at Belfast were members of the H&W guarantee group and a Board of Trade official.
- In the show, Ismay says that Titanic was 'significantly larger' than the Olympic; in reality, the two ships bore identical length (882'9"), width (92'6") and weight (52,310 tons at a mean draught of 34'7"). The only "size" difference between the two liners was in the on-paper measurement of their enclosed volume (Olympic's was 45,325 grt, Titanic's was 46,329), not by any actual dimension. In fact, after the Titanic's loss, Olympic was re-fitted and her gross registered tonnage was made slightly greater than Titanic's had been.
- In the series, the term "unsinkable" (or "theoretically unsinkable") is dreamed up and applied primarily to Titanic by the fictional character Muir after the collision with the H.M.S Hawke, when in reality it was introduced by White Star publicity and period Trade journals such as The Shipbuilder during construction of the two liners, and was applied to both equally. (Coincidentally, the special number of The Shipbuilder in which the term appeared is seen in the series long before Muir supposedly dreamed it up). However, neither publication identified who actually came up with the pharase so it is plausible that someone like Dr. Muir could have come up with the phrase "Unsinkable".
- While the damage to the Olympic by the collision with the Hawke was on her aft-starboard quarter, the damage is shown on her forward-port quarter.
- The January of 1912 storm encountered by the Olympic, which Captain Smith described as the worst he had encountered in his career, actually proved her great strength, rather than any inherent weakness in her hull or that of Titanic. Olympic required no repairs following the storm, and was not forced to "limp" into New York harbor.
- The worries portrayed among Lord Pirrie, Thomas Andrews and Dr. Muir about the Titanic being just "too big" are a great exaggeration. Although Olympic and Titanic were the two largest ships in the world, at the time, the Hamburg-Amerika Line was beginning work on a trio of even larger superliners, and the Cunard Line was planning to build a similarly-sized liner.
- Further any worries about New York City refusing to extend their piers to accommodate Titanic was contradicted by the fact that Olympic was already making port calls at New York City and so already had the capacity to accommodate ships the size of Titanic since Olympic and Titanic were identical in length and beam.
- Any discussion regarding the possibilities of including a double hull on the Titanic (and on the Olympic, as the two ships were designed simultaneously) would have transpired around 1907-1908, during the design phase, and prior to the laying of either ship's keel. Such discussion would not have been applied solely to Titanic after the Olympic/Hawke collision. Although the discussion about adding a internal hull to the Titanic during her construction in light of the events with the Hawke/Olympic incident was quickly dismissed by Bruce Ismay as too expensive.
- Doctor Muir's description of how expansion joints worked is inaccurate. The description in the show implies that the expansion joints played a significant role in the structural abilities of the ship. However, expansion joints were placed into the superstructure only, and not the primary form of her hull. The hull is what bore structural stresses, working in the sea, while the superstructure merely "floated" on top of the primary hull.
- The large model ship of the Titanic shown in the first few episodes in inaccurate. The model shows the 1st class promenade deck enclosed (the promenade deck was not enclosed on Olympic) and this decision was not made until late in the construction period.
- In the series Liam Cunningham, who was in his early fifties at the time of filming, portrays labor leader James "Big Jim" Larkin. In reality Larkin at this time was in his mid-thirties as he was born in 1876.
|#||Title||Written by||Original airdate on History Channel Asia|
|1||"A City Divided"||May 13, 2012|
|In 1909, Dr. Mark Muir, a young metallurgist, persuades American tycoon J.P. Morgan to hire him for the biggest shipping project the world has ever seen: RMS Titanic, at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, in Belfast, Ireland. Muir received his doctorate at Imperial College in London, and previously had been chief metallurgist on HMS Dreadnought. The shipyard's visionary Chairman takes the young scientist under his wing, introducing him to Belfast's Protestant elite. Mark quickly catches the eye of the charming, albeit spoiled, daughter of a magnate: Kitty Carlton. But he is also intrigued by a very different woman: Sofia Silvestri, an Italian immigrant's daughter. Belfast, seen through Mark's eyes, is a city ridden with divisions of class and religion, from which, as a stranger, Mark should be far removed. But we soon discover that Mark is a man with a past mysteriously connected to the Catholic suburbs of Belfast when he secretly meets an older man whom he addresses as his father.|
|2||"Stained Steel"||May 20, 2012|
|Mark is revealed to have been born Marcus Malone (he changed his name to Mark Muir after he arrived in New York), and he is the son of Sean Malone, a Belfast Catholic dockworker. Sean is an old drunkard, broken by a life of unimaginable harshness of working at the shipyards. His only remaining pride lies in Mark whom father and son share an awkward but warm reunion after not seeing each other in years. Now, Sean is worried that if Mark's identity were to be disclosed, he would lose his job at the Protestant-managed shipyard since Mark is Catholic. But Mark is careful and guarded. He starts finding out things about the steel used that lead him into conflict with chief designer Thomas Andrews. In the meantime, social tension escalates. A prominent figure in the labor movement, Jim Larkin, is organizing the workers in Belfast to form a union. While Kitty Carlton seduces Mark with her elegant charms, Sofia gets more involved in her fight for freedom, which she interprets in a personal way, turning down her father's apprentice, Andrea Valle, much to her father's grief.|
|3||"Good Man Down"||May 27, 2012|
|Mark has put his father up in a small hotel. We learn that another man is looking for Mark, someone that Sean fears. Mark's job has made him closer to Sofia Silvestri. Sofia is charmed by Mark: he seems genuinely interested in her. Sofia's friend, Emily, warns her to be careful being around Mark. But Sofia has other worries. Her father is encouraging Andrea to fight for her. But Sofia won't be forced. Meanwhile, Mark discovers a problem with the steel used to build the ship. But science is put to test by the divides in Belfast. The Protestant magnates, worried by the success of the Union, call in the Royal Army to boycott a peaceful march that Larkin organizes. The Army sabotages the march in the Catholic area, causing accidents that seem organised by Catholic workers. Mark is there to show his respect for the workers. Sofia is there with Emily and the McCann's younger brother, Conor. To everybody's shock, innocent school teacher Walter Hill, Emily's husband, is killed by a soldier. Mark only just manages to rescue Sofia from the havoc.|
|4||"Danger Looms"||June 3, 2012|
|Walter's death has changed the whole picture. Malcontent breeds amongst workers, especially at the shipyard. Larkin has been forced to leave the city. Andrea, to Sofia's embarrassment, is staying at her house. The Chairman, Lord Pirrie, is shocked, and fights with his former friend Henry Carlton – Kitty's father – whom he holds responsible. He seeks an understanding with Michael McCann, one of the leaders of the workers' movement. They are both intelligent and moral men. Meanwhile, Mark keeps his mind on his job and finally identifies the problem with the steel: impurities. But the steel complies with regulations. Eventually Thomas Andrews will see his point, and a new relationship will form. But work is not Mark's only occupation: he finally kisses Sofia. As he goes back to his father, he is assaulted by Bernard Doyle. He accuses him of having left behind his fiancée, Bernard's daughter Siobhan, who died in childbirth.|
|5||"Under Lock and Key"||June 10, 2012|
|Mark's story is fully revealed. When he lived in Belfast, he had a girlfriend, Siobhan Doyle. She was supposed to follow him to America but never did. Siobhan died soon after. Mark's father told him she had died of TB. Instead, she had died at childbirth without him ever knowing. Mark realises how much Siobhan suffered, and is heartbroken. She was sent to a convent. Mark confronts Sean, who insists that he lied because he didn't want his son giving up his own new life, and he insists Siobhan didn't want that either, so she did not contact him. Mark angrily turns his back on his father, and visits the convent where Siobhan is buried. To his utter shock, he finds out that the child, a baby girl, survived and was handed over to the church for adoption. He tries to find her, but the nuns will not tell him anything. An accident occurs that forces him back to work: RMS Olympic, a ship in the same class as Titanic, has had a serious accident. Mark is asked to study the implications. Mark's new discoveries are now less important that delivering on schedule. At the end, Pirrie and Andrews discover Mark's true identity and that he is Catholic, but guard his secret.|
|6||"The Imposter"||June 17, 2012|
|The RMS Olympic accident has created a terrible workload. Tensions between the Protestant and Catholic classes escalate. Pirrie and Michael finally manage to come to an understanding that appease the workers, but not magnate Charles Stokes. Unfortunately, Conor McCann, Emily's younger brother, is driven towards more extremist acts after he gets fired. The Fenian movement, a Catholic terrorist group, takes Conor in. Mark suggests building a double hull for the Titanic. But Pirrie is unimpressed. It would mean wasting too much time. To try and forget his many concerns, Mark manages to take Sofia away for a romantic weekend in the countryside. It is a time when love flourishes, giving both of them the illusion that everything will be fine. Meanwhile, Henry Carlton has discovered Mark's real identity. He is also furious when he finds out his daughter, Kitty, has been in a relationship with a Catholic impostor. Kitty is disowned and she decides to leave Belfast. As soon as Mark comes back, he is summoned to the office and fired.|
|7||"The Truth Shall Set You Free"||June 24, 2012|
|Losing his job is not Mark's only problem. Sofia knows his truth. Mark tells her everything, even about Siobhan and the baby. She eventually forgives him. It is also time for Mark to reconcile with his father, Sean. Mark's situation seems to get better still when J.P. Morgan arrives. When told the reason why his chief metallurgist has been fired, Morgan has him immediately reinstated. Mark starts looking for a viable alternative to the double hull, an alternative he finds in higher bulkheads. Meanwhile, General Elections are in sight. Home Rule for Ireland is at stake. The possibility of London putting a stop to controlling the island is strongly opposed by the Protestant minority, which fears the power the Catholic majority would get should Ireland become an independent republic. Emily persuades her brother, Michael, to stand for Parliament, and Pirrie helps and supports his main counterpart in the shipyard. Elsewhere, Sofia wants to take her romantic relationship with Mark public. Mark knows that this would mean new tensions that could ostracize him. Above all, though, Mark is trying to protect Sofia. She would be fired immediately. But Sofia is independent. She is tired of Belfast. She goes back to studying, trying to create a better future for herself. A sad coldness slowly builds between them and, quite unexpectedly, Mark gets news of his daughter.|
|8||"High Stakes"||July 1, 2012|
|The high-staked General Elections are drawing closer. The magnates have their own candidate, the Unionist extremist Albert Hatton. The fact that Pirrie does not support Hatton makes him an enemy of the ruling class. Michael is campaigning for Labour. His sister Emily helps him. But she gets arrested for giving out leaflets. This is a political measure, and Emily is only the scapegoat. On the ship front, Mark's proposition to erect higher bulkheads to defend Titanic is crushed by Bruce Ismay, the Chairman of White Star Line, the company Titanic is being built for. When the elections occur, Albert Hatton wins a handsome majority. The third candidate, Michael, only gets a very small number of votes. Protestant and anti-Home Rule extremists fume with rage and hatred, and Michael is assaulted, cruelly beaten and forced from Belfast. His brother, Conor, has become a terrorist and has taken lives. Even more disgusted with the ways of Belfast, Sofia now wants to leave and go to London. She asks Mark to go with her. But Mark is forced to make a choice between being with Sofia or searching for his daughter. He chooses to stay in Belfast to continue looking for his daughter.|
|9||"Burden of Proof"||July 8, 2012|
|The Admiralty has opened an inquiry into the Olympic accident, and Pirrie, Andrews, Morgan and Mark are invited to London. Mark is pleased to see his old friend Kitty, who has become a star silent screen actress. At the inquiry, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, suggests that the yard could serve several ends in case of military escalation. Joanna Yaeger, Mark's old friend from New York, and Morgan's protégée, is forced into a very dangerous position: that of being a spy. With her unparalleled access, she can prove to be extremely useful to the Austro-Hungarian and German causes. Back in Belfast, Mark faces a new crisis. Andrea, Sofia's old fiancé, has seen her with him and has told Pietro. Sofia is forced to choose. Sofia chooses Mark. Finally he agrees to follow Sofia: they will move to London, together. He will leave Harland & Wolff and all hopes to ever find his own daughter. In a breathtaking ceremony, the Titanic is finally launched.|
|10||"A Crack in the Armor"||July 15, 2012|
|Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, is damaged again. Mark can't leave Belfast for the time being. Sofia also has to postpone her plans. Pietro has been injured at work and she must look after him. Mark and Andrews look for new solutions. The gashes in Olympic suggest that the steel is just too weak. Eventually they have to concede that the steel, combined with the sheer scope, is just not good enough. The double hull would have protected the ship - perhaps the bulkheads too. For this to become a serious problem, Titanic would have to crash into something very solid - an occurrence that seems remote on the Atlantic Ocean. While Mark and Andrews slowly come to their conclusions, Emily is sentenced to an astoundingly unfair six months in jail. But another terrible event occurs: Conor is shot dead while the Unionists start advocating a new, separate State: Northern Ireland.|
|11||"The Tipping Point"||July 22, 2012|
|An accountant from the United States, Samuel, makes Mark feel jealous. Samuel is handsome and witty. He is American and unaware and uninterested in divisions. For Sofia, he represents a real temptation: Pietro is better and Mark still can't leave his job. Mark is still uncertain: he still hopes to find his daughter. Mark discovers what the girl's name was: Sarah. The girl might live in a small village outside Belfast. But the girl, who had indeed been living there, has left. They have moved to Belfast, but no one knows where. Andrews fights, and loses, a memorable battle to equip Titanic with more life boats. And while Pirrie and Churchill try to campaign for Home Rule in Belfast, the divide between the Catholic and Protestant communities has grown. Lord Pirrie, by now disillusioned with most of his liberal principles, falls ill.|
|12||"The ‘Unsinkable’ Sets Sail"||July 29, 2012|
|The time has come for the great ship to leave for the New World. As Morgan always wanted, Titanic's maiden voyage will become one of the first great PR events. Sofia and Joanna Yaeger become friends, and she gets her a job as an illustrator for The New York Times. Pietro uses most of his money to buy her a ticket. Mark himself only gets on board by chance. The group also includes Jack Lowry, a young riveter we met at the beginning of the story. Violetta goes with the baby, whom Michael McCann has come back to marry. Joanna will be onboard – and so will Kitty, by now an acclaimed actress. A little girl by the name of Sarah, with her mother, board Third Class. Neither Mark nor his daughter is aware of one another's presence on board the Titanic. And, while the ship sails for New York, and Mark and Sofia finally find happiness and reconciliation. The audience is left asking: who amongst these characters will survive the great disaster?|
In the United States, Titanic: Blood and Steel aired on Encore, which does not publish Nielsen Ratings on a frequent basis. Due to the lack of published reports, only ratings for certain episodes are available.
Home media release
- Talmon, Noelle (9 November 2011). "Neve Campbell, Chris Noth & Kevin Zegers Pose On The Set Of 'Titanic' Miniseries". Star Pulse.
- "‘Big’ now Titanic". New York Post. 11 November 2011.
- Made In Serbia
- Breaking News - Encore Presents "The Big Miniseries Showcase" This Fall with the U.S. Television Premiere of "The Crimson Petal and the White"
- Titanic: Belfast's Own (Stephen Cameron), ISBN 978-1906578770.
- What Really Sank the Titanic? by (Timothy Foecke and Jennifer Hooper-McCartey), ISBN 1615585273; On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the R.M.S. Titanic (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt), Appendix A: "Titanic's Technical Specifications & Some Common Technical Misconceptions", ISBN 1848689276.
- On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the R.M.S. Titanic (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt), Appendix A: "Titanic's Technical Specifications & Some Common Technical Misconceptions", ISBN 1848689276), pg. 285.
- On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the R.M.S. Titanic (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt), Appendix A: "Titanic's Technical Specifications & Some Common Technical Misconceptions", ISBN 1848689276), pgs. 38-41.
- Lambert, David (September 10, 2012). "Titanic: Blood and Steel - Airing on Encore in October, a Release is Announced for DVD and Blu-ray". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- Titanic: Blood and Steel at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Titanic: Blood and Steel History Channel Asia website