Death of a Battleship

programmes  —  Deep Wreck Mysteries Series Two  —  Death of a Battleship

Death of a Battleship – Off the north coast of Ireland, deep-sea divers discover the wreck of a massive battleship. She is the British superdreadnought, HMS Audacious, which sank in the early days of the First World War. For ninety years she has lain unknown and undisturbed. Missed by salvors and too deep for normal scuba diving, only now is she giving up her secrets. The divers find evidence of a catastrophic explosion, strewing wreckage across the seabed, and seek the cause.

At the time, the Audacious was considered unsinkable, the pride of the Royal Navy, one of their most powerful front line units. But even this 23,000-ton leviathan has a weakness, one which the clandestine activities of a lucky German naval captain cruelly expose. Not even the assistance of one of the largest liners in the world, the Olympic can help, although it has left an incomparable photographic record of her last moments. In October 1914, design flaws, incompetent damage control and just plain bad luck, combine to make her heel over and blow up in spectacular style.

The British Naval High Command of the day is deeply traumatised by the event. It is a bad time to lose such a high-profile and important ship, and they order a complete news blackout. The Audacious’ crew, all of whom survive the sinking, are sworn to secrecy and reassigned. The Olympic is interned and searched from top to bottom for any photographs that might betray the event. The Navy even go to the lengths of building a dummy warship to keep up the pretence the Audacious is still afloat. The Germans must never know the vulnerability of British battleships. After the war the authorities came clean, but such was the blanket of secrecy that it took decades to identify and locate her.

Today the Audacious lies 23 kilometres out to sea, in 64 metres of water, in perhaps the best visibility for a warship of her size anywhere in the world. The expedition’s divers have access to modern scanning techniques, expert onboard historians and analysts to help reveal how one of the world’s most advanced ships was brought down by just one blow, a chance event that ushered in a perilous new chapter in naval warfare and changed the course of history.

1906 changed the way battleships were built. HMS Dreadnought made all previous designs obsolete. The arms race between Great Britain and Germany had begun.

"She was a complete break with previous ships in every way, with her starkly simple superstructure, massive tripod mast between two funnels and hull devoid of small guns. But even more remarkable was the vindication of the decision to engine her with Parsons turbines. Not only was she three knots faster than her contemporaries, but her turbines gave virtually no trouble. Gone were the days when the engine room of a battleship was a 'cross between an inferno and a snipe marsh' with massive pistons and connecting rods and a shroud or leaking steam."

"The battleship was in its day the most complex mobile structure in existence, and it pushed technology to its limits. But it was also a product of the societies which sponsored it, and was a reflection of a all the factors which made up those societies."

John Batchelor History of the World Wars Battleships 1919 - 177 Phoebus Publishing Co. London 1977.

Produced by
CRISPIN SADLER
WAYNE ABBOTT

Directed by
CRISPIN SADLER

Narrator
RUSSELL BOULTER

Director of Photography
WAYNE ABBOTT

Lighting Cameraman
PAUL DONOVAN

Underwater Photography
DAN STEVENSON
NORMAN WOODS
STEVE BROWN

Dive Team
STEWART ANDREWS
JOHN CHAMBERS
CARL DOUGLAS
IAN LAWLER
BARRY McGILL
MICHAEL McVEIGH – ROSGUILL

Written by
JEREMY EVANS

Editors
JIM BLOKLAND
STEWART BARLOW

Original Music Composed by
PETER MUNDINGER

Production Manager
LEA ALDRIDGE

Production Coordinator
HANNAMARI SAASTAMOINEN

Post Production Assistant
TIM EVANS

Technical Producer
H-H ENGSTRÖM

Co-Producer (Canada)
JOCELYNE ABBOTT

Researchers
WILLIAM MOULT
LARA BICKERTON
LAURA ABBOTT

Location Assistant
ADAM SHELDRAKE

Location Coordinator (Sweden)
IVAN MATTHIAS PETTERSSON

Post Production Facilities
MORGANKANE

Sound Design and Mix
SVANTE BIÖRNSTAD

On Line Editor and Colourist
JONAS ERIKSSON

Visual Effects and Animation
THE STUDIO UPSTAIRS

Series Producers
CRISPIN SADLER
WAYNE ABBOTT

Executive Producer for MSP
SIMON MALLINSON

Executive Producers for Deep Sea Productions
CARL DOUGLAS
MALCOLM DIXELIUS

Executive Producers for National Geographic Channel
STEVE BURNS
HOWARD SWARTZ

Executive Producer for UTV
MICHAEL WILSON

Executive Producers for Canwest Broadcasting
LYNNE CARTER
STEVE GAMESTER

Executive Producer for History
DELISSA NEEDHAM

Historical Consultants
ERIC GROVE, UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD
BILL JURENS
INNES McCARTNEY
AXEL NIESTLÉ

Archive Libraries
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
CHRONOSMEDIA
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
IAN LAWLER COLLECTION

With Special Thanks to
RT HON THE LORD STRATHCLYDE
GERALD DAMPIER
DAVID MANLEY
JAMES GOLDRICK
BATTLESHIP TEXAS STATE HISTORICAL SITE
KENNETH GRUBB
ANDY SMITH
ANGELA MCCLEAF
NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
ROYAL NAVAL HISTORICAL BRANCH
UK HYDROGRAPHIC OFFICE
MMT AB
SANKT ERIK, SWEDISH NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
SS SHIELDHALL
PHOENIX DIVE REPAIR INSTRUCTIONAL UNIT
NEWQUAY ROWING CLUB
GARY STAFF
IAN WILSON
JAMES YATES

PRODUCED BY

Mallinson Sadler Productions

Northern Sky Entertainment

Deep Sea Productions

FOR

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL

UTV

CANWEST BROADCASTING

HISTORY

NORDIC UNITED

© 2008
Mallinson Sadler Productions
Northern Sky Entertainment
Deep Sea Productions

 

SERIES INFORMATION – COPRODUCTION PARTNERS

COPRODUCTION

Mallinson Sadler Productions
Northern Sky Entertainment Ltd
Deep Sea Productions

FOR

ITV WEST
ITV WEST COUNTRY
ITV MERIDIAN

CANWEST GLOBEL HISTORY TELEVISION
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL

UTV
HISTORY


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