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Tony Robinson’s Titanic Adventure: Channel 4: Tuesday 20th December: 9pm
Tony Robinson accompanies James Cameron, the Oscar-winning writer, director and producer of the blockbuster film Titanic, on a poignant farewell to the most spectacular shipwreck in history. Nearly 10 years after Cameron's first visit to the wreck, this is his last. Limited technology has hampered previous expeditions.
For this dive, $20million-worth of research subs, mini robots and sea floor-to-satellite fibre optics enable the team to explore areas of the Titanic unseen by human eyes since 1912. Time and the harsh conditions of the ocean floor have taken their toll on the ship, so these may be the last images ever gathered of the Titanic before it is surrendered to the deep forever.
The majestic Titanic has been an object of fascination and study for decades, but many tantalising questions remain unanswered about the ship and its catastrophic sinking. This expedition attempts to uncover clues and solve some of the Titanic's most haunting mysteries.
More than two-and-a half miles under the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, inside a specially designed submarine, Tony learns first hand the exploration techniques perfected in earlier dives to the ship.
The remote-control underwater camera "bot" is navigated delicately through a lethal series of obstacles, down the Titanic's grand staircase in the heart of the ship, and into the Turkish Baths and the state-rooms: two of the last great unseen places inside Titanic.
The dramatic images captured during the 18-hour dive (the longest ever carried out on Titanic) form the nucleus of this two-hour TV special, while re-enactments specially shot by Cameron using sets built during the production of his feature film Titanic create a vivid glimpse of the former glories of this tragic, iconic vessel.
It takes ages for the intrepid pair to disappear beneath the waves in their tiny submersible, but be patient. Once they're on the ocean bed viewing mesmerising footage of the "rusticle"-covered wreck of the Titanic, you'll be glad you stuck with this. Inevitably, the murky water makes it hard to tell the poop deck from the boiler room, but clips from Cameron's movie Titanic help to visualise what it looked like in its heyday. It's also impossible not to share the pair's excitement at the sight of an ornate clock perched on a mantelpiece, dishes still stacked up in a dresser or the extraordinarily well-preserved tiles and loungers in the Turkish baths. It's worth remembering that while arguments rage over whether or not it's appropriate to recover artefacts from the wreck, nature is busy breaking it down. Soon there may be nothing left of the Titanic to see.